The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in the United States and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, significantly increased attention paid to the complexity of threats to safety and security around the world. Recognizing shared concerns, capabilities, and willingness to cooperate, the governments of India and the United States initiated a bilateral Homeland Security Dialogue in May 2011 with a visit by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to meet with Indian Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambaram. The dialogue, which continues today, is a mechanism by which the two countries reaffirm their commitment to work cooperatively on law enforcement issues, to combat common threats, to improve bilateral cooperation through the development and application of innovative technology, to combat the flow of illicit finances and currency counterfeiting, and to work closely to counter terrorism and promote cybersecurity.1
To facilitate cooperation on science and technology to counter terrorism via the Homeland Security Dialogue and directly, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) organized and convened a workshop entitled “India-U.S. Workshop on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism,” held February 3-5, 2014, in Bangalore, India, on the NIAS campus. The plan for the workshop is described succinctly in the statement of task in Box S-1.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES FOR JOINT WORKSHOP
The workshop itself enabled Indian and U.S. experts to describe their work and plans for future activities on a breadth of scientific and technical areas relevant to countering terrorism, including Systems Approaches to Countering Terrorism; Security at Chemical Facilities; Agricultural and Food Security; Technical Aspects of Civilian Nuclear Material Security; Global Health Security and Strengthening
1Department of Homeland Security. “Readout of U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue.” Available at http://www.dhs.gov/news/2013/05/21/readout-us-india-homeland-security-dialogue; accessed July 25, 2014.
BOX S-1 STATEMENT OF TASK
An ad hoc organizing committee under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) standing Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) will work with partner organizations in India to convene an Indian-U.S. workshop on science and technology for countering terrorism. The organizing committee and its counterpart in India will develop the workshop agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. The agenda will include topics to address biological threats (health and agriculture); protection of nuclear facilities; security (physical and cyber) for chemicals, chemical facilities and other critical infrastructure; and monitoring, surveillance, and emergency response. It will also include topics to identify and examine promising areas for further Indian-U.S. cooperation on science and technology for countering terrorism.
Public Health Infrastructures; Emergency Management and Response, An All Hazards Approach, Protecting Critical Infrastructure; Cybersecurity in its Complexity; the Challenges of Conventional Terrorism; and Forensics Capabilities during Response Phases, Attribution, and Perpetrator Prosecution. Overarching themes that emerged from the detailed discussions, and outlined thematically here in the synopsis, were the need to develop, test, and implement systems of security; the tension faced in India and the United States between the core mission of companies or research institutions and the needs of safety and security; similar tensions among free speech, privacy, and security in open, democratic societies; and the need to prioritize among a variety of domestic and international terrorist threats.
KEY ISSUES FROM WORKSHOP
The key issues noted here are some of those raised by individual workshop participants (names shown in parentheses) and do not in any way indicate a consensus of workshop participants overall.
Focus on the overall security objective: To determine how best to design, test, implement, and operate a fully functional system of security that addresses evolving terrorist threats, it is valuable to define the overall security objective, and then to identify the needs and actions based on subsidiary objectives that are linked to and consistent with the overall objective (Nehchal Sandhu and Norman Augustine).
- A systems approach, from vulnerability assessment to life-cycle analysis, considering how all of the security pieces fit together helps avoid common failures. Likewise, testing of all of the pieces as a system at the time of installation and reassessing and retesting over
time help to avoid unsuccessful security procurements (Byron Gardner and John Holmes).
- Examining terrorism as a systems problem means in part prioritizing vulnerabilities, prioritizing the value of assets, and prioritizing choices. By doing this, the effect of terrorists may be reduced (Sandhu).
Science and technology have roles in countering terrorism: Not only can science and technology offer particular solutions to individual or collective security challenges, the scientific and technical communities can serve as a resource for decision-makers at all levels—from the individual facility level to the national governmental level—and can inform assessments, procurements, implementation, standards, oversight, testing, and continual reevaluation (Sandhu, Vinay Kajla, K. Sekhar).
- Several participants noted a need to develop additional mechanisms whereby the government of India and the United States can discuss the challenges of counter terrorism with scientists and technical experts. In India, participants noted there is a need for mechanisms whereby independent scientific advice can be provided to the government as it seeks to address evolving terrorist threats. In the United States, while several mechanisms exist for receiving scientific advice, there are parts of the government that would benefit from greater scientific expertise and insights (Sandhu, Augustine, David Franz, Nancy Jackson, Raymond Jeanloz, Van Romero, Gardner, Keshav Kumar, R. P. Sharma).
- Similarly, there is a need for the scientific community to be more aware of terrorism challenges as they arise so that they may be in a position to provide more effective proposed solutions (Sandhu, J. K. Bansal, B. J. Srinath, B. Karthikeyan).
- While there are a variety of industries and companies that have expertise and technologies that may be helpful in counter terrorism efforts, these industries rarely have an overall view of the threats. As a result, efficiencies are difficult to realize in terms of expertise, equipment, and innovative input into possible solutions (Gardner, Michael O’Brien, Karthikeyan, Kumar).
- Technology may be part of the solution, but human components are essential: It is not possible to regulate all potential threats away. The results of scientific and technical research can be beneficial as well as potentially harmful creating what is often called the dual use dilemma. Given this reality, it is not possible to entirely eliminate risk, making the need to build trust globally and to work together even more urgent and essential. Enlightened leadership, a culture of personal and corporate responsibility, and leaders who are willing to take responsibility to develop thoughtful regulations and safe and sustainable practices, and maintain freedom for scientists to explore, would facilitate progress for all people in, for example, the life sciences and those who rely on their beneficial work (Sandhu, Augustine, Franz, Karthikeyan, Jeanloz).
- The most important breakthroughs in investigations of terrorist incidents often come from classical hard police work that included data and information analysis rather than from extraordinary technologies (Jeanloz, Franz, Kajla).
- When one looks at an integrated systems-level response to an incident, the human aspect is an essential component. Just because one has technology does not mean the problems are solved. Without properly trained people, even the best systems cannot succeed in providing the best possible security (O’Brien, Gardner, Kajla, Kumar).
- Quite often, high-cost, sophisticated security systems fail because their component parts are not integrated with each other or with the larger system in which they need to operate. At times, less may be more, in that purchasing the most expensive or elaborate systems may not always result in the best and most effective security systems. Facility operators, an experienced participant noted, usually do not understand the capabilities and limitations of the security systems; this includes operators at government and private facilities. There is often a need to change the culture and mindset of operators and facility owners so that security is seen as necessary and becomes a norm (Gardner, O’Brien, Karthikeyan, Kumar).
The importance of the primary work and functions of facilities is critical: While it is difficult to do so, it is essential to find a balance between investments in security and investments in the fundamental mission of the facilities, which is science and technology. (Jeanloz, Franz, L. V. Krishnan).
- Over-investment in one area to the detriment of the other jeopardizes the overall mission of the facility and/or security (Augustine, Jeanloz, Sandhu, Jackson).
- Similarly, a balance needs to be maintained between the interests of security and the interests of society in terms of civil liberties and privacy (Jeanloz, Augustine, Sandhu, Kajla, V. S. Ramamurthy).
Capacity building to address both natural hazards and malicious acts may increase through cooperation: There is tremendous expertise and experience at local, state, and national levels in India and in the United States that can be harnessed to address natural and man-made hazards (Nancy Jo Nicholas, Karl Kim, Kajla).
- This includes human and other resources that may have been allocated for one set of disasters, but which can be utilized in preparing for, responding to, and rebuilding from a range of incidents (Kim, Kajla).
- Training and communication with local communities will allow the knowledge and expertise of local residents to be harmonized with overall strategies for an all-hazards approach to incident prevention and response (Kim, Kajla).
- There is a need to move away from “fail safe” to “safe to fail” approaches. Since it is not possible to entirely eliminate the risk of natural disasters and malicious acts, it is important that critical infrastructure and facilities remain safe to people and the environment even if their operations fail. For example, with sea-level rise, more areas will inevitably be flooded, requiring us to rethink zoning or no-build zones (Kim).
- Responding to emergencies, whether accidental or man-made, requires the coordination of a large number of agencies, organizations, and groups. If these agencies learn to cooperate and integrate, many problems in emergency management and response can be solved. Failing to coordinate can result in inefficiencies of human and financial resource allocation, disempowerment of local communities, and confusion in incident preparedness and response. Coordination of groups in advance of an incident would ultimately have reduced the loss of life, property, and infrastructure. Experiences with emergency responses in the United States have indicated the benefits of these improvements over time (Kajla, Kim, Romero, Kumar).
Protecting critical infrastructure is important to the resiliency of communities, economies, and societies overall: Chemicals, the products of biological research and production, civilian nuclear materials, and information technologies are essential for any modern economy (Jackson, Karthikeyan, Franz, Srinivas Mukkamala, Srinath).
- Almost all products on the market today started from chemicals. As a result of their importance, it is not possible to lock chemicals away as one can secure uranium or plutonium (Jackson).
- In addition to the need to protect chemicals, a participant noted that there is a need to protect chemistry expertise, such as expertise in making illegal drugs, making chemical explosives, or using chemicals to make weapons (Jackson, Karthikeyan).
- It is not possible to control all biological equipment and technology. It is not possible to control knowledge. It is not possible to isolate scientists. It is not possible to know all of the biohackers who may be out there. However, it is possible to build awareness and understanding (Franz).
- Cybersecurity is a real priority for industries and for critical infrastructure protection. Cyberthreats cannot be dismissed as coming from amateur hackers working in seclusion to create mischief, noted a participant. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate cybersecurity into a systems approach to security overall, and should not be isolated (Augustine, Jackson, O’Brien, Gardner, Holmes, Jeanloz, N. Balakrishnan, Srinath, Romero).
- For all infrastructure, it is important to preserve the proper functioning of critical systems to the greatest extent possible in the event of an incident (Kajla, Kim, Jackson, B. K. Maurya, O’Brien, Gardner).
SELECTED THOUGHTS ON GOALS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR COOPERATION
The selected thoughts on goals and opportunities for cooperation noted here are just some of those raised by individual workshop participants, and do not in any way indicate a consensus of workshop participants overall.
Monitoring and surveillance
- Joint development of improved technologies for monitoring and surveillance in difficult–to-observe locations such as areas of high foliage and high altitude, through walls, around corners, or in remote areas may be mutually beneficial (Sekhar).
- Maritime Domain Awareness is particularly well suited for collaboration given the significant potential threats that may arise along the coasts of the United States and India. Improved situational awareness will also improve security at ports and other areas of passenger and cargo transport, and may provide additional areas of cooperation (Holmes).
- Many participants noted that the application of surveillance should be balanced in free, democratic societies, and open dialogue is an essential aspect of the development of relevant technologies (Jeanloz, Augustine, Sandhu, Kajla, Ramamurthy).
Prevention of weapons acquisition
- Reducing the use of high-risk materials, securing higher-risk material inventories by establishing trusted networks in industry (explosives and chemicals), prompt reporting, and real-time monitoring are important to the prevention of weapons acquisition (Jackson, Karthikeyan).
- Insider threats, including sabotage, should be taken seriously, stated several participants, and training would be an effective and efficient means of beginning discussions on this topic (Ravi Grover, Jeanloz, Krishnan, Augustine, Jackson, Vedpal Yadav, O’Brien, Gardner, Holmes, Mukkamala, Srinath, Romero, Sekhar).
