approaches. Many ideas that seem attractive in isolation will fail to meet critical needs when they are evaluated in terms of policy priorities and a systems context.

In many homeland security efforts, the national laboratories have a critical role to play, if their programs and unique capabilities can be focused on supporting OHS objectives. These programs should focus on the systems engineering elements of counterterrorism problems; for example, they are well positioned to examine issues relating to the development of effective sensor systems rather than just working on an individual sensor technology. The national laboratories also have the facilities to perform and facilitate both classified and unclassified research and to coordinate results from both types of programs.

The Department of Defense also has a great reservoir of relevant programs, experience, and expertise to be tapped in the application of science and technology for homeland security. How DOD’s technology base can best contribute to the overall national technology effort that is the subject of this report has not been determined, but the Office of Homeland Security, the Department of Homeland Security (if formed), and other federal agencies should carefully coordinate their own technology efforts with relevant DOD programs. For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Joint Services Chemical and Biological Defense Program, and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases all are and will be carrying out large-scale science and engineering efforts closely related to domestic counterterrorism activities.

In addition to these research and development activities, some of the technical tools and experiences that arise in the normal course of DOD’s principal mission of conducting joint military operations against foreign opponents may also be appropriate for aspects of homeland security. For example, DOD will be developing technology for detection of and protection from chemical and biological threats as a necessary part of its principal mission. Deployed forces are a prime target of terrorists, and DOD’s protective efforts (called “force protection” by DOD) have much of the same technical content as homeland security. The DOD also will have a role to play in support of counterterrorist efforts within the United States and has taken some preliminary steps to adapt its structures to make this contribution. A Northern Command has been established with the explicit mission of “defending the U.S. and supporting the full range of military assistance to civil authorities.”26 Such support would range from shooting down commandeered airliners to providing airlifts to convey supplies for disaster relief. Given the likely scale of the DOD efforts and the overall size and quality of the

26  

From a description of Unified Command Plan revisions announced April 17, 2002, and scheduled to take place on October 1, 2002. Information about the Unified Command Plan is available online at <http://www.dod.gov/specials/unifiedcommand/>.



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