Shock from Terrorism Bring Urgency: But Sustainability needed in Anti-Terrorism Innovation

After 9/11 global leaders went on a hunt for innovation in technology, to address terrorism, as one part of the fight. But as 9/11 fadfed into distance memory, that innovation into terror fighting technological innovation, also faded into the back-burner. Thus comes the question, of the need for ugancy and sustainability, in this area.

After the Paris terror attack, one of the first thing that came to my mind was innovative technology, in helping to stop terrorism, yet there is a great many concern, lingering even before the Paris attack, of technology, being used the wrong way, i.e. invading people’s privacy. i.e. with mass surveillance, on even non, terror related, such as surveillance of peaceful protest. But if innovative technology camn help & used in the right way, to fight terrorism. But overall, is there a Winter of Discontent with anti-terror innovation, meaning, used to violate human rights & effectivenerss?

The following are some articles:


The Future of Anti-Terrorism Technologies


By James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

Making Big Bets

Technology is, of course, not the only answer to addressing the specter of transnational terrorism, but the technological answers we have today are inadequate to deal with the scope and potential severity of the threat. Rather than adapting technol­ogies to stay apace of evolving dangers and chang­ing tactics, we need to get ahead of the terrorists and develop “overmatching” security systems that protect the public, safeguard their liberties, and leave travel and commerce unencumbered.

Developing technologies that leap ahead of the terrorists requires vision and strategy, and a good strategy requires hard choices. It begins by estab­lishing criteria for selecting the most crucial tech­nological investments. In my mind, there should be three:

Seeking out technologies that can contribute to building a true national system that addresses all the challenges of terrorism from intelligence and early warning to domestic counterterrorism and response. It is unlikely that any country will have the resources it needs to address every security shortfall or law enforcement need. Thus, the first priority of a sound strategy should be to invest in technolo­gies that best leverage all the existing capabili­ties that are available by integrating them into a cohesive system.

Adopting technologies that get the “biggest bang for the buck.” Spending a little research, development, and procurement resources on many things may not buy much of anything. Husbanding and targeting investments on the technologies that can provide the most security for the resources invested, ones that are the most flexible, ones that contribute to address­ing a wide range of threats from kidnapping to catastrophic, is a better approach for stealing a march on the terrorists.

Reaching for “breakthrough” technologies. Terrorist groups have limited resources and limited means; thus, they are quick to refine their methods, improving on time-tested tech­niques, or improvise, seeking out new ways to strike or new targets to attack. In response, law enforcement officials update their investigatory techniques or implement new security mea­sures. Breaking the cycle of innovation and countermeasures between terrorism and coun­terterrorism calls for unprecedented innova­tion with which terrorists can simply not compete.

I want to suggest six candidates that meet these standards. They are (1) system integration technol­ogies; (2) biometrics; (3) non-lethal weapons; (4) data mining and link analysis technologies; (5) nanotechnology; and (6) directed-energy weapons.

In some cases, these technologies are fairly mature but are just finding their counterterrorism niche. Others show great potential but will still require many years of research and development before they are ready to become operational. Yet all share a common characteristic: They offer signifi­cant potential solutions to addressing the most pressing counterterrorism concerns.

“National” Technologies

My first two candidates clearly fit the first crite­rion for a counterterrorism technology strategy. They represent a family of capabilities that are essential for building national capabilities.

System Integration Technologies. One of the highest priorities for technological innovation ought to be simply getting the most out of the resources that are already available. That means adopting a new approach to counterterrorism oper­ations as well as the enabling technologies to sup­port it. This approach is often called “network-centric” operations.
Network-centric operations generate increased operational effectiveness by networking sensors, decision makers, law enforcement officials, and emergency responders to achieve shared awareness, increased speed of command, higher tempo of oper­ations, greater efficiency, increased security and safe­ty, reduced vulnerability to potential hostile action, and a degree of self-synchronization. In essence, this means linking knowledgeable entities from the local to the national levels in an integrated network that addresses counterterrorism missions ranging from intelligence and early warning to response and post-strike investigations and forensic analysis.

Systems integration technologies might produce significant efficiencies in terms of sharing skills, knowledge, and scarce high-value assets, building capacity and redundancy in a national counterter­rorism system as well as gaining the synergy of pro­viding a common operating picture to all law enforcement and emergency responders and being able to readily share information.[1]

Many of the technologies required to facilitate network-centric counterterrorism operations are already widely commercially available, including information technologies that facilitate passing high volumes of secure digital data, create ad hoc networks, integrate disparate databases, and link various communication systems over cable, fiber-optic, wireless, and satellite networks.

Biometrics. Identity is the linchpin of virtually all security and investigatory systems. Since Sep­tember 11, 2001, there has been increased interest in using biometrics for identity verification, espe­cially in the areas of visa and immigration docu­mentation and government-issued identification card programs.[2]

Biometrics are recorded measures of a unique physical or behavioral characteristic of individuals. They are thought to be more reliable and more dif­ficult to forget, lose, have stolen, falsified, or guessed since they are part of a person rather than an ID card, a personal identification number, or a password.

Biometrics can be used for verification or for identification. When a biometric is used to verify whether a person is who he or she claims to be, that verification is frequently referred to as “one-to-one” matching. Identification, by contrast, is known as “one-to-many” matching. In identification, a per­son’s presented biometric is compared with all of the biometric templates within a database.

There are five major types of mature biometric technologies. They include iris recognition, hand geometry, fingerprint recognition, face recognition, and voice recognition.

Iris recognition technology relies on the dis­tinctly colored ring that surrounds the pupil of the eye.

Hand geometry relies on measurements of the width, height, and length of the fingers; dis­tances between joints; and the shape of knuckles.
Fingerprint recognition technology is probably the most widely used and well-known biomet­ric. Fingerprint recognition relies on features found in the impressions made by distinct ridges on the fingertips.
Face recognition technology identifies individu­als by analyzing certain facial features such as the upper outlines of the eye sockets or sides of the mouth.

Voice recognition technology identifies people based on the differences in the voice resulting from physiological differences and learned speaking habits.

Researchers are also looking for other useful bio­metrics. Some of these emerging technologies include vein scans, facial thermography, DNA matching, odor sensing, blood pulse measurements, skin pattern recognition, nailbed identification, gait recognition, and ear shape recognition. Biometrics like vein scanning are just becoming commercially available, while others, such as ear shape recogni­tion, are recently started research projects.

“Biggest Bang for the Buck” Technologies

The next two categories of candidate technolo­gies that I want to mention fall under the second criterion for an aggressive counterterrorism tech­nology strategy: getting the “biggest bang for the buck.”

Non-lethal Weapons. One of the most signifi­cant challenges in the war on terrorism is that its battlefields are often the everyday world, where civilians and terrorists often stand side-by-side, where as much attention must be given to safe­guarding lives and property as to disrupting, appre­hending, or incapacitating terrorists. Non-lethal weapons may offer the military and law enforce­ment a new range of options for taking the battle to the terrorist without endangering others.

Non-lethal weapons are discriminate, explicitly designed and employed to incapacitate personnel or materiel while minimizing fatalities and undes­ired damage to property and environment. These weapons are actually a set of capabilities which have approximately three functions:

Counterpersonnel, which involves controlling crowds, incapacitating people, preventing access to specific areas, and removing people from facilities, buildings, or areas of operation;

Countermaterial, which may involve preventing vehicles, vessels, or aircraft from