• Engage and support multidisciplinary, problem-oriented research that is useful both to civilian and military users.

  • Have a research program driven by a deep understanding of vulnerabilities. This will likely require access to classified information, even though most of the research will be unclassified.

  • Support a substantial effort in research areas with a long time horizon for payoff. Historically, such investigations have been housed most often in academia, which can conduct research with fewer bottom-line-driven pressures for immediate delivery. This is not to say that private industry has no role. Indeed, because the involvement of industry is critical for deployment, and also is likely to be essential for developing prototypes and mounting field demonstrations, support of both academia and industry (perhaps even jointly) in developmental efforts is highly appropriate.

  • Provide support extending for time scales that are long enough to make meaningful progress on hard problems (perhaps 5-year project durations) and in sufficient amounts that reasonably realistic operating environments for the technology could be constructed (perhaps $2 million to $5 million per year per site for system-oriented research programs).

  • Invest some small fraction of its budget on thinking “outside the box” in consideration (and possible creation) of alternative futures.

  • Be more tolerant of research directions that appear not to promise immediate applicability. Research programs, especially in IT, are often—even generally—more “messy” than research managers would like. The desire to terminate unproductive lines of inquiry is understandable, and sometimes entirely necessary, in a constrained budget environment. On the other hand, it is frequently very hard to distinguish between (A) a line of inquiry that will never be productive and (B) one that may take some time and determined effort to be productive. While an intellectually robust research program must be expected to go down some blind alleys occasionally, the current political environment punishes such blind alleys as being of Type A, with little apparent regard for the possibility that they might be Type B.

  • Be overseen by a board or other entity with sufficient stature to attract top talent, provide useful feedback, and be an effective sounding board for that talent.

  • Pay attention to the human resources needed to sustain the counterterrorism information technology research agenda. This need is especially apparent in the fields of information and network security and emergency communications. Only a very small fraction of the nation’s graduating doctoral students in information technology specialize in either of these fields, only a very few professors conduct research in these areas, and only a very few universities support research programs in these fields.

One additional attribute of this R&D infrastructure would be desirable,

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement