Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Brings Science, Technology Solutions to Homeland Security

Almost two decades ago, the September 11th terrorist attacks spurred Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to bring its broad science and engineering capabilities to protect the homeland, with a special emphasis on developing and deploying technologies to protect airline passengers. Today, PNNL plays a critical role in nearly every layer of the country’s national security.

“PNNL is committed to supporting the missions of our sponsors who protect our country and our allies. As we reflect on 9/11, I’m reminded of the ongoing threats to our nation and the importance of identifying science-based solutions to address current and future challenges,” said PNNL Associate Laboratory Director for National Security Deb Gracio.

“We continue to work strategically with our homeland security partners to identify impactful solutions to the emerging problems they face,” said Ryan Eddy, PNNL’s director of homeland security programs.

From award-winning vapor detection technology sniffing out explosives and illicit substances, to an array of research addressing the global pandemic, to exploring how 5G can transform cybersecurity, grid protection, and first responder technology, PNNL’s homeland security contributions are helping strengthen the nation’s defense.

While PNNL’s mission to keep the nation secure at home and abroad remains the same, the threat has evolved, and so has its science and technology solutions.

“Nineteen years ago we faced a certain threat and that has evolved over the years, but what stayed constant was our ability to meet the emerging needs with a variety of science and technology capabilities from a multipurpose national laboratory,” Eddy said.

It is not only PNNL technology on the front lines-it is also its partnerships. PNNL operates the Northwest Regional Technology Center, a virtual resource to support local and regional preparedness, resiliency, response, and recovery. Through the center, PNNL connects with regional emergency management and public safety partners to define and prioritize technology needs to address new or evolving threats.

“These partnerships help us build informed, functional solutions that help fit the emerging needs of first responders and others on the front lines of protecting our nation,” Eddy said.

To learn more about PNNL national security research and technology, visit


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