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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism 1 Introduction CONTEXT OF THE STUDY On September 11, 2001, a complex but ubiquitous technological system—air transport—was transformed into a guided weapon. The targets were elements of the nation’s physical infrastructure and icons of the United States: the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, ordinarily an institution of security and public order. In the anthrax attacks later that month, it was the mail-transport system rather than the air-transport system that provided the means of destruction. In this case, the weapon was a biological agent and the target was the health of various individuals and the well-being and sense of security of the U.S. population as a whole. The perpetrator of the September 11 attacks was not a nation-state but an organization not formally affiliated with any particular country and whose members were mostly non-Americans. The perpetrators of the anthrax attack are unknown at this time, but it is entirely conceivable that a single individual, perhaps an American, was behind it. One can see in these events two trends, both of them made possible in part by science and technology, that will make terrorism a major threat to 21st-century civilization and an enduring challenge to human ingenuity. First there is the interconnected, highly technological nature of modern civilization’s basic systems. Market forces and a tradition of openness have combined to maximize the efficiency of many of our vital systems—such as those that provide transportation, information technology, energy, and health care. However, economic systems, like ecological systems, tend to become less resilient (more prone to failure when strongly perturbed) as they become more efficient, so our infrastructures are vulnerable to local disruptions, which could
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism lead to widespread or catastrophic failures. In addition the high level of interconnectedness of these systems means that the abuse, destruction, or interruption of any one of them quickly affects the others. As a result the whole society is vulnerable, with the welfare and even lives of significant portions of the population placed at risk. Second, as technology advances, the means of mass destruction are falling into the hands of smaller and smaller entities. In the war against terrorism, the enemy may be living among us and is largely unknown, or at least unidentifiable. Today that enemy includes international terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda, operating from overseas bases and supported or protected—and possibly assisted—by a variety of states and independent sources.1 It also includes home-grown fanatics. These two trends affect all societies and their increasing vulnerability to terrorism, but the United States has a particular need for protection because its military preeminence makes terrorism virtually the only method by which those who wish to take violent action against it can do so. Moreover, U.S. vulnerability is exacerbated by some of the features that its people most treasure—freedom, personal initiative, openness, mobility—and that technology has helped make possible. Catastrophic Terrorism Terrorism—commonly defined as attack on the innocent, outside the context of organized armed conflict, with the objective of spreading fear and intimidation—has always been a danger to society. But what is new and especially troubling about the above two trends is their potential to combine, giving rise to the fearsome risk that the welfare of the many may be held hostage by the few—what this report calls “catastrophic terrorism.” While science and technology can be used to combat all forms of terrorism, this report focuses on catastrophic terrorism. It is not possible to quantify catastrophic terrorism or to precisely distinguish it from “ordinary” terrorism;2 this 1 Gerald Holton, in a presentation in 1976, identified an emerging combination threat from what he called type III terrorism: nonstate groups of terrorists operating transnationally (type I terrorists) with the financial, logistic, and technical help of failed states (type II terrorists). For this reason it must not be assumed that terrorists will be unable to avail themselves of technologies that require a government level of investment for their development and acquisition (“Reflections on Modern Terrorism,” in Edge, available online at <http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/holton/holton_print.html>, and based on a presentation at the Conference on Terrorism (1976) and a publication in Terrorism: An International Journal in 1978.) 