RATIONALIZING THE LONG-TERM RESEARCH AGENDA

The committee is silent on which government agency would best support the proposed research agenda. However, the research agenda should be characterized by the following:

  • Support of multidisciplinary problem-oriented research that is useful both to civilian and to military users;

  • A deep understanding and assessment of vulnerabilities;

  • A substantial effort in research areas with a long time horizon for payoff, and tolerance of research directions that may not promise immediate applicability;

  • Oversight by a board or other entity with sufficient stature to attract top talent to work in the field and to provide useful feedback; and

  • Attention to the human resources needed to sustain the counterterrorism IT research agenda.

One additional attribute of this R&D infrastructure would be desirable: the ability of researchers to learn from each other in a relatively free and open intellectual environment. Constraining the openness of that environment such as with classified research would have negative consequences for the research itself. Yet the free and open dissemination of information has potential costs, as terrorists may obtain information that they can use against us. The committee believes (or at least hopes) that there are other ways of reconciling the undeniable tension, and calls for some thought to be given to a solution to this dilemma.



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