The Southeast Region Research Initiative is a ground breaking program managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the US Department of Homeland Security to assist local, state and tribal leaders in developing the tools and methods required to anticipate and forestall terrorist events and to enhance disaster response. SERRI combines science and technology with validated operational approaches to address regionally unique requirements and suggest regional solutions with potential national implications.

Regional Approach: SERRI’s regional approach capitalizes on the inherent power resident in the Southeast US. The partnerships of ORNL include regional and national research universities which provide a window into cutting-edge science and technology development and allows the creation of technology based programs that enable regional leaders and organizations to address user defined homeland security and emergency preparedness challenges. The long history of regional collaboration in natural disaster response, economic development and inter-governmental agreement provides in-place vehicles for regional cooperation. The robust cross-section of homeland security environments – recurrent natural disasters, large cities and sparsely settled rural areas, major ports and rivers, critical power and transportation infrastructure – creates a ready-made test bed for science and technology and an incubator for best practices development, dissemination and codification.

SERRI Research Support: SERRI sponsored research leverages world-class regional research universities with the power of the national laboratory system to identify science and technology solutions to user identified challenges. But laboratory research is only one part of the answer. As importantly, SERRI builds a pathway from the laboratory to the user for each research project completing the cycle of requirement to fielded solution in the shortest time possible. Program imperatives include a regional and local homeland security focus and research results that culminate in integrated product development with a clear path to usability and interoperability across the region.

SERRI Operational Support: SERRI operational support encompasses a wide range of programs designed to develop interactions among regional homeland security stake holders and develops community based regionally deployable systems and solutions to address regional preparedness challenges. SERRI is a resource for regional lessons learned and best practices, an incubator for regionally interoperable systems and a facilitator of regionally rationalized plans, policies and procedures. SERRI views operational support as a high-contact activity that must actively engage regional and local leaders, institutions and organizations to break down compartmentalization and break open teamwork opportunities.

Building toward a Regionally Integrated Future: SERRI’s success will be measured in its ability to build on existing collaborations, achieve regional engagement, bring research out of the laboratory and into the hands of users, provide operationally validated solutions to regional challenges, and serve as the US Department of Homeland Security’s pathway regional center.