2 Terrorism in general is difficult to define. According to the State Department’s annual publication Patterns of Global Terrorism, “No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance.” The State Department uses the definition contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d): “The term terrorism means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism study generally focuses on terrorist incidents that involve serious consequences measured by both “hard” and “soft” variables. Hard variables quantify large numbers of injuries and deaths and extensive and costly damage to property; soft variables may include widespread disruption of society’s key functions, loss of public confidence in government’s ability to provide protection against assault, pervasive injury to the population’s way of life and overall peace of mind, and erosion of the economic health of the nation. The anthrax attacks present a vivid illustration of soft variables. While the number of casualties was modest, the emotional, psychological, and economic impacts were enormous. Hard variables, of course, would have made the situation far worse (imagine if the killers had instead chosen to attack with an agent that causes a deadly contagious disease like smallpox). Nonetheless, the cumulative effect on the nation of a systematic series of small but repeated attacks can be significant. In addition to assessing the consequences of a particular act of terrorism, we must of course also take into account its likelihood; the product of likelihood times severity of consequence helps us determine how much cost and disruption society should accept in the effort to combat it. One indicator of likelihood is the ease with which the act may be accomplished. Does it require many terrorists working together, or will just one person suffice? Does it involve the complicity of an insider—a nuclear reactor operator, say, or a computer network administrator—who is part of the conspiracy? Does the scale of the effort entail a large expenditure of funds, complex organization, or sophisticated technology that only a nation-state or an established terrorist network could assemble? Or is it simple enough that someone could undertake it in his or her garage? Phases of Response In responding to the threat of terrorism, the United States needs a multifaceted approach. This includes the following capabilities, organized according to a time line that extends from before a hypothetical terrorist incident to its aftermath: Intelligence and surveillance involve the observation of persons, groups, and motives—a delicate matter—as well as of potential means of destruction, such as nuclear materials, toxic chemicals, and biological agents. noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.” From p. xvi of Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, released May 21, 2002, and available online at <http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/10319.pdf>. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.”
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism Prevention involves disrupting the terrorists’ networks and keeping the means of mass destruction out of the hands of would-be terrorists, as in safeguarding fissile materials or foiling plans for the hijacking of airliners. Protection is needed should detection and prevention fail. In military parlance, protection means hardening the target so that destruction or disruption becomes more difficult for the terrorist. Examples include technological design and procedures for making borders, buildings, airplanes, and critical infrastructures more difficult to breach, disrupt, or destroy. Protection might also mean the use of vaccination and other public health measures to make people more resistant to disease. Interdiction, or crisis management, seeks to detect an imminent attack and prevent its occurrence either by disrupting and destroying potential perpetrators of catastrophic terrorism and their base of support before they can mount an attack, as in the current campaign against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, or, when an attack is imminent, by identifying the attackers, preventing their access to the target, or frustrating the attack itself by technical means. Response and recovery, also called “consequence management,” means containing and limiting the level of damage and the number of casualties by organizing emergency responses and public health measures and restoring critical functions in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Attribution refers to the ability to identify the perpetrators of an act (by typing an anthrax culture, for example, or performing radiochemical analysis of nuclear bomb debris) and is key to the choice of responses, such as retaliation or prosecution. In addition, all of these phases benefit from analysis and invention, which involve systematic learning from incidents that do occur, studying terrorist tactics and devising countermeasures through “red team/blue team” exercises,3 understanding motivations and factors that influence deterrence, and developing systematic plans for ongoing operations, future investments, and scientific and technological innovations. 3 Red teaming and blue teaming are an approach to defining the weaknesses of a system and devising ways to mitigate the resulting vulnerabilities: “The red team tries to devise attack tactics, and the blue team tries to design countermeasures. When the United States developed the first stealth aircraft, for example, the Air Force created a red team to try to detect and shoot them down. When the red team identified a weakness in the stealth design, the blue team was charged to fix it, systematically balancing risk of detection against the cost and inconvenience of countermeasures” (Ashton B. Carter, “The Architecture of Government in the Face of Terrorism,” International Security, Vol. 26, No. 2, Winter 2001-2002, p. 17).
