Panel I—
Partnering to Meet the New Security Challenge

INTRODUCTION

Sean O’Keefe

National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Mr. O’Keefe “set the stage a bit” by saying that both the primary focus of this workshop—partnering against terrorism—as well as the topic of this particular panel discussion—partnering to meet new security challenges—would cover a range of different questions, and that they represented a “very contemporary topic of public debate in Washington, as well as throughout the academic community and industry.” He said that trying to narrow the scope of those discussions would be part of the challenge of workshop participants.

He opened by sketching the context “of how we at NASA have viewed this [challenge] since September 11,” which meant “a rather dramatic alteration” toward new efforts to “focus dominantly on homeland security and move away from some of the historic charter mission objectives.” The agency had begun to think of “how you employ those extant, current assets and capabilities in different ways to meet what are now a very focused set of challenges.”

Those challenges, he emphasized, did not arise suddenly on September 11, but prior to that time, when a series of earlier terrorist events demonstrated the new reality the nation would be forced to confront. Certainly, he said, members of the Hart-Rudman commission and others before them had identified the seriousness and extent of international terrorism.2

2  

The U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century released its Roadmap for National Security: Imperative for Change in January 2001, some 8 months before September 11. The commission, chaired by former U.S. Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, was an independent panel created by Congress to conduct “the most comprehensive review of American Security since the National Security Act of 1947 was signed into law over 50 years ago.” The report urged creation of a new “Homeland Security Agency, and warned, “States, terrorists, and other disaffected groups will acquire weapons of mass destruction, and some will use them. Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers.”



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop Panel I— Partnering to Meet the New Security Challenge INTRODUCTION Sean O’Keefe National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mr. O’Keefe “set the stage a bit” by saying that both the primary focus of this workshop—partnering against terrorism—as well as the topic of this particular panel discussion—partnering to meet new security challenges—would cover a range of different questions, and that they represented a “very contemporary topic of public debate in Washington, as well as throughout the academic community and industry.” He said that trying to narrow the scope of those discussions would be part of the challenge of workshop participants. He opened by sketching the context “of how we at NASA have viewed this [challenge] since September 11,” which meant “a rather dramatic alteration” toward new efforts to “focus dominantly on homeland security and move away from some of the historic charter mission objectives.” The agency had begun to think of “how you employ those extant, current assets and capabilities in different ways to meet what are now a very focused set of challenges.” Those challenges, he emphasized, did not arise suddenly on September 11, but prior to that time, when a series of earlier terrorist events demonstrated the new reality the nation would be forced to confront. Certainly, he said, members of the Hart-Rudman commission and others before them had identified the seriousness and extent of international terrorism.2 2   The U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century released its Roadmap for National Security: Imperative for Change in January 2001, some 8 months before September 11. The commission, chaired by former U.S. Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, was an independent panel created by Congress to conduct “the most comprehensive review of American Security since the National Security Act of 1947 was signed into law over 50 years ago.” The report urged creation of a new “Homeland Security Agency, and warned, “States, terrorists, and other disaffected groups will acquire weapons of mass destruction, and some will use them. Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers.”

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop NASA’s Approach to Terrorism The approach taken at NASA was to look clearly at its missions in light of this new reality. In the case of its aeronautics mission, for example, the agency asked whether its activities could be adapted to help deal both with terrorist tendencies and the challenges of aviation on any given day. These challenges included averting or avoiding collisions with inanimate objects of any sort, and using capacities, some developed by public-private partnerships, to reduce the danger of weather-related incidents. This broadened agency focus meant paying heightened attention to aviation safety in general. Within the last month, he said, the agency had stepped up its attention to advancing the kinds of technology related to safety. Operationally this included (1) demonstrating a technology developed in partnership with several applications from industry to devise a specific methodology, and (2) testing that technology aboard an environment equivalent to that of a commercial airliner. This technology was designed to provide a pilot with an early alert of a potential collision, to repeat that alert several times, and to take evasive action automatically in case that action was not taken by the pilot. With this technology in place, the remaining challenges are operational—the task of taking such a capability and making it available to the real world of commercial conditions in a way that is not intrusive. Mr. O’Keefe emphasized that parts of this task involve debates and conflicts that had been easier to avoid previously. Now, he said, “there is an imperative to address them.” He then introduced the first panelist, Congressman Boehlert, as a person who had been “not only incredibly supportive, but has led the way on science and technology objectives in his 20 years in Congress.” PARTNERING FOR CYBER SECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION Congressman Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-NY) Congressman Boehlert began by listing what he called “key points of agreement on what we are here to discuss today”: Homeland security has to be a primary focus of activities across the federal government. A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is needed so that one agency is especially focused on the country’s security needs and so that security-related activities can be better coordinated. Science and technology must be essential elements of the work of a Department of Homeland Security, and any homeland security strategy. Cyber security is one of the critical areas to address in homeland security science and technology efforts.

