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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism
the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service, parts of the Department of Agriculture that deal with food production and safety, and state government and municipal agencies—that often have limited experience with advanced and highly creative research and development and limited resources available for such programs.
Thus a key challenge for the federal government will be in ensuring productive interaction between these two groups of agencies. The institutions overseeing the research will need information about what sorts of technologies and operational performance levels are required for practical counterterrorism systems, and the organizations making decisions about deployment will need to understand the capabilities and limitations of new technologies and the possibilities for systems integration. Furthermore, to ensure that these interactions are constructive and that appropriate expertise is available to make key decisions about programs and technologies, some agencies may need new or enhanced capabilities and experiences.
For example, some agencies have a limited tradition of creating or managing complex research programs. Yet they are already being tasked with making decisions about which existing technologies provide the best immediate protection and determining which technologies will be needed next. The Department of Transportation and its new Transportation Security Administration are in this situation. The committee of course does not suggest that all research on transportation security go through TSA, but TSA as a user agency should have the ability to support research programs and technology development activities when necessary and the expertise and the experience to contribute to and learn from programs being performed elsewhere.
Recommendation 12.7: Agencies with homeland security missions and substantial responsibilities for procuring and fielding solutions dependent on technology should have systems analysis and systems engineering capabilities and the expertise to set up and manage programs for which they fund contract research.
Some or all of the agencies responsible for setting technology requirements and deploying technologies may move into a new Department of Homeland Security so that they can more effectively coordinate their work with one another, but they will still be organizationally separated from the government’s largest and most advanced science, engineering, and medical science programs. The deploying agencies will still need the expertise and mechanisms to communicate their needs to the researchers and to utilize the results of such programs.
Facilitation of technology development will be a complicated task for many agencies. It is very difficult to define the goals for such programs, support the necessary scientific and engineering research, facilitate the maturation of technologies into robust products, and eventually ensure that these products are implemented by appropriate users. Also, technology development often requires some