Homeland Security Delegation Visits Asia for Emerging Tech Ideas

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An agency group is going abroad for ideas about 5G, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cybersecurity.

A delegation from the Homeland Security Department and various component agencies will meet with companies and government organizations from South Korea and Japan this week for ideas around various emerging technologies, Nextgov has learned.

The purpose of the visit is to “learn about 5G, the next generation wireless network, internet of things, cybersecurity and machine learning,” Homeland Security Chief Information Officer John Zangardi told Nextgov in a statement Tuesday.

The delegation includes Zangardi and other senior officials from Homeland Security headquarters, as well as officials from component agencies, which include Customs and Border Protection, the Secret Service, Citizen and Immigration Services, Transportation Security Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

The delegation’s itinerary includes stops at the U.S. Embassy in South Korea and various Japanese government agencies, including the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cyber Security.” Homeland Security officials have also scheduled visits to Samsung, Hitachi, Docomo, Honda Robotics and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Data.

“The objective is to learn about how these various companies and organizations are moving forward,” Zangardi said.

In total, Homeland Security spends more than $6 billion annually on information technology, but in its latest budget request asked for approximately $1 billion to spend developing new technologies. Traditionally, DHS has spent more than 85 percent of its IT budget on operating and maintaining traditional legacy systems.

Tech envoys are not uncommon, especially as cabinet leaders and federal officials grapple with how to handle and implement rapidly evolving technologies. Last year, for example, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other defense officials visited the headquarters of Google and Amazon—a trip that preceded a major Defense cloud procurement.

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