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism Science and Technology for Defending the Nation While the advance of science and technology is one reason why terrorism has the potential to be catastrophic in the 21st century, science and technology are also critical tools for guarding the United States against that threat. Beyond its inherent strengths of immense size and wealth, high level of education, and political cohesion and values, another great comparative advantage of this nation is its scientific and technological prowess. The highly developed, diverse, and productive U.S. science-and-technology enterprise has proved its ability to serve the needs of the nation in a variety of ways: It supplied key military technology for conventional wars and the long Cold War, produced enormous improvements in the health and prosperity of its people, and addressed pressing societal needs such as protection of the environment. Historically, the science and engineering communities have enthusiastically contributed to these national goals, and the same level of energy and commitment will surely be devoted to meeting the vast array of challenges raised by terrorism. Experts from many fields, including physical, biological, and mathematical sciences, engineering, and the social and behavioral sciences, stand ready to create new knowledge that, in turn, creates new capabilities. Scientists and engineers can put a powerful set of counterterrorism tools at our disposal. But whether, when, where, and how we use these tools will be far from obvious and will require careful thought and analysis. Technologies that protect us may well impose economic, social, and cultural costs that we might not be willing to bear. Sensors, monitors, and intelligence gathering may be intrusive in ways that clash with our values of individual rights and privacy. Protective technologies may be incompatible with the freedom of movement and open access to information that we cherish. In addition, the protection afforded by technology can be overestimated. For these reasons, a careful and realistic evaluation of the performance characteristics of any technology, coupled with systems and risk analyses to determine our level of need for it, is recommended throughout this report. Science and technology are but one element in a broad array of potential approaches to reducing the threat of terrorism. Diplomacy, international relations, military actions, intelligence gathering, and other instruments of national policy all have critical roles to play. In fact, advanced technologies have long been key to the preeminence of the United States in military affairs. Today, the United States continues to rely on the products of science and engineering—precision munitions, stealth aircraft, and spy satellites, for example—to compensate for an opponent’s superior number of soldiers, favorable geographic access to the battlefield, or greater willingness to accept casualties and impose sacrifices on the citizenry. These military applications of science and technology will play an important role in our nation’s counterterrorism effort, as can be seen in the ongoing U.S. actions in Afghanistan. However, these applications are being
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism treated by many other groups, and this report is focused on threats to homeland security, for which a new suite of tools and capabilities will be needed. In the effort to counter catastrophic terrorism, as in traditional military affairs, science and technology can provide the United States with a critical edge against enemies willing to resort to tactics that our society condemns. The goal would be to create and deploy technical means to reduce the nation’s vulnerability while minimizing the kinds of adverse social, political, or psychological responses that would make it a less desirable place in which to live, thereby handing terrorists the ultimate victory. Neither military actions abroad nor the most rigorous homeland defenses can reduce the threat of catastrophic terrorism to zero. But technologies, both those available and those created through new research, can reduce the likelihood of terrorism and the severity of its consequences. Describing how this might be done is the objective of this report. CONTENT AND STRUCTURE OF THIS REPORT The purpose of this report is to outline how a response to the threat of catastrophic terrorism that draws on the nation’s scientific and technological resources can make the nation safer. The committee emphasizes the following points: It is inherently impossible to defend our nation against all conceivable terrorist threats. Our society is far too complex, too open, and too dependent on interconnected infrastructure and advanced technologies for such a goal to be feasible. Our best long-term strategies for reducing the threats may be diplomatic, military, and economic, but in the short term we must make every effort to protect ourselves as best we can. Some already-available technologies can be deployed now, and they could significantly reduce current vulnerabilities. Science and engineering also hold the potential for future inventions and discoveries that could reduce these vulnerabilities further and for addressing yet-to-be-discovered vulnerabilities. Often, these new solutions will require innovative multidisciplinary research and development programs, and many could come from basic research in areas far removed from the problems themselves. Each element of our science and engineering community—government, universities, industry, not-for-profit laboratories and organizations, and other institutions—has important contributions to make in countering terrorism. The primary focus of the report is the scientific and technological means by which we can reduce the vulnerabilities of our society to terrorist attacks and mitigate the consequences of those attacks when they occur.