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop The structure of the Department of Homeland Security has to reflect the significance of science and technology and enable the Department to attract the expertise needed to oversee science and technology. Science and technology activities for homeland security need to be carried out in partnership between government, industry, and academia. The dispersed nature of the homeland security threat requires that government and industry work together more closely than ever before. These beliefs, he asserted, were shared by both parties, in both houses of Congress, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and across the ideological spectrum. He said further that while these seven conclusions may now seem self-evident, they had not been self-evident in Washington just a few months earlier. As an example of the significant movement since then, he said that when the House Science Committee began its work on homeland security legislation at the end of June 2002, it had to overcome resistance from the Administration to create an undersecretary for science and technology in the new department. By the time the bill came to the house floor at the end of July, however, the Committee’s proposal had been endorsed by Gov. Tom Ridge,3 and had since been backed by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The Committee’s science and technology focus was also duplicated in the Lieberman bill in the Senate. Moreover, he said, and more tellingly, the Senate Republican counterproposal, crafted with the White House, also maintained the Committee’s science and technology structure.4 The Undersecretary for S&T and the Need for Partnerships That is a big change since June, he said, and a significant change. The debate over whether to have an undersecretary for science and technology was not a struggle over bureaucratic minutiae; the issue was whether the department was going to have a clear science and technology focus, with responsibility and accountability concentrated in one person with the expertise to assemble a credible staff and to oversee research and development. The existence of the undersecretary and a secretariat, he said, would give R&D the “heft” it was sorely lacking in the original bill. This condition also meant that the department’s R&D functions and budget would be more than the sum of small, disparate pieces transferred into the new department from other federal agencies. “And that has to be the case,” he said, “if we are to succeed in the war on terrorism. As I often say, the war on terrorism, like the Cold War, is going to by won in the laboratory as much as on the battlefield. So that laboratory has to be adequately stocked.” 3   Governor Ridge was later named Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 4   The first Undersecretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology, Charles McQueary, was sworn in on April 9, 2003, at the National Academies building, 2101 Constitution Ave., Washington, D.C.

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop How are we going to ensure this, he asked. Obviously, he answered, not by relying on an in-house federal capability: “That wouldn’t be just infeasible, it would be unwise.” As in every other area of R&D, the federal government would have to work cooperatively, in partnership with academia, industry, and the states. That is especially true in the area of homeland security, he said, because the problems are so varied; the needed expertise must be gathered from almost every discipline and the results of any R&D will have to be applied as much by the private sector as by the government. Expanding on that point, he reminded his audience that the September 11 attacks had targeted not only public buildings—nor had the anthrax attacks targeted only public buildings: “Every individual and every sector of the economy is at risk.” A prerequisite to the involvement of industry, he said, is that products developed to thwart terrorists will have to meet the needs of private entities and succeed in the private marketplace. And yet such products must be developed even without assured demand. “If there was ever an endeavor that cried out for public-private partnerships,” he said, “it is the research and development related to homeland security. Here is a case in which the government cannot carry out its most basic mission of providing security without the cooperation of the private sector. And here is a case in which the private sector will quickly need a range of products on which the market has never before put a premium. This is a classic case of market failure that calls out for government involvement.” A Change in Thinking About Security Congressman Boehlert said that it was striking to realize how quickly the thinking about security had changed. For example, he said, his staff had been at a meeting the previous week in his home district with the real estate round table. The round table represented major developers of office buildings, malls, and other commercial properties. Yet the subject that received the most attention during the meeting, he said, was homeland security. One of the participants had come from the White House, and interest in homeland security was so high that the session ran well beyond its scheduled ending. “Can you image that subject even being on the agenda before September 11?” he asked. “So how do we craft an R&D program that meets the needs of commercial real estate developers? That’s a new kind of question.” The Congress was well aware of this change, he said, and the need for cooperation, even if that awareness had not yet been fully articulated. He cited the cyber security legislation his committee hoped to send to the President within days as a good example of this new state of affairs. Until the attacks of September 11, he said, it was difficult to get many members of Congress to focus on the cyber threat. And the members of Congress had hardly been alone in their lack of concern. The marketplace for software, for example, favored not security but speed, ease of use, and low prices. Software developers who focused on security

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop did so at their own economic peril. That had now begun to change, he said, just as cyber security had become a hot topic on Capitol Hill. The software market was beginning to send signals that security had become a desirable feature of software. He noted an additional problem: Cyber security was not an area where the best course of action was known, lacking only the wherewithal to proceed. The bigger problem was that technical people did not yet know enough about designing more secure computers and networks. He referred to Bill Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering, who had described the cyber security paradigm as a Maginot Line defense, after the notoriously porous perimeter that failed the French during World War II. “Clearly,” said the Congressman, “we need some new ideas. But how do we get them? The answer, as I’ve already implied, is through creative partnerships.” The government has to be involved, he said, because improving cyber security required additional basic research, and it also required greater support for students in order to attract new people to the computer security field. Academia has to be involved because much of the expertise in this area resides in colleges and universities, which also have the capacity to educate a cadre of computer security experts. Finally, industry has to be involved, because private firms have perspective on what is needed in this rapidly evolving field, and because advances in computer security must be able to succeed in the private marketplace if they are to have a broad impact. He said that the House Science Committee had assembled a bill called the Computer Security Research and Development Act, H.R. 3394. The bill would create a variety of new programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to attract more researchers to the field of computer security and encourage them to come up with more innovative ideas. It also proposed several new programs to fund partnerships between universities and industry. The NSF-funded partnerships were to be approved through traditional peer-review processes and would focus on basic research. The NIST-funded partnerships were to be selected by program managers, using a process modeled on that of DARPA that focused more directly on problems identified by industry. The Congressman said he introduced the bill in the House in December 2002, while Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) introduced it in the Senate. He noted that the bill passed the House by a vote of 400–12 in February, which he said was “an impressive vote” for an $880 million new program, and he noted that the Senate was likely to pass a slightly revised version. He called this “a rapid response for Congress, a warm and overwhelming endorsement for the concept of partnering against terrorism.”5 5   The Cyber Security Research and Development Act became law on November 27, 2002.

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop How the Homeland Security Bill Supports Partnerships He noted that the bill supported the concept of partnerships in several ways. Most significantly, the House bill would create a clearinghouse to ensure that individuals and companies with ideas related to homeland security did not get lost in the maze of federal agency jurisdictions. The idea for the clearinghouse, based on experience with the Interagency Technical Support Working Group, was to create a single point of entry into the federal government for people in the private sector with ideas or products that might help enhance homeland security. The need for such an operation, he said, became “painfully obvious” in the wake of the anthrax attacks when the government was deluged with suggestions. Several House committees, including the Science Committee, pressed for creation of such a point of entry, which indicated the degree of concern. “I don’t think there’s much doubt in Congress that partnerships are a key element of any R&D strategy for homeland security,” he said. “And I’m sure the excellent work the STEP board has done in recent years in describing how partnerships can work, along with your discussions today, will help shape that strategy.” A difficult question that remained, he said, was not whether to promote partnerships, or whether to have a Department of Homeland Security, or even how to fund such a department. It was how to maintain the traditional ability of scientists and engineers to publish and communicate about their research without jeopardizing homeland security. He cited discussions among government agencies about how to categorize and regulate information that is “sensitive but unclassified,” and whether to develop new restrictions on the conduct of research by foreign-born faculty and students. “How to strike the proper balance between the openness research needs and the security the nation needs,” he said, “is not obvious.” The magnitude of the problem is illustrated, he said, by analogous efforts by private companies to limit the flow of scientific information produced by their partnerships with universities—a similarly difficult balance between openness and security. As a member of both the House Science and Intelligence Committees, which “tend to err in opposite directions on this issue,” he said that he knew how tough an issue this was going to be. “All I can say is that we have serious thinking to do, and the balance is going to have to be constantly recalibrated. We do want to open up public dialog on the issue. I know the National Academies will want to do the same, which is why I dangle this perplexing and unresolved matter before you.” The fact that the issue of openness had come to the fore, he said, was one more indication of how much the world, or at least our understanding of the world, had changed since September 11. He closed with the puzzlement expressed long ago by Shakespeare: “Oh brave new world that has such people in it.” “We’re all going to have to work together,” he concluded, “if those people are going to be held at bay.”

