Border and Port Security

Seaports and inland waterways play a vital role in the economy of Texas. With eleven deepwater seaports and more than 1,000 miles of inland waterways, these international gateways account for more than 17 percent of Texas’ gross state product, making it one of the country’s largest maritime states. The Texas Marine Transportation System is just one component of the national system comprising 1,000 harbor channels; 25,000 miles of inland, intracoastal, and coastal waterways; and 3,700 terminals that handle passenger and cargo movements. The Texas A&M University System has demonstrated dedication to helping the nation maintain border and port security through research, development, training, and testing. Border and port security faculty expertise and research focus areas include:

  • Anomaly, intrusion, hidden signal, and suspicious object detection
  • Aerial and underwater autonomous vehicles
  • Biometric and pathogen bacterial identification
  • Cargo screening and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) detection
  • Design, performance evaluation and testing of all types of barriers including waterfront barriers
  • Electric power attack detection
  • Monitoring and surveillance, including using non-cooperative signals and blind classification
  • Physical security design and testing of facilities from vehicular threats
  • Vulnerability assessment of railways and ports and other critical infrastructure
  • Virtual enforcement of border crossing points
  • Rescue robotics
  • Remote sensing

Through research and development, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute has improved the effectiveness and efficiency of transportation systems to help preserve this vital economic component. The Institute has been instrumental in improving mobility, safety, and economic competitiveness throughout Texas and the nation. TTI’s facilities and centers have a proven track record of research, technology transfer, and implementation, which is a valuable resource for the maritime industry. These facilities and centers include:

Proving Grounds Research Facility

  • Develops border security technologies
  • Tracks hazardous materials
  • Evaluates highway-safety devices such as crash cushions, guardrails, breakaway signs and barrier systems
  • Evaluates perimeter-security devices which are developed to prevent or control vehicles entering or exiting sensitive sites
  • Tests homeland-security anti-terrorist, anti-ram structures to prevent vehicle-borne terrorist threats

Center for International Intelligent Transportation Research

  • Improves border-crossing efficiency while maintaining security
  • Provides for safer movement of hazardous materials
  • Improves border security through tracking of goods movement
  • Integrates road network models along the border with Mexico
  • Assesses security screening for trucks

Center for Ports and Waterways

  • Improves the productivity and efficiency of ports and waterways
  • Augments maritime and marine industry efforts to become more competitive internationally
  • Tests new technologies and supports implementation
  • Provides educational opportunities for marine transportation professionals

Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is an internationally recognized leader in the delivery of emergency response, homeland security and workforce training, exercises, technical assistance, and economic development. TEEX operates a comprehensive emergency preparedness and infrastructure training campus and offers on-site, customized training and services to businesses, industries, and public agencies across the globe. Home to the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center, TEEX also sponsors the elite Texas Task Force 1 urban search and rescue team.

Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX)

  • National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center
    •  Founding member and initial chair of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium addressing counter-terrorism preparedness needs of the nation’s emergency first responders
    • State administrator for DHS Strategy Development Program
    • Nationally renowned Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)/Terrorism Responder Training Program
    • Conducts training for the Texas Foreign Animal Disease Incident Exercise Program
  • Disaster City®, a comprehensive 52-acre facility simulating various levels of disaster and structural collapse and training first responders on technical skills and techniques
  • Home to Texas Task Force 1, the most active FEMA search and rescue team in the country

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) research collaborations have made significant impacts on the health, safety and quality of life of Texas citizens and have contributed to the state’s economic growth and development. TEES researchers conduct relevant research and provide practical answers to critical state and national needs. TEES centers and institutes bring together faculty, laboratories, and other partners to provide research, education, and support in many areas with benefits from strong industry support. These centers and institutes include:

Offshore Technology Research Center (OTRC)

  • National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center jointly operated by The University of Texas at Austin
  • Fluid-structure interaction research including experimental measurement of extreme waves, coupled dynamics of floating structures, and scale model testing in wave basins
  • Soil-structure interaction research including plasticity, coupled fluid dynamics, and finite element modeling and scale model testing
  • Metocean and seafloor characterization including high resolution seafloor mapping, nonlinear modeling of storm waves, GIS databases, and assessment of environmental risks
  • Mechanics of materials modeling of composite pipes and intact and damaged polyester rope
  • Risk and reliability assessment and management, including comparative risk assessment of new technologies and environmental risks

Nuclear Security Science and Policy Initiatives (NSSPI)

  • An international security organization specializing in nuclear security research and education, serves as a resource to reduce nuclear threats
  • Conducts research and development to help detect, prevent, and reverse nuclear and radiological proliferation and guard against nuclear terrorism
  • Developing next-generation radiation detectors at U.S. borders and ports to help inspectors find and recover nuclear materials being smuggled into the country
  • Analyzes the interrelationships between policy and technology in the field of nuclear security