a national will to act, but earlier experiences and analyses may also help shape our responses to the present dangers. A number of high-level commissions, most of them established after the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, not only addressed terrorist threats but also specifically called attention to the critical importance of science and technology in addressing them.1 The committee has drawn upon these prior reports because they reflect careful thinking and precedents, as well as concern about the proper organization and coordination of governmental action against terrorism.

All these studies not only underscore the importance of science and technology (S&T) in countering terrorism but also conclude, as did this committee, that the government will have to change how it sets goals for scientific and engineering programs and manages technology development if science and technology are to be effectively applied to that purpose. Repeatedly, these reports—including those of the Gilmore Commission, the Bremer Commission, the Hart/Rudman Commission, and the Marsh Commission—have noted the importance of developing a national strategy for combating terrorism and the need for organizing government to better implement it.

The Gilmore Commission (2000) concluded that “the United States has no coherent, functional national strategy for combating terrorism” and recommended that “the next President should develop and present one to the Congress within one year of assuming office.”2 It presented attributes of a “comprehensive and functional strategy for combating terrorism” and urged that it be “appropriately resourced and based on measurable performance objectives.” But the commission believed that government was poorly positioned to devise such a strategy. The “organization of the federal government’s programs for combating terrorism,” it wrote, “is fragmented, uncoordinated, and politically unaccountable.”3 It

1  

Second Annual Report to the President and Congress of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (Gilmore Commission, December 2000); Third Annual Report to the President and the Congress of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (Gilmore Commission, December 2001); Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism (National Commission on Terrorism) (Bremer Commission, September 2000); Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change (U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century) (Hart-Rudman Commission, Phase III, February 2001); Critical Foundations (The President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure) (Marsh Commission, Fall 1997). Also see Combating Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Government to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction) (Deutch Commission, Spring 1999); Preparing for the 21st Century—An Appraisal of U.S. Intelligence (Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community) (Brown Commission, March 1996); Joint Task Force on Intelligence and Law Enforcement Report to the Attorney General and Director of Central Intelligence (Richards/Rindskopf Report, May 1995).

2  

Gilmore Commission Second Annual Report, 2000, at p. 2.

3  

Ibid., Finding 2, at 4.



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