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Robert P. Burns

Executive Director, Innovation & Collaboration Science & Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Robert “Bob” P. Burns assumed his current role as the Executive Director of Innovation and Collaboration (I&C) in June 2019 after serving as the Principal Director of I&C since October 2018.  I&C is located within the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and provides DHS Components and the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) with access to cutting-edge technology and high-impact solutions through partnerships.  I&C also provides organic scientific and engineering support through the Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, Industry Partnerships, International Partnerships, Office of National Laboratories, and University Programs.   

Mr. Burns was previously the Deputy Director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) from January 2015 to September 2018.  He led nearly $1 billon in ongoing research and development programs that provide scientific and technical solutions to resolve the challenges of DHS operational components and first responders. Prior to this role, he established and served as the Director of the Apex Technology Engines, a suite of specialized in-house S&T enduring capabilities including modeling and simulation, data analytics, and biometric technologies. 

From February 2013 until December 2014 Mr. Burns served as the Director for the Apex AEER (Air Entry/Exit Re-Engineering) Project, which supported U.S. Customs and Border Protection to enhance both air entry and exit processes by developing recommended approaches and implementing technologies for use in existing airport inspecting and examination operations for travelers entering the U.S.  Additional roles with HSARPA include Project Manager for the Apex Science and Technology Operational Research and Enhancement project, and Program Manager for the Future Attributes Screening Technology Mobile Module program designed to develop innovative, non-invasive technologies to screen people at special events, transportation checkpoints, and other secure areas. 

Prior to transitioning to S&T as a Federal employee in January 2007, Mr. Burns spent over 18 years with American Systems Corporation, ending his tenure as the Director of the Weapons and Combat Systems Directorate. In this role, he managed a portfolio of multi-million dollar programs focused on weapons research and development for several government organizations including the Department of Defense.

Mr. Burns received a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering and Military Sciences from the U.S Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy for 5 years.