grid are needed, and a wide array of new technologies would have to be developed before the power grid can be made more resilient. Many fields of science and engineering would have a role to play in building operations models and intelligence that could differentiate between a single component failure and concurrent or closely coupled serial failures and in developing systems for adaptive islanding, in which fast-acting sensors and controls are used to isolate parts of the grid. (See Chapter 6.)
Replacing humans in hazardous situations. Robotics is a field where progress has been steady, but the ambitious goal of developing replacements for humans seems as far away now as it did 20 years ago. The understanding of biological systems is now affording some exceptionally interesting opportunities to mimic biological systems; imaginative concepts (linked “swarms” or “families” of robots or unmanned systems) suggest new ways to think about the potential and performance of highly versatile, nonliving systems. Success in this area would lead to assistants or replacements for humans in the hazardous circumstances that will be encountered in dealing with terrorism. (See Chapter 11.)
Reliable computer code and secure computer systems. Buggy code underlies many reliability problems and computer security problems. No attempt to secure systems and networks can succeed if it does not take into account this basic fact. Dealing with buggy code is arguably the oldest unsolved problem in computer science, and there is no particular reason to think that it can be solved now by any sort of crash project. Two areas of research seem to be particularly important in a security context: security-oriented tools for system development and trustworthy system upgrades and bug patches. But a fundamental approach to computer security requires that new architectures and tools for their implementation that are provably secure must be the long-term basic research goal. (See Chapter 5.)
In all of these areas, the immense basic research capability that resides in the nation’s universities will play a key role in advancing our understanding in critical disciplines.
The committee does not suggest that these examples are the only or the most valuable contributions that a vital, decentralized, innovative research enterprise can make. This list is offered simply as a demonstration that the research communities involved in these and similar efforts have critical contributions to make in laying the groundwork for improvements in homeland security. In order that research programs may increase the pace of discovery and the effectiveness of new counterterrorism technologies, relevant communities will require information about what kinds of new capabilities would be of most value to the nation and support for performing the necessary fundamental research.