Skip to Main Content

Vision & Mission

We strive to ensure the existence of safe, secure public spaces by creating functional and adaptable solutions to detect and mitigate targeted violence. The cornerstone of this vision is the Virtual Sentry Framework. The SENTRY mission is two-fold: to conduct stakeholder-informed research to better secure soft targets and crowded places; and to educate the current and future homeland security workforce in this space.

A Multi-Institution Center of Excellence

Established in 2021 and led by Northeastern University, SENTRY (Soft Target Engineering to Neutralize the Threat Reality) is a multi-institution Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence. SENTRY combines the strengths of three emeritus Centers of Excellence: ALERT, led by Northeastern, brings a strong track record of threat anomaly detection using advanced sensor technologies and signature analysis algorithms; CCICADA, led by Rutgers, has pioneered the development of data-informed command, control, and interoperability systems; and CREATE, led by the University of Southern California, has developed optimal methods of assessing risks due to unanticipated attacks on soft target venues.

SENTRY by the Numbers

  • 3

    Emeritus COEs' Combined Knowledge

  • 11

    University Partners

  • 11

    Industry Members

  • 14

    Security Practitioners

Virtual Sentry Framework

Enabling Actionable Situational Awareness

SENTRY envisions the Virtual Sentry Framework as real-time decision support systems enabling actionable situational awareness leading to more effective threat assessment, preparedness, mitigation, and response for soft targets and crowded places. Our framework strives to lessen the security response burden on venue personnel and to provide essential security information in a specific, timely, and effective way. The Virtual Sentry Framework will require many critical components functioning in tandem to create a successful system. Utilizing existing resources and sourcing data from venues defined as soft targets and crowded places will help us in our endeavor to provide rapid threat detection and evidence-based recommendations on the best response for mitigating negative outcomes.

Venue Specific Virtual Decision Support System

Systems that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to process data and deliver timely and useful identification of potential threats to security decision-makers.

Secure and Instantaneous Communication

Built with channels to alert people, security, and law enforcement to reduce the time for first responders to arrive and to coordinate a controlled, effective response.

Acquisition and Integration of Data From Multiple Sources

The capability to integrate diverse security data, including screening systems, novel sensors, and location-based data, allows security teams to leverage information in a more powerful way.

Development and Implementation of Architectural Design Methods

Creating design methods that enhance passive security features and enable augmentation with active surveillance and mitigation capabilities to protect and sustain a thriving public realm.

Use of Open Architectures and Standardized Data Formats

Accessible codebases and standardized data formats facilitate integration with third-party algorithms and allow for venue-specific customization.

Adaptable to Emerging Threats

Building a flexible system to assure it will be agile in facing changing threats, attacks, and variations in venues.