Each year, Homeland Security Today honors shining stars in the community who are making their own unique, invaluable contributions to advance the mission of keeping America safer from myriad threats. Their strong commitment to mission touches every part of their work, from day-to-day operations to special projects and work in the community. This year, with the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic affecting every facet of homeland security, testing our preparedness and response, and devastating our communities, we singled out Mission Award winners whose work has focused on COVID-19 response.

As Program Manager for Air Cargo since 2017, Kumar Babu has consistently gone above and beyond what others may call a job description in his efforts to improve the protection of the homeland. In every role that Babu has undertaken, his can-do mentality established him as a leader and resource – within DHS, TSA and the federal government at large.

In his current role he manages a multitude of R&D projects focusing on advancing air cargo screening and image enhancement technology, all the while providing near-term cost-effective solutions for improvement and deployment. In previous roles, he led the development and prototyping of advanced X-ray screening and image processing to provide cost-effective and commerce-speed screening. One such effort, the Multi-View CT pallet scanner, provides performance at a level never previously achieved.

Babu’s 30-plus years of experience in the private sector have equipped him with an exceptional understanding of and rapport with industry officials. His wealth of experience and industry knowledge make him an informed and flexible project manager who brings his A-game to every service. Babu is truly an unsung hero whose immense and enduring contribution to U.S. homeland security through his professional work and leadership is well-deserving of this recognition.