Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Aviation Security Explosives Detection Workshop

This classified workshop will be held at the SECRET/NSI level and open to all LLNL employees with an L or Q clearance.

A special topic workshop jointly sponsored by CASIS and the Nondestructive Characterization Institute (NCI)

February 23, 2017
Building 132 Auditorium
Workshop begins at 8:30 am

Workshop Objective

Determine if LLNL has new ideas to overcome current limitations of systems to detect explosives in luggage.

Workshop Goals

Detecting explosives in luggage is a topic of keen interest to the US Government. CASIS and NCI are sponsoring this event to:

  • Describe the explosive detection requirementss for luggage.
  • Describe the currently deployed approaches to solving this problem: what works, how well it works, issues/problems and what has been tried but doesn’t or didn’t work
  • Describe some emerging technologies
  • Gather new ideas from around the Lab on how to solve this problem

Workshop Rules

Our intent is to have a workshop, not a conference. We will:

  • Include discussion of problems that need to be solved.
  • Conversation and questions are expected at all times.
  • Please do not dominate the conversation, let others have their say.
  • The workshop will be held at the SECRET//NSI level and will be open to all LLNL badge holders with an L or Q clearance.
  • Slides should be Unclassified OUO and/or SSI (Sensitive Security Information) level max.

Tentative Agenda

    8:30 AM Introduction—Harry Martz, LLNL

    • Workshop Objectives/Goals/Rules
    • Relationship to DHS Center of Excellence at NEU ALERT

    9:00 AM Background and HME Program—Elizabeth Obregon, Program Manager, Explosives Division, DHS

    9:30 AM Explosive Threat Requirements—Harry Martz, LLNL

    10:00 AM Break

    10:30 AM Discussions—moderated by Harry Martz LLNL

    10:45 AM Discussions—Current Deployed Technologies: X-ray Radiography and Computed Tomography—Carl Crawford, DHS consultant

    12:30 PM Lunch

    2:00 PM Discussions—Emerging Technologies—David Castañón, Boston University

    3:30 PM Break

    4:00 PM Paths Forward or time for others to present their ideas (one VG max)

    5:00 PM Adjourn

For more information on this workshop, please contact Randy Roberts ( or Harry Martz (

Speaker Biographies

Elizabeth Obregon

Ms. Obregon is the Program Manager of the Homemade Explosives (HME) Program of the Explosives Division (EXD) of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) within the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since May, 2014. She is responsible for overseeing and managing strategic and programmatic research and development efforts to advance and deploy technologies and capabilities associated with the detection and characterization of conventional and homemade explosives, and improvised explosive devices. Ms. Obregon has 15 years of explosives experience.

Prior to her current role, Ms. Obregon worked at the Counterterrorism Technical Support Office/Technical Support Working Group (CTTSO/TSWG) where she supported TSWG’s Physical Security’s HME Program from January 2008 to May 2014. Prior to working for CTTSO Ms. Obregon worked at the Naval Surface Warfare Center RDTE Department in Indian Head, Maryland starting in 2002, where she carried out explosives testing including various projects related to explosive cook-off experiments. Ms. Obregon is the author of numerous technical papers on explosives and shear initiation. She has a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from Rutgers University.

Dr. Carl Crawford

Dr. Crawford is president of Csuptwo, LLC, a technology development and consulting company in the fields of medical imaging and explosive detection for Homeland Security. He has been a technical innovator in the fields of computerized imaging for more than thirty years. His technology has resulted in 90 U.S. Patents. Dr. Crawford was the Technical Vice President of Corporate Imaging Systems at Analogic Corporation, Peabody, Massachusetts, where he led the application of signal and image processing techniques for medical and security scanners. He developed the reconstruction and explosive detection algorithms for a computerized tomographic (CT) scanner deployed in airports worldwide. He also has developed technology for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), single photon emission tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), ultrasound imaging, dual energy imaging and automated threat detection algorithms. Dr. Crawford has a PHD in electrical engineering from Purdue University. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

Dr. David A. Castañón

Dr. David A. Castañón is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University in 1971, and his Ph.D. degree in Applied Mathematics from MIT in 1976. He was Chief Scientist at Alphatech, Inc. in Burlington, MA until 1990, when he joined Boston University. He served as chair of the ECE Department at Boston University, and co-director of Boston University’s Center for Information and Systems Engineering. He is an Associate Director of the ALERT DHS Center of Excellence in Explosives Detection. He has served as President of the IEEE Control Systems Society, and also served on Air Force’s Scientific Advisory Board. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Member Award of the IEEE Control Systems Society (2006), and has held several leadership positions in the international IEEE organization. His research interests include stochastic control, estimation, optimization, inverse problems and image understanding.

Harry E. Martz, Jr.

Harry Martz is the Director for Non-destructive Characterization Institute and a distinguished member of the technical staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Harry and colleagues recently published a book on X-ray Imaging: Fundamentals, Industrial Techniques and Applications. He is also Principal Investigator (PI) on Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology, Explosive Division Projects and PI for Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Nuclear and Radiological Imaging Platform and Passive And X-ray Imaging Scanning projects. He has also served on several National Academy of Sciences Committees on Aviation Security and was the Chair of the Committee on Airport Passenger Screening: Backscatter X-Ray Machines. Harry has been co-chair of the Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats, Advanced Development for Security Applications Workshops. Harry joined the Laboratory in 1986 as a Physicist to develop the area of X-ray imaging and proton energy loss computed tomography for the non-destructive inspection of materials, components, and assemblies. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics/Inorganic Chemistry from Florida State University, and his B.S. in Chemistry from Siena Collage.