Auburn University’s detection dog program wins $24 million Homeland Security contract


Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has been awarded a five-year, $24 million contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate to advance canine science detection and improve operational threat detection capabilities.

The award is the largest research contract awarded by DHS to Auburn University.

“Auburn has long been recognized for its world-class research in canine detection science, and this funding from the Department of Homeland Security will enable significant enhancement and expansion of this critically important work,” said James Weyhenmeyer, vice -president of Auburn for research and economic development. .

The contract will support the initiatives of Auburn’s Transdisciplinary Canine Science, Innovation, Technology, and Education (DCSITE) Detection Program, which is DHS S&T’s primary academic resource for expertise in all areas of canine detection science.

“Our DCSITE program will foster continuous improvement and best practices for national detection dog production to meet changing homeland security priorities,” said Frank “Skip” Bartol, associate dean of the College of Medicine. Research and Graduate Veterinarian and DCSITE Program Project Investigator.

“It will foster technological innovation, enhance responsiveness to emerging threats, create formal educational programs, and provide a centralized center of expertise and knowledge in the field of canine detection.”

Auburn’s newly created transdisciplinary program in Detection Canine Science, Innovation, Technology and Education (DCSITE) will serve as Homeland Security’s primary academic resource for expertise in all areas of detection canine science. (contributed)

Dogs have proven to be an important counter-terrorism tool in preventing and responding to threats to national security. Detector dogs are widely deployed for advanced real-time threat detection to deter acts of terrorism against infrastructure, military, political and civilian targets.

“No other detection option currently available can locate and track small-quantity odors in real-time, providing law enforcement with critical threat intelligence and enabling the immediate deployment of countermeasures to reduce the risk of successful attacks,” Bartol said.

Responding to calls for a large-scale cooperative government and academic effort to advance detection canine science, Auburn University created DCSITE to define and deploy science-based, science-driven standards of practice. , according to Calvin Johnson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“DCSITE will leverage the nearly 30 years of research expertise of the Canine Performance Sciences program, which is an internationally recognized leader in canine detection research, breeding, development and technology innovation,” Johnson said.

Ultimately, the program will integrate scientific best practices in analytical chemistry, genetics, genomics, reproduction, veterinary and sports medicine, olfactory neuroscience, behavior and cognition, metrology and engineering to advance canine detection sciences.

Anchored at the Auburn Veterinary College, the effort represents a collaborative effort involving subject matter experts from multiple colleges and allied educational and technical support units. Capacities will be further exploited through targeted external partnerships involving experts from other academic institutions, national laboratories and private research and development companies.

DCSITE will also foster interdepartmental, interagency, and multi-agency collaboration to drive the development of scientifically validated procedures, training, and canine mobile detection technologies with broad applications to the homeland security mission.

More information about the DCSITE program is available at

This story originally appeared on the Auburn University website.

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