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop CAPITALIZING ON THE NATION’S RESEARCH PORTFOLIO Gordon Moore Intel Corporation Dr. Moore began by acknowledging that he was not an expert on terrorist threats, but that he had learned, through his work chairing the GIP Committee, some lessons about partnerships. He asserted that technology was going to be a critical component of the country’s response to the post-September 11 security challenges, and that partnerships were going to be an important way to focus that technology on those problems. The United States, he said, had “the best and broadest science and technology in the world.” And our job is to see how we can “make that intersect the problem space we’ve discovered in the last year.” He suggested that the country was not attaining its potential in the application of science and technology to counterterrorism. The challenges of collecting, analyzing, and insuring intelligence, for example, had not been addressed in ways that could be utilized by the government. Likewise, federal agencies were making only slow progress in deploying effective explosives detectors in the nation’s airports. He said that the STEP board had studied for more than over four years how partnerships could be used and, he thought, had probably helped policy makers better understand the role that partnerships could play. Although the committee had not until the present workshop specifically addressed the role of partnerships with respect to terrorism, it had addressed a number of technical areas that would be relevant to questions regarding weapons of mass destruction and other challenges. He cited several areas where sufficient technical knowledge may rely on the use of government-industry partnerships, including new instrumentation to detect radiation at large distances, perhaps making use of technology first developed for gamma ray astronomy. A second important area requiring more technology was rapid identification of bio-agents, including vaccines, antibiotics, and anti-virals, some of which already existed. He noted that he served on the board of a small company that had found a drug that was originally produced for a certain disease but now also showed significant ability against various poxes, giving hope that it would find practical use against smallpox. “Some of these things exist,” he said. “Clearly, partnerships can help put them in a position to be much more useful.” The Continuing Need for Long-term Research He said that the proposed structure in the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for science appeared to have high potential value. He approved in particular of PCAST’s recommendation that this structure contain a DARPA-like quality that supported “high-risk, far-reaching research.” In his view, he

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop said, DARPA over the years had been a successful mechanism for quickly addressing complex problems, “and the extension of that idea could be extremely important.” He added that the ability to address complex problems depended on having a broad base of leading-edge science and technology. While the federal science budget had gone up over the past several years, some parts, particularly those related to basic physical sciences and engineering had actually dropped, especially during the 1990s. “To me,” said Dr. Moore, “this is a problem. Science moves on a broad front. You can’t move one area much faster than the rest, because there is so much interdependence.” He acknowledged that there are efforts to do some “rebalancing” of the budget, based on what is needed to carry all of science and engineering forward. He cited the example of advances in biology that depend on imaging—which, in turn, depends on some of the physical science. Similarly, nanotechnology, which is likely to figure in important ways in strengthening national security, will depend on a basic understanding of materials needed to make structures and measurements at dimensions never before achieved. Finally, he said, new devices that we anticipate from engineering research are likely to be important not only to particular problems related to homeland security but also to the economy. He then turned to information technology, which he singled out for special attention. The government faces unique IT challenges because of its sheer size and complexity. Throughout the government, information technology had developed in “small pockets” that were not interrelated, as it did originally in most companies. Enabling these pockets to talk to one another is a considerable challenge, he said, but one that has to be faced. Dr. Moore said that he had worked with companies and other institutions that were trying to upgrade their computer facilities so as to take advantage of modern technology. Even though the challenges facing companies were far smaller than those facing the U.S. government, and even though companies were more flexible than government, virtually all of them concluded such projects with fewer features than they envisioned, having spent more in time and money than they had planned. In other words, he said, these are “tough problems.” Even though industry is collectively learning to handle them, they will be a new challenge for government at the scale of what is required. “The solution,” he said, “requires partnerships. It requires the best minds, including the flexibility to include future technology; it needs an adequate budget, built with off-the-shelf software and hardware products; and it probably requires a short-term and long-term strategy that will be most effective in handling the security problems we’ve looking forward to.” He said that during its four-plus-year study of government-industry partnerships, the STEP board had discovered that government-industry partnerships can indeed work. “They’ve helped us to meet some of our national missions,” he said; “they’ve been used effectively since the founding of our country; and our studies

