Panel V—
Roundtable on Partnering for National Missions: Defense, Health, Energy

INTRODUCTION

Patrick Windham

Windham Consulting


Mr. Windham offered several observations on the day’s discussions. A theme that had run through the entire four-year STEP project, he said, was that in many situations government-industry partnerships had been shown to work. He agreed with Bill Spencer that there are necessary preconditions to success, and that there were no guarantees but rather a set of best practices.

He also said that in the case of homeland security, he had heard that partnerships were not only an option, but for many purposes a requirement. This was primarily because no single agency of the federal government—even the Department of Defense—had all the necessary technology to combat terrorism alone. Nor did sufficient capability exist across the government; homeland security would require the full participation of many people in the private and academic sectors as well, to implement appropriate technologies and responses.

He then posed a series of questions to the panel:

  • What have we learned from other agencies about how to structure programs, and how to structure this new agency?

  • How much should the Department of Homeland Security rely on its own R&D and how much on other programs?



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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop Panel V— Roundtable on Partnering for National Missions: Defense, Health, Energy INTRODUCTION Patrick Windham Windham Consulting Mr. Windham offered several observations on the day’s discussions. A theme that had run through the entire four-year STEP project, he said, was that in many situations government-industry partnerships had been shown to work. He agreed with Bill Spencer that there are necessary preconditions to success, and that there were no guarantees but rather a set of best practices. He also said that in the case of homeland security, he had heard that partnerships were not only an option, but for many purposes a requirement. This was primarily because no single agency of the federal government—even the Department of Defense—had all the necessary technology to combat terrorism alone. Nor did sufficient capability exist across the government; homeland security would require the full participation of many people in the private and academic sectors as well, to implement appropriate technologies and responses. He then posed a series of questions to the panel: What have we learned from other agencies about how to structure programs, and how to structure this new agency? How much should the Department of Homeland Security rely on its own R&D and how much on other programs?

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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop Under what conditions would high-tech companies want to work with the government? Clearly, he said, there is a patriotic intent to participate in programs that advance security. But commercial high-tech companies—even those with the best intentions and will to help—cannot afford to allow their business plan to be derailed. The challenge is to devise a working relationship that has benefits for all partners. In designing technologies and systems to work in ports, hospitals, borders, and other “real-life” environments, how can we integrate the experience of first responders in thousands of local communities—firefighters, emergency medical people, police? These people are unlikely to have high-tech backgrounds, but they know how large systems work, and their knowledge is essential to adapting and operating high-tech tools in the real world. Christina Gabriel Carnegie Mellon University Dr. Gabriel began by noting the importance of a portfolio of approaches. Every new technology, every platform, and every sector has different qualities, and the only way to create an entity broad enough to comprehend these qualities is to create a partnership with diverse representation. Also needed is a variety of programs and approaches, both from social science and “real people.” “We must keep reminding ourselves,” she said, “that one of the reasons we do technology is because we know how to do it. Technology has always been the route for the best and brightest people to get really exciting work.” At the same time, she said, it may actually be easier to work on a technology problem than to address many of the critical but broader challenges facing the world “You hear that if someone were to come back from Biblical times,” she said, “they would be astounded by the technology and wouldn’t understand a thing about it. But if you told them about our current geopolitical tensions, they’d understand them perfectly.” The point, she said, is that we have made too little progress in solving many of the complex social problems that are limiting the progress of people and nations toward a better quality of life and “the pursuit of happiness,” which is why there are still “David’s” out there trying to kill the “Goliaths.” How do we make progress on those underlying issues? In setting up any program, she said, it is important to have the policy agenda, the goals and objectives, the evaluation mechanism, and the leadership. But it is equally or more important to ensure that the program has the right operational features; specifically, what incentives invite the people naturally to work toward the goals of the program. When a group of agencies is forced to make joint decisions about funding allocations, for example, the group has to work in collaboration or nothing will be accomplished. She also advised that the group have diverse expertise, not only in the specific sector under study, but also in related sectors. As an example, she suggested that people who work in government after

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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop their academic training and a career in industry are often valuable candidates because of their insights from multiple sectors. William Spencer International SEMATECH Dr. Spencer first offered a simple definition of a partnership as “two or more entities that get together to do something.” Then he looked more deeply into the essence of one kind of partnership to suggest a critical function. This was the partnership that led to the development of thermal ink-jet printers. Lord Kelvin had first suggested the idea, and even patented it, and Siemens actually built the first ink-jet printer in 1951. But the real story, he said, depended on two companies, one U.S. and one Japanese, which simultaneously invented a means to build ink-jet printers and a way to make them commercially feasible. The two companies, Canon and Hewlett-Packard, made their inventions independently, and “the usual approach,” he said, “would have been to hire lawyers and go to court.” Instead, said Dr. Spencer, who was then working at Xerox PARC “across the street from H-P,” the CEO of H-P and the CEO of Canon agreed that they would independently pursue the technology in the market, in both cooperation and competition. Today, thermal ink-jet printers outsell laser printers by 12 to one, and the ink-jet cartridge business has revenues of $20 billion per year. “There’s not a lot of profit for either company in building printers,” he said, “but there is a lot of profit in selling cartridges.” He estimated that 50 percent of the profits of both companies came from cartridges. In summary, he said, this is what a partnership is like—Canon and Hewlett-Packard sharing technology but competing in the market, and together building an entire market that had not existed. “If we’re going to have partnerships in homeland defense,” he said, “and I believe it’s a really good idea, government and industry have got to realize what a partnership is. I would suggest that studying the HP-Canon partnership is a good idea, along with the publications we’ve put out in this study.” William Bonvillian Officer of Senator Lieberman Mr. Bonvillian said that the panels had concentrated mostly on the domestic aspects of homeland security, and reminded the groups to think of terrorism as an international problem. Creating a department in the United States, he said, and creating new defensive elements in this country “only scratches the surface.” The country has to learn “how, in effect, to push out our borders and our international connections in a way that I don’t think we’ve spent much time thinking about, at least in the defense sector.” He referred to the kind of system suggested by Steve Flynn, and the observation that unless Customs and the Coast Guard have “a good fix” on what is being shipped to our shores by a Czech light bulb manufac-

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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop turer, “we will not have a secure system at home.” He said that another partnership challenge is to imagine and build new international partnerships and relationships that come together as a workable and effective system. James Turner House Science Committee Mr. Turner said that DARPA, created in 1957, was the last good model he would recommend for building an R&D program within a cabinet department such as the one contemplated now. A model he did not recommend for structuring the Department of Homeland Security was that of the Department of Energy, created in 1977 in response to the Arab oil boycott. There were some striking similarities to the present: The country was reacting to a crisis, and the justification was national security. The solution then was to merge parts of disparate agencies and also to create new “boxes” for other functions.32 The new department had the traditional structure of a secretary on top, with an undersecretary supervising all R&D, just like the DHS. There was also, he said, an “unnecessary amount of diversity in the agency,” caused by overbroad legislation that “threw a lot of disparate problems together” including the regulatory Federal Energy Administration, the Energy Research and Development Agency, and the Federal government’s nuclear weapons program. Major related components were left outside the DoE—in the Environmental Protection Agency, the DoD, NASA, and so on, making complex coordination necessary to merge bureaucracies. The first big issue for DHS, he said, was how the government employee unions were treated. In creating the DoE, streamlining did not occur; instead, the field structures of what had been in the FEA and ERDA were both kept. “Both structures are still in place today,” he said, “and still conflicting with each other, in my view.” DoE even had an advantage, he said—a 20-year history with ERDA, and the earlier Atomic Energy Commission, during which its R&D programs were unified. DHS, by contrast, would have to absorb research pieces of CDC, NIH, and other agencies and create a new R&D structure. “Two things happened with DoE,” he said. “From day one, the top management couldn’t think about R&D; they had to think about the crisis of the day. That still happens today, and I expect that it is going to happen with this agency.” Secondly, he said, the DoE did not achieve the objective of weaning America from dependence on foreign oil. When the DoE was created, the United States was importing less than 50 percent of its oil; today it imports 58 percent of its oil. “So the point is that we created a wonderful agency on paper. That doesn’t mean it will achieve its goals.” 32   An example was the Office of Commercialization within DoE, which disappeared soon after its creation.

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Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop There were differences today, however, he said, which was “good news.” The nation had had 25 year of experience with partnerships, some of which had worked well (SEMATECH) and others that had not worked so well (Synfuels). There was also the benefit of a history of reviews and analysis of what had worked for SEMATECH, the ATP, and some NIH programs. Research on university-industry relations, including work by Dr. Gabriel, he said, had helped us understand more about how partnerships work. He concluded by saying that “the default position is going to be failure.” Unless the DHS was designed with the lessons of the past in mind, “R&D is going to be buried by the crisis of the day. We have to design DHS in such a way that that doesn’t happen.” Organizationally, said Mr. Turner, the DHS would be successful only if it is organized as a single department with a common mission, not as a holding company for a variety of agencies with piecemeal missions. He said that the achievements of the first secretary and the first undersecretary would be critical, as would the organization’s executive orders, which is where the executive branch would receive its guidance on objectives and implementation. He reminded the workshop that “homeland security” is “an important value but not the only value; we have to design with civil liberties in mind, the environment, and the other values that make this country great.” He also suggested that the Academies had a more important role in creating DHS than they had had during creation of the Department of Energy 25 years earlier, partly because the Office of Technology Assessment and several other objective sources of information no longer existed. “This has been a great meeting,” he concluded, “but the work of the Academies is just beginning. The Academies are our best convener of experts right now, and I think they will be the best constructive critic to keep this department on the right track.”