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism Systems and Technologies as Means of Attack, Targets, and Means of Response Key elements or infrastructures of our society can serve as means of attack, targets, and means of response. Means of attack include weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons). Targets include key systems such as transportation systems and the electric-power grid. Means of response include critical technologies for responding to attacks, such as telecommunication systems for coordinating the actions of emergency personnel and the public health system for treatment of victims. While some systems and technologies can be classified roughly in one or another of these categories (i.e., nuclear weapons are primarily means of attack and energy systems are primarily targets), most systems and technologies fall into multiple categories. For example, air transportation is both a target and a means of attack. This report looks at a collection of systems and infrastructures and in each area focuses on identifying solutions—specific ways of reducing vulnerabilities to catastrophic terrorism—that are achievable through the application of science and technology. The areas are as follows: Nuclear and radiological threats; Human and agricultural health systems, including topics such as bioterrorism, medicine, and public health; Toxic chemicals and explosive materials; Information technology, including communications, data management, and identification and authentication systems; Energy systems, including electrical power systems and oil and natural gas systems; Transportation systems; Cities and fixed infrastructure, including buildings; The response of people to terrorism, including how quality of life and morale of the population can be a target of terrorists and how people respond to terrorist attacks; Complex and interdependent systems, including linked vulnerabilities, modeling, and simulation. (This category covers the vital interdependencies of different infrastructures. For example, the energy distribution system depends on an IT system to control its functions. Because modeling and simulation are necessary for predicting the responses of society’s complex and interrelated infrastructures to terrorist attack, the most important disciplines in this area are systems analysis and systems engineering.)
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism These systems and infrastructures contribute to society’s key functions. For example, emergency services (police, fire, ambulance services) depend on both physical and IT infrastructures. The economy depends on people, finance (IT), energy, transportation and distribution, and other infrastructures. The military relies on people (so biological and behavioral factors come into play), bases (physical infrastructure), and intelligence and command and control systems (IT). The government as a whole, from the President to the departments to the field-level agencies, embraces almost all of the above systems. Each of the areas in the above list is treated in a separate chapter, along with analyses of vulnerabilities4 and responses in specific domains (see Box 1.1 for a reader’s guide to the report). These chapters focus on solutions, on ways to harden society against terrorist attacks, to make critical systems more robust and resilient, and to enhance the ability to recover from such attacks. The report also touches on ways in which technical approaches can assist in other aspects of counterterrorism efforts, from supporting intelligence gathering and analysis and providing warning and detection of intent before an attack to conducting forensic investigations afterward. In some cases, the report identifies areas in which existing technologies could be deployed, perhaps after being adapted or extended. In other cases, the report identifies areas in which research could be undertaken to develop new capabilities that might substantially reduce the difficulty of protecting the homeland in the future. In both cases, the goal is to use scientific and engineering research and invention to counter terrorism. The nation must be prepared for a range of contingencies, and the recommended technological responses described by the committee in each area are often quite different. The nuclear threat must be addressed in its earliest stage, when intelligence and international cooperation are most critical. Once terrorists obtain certain nuclear materials, there are limited opportunities for preventing their use. For biological threats, the situation is the reverse: An attack is relatively easy to initiate, but there are many opportunities for technological intervention to mitigate the effects. In some other cases, such as attacks on the electrical power system, it may be possible both to make the attack more difficult and to ameliorate its effects once initiated. Despite such fundamental differences in the approaches needed for countering different classes of terrorist threats, some general principles and strategies underlie recommendations presented in all of the areas: 4 The committee was deeply aware of the difficulty of writing a report that was sufficiently specific about terrorist threats to explain how science and engineering might be helpful, yet not providing any information that might aid terrorists in determining new means of attack. In many cases, quite specific information that was available to the committee is presented in the report in a more generic form.
