This fifth Homeland Security Center of Excellence, formally titled the Center for the Study of High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response, will study deterrence, prevention, preparedness and response, including issues such as risk assessment, decision-making, infrastructure integrity, surge capacity and sensor networks. In particular, it will study interactions of networks and the need to use models and simulations.
"Johns Hopkins University has assembled and will lead a talented and deeply experienced team of professionals from institutions across the country," said DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. "Together, they will help DHS strengthen the nation's ability to prevent and, where necessary, effectively manage high-consequence disasters or terrorist attacks."
The Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), created shortly after 9/11, will serve as the seat of the consortium. JHU's schools of Medicine, Public Health, Advanced International Studies, Engineering, Professional Studies in Business and Education, and the Applied Physics Laboratory will also serve as consortium members. The Center of Excellence will be led by Dr. Lynn R. Goldman, professor of Environmental Health Sciences, and Dr. Gabor D. Kelen, professor and chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, and director of CEPAR.
"We all hope and pray there will never be another 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina," said Dr. William Brody, president of Johns Hopkins University. "If there is, however, the knowledge developed by this new center will go a long way toward assuring the best possible preparation and the most humane, coordinated effort possible to assist victims and speed recovery."
The Centers of Excellence, overseen by the Office of University Programs within the Homeland Security Science & Technology directorate, establish a network of university-based centers that conduct multi-disciplinary research and develop innovative educational programs. Through this initiative, the Department of Homeland Security and partner universities focus the nation's most talented researchers on homeland security issues.
Existing Homeland Security Centers of Excellence include:
- The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), led by the University of Southern California
- The National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD), led by the University of Minnesota
- The National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD), led by Texas A&M University
- The Center for Behavioral and Social Research on Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism (START), led by the University of Maryland
- The Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA), a separate but closely associated venture, jointly sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and led by Michigan State University.
In January 2005, Homeland Security's Science and Technology directorate released an announcement calling for proposals focusing on research and education relevant to the study of high consequence event preparedness and response. Thirty-four proposals were received and reviewed by a team of 38 peer reviewers from academia, the private sector and multiple government agencies. The three-tier review process evaluated scientific and technical merit, mission relevance and management effectiveness. The process resulted in site visits to four different institutions and the subsequent selection of JHU.