About the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center

Our Mission

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) addresses complex challenges in a variety of areas including preventing terrorism, managing U.S. borders, enforcing and administering immigration laws, safeguarding cyberspace, and strengthening the nation's ability to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and build resilience to natural and human-made disasters. To help the Department, RAND's Homeland Security Research Division (HSRD) operates the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC). Like all studies and analysis FFRDCs, HSOAC provides nonpartisan, independent, objective analyses in support of policy development, decisionmaking, and alternative approaches. HSOAC also supports other federal, state, local, tribal, and public- and private-sector organizations that make up the homeland security enterprise.

Our Focus Areas

HSOAC analyses focus on nine functional areas that cut across DHS mission categories:

  • Acquisition. Assessments to support acquisition planning, performance evaluation, and decision making up to Acquisition Decision Event (ADE)/ Key Decision Point (KDP) or other key lifecycle and acquisition events (e.g. procurement and contract review, integrated lifecycle sustainment plan review, etc.).
  • Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Analyses that support sponsors as they help constituents prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, strengthen preparedness and resilience, and help people before, during, and after disasters.
  • Innovation and Technology Acceleration. Assessments and research to support the promotion of innovation and technology acceleration. Example technologies include cyber, 5G, drones, data management, facial recognition technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and surveillance.
  • Homeland Security Threat and Opportunity Studies. Analyses to support the user’s planning and execution of its mission areas.
  • Personnel Policy and Management. Studies that support DHS Components and HQ offices to ensure they are able to recruit, train, retain, and sustain the workforce of sufficient size and capability to meet DHS missions and maintain a workplace environment and culture that fosters inclusivity and employee resilience, values diversity, and ensures equity in treatment and opportunity.
  • Operational Studies. Evaluation and simulation to help DHS assess mission requirements, improve operational processes and procedures, and understand the impact of operations on a range of outcomes.
  • Organizational Studies. Studies that use workforce analysis and performance measurement to help DHS improve unity of effort across management and planning.
  • Regulatory, Doctrine, and Policy Studies. Studies that use regulatory and policy analysis to offer insight into the potential impact of changes in external regulations, policies, and doctrines on DHS missions and activities.
  • Research and Development (R&D). Assessments to strengthen DHS R&D capability that enables the department to determine, prepare and grow the homeland security enterprise of tomorrow.