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism Identify and repair the weakest links in vulnerable systems and infrastructures; Use defenses-in-depth (do not rely only on perimeter defenses or firewalls); Use “circuit breakers” to isolate and stabilize failing system elements; Build security into basic system designs where possible; Build flexibility into systems so that they can be modified to address unforeseen threats; Pay attention to the human factors in the design of all systems, particularly those used by first responders; and Take advantage of dual-use strategies to reduce vulnerabilities of private-sector targets while enhancing productivity or providing new commercial capabilities. These general strategies reflect concepts that appear repeatedly throughout this report, in recommendations aimed at different infrastructures and at different phases of prevention and response. In addition to sharing common themes, recommendations in various chapters also repeat some key solutions and programs. There are research and engineering opportunities in crosscutting areas, where new technologies and programs have the potential to mitigate multiple vulnerabilities in different areas. These technologies and programs are described in Chapter 11 and include the following: Systems analysis, modeling, and simulation; Integrated data management; Sensors and sensor networks; Autonomous mobile robotic technologies; Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems; Controlling access to physical and information systems using technologies such as biometrics; and Human and organizational factors. Prioritization and Factors Affecting Prioritization Each of the chapters on society’s infrastructures or systems contains a number of recommendations that represent the committee’s highest priorities for actions in that area. In addition, in the executive summary, the three or four most important recommendations in each area are summarized, and a list of top short-term actions and long-term research opportunities cutting across all of the areas is provided. However, the final decisions about which measures should be taken first and which programs should be most vigorously pursued will depend on a variety of factors, including the relative likelihood of attacks in each area. The committee did not have access to all relevant information and hence does not claim to offer a definitive prioritization of counterterrorism actions.
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism BOX 1.1 Reader’s Guide to the Report The list below outlines the structure of the report and lists the topics covered in each chapter. The report includes analyses of vulnerabilities and responses in specific domains (Chapters 2-10) and discussions of general issues affecting the ability to use science and technology for countering terrorism (Chapters 11-13). Chapter 1 Introduction Describes the context of the report and factors that contribute to society’s vulnerability to terrorism. Provides the committee’s working definition for catastrophic terrorism. Outlines the structure of the report and describes its scope. Chapter 2 Nuclear and Radiological Threats Outlines the relative threat levels associated with nuclear and radiological weapons. Discusses the different issues associated with state-owned nuclear weapons, improvised nuclear devices, and radiological dispersal weapons. Explains the methods for control, detection, and interdiction of nuclear weapons and special nuclear materials. Chapter 3 Human and Agricultural Health Systems Explains why new tools need to be developed for surveillance, detection, and diagnosis of bioterrorist agents. Outlines the importance of decontamination and bioforensics for responding to attacks. Discusses improving models and knowledge of the pathogenesis and genomics of biological agents to facilitate development of therapeutics and vaccines. Chapter 4 Toxic Chemicals and Explosive Materials Outlines how chemicals are used as weapons. Discusses ways to mitigate vulnerabilities in a number of areas, including in the production and use of industrial chemicals and in the food, water, and pharmaceutical distribution systems. Describes technologies needed to protect from and respond to chemical attacks. Chapter 5 Information Technology Describes IT-only attacks and IT attacks as amplifiers of physical attacks. Outlines near-term ways to improve IT security and use IT to respond to an attack. Discusses three areas in which IT research investments should be made: information/network security, IT for emergency response, and information fusion. Chapter 6 Energy Systems Covers electric power systems and oil and natural gas systems. Describes representative vulnerabilities. Suggests how existing technology can be implemented. Outlines research and development priorities and strategies.
