. "11. The Significance of Crosscutting Challenges and Technologies." Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002.
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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism
The need for the application and continued development of systems analysis and modeling capabilities to aid in threat assessment, in identification of infrastructure vulnerabilities and interdependencies, and in planning and decision making (particularly for threat detection, identification, and response coordination);
The development of standards and techniques to allow for the integrated management of data regardless of their source;
The utilization and development of sensors and sensor networks for the detection of conventional, biological, chemical, nuclear, and information-warfare weapons. To be effective and acceptable for operational use, these systems must have high sensitivity in detecting various threat agents yet must also function with low false-positive and false-negative rates;
The need for the use and continued development of robotic platforms to support mobile sensor networks for threat detection and intelligence collection. Robotic technologies can also assist humans in such activities as ordnance disposal, decontamination, debris removal, and fire-fighting;
The need to harden and protect the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that are widely used for operational control and monitoring of most components of the nation’s basic infrastructures.
The need to control access to our physical and information systems, thereby increasing security, while minimizing the impact of security measures on system performance. The committee focuses on biometrics as a promising set of technologies for this purpose.
All systems within the United States are operated or controlled at some level by humans. The design and deployment of systems to counter terrorism, being dependent on human command and control, must likewise take human factors and organizational-behavior principles into account.
The committee refers to these issues as “crosscutting” because they recur as ways to lessen many different vulnerabilities, but they could also be called “systems” issues because they are strongly interrelated. For example, improved techniques for data management will be a critical enabler for systems modeling, sensor networks, robotics, and biometrics. Systems analysis will lead to a better understanding of how to improve SCADA systems. And of course understanding human factors will be an essential step in successfully implementing any new counterterrorism technology.
The federal government will need to determine priorities, perform research, and support the implementation of technologies in all of these crosscutting areas, as well as other such areas that may emerge in the future. But because of the interdisciplinary nature of these topics, it is often not clear where the information to support decisions in these areas will come from. In Chapter 12, the committee discusses the need for a Homeland Security Institute to provide the needed technical analysis and support.