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop have identified some useful features in producing results. The appropriate thing now is to apply what we’ve learned to meet the challenges posed by terrorism.” DISCUSSION Mr. O’Keefe commented on the observation that the September 11 attacks were not really made against buildings, suggesting instead that they were aimed at the morale of the American public. “When we talk about public-private partnerships and prioritizing research,” he said, “one important consideration must concern the morale of the American public, as they behave economically and sociologically. Often as scientists, we focus on electrons and molecular biology, and we don’t think about perceptions or psychology. But when we talk about war involving terrorism, the bottom line is the morale of the American people.” Congressman Boehlert thanked him for that observation, and asserted that the terrorists had made “no dent in the morale.” Before 9/11, he said, whenever the word “terrorism” came up, the context assumed for that word had been the Middle East. “If I’d mentioned the need for a Cyber Security Research and Development Act before 9/11, I have had a hard time getting many people enthused about it.” On September 10, he said, he doubted if he could have convinced even the principals in such a project to show up for a meeting. Congressional representatives wanted to know, “How does that impact me, how does that affect my constituents.” And yet recently that same bill had passed by 400 to 12. Homeland security had united many people, he said, persuading them to “point in the same direction.” A questioner asked Mr. O’Keefe about the strategy of the new Department of Homeland Security—whether it would build up its own internal laboratories and grant programs, or focus on strengthening the relationships of existing agencies with industry and universities. He replied that while he could not speak with authority on the department’s strategy, he could suggest from NASA’s point of view that it had been “refreshing” to see the effort by department planners to capitalize on historical legacies of the last 50 years. Capitalizing on Existing Capabilities To be sure, he said, for students of organization theory, those years came with a checkered history. He said that it was his impression that DHS planners were capitalizing heavily on successes and trying to avoid the “potholes,” while recognizing the deep cultural differences between agencies and departments. He said that the centerpiece of organizing philosophy was to capitalize on existing capabilities, rather than attempting to expand beyond them. This would include a general trend of capitalizing on public-private partnerships—a trend that might be challenged by elements of homeland security that lack experience with such partnerships.

OCR for page 28
Partnering Against Terrorism: Summary of a Workshop Another questioner asked what could be done to bring science and engineering into the decision-making process, especially where non-scientists “might go overboard in paranoia.” He cited the example of a section of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington that had been closed for seven years, noting that the White House had already been fortified against a car or truck bomb on the avenue with 660 tons of steel, concrete, and laminated glass windows. Yet, he said, there were current plans for additional expenditure of $6.1 million to break up Pennsylvania Avenue and install gravel, and on the E Street side, which is farther from the White House, to spend $100 million to build a tunnel. The questioner asked how scientists and engineers could help prevent such unwise expenditures, including those that might restrict basic American freedoms. Mr. O’Keefe agreed with the questioner that “we’ve figured out the most difficult way possible to prepare for possible circumstances,” including some “amazingly silly approaches.” He said that most were proposed in good faith, and that with the passage of time, “sobriety will set in.” A questioner suggested that consolidating the activities of other agencies for the new department might disrupt working relationships in all sectors. Referring to Mr. O’Keefe’s earlier experience at OMB, he asked whether it would not be desirable to name a new associate director of OMB for homeland security and adapt the multi-agency approach of OMB to the new Department of Homeland Security. Mr. O’Keefe agreed that such a move would have the advantage of cross-cutting perspective, but he said that a larger question concerned how Congress would choose to consider and dispose of requests for resources, so as to keep the process moving. That, he said, would be “more important than some organizational twist.” Ronald Stoltz of Sandia Laboratories said that his facility was actively involved in a bridging role with Lawrence Livermore labs in preparation for the new DHS. He said they were using existing capabilities, not building new ones. Dr. Stoltz then directed a question to Gordon Moore about partnerships in Silicon Valley, specifically the issue of whether product liability should be extended to cover software. He said that is was a large issue that potentially could impede partnerships for homeland security, and asked if STEP had considered it. Dr. Moore answered that the committee had not yet considered it, but agreed on its importance. “If liabilities get extended too far,” he said, “it slows innovation.” He said that society had to decide on a balance that made sense. “Probably, liabilities will be pushed farther than technical people would have wanted if they’d thought of it in the beginning.” Mr. O’Keefe offered a similar view, saying that NASA had to deal with questions of product liability every day. “In trying to conquer challenges we’ve never had before,” he said, “we often have no benchmark to calibrate the likelihood of success. We try technical forecasting, but it really comes down to risk management. That can be the fastest way to stifle innovation.”