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism Chapter 7 Transportation Systems Describes transportation system characteristics and their implications for security strategies. Discusses research and technology needs. Provides advice to the TSA on strategic research and planning. Chapter 8 Cities and Fixed Infrastructure Discusses emergency management and emergency operations centers. Discusses water supply and wastewater systems. Discusses major and monumental buildings. Discusses stadiums and other places for large public gatherings. Discusses underground facilities, including tunnels. Chapter 9 The Response of People to Terrorism Outlines how human populations and societies are vulnerable to terrorism. Explains factors that contribute to anticipation and preparedness and that influence the effectiveness of warnings. Describes the immediate response to the occurrence of attack and the recovery. Chapter 10 Complex and Interdependent Systems Describes how systems analysis and systems engineering should be used in counterterrorism activities. Discusses systems management issues, such as governance and decision making, and information systems and tools. Explains the importance of threat modeling and infrastructure modeling. Chapter 11 The Significance of Crosscutting Challenges and Technologies Describes seven crosscutting areas where the technologies require multidisciplinary systems approaches or have the potential to reduce vulnerabilities in a variety of domains: systems analysis and modeling; integrated data management; sensors and sensor networks; autonomous mobile robotic technologies; supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems; biometrics; and human and organizational factors. Discusses the need for coordination of programs on crosscutting technologies. Chapter 12 Equipping the Federal Government to Counter Terrorism Discusses issues driving the need for coordination across the federal government. Describes the analytic capabilities needed to support OHS. Outlines how to strengthen the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Illustrates the role of the federal agencies and describes some additional capabilities needed. Chapter 13 Essential Partners in a National Strategy Describes the need for federal agencies to work with states and cities, particularly in technologies for first responders. Outlines barriers to and facilitators for the involvement of industry in the development and implementation of counterterrorism technologies. Discusses the role of universities, the importance of sustaining the scientific and engineering talent base, and the difficulty in balancing the needs of national security with the requirements for productive and creative research.
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism A key factor that should affect decisions about counterterrorism priorities is that the nature of the terrorist threats and the targets, weapons, and means of delivery will change over time, often in response to successful countermeasures. Thus it is vital that, as the federal government is setting priorities, decisions be based not only on information about the current threats and ways to limit relevant vulnerabilities but also on an understanding of the impact of deploying proposed protective technologies. To make sound decisions will require threat and risk assessment, systems analysis and engineering, exercises and simulation, red teaming, economic analysis, an understanding of human factors, and other analytic efforts. Terrorists will adapt to the defenses in place and seek the weakest known spots; overemphasis on particular targets is neither prudent nor desirable.5 In light of this dynamic nature of the relationship between the threats and the efforts to mitigate vulnerabilities, deployment of new technologies should not be limited to “perfect” systems, but instead should be based on relative effectiveness and advancement of a long-term program to increase the overall security of the system or infrastructure protected. Thus government agencies with homeland security responsibilities will require two capabilities to realize the potential of science and technology. The first is the capacity to use systems engineering and testing to conduct development and procurement of technical systems based on existing technology. The second is the capacity to participate in imaginative research that will produce counterterrorism solutions based on future science and technology. Realizing the Potential of Science and Technology to Counter Catastrophic Terrorism This report describes a number of ways in which science and technology could be harnessed to prevent or contain terrorist attacks. Of course, these opportunities are not easily realizable; barriers exist, whether technical or organizational. When they are technical, the committee has recommended research programs designed to develop new capabilities. When possible, the committee has also tried to identify whether a specific government agency has the responsibility for a given area or the capability to lead a given program. When the problem is organizational or institutional, the committee has tried to identify the difficulty (e.g., no government agency has responsibility for the research area in question or no incentives exist for an industry sector to improve its security systems). However, the recommendations provided in this report should not be judged or acted upon individually. Instead, the federal government needs to define a coherent overall strategy for protecting the nation and should harness the strengths 5 If the United States invests in hardening security in all airports, for example, terrorists will obviously know this and will likely attack other, less protected targets instead.
