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April 8, 2019

Johns Hopkins APL and Northeastern University Join Forces to Conduct Resilience and Security Studies

collaborative research into resilience and security issues

View of southern U.S. states and cities at night, taken from the International Space Station.

Credit: NASA/Mark Vande Hei

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, has signed an agreement with the Northeastern University-based Global Resilience Institute to advance collaborative research into resilience and security issues.

The GRI was created in 2016 to advance resilience-related initiatives that contribute to the security, sustainability, health and well-being of societies. Over the last two years, the new institute has provided seed grants for projects ranging from leveraging machine intelligence and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles to document damage to critical infrastructures after extreme events, to developing a flood hazard assessment system that integrates high-fidelity computer models with field observations.

In 2013, President Barack Obama issued a directive establishing a national policy on critical infrastructure security and resilience. In it, he defined resilience as “the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions. Resilience includes the ability to withstand and recover from deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring threats or incidents.”

“Consistent with this general definition, in one way or another, ‘resilience’ plays into most everything APL does,” said Fred Rosa Jr., a retired Coast Guard rear admiral and the Laboratory’s senior advisor for homeland security. “Our cyber work is just one example. When we support government and private sector entities in protecting their cyber infrastructure, the fundamental measure of success is the extent to which such infrastructure is able to prevent cyberattacks, continue functioning during any successful attacks and then return to full operating capability quickly after such attacks.”

Other examples include “Resilience for Grid Security Emergencies: Opportunities for Industry–Government Collaboration,” a report written by APL Senior Fellow Paul Stockton examining the resilience of the nation’s electric grid; and APL’s ongoing work on the resilience of maritime ports disrupted by a major storm, a pandemic, a large-scale terrorist attack or some other catastrophic event.

The collaborative research and development efforts contemplated by APL and GRI will support ongoing implementation of the current National Security Strategy issued by the White House in December 2017. “Promoting American resilience in the face of deliberate attacks, accidents and natural disasters is a major theme of the strategy, which calls for a comprehensive risk-based commitment by both the public and private sectors in this regard,” Rosa noted.

As part of its new partnership agreement with GRI, APL will also join its recently founded Global Resilience Research Network (GRRN), an international network of leading universities, institutes, nonprofit organizations and companies engaged in resilience research that informs the development of novel tools and applications.

Media contact: Paulette Campbell, 240-228-6792, Paulette.Campbell@jhuapl.edu

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.