unwillingness of scientists and technologists to associate with the intelligence community, and even more so with the police community. There is also a feeling of intellectual jurisdiction: the technical missions depend on the relationship between the scientific advisor and maybe the director of the intelligence bureau, but it stops with them; beyond that, nobody is really interested.
Narayanan observed that in India there was concern about the threat from radiological dispersal devices (RDD), which may be a bigger threat than is commonly believed. India has very few emergency operations centers, and those that exist are ill-equipped to deal with an RDD. While India’s nuclear installations are well protected, the tracking of radioisotopes, which can be used in a dirty bomb, in hospitals and other places is lax, partly because of the cost, and there have already been several instances of theft of radioactive materials from hospitals and other facilities.
Moving from the radiological to the biological, Narayanan observed that there was a total vacuum in understanding about probable threats. Most people do not really know what constitutes a biological weapon, and it frequently takes some time to decide whether an attack has occurred because of natural causes or a terrorist effort. Biosecurity is certainly one of the areas where Narayanan thought there was a clear case for marrying technology with the protective arms of the state, the intelligence services, and the security forces.
Narayanan observed that as for the role of the private sector in both biosecurity and radiological security, there was a very important role, but he doubted whether any of the private laboratories or research centers were fully equipped to respond properly. We need the help of science and technology, but how much of it is available within the next few weeks or the next few months? This is really the question. As for cyberterrorism, he did not believe that India was fully prepared to respond.
Richard Garwin, discussion moderator, focused on two problems: the development of the “smart” container and the vulnerability of the electrical grid.
He noted that existing technology, such as global positioning systems, bar codes, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) could allow for comprehensive tracking of containers around the world. Today, few containers coming into the United States are tracked at all (in the sense that the container does not have a very visible number on it). Containers have a numbered seal, and before the container is taken off the ship or sent via another mode of transportation, the seal is painstakingly read and compared with the manifest, which is sent to the United States before the container arrives. About 11 million containers a year enter U.S. ports; each of them costs on average about $1,500 to manufacture. A refrigerated container costs about $3,000, and a container is used about 50 times over its 10- or 15-year life. So the amortized cost, if you take a refrigerated container, is only about $50 to $100 per transit. The cost of transatlantic or transoceanic transport ranges from $500 to $1,500, and has fluctuated by $500 during the last few years. Nevertheless, people in the industry complain that if an additional charge of $50 per container transport were imposed, it would ruin the industry. This is nonsense, as the rates and costs fluctuate by as much as 10 times that amount per transport without any effect on the industry. Indeed, a U.S. importer, Tommy Hilfiger, uses refrigerated containers not because the shipped clothing would suffer without it but simply because