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism of the U.S. science and engineering communities and direct them most appropriately toward critical goals, both short term and long.6 This task will require an overall investment and research plan, appropriate institutional structures for research on future solutions and for engineering and procuring solutions that are technologically mature, funding allocations that fairly distribute the costs of counterterrorism protections across society, and a renewed population of talented young scientists and engineers to work on these problems. Chapter 12 identifies the steps needed in the federal government (both in the White House and in the agencies that contribute to homeland security) to ensure that today’s technological counters to terrorism are fielded and tomorrow’s solutions are found. In particular, in recognition of the importance and difficulty of determining goals and priorities, the committee discusses how the federal government might gain access to crucial analytic capabilities to inform decision making and assess risk and the effectiveness of measures to counter that risk. The proposed budget for federal spending on homeland security programs in fiscal year 2003 is approximately $38 billion,7 of which less than 10 percent is estimated to be for research and development.8 While these resources will make a significant difference, they do represent strictly the efforts of the federal government. Yet however well the federal government organizes its own effort in homeland security, the overall national effort cannot succeed without critical contributions from other institutions. Essential partners in utilizing science and technology for countering terrorism will include nonfederal governments (states, counties, and cities), industry, universities, nongovernmental organizations, professional societies, and many other groups. While the bulk of this report is directed toward the federal government and actions it can take, all of these other institutions have vital contributions to make. In Chapter 13, the committee 6 The committee recognizes, and has been greatly informed by, a number of excellent reports published in recent years that anticipated terrorism directed at our homeland and discussed the role of science and technology in countering such terrorism. Among them were reports by the Gilmore Commission, the Bremer Commission, the Hart/Rudman Commission, and the Marsh Commission (see the references for Chapter 12). While the present report is distinct in its scope and in its attempt to integrate science-based responses to terrorism across many disciplines, it is consistent with these earlier studies in its characterization of the country’s primary areas of vulnerability and the need to strengthen the federal government’s ability to address them. 7 Of the $38 billion, $21 billion is focused on four missions: ensuring that state and local first responders (firefighters, police, and rescue workers) are prepared for terrorism; enhancing our defenses against biological attacks; securing our borders; and sharing information and using information technology to secure the homeland (Fiscal Year 2003 Budget of the U.S. Government, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 2002, p. 17. White House budget documents are available online at <http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget>). 8 Exact figures are not available but estimates by Kei Koizumi of the American Association for the Advancement of Science predict approximately $2.8 billion for R&D in the FY 2003 counterterrorism budget (personal communication, June 11, 2002).
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism describes briefly the importance of these partners’ roles and touches on some of the issues related to the federal government’s ability to productively interact with these groups. State and local governments have critical responsibilities in homeland security because terrorist incidents are likely to affect first and foremost a particular locality in which a target is located, and the police, fire, emergency management, and other public officials there will be the first on the scene. However, it is not possible for each locality to develop its own comprehensive response to the possibility of terrorism or to engineer protective systems, let alone to conduct research on new techniques and technology. Creating common solutions to counterterrorism challenges, and providing the needed knowledge and engineering base, will therefore fall to the federal government. But the federal government’s efforts will be useless unless the design of standards and the development of procedures are informed by the experience and insight of the first responders. Also, the results of the federal programs must then be made available to state and local authorities, directly or through their collective bodies such as police and fire associations. Industry, too, has crucial contributions to make to increasing homeland security. Many critical infrastructures are largely owned and operated by the private sector, not the government. Much of the needed investment and adaptation to protect these infrastructures will have to be made by private companies. The funds for these investments will come from some mixture of funds provided by the federal government and funds provided by the companies themselves. The private sector’s own investments will arise in several ways—for instance, because they are mandated by law or regulation, because incentives are provided (e.g., tax relief), because insurance companies require them, or because competitive business practice recommends them. In any case, it is important that these investments be made in a manner that fully realizes the potential of science and technology to provide solutions. Moreover, since much of the relevant technical expertise about these critical infrastructures resides in the private parties that operate them, it is essential that these parties participate directly in devising solutions to vulnerabilities. Finally, this report amply demonstrates that America’s strength in science and technology is perhaps its most critical asset in countering terrorism without degrading our quality of life. Terrorism is a threat to U.S. security for the foreseeable future, and as our defenses improve, terrorists’ abilities to circumvent them will also improve. It is essential that we balance the short-term investments in technology intended to solve the problems that are defined today with a longer-term program in fundamental science designed to lay foundations for countering future threats that we cannot currently define. These long-term programs must involve the nation’s immense capacity for performing creative basic research, at universities, government laboratories, industrial research facilities, and nongovernmental organizations.
Representative terms from entire chapter: