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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Nine universities team up on border issues;

TUCSON - New Mexico State University and eight other research universities in Southwest border states today announced the formation of the Southwest Border Security Consortium, an alliance that will develop and promote scientific and policy solutions to issues affecting the U.S.-Mexico border region.

In addition to NMSU, SBSC member institutions are Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, New Mexico Tech, the University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, Texas A&M Engineering, the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

"As state universities located in these four border states, we have a deep-rooted commitment to the safety and prosperity of our region," said Robert Silver, senior strategic director at New Mexico State University's Physical Science Laboratory. "This strategic collaboration will enable us to use our collective resources in an integrated, seamless approach to research and development, testing and evaluation, and training. We also will be able to interface with Mexican stakeholders on border issues."

Elyse Golob, director of the University of Arizona's Office of Economic and Policy Analysis, said the SBSC "is a collaboration of universities with unique expertise and a broad range of assets that can be leveraged to address the challenges facing the public and private sectors on both sides of our border.

She said the consortium expects to become "a national asset in security research, education and training."

The announcement was made at ComDef Tucson 2006, an international conference in Tucson on technologies for border security, defense and commerce.

Capabilities of the SBSC institutions span a broad range of areas relevant to border and homeland security issues, including:

* Agricultural and supply-chain security.
* Behavioral and social aspects of terrorism and counterterrorism.
* Bioscience, biotechnology and public health.
* Critical infrastructure and natural resources protection.
* Cyber and information security.
* Detection and surveillance.
* Educational outreach, training and technical assistance.
* Emergency management and response.
* Energetic materials research and testing.
* Intelligent transportation design and traffic surveillance.
* Legal infrastructures.
* Multimodal transportation security.
* Regional and cultural issues.
* Transborder economic, legal, political, policy and trade issues.

Bob Welty, director of homeland security projects for the San Diego State University Research Foundation, said this array of capabilities will allow the SBSC to take a leadership role in providing solutions to border security issues at the local, state, regional and national levels.

"Through this consortium, the expertise of these nine research universities can be focused on providing quick-response analysis and solutions to technical and policy challenges," he said.

Lawson Magruder, executive director of the Institute for the Protection of American Communities at UTSA, said the SBSC will offer a comprehensive, multi-institutional set of capabilities to relevant agencies such as the U.S. departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Energy and Transportation.

"The issues are complex and by no means limited to security concerns," he said. "Maintaining a free flow of commerce, sustaining our natural resources, addressing the unique health and educational needs of our border region - these are concerns on both sides of the international boundary."

The SBSC also will serve as a national clearinghouse for information on border security issues and conduct seminars, workshops and conferences.

Nov. 13, 2006
Karl Hill