Understanding, Coping with, and Combating Terrorism: Potential New Initiatives in DBASSE
Defining the role of science and technology in homeland security and countering terrorism has emerged over the past year as a prominent theme of activities across the National Academies. The National Academies portfolio spans the spectrum to varying degrees of the domains of prevention, detection, response, and recovery as well as analyzing key areas of potential terrorist threat, including biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological threats; cyberterrorism; and vulnerability of the nation’s infrastructure, including transportation, energy facilities, cities, and other fixed infrastructure. Finally, the portfolio also includes a number of efforts aimed at a better understanding of the root causes of terrorism.
The heightened sentiments regarding sensitive but not classified features of many of these activities have added a dimension of complexity to the National Academies’ approach to dealing with these issues, which had traditionally fallen fairly clearly into classified and unclassified domains with routine procedures for handling information and disseminating reports in either case. This complexity is exacerbated in the context of our public disclosure obligations under Section 15 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Many officers and staff are involved in fashioning ways to function in the new environment, while federal policy continues to evolve.