Innovation and Homeland Security Playing Well Together? DHS Under Secretary Jay Cohen May Convince You It’s Possible

2/5/08Follow @bbuderi

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security isn’t exactly known for innovation—and, in the past, that has held true even for its Science & Technology Directorate, the research and development arm of DHS that’s meant to serve as its innovation engine. But The Honorable Jay Cohen, Under Secretary of Science and Technology for DHS, has made it part of his mission to change that image and transform his directorate. He will be joining me for an up-close-and-personal conversation at our upcoming Xconomy Forum on March 5: Homeland Security and the Innovation Community. Cohen has also graciously agreed to sit down for lunch with attendees after our chat, making this a rare opportunity for local innovators to meet the Under Secretary face to face.

I think it’s safe to predict that you never have engaged with and been entertained by a member of the DHS hierarchy the way you will with Cohen. If you have ever doubted that the federal government has room for wild card, out-of-the-box thinking and colorful characters, he might force you to rethink that view.

I’ve known the Under Secretary, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, for close to a decade, since his days as Chief of Naval Research and director of the Office of Naval Research. He spent some six years at ONR instituting many of the same types of changes he’s trying to bring to DHS. At the Forum, I’ll be talking with Cohen about his efforts to revitalize the directorate through a series of programs and initiatives designed to connect “customers” in the U.S. government with entrepreneurs, companies, and other innovators, as well as with the first responder community.

Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA, is hosting the event, which is by invitation only and limited to 50 guests. All the particulars, as well as instructions for requesting an invitation, can be found here. I encourage you to sign up soon—chances to meet folks like Cohen are few and far between.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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