New Homeland Security Center at UH Manoa to Deal with Island Security Issues and Natural Disasters

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
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Posted: Sep 29, 2008

HONOLULU — A new U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) center of excellence will officially open at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UH Mānoa). The opening ceremony for the National Center for Island, Maritime and Extreme Environment Security (CIMES) is set for Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. in the Keoni Auditorium, Hawaii Imin International Conference Center at the East-West Center.

The CIMES mission will be to perform basic research in areas that will improve safeguards for key infrastructures in island and extreme environments as well as provide important environmental information in times of natural or man-made emergencies.

"The University of Hawaiʻi is the ideal institution to conduct multi-disciplinary research vital to the protection of Hawaiʻi and our nation‘s coastal areas from terrorist threats and natural disasters, such as tsunamis and earthquakes. Our university is a part of an outstanding national team due in large part to its research excellence and our location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In the months ahead, it will be critical that strong alliances are made with our homeland security agencies like the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Patrol to ensure that the scientific gains are transferred and realized on the ground and out at sea for the protection of our borders," stated U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye.CIMES is a partnership between UH Mānoa, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and the University of Puerto Rico at MayagŁez. CIMES will work closely with the National Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce and Coastal Environments (CSR), a "sister" center headquartered at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. CIMES will also be working with the Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC), the Pacific Disaster Center, the Hawaiʻi Ocean Observing System, Intelesense (California), the U.S. Coast Guard and relevant federal and state agencies.

"Investments in long-term, basic research are vital for the future of homeland security," said Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for Science and Technology, DHS, who will be present at the opening. "These colleges and universities are leaders in their fields of study. They will provide scientific expertise, high-quality resources, and independent thought — all valuable to securing America."

UH Mānoa was one of 11 universities selected from across the country to lead one of five centers to study border security and immigration; explosives detection, mitigation and response; maritime, island and port security; natural disasters, costal infrastructure and emergency management; and transportation security. Under the agreement, UH Mānoa is eligible to receive a grant of up to $2 million per year over the next four to six years.

"The basic science investigations that CIMES will be performing for DHS are all a natural complement to existing earth science and engineering programs at UH Mānoa," said CIMES Director Roy H. Wilkens. "These studies will eventually provide critical data to first responders in times of emergency as well as enhance our general understanding of the ocean and atmospheric environment around the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico and the vast expanse of Alaska. Each research effort is being led by an internationally renowned scientist with an experienced technical team. We look forward to years of productive scientific inquiry with our DHS partners."