(Released 10 March 2022) WASHINGTONĀ ā€“Ā TheĀ Department of Homeland Security (DHS)Ā Science and Technology DirectorateĀ (S&T) announced a $24 million contract, awarded over five years, toĀ Auburn University College of Veterinary MedicineĀ (AUCVM) to support research & development (R&D) in the detection canine field. The award, funded under theĀ S&T Detection Canine Program, will explore ways to improve the availability and efficacy of detection dogs, which are vital in protecting our Nationā€™s borders, transportation hubs, major public events, and more. To achieve this goal, AUCVM will study detection dogsā€™ odor detection skills, seek new ways to make domestic detection dogs more available, improve ways to identify suitable detection dogs, and optimize domestic detection dogsā€™ overall welfare and longevity.

ā€œCanines are an important tool inĀ support of the S&T mission to prevent and respond to nationalĀ security threats. No other animal or technology has the ability to locate and track odors to source in real time,ā€ said Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for S&T. ā€œI look forward to continuing our work with Auburn University to improve the Departmentā€™s ability to effectively and humanely field detection canines across the country.ā€

The S&T Detection Canine Program focuses on providing DHS operational components and the larger Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) with the tools, techniques, and knowledge to better understand, train, and utilize detection canines. Together, the S&T Detection Canine Program and AUCVM will bring the latest scientific advances in areas such as canine genomics and mass spectrometry odor analysis from the lab to application in the field.

AUCVM will also support the assessments for canine teams in the HSE while developing new understandings of optimal handler characteristics and training approaches.

ā€œPeople tend to see detection canines as a standard law enforcement capability that has remained the same over time,ā€ said Guy Hartsough, S&T Detection Canine Program Manager. ā€œIn reality, our work with academic partners has produced notable improvements in how we can rely on detection dogs, and we are excited to see what next-generation capabilities the AUCVM team can bring to the table.ā€

Released by U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Click HERE for source.Ā 

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