Physical security for infrastructure
- Focus on training and technical and nontechnical solutions and testing, performance assessment, and evaluation may be useful areas for India-U.S. cooperation (Sandhu, Augustine, Holmes, Karthikeyan, Gardner, O’Brien, Holmes, Romero, Sekhar, Sharma).
- Monitoring and modeling of critical infrastructure are incomplete at this time, including for food security; chemical, biological, and nuclear security; cybersecurity; and for more traditional infrastructure such as bridges, airports, and shipping lanes. Cooperation in these areas may be beneficial to experts in both the United States and India (Sandhu, Augustine, Franz, Yadav, Jackson, Karthikeyan,
Grover, Krishnan, Ramamurthy, Jeanloz, Bansal, Nicholas, Kim, Holmes, Maurya, O’Brien, Gardner, Mukkamala, Srinath, Kumar, Romero, Sekhar, Sharma).
- There are several means by which experts from India and the United States may be able to effectively cooperate in the area of cybersecurity, including by sharing best practices through training (Balakrishnan, Mukkamala, Srinath).
- Legal frameworks, standards, and oversight are in their infancy in the area of cybersecurity, and a wide range of stakeholders and experts (including those in private industry) may effectively be convened to propose paths forward in these areas (Balakrishnan, Mukkamala, Srinath, Jeanloz).
- Development of technologies that are more resistant to cyberattacks will be increasingly important and, given the expertise in both India and the United States, collaboration would be mutually beneficial (Sandhu, Augustine, Jeanloz, O’Brien, Gardner, Holmes, Sekhar, Romero, Balakrishnan, Srinath, Jeanloz).
Emergency preparedness and response
- Assessment of vulnerabilities and planning solutions, including community-based actions, would be helpful to both countries (Augustine, Kajla, Kim).
- Increased resilience is needed in both the United States and India, and by sharing best practices for building community and institutional resilience, as well as physical resilience, much could be learned (Kim, Kajla, Sandhu, Augustine, Gardner, O’Brien).
Forensics and attribution
- Focusing on training and establishing the scientific basis for the reliability of the many tools and techniques that may lead to increased attribution capabilities is a potentially fruitful area of cooperation (Sharma, Romero, Kumar).
- While there are many technologies in existence and being developed, the scientific and evidentiary basis for conclusions drawn from various forensic techniques and technologies still need to be established and scrutinized and made available to those who make decisions based on this evidence (e.g., the court system) (Sharma, Romero, Kumar, Franz).
Science and technology advice and interaction
- Sharing of mechanisms for obtaining scientific and engineering advice and assessments, and for connecting operational needs with scientists and engineers who develop tools, could benefit both the United States and India (Sandhu, Augustine).
- Incorporating scientific and technical expertise into the decision-making processes can be effective in the areas of response and pro-
active technology development. Further, involving the scientific and technical communities in decision making can provide a means of coordination across disciplines and areas of expertise, increasing the opportunity for maximizing innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness (Sandhu, Augustine, Kim, Kajla, Jeanloz, Franz, Bansal, Maurya, Srinath, Kumar, Romero, Sekhar, Sharma).
BUILDING ON THE SUCCESS OF THE WORKSHOP
Technical experts in a variety of fields associated with science and technology to counter terrorism provided presentations and engaged in frank discussions. These experts were chosen by the workshop organizers from the national laboratories, academia, and nongovernmental organizations of their respective countries. Over the course of the three-day workshop, they provided their perspectives, knowledge, and experience and shared ideas for possible future joint collaborations between India and the United States. Participants expressed their hopes that cooperation and collaboration on common problems would arise from this first step at sharing about the science and technology needs. The workshop was not intended to provide a particular plan of action or specific concrete next steps for this collaboration. Rather, it was intended to bring forth a variety of areas in which experts from the two countries can proceed with cooperative efforts in their areas of expertise based on identification of mutual goals and priorities. In subsequent phases of engagement, more specific topics may be identified and appropriate time and resources may be devoted to sustained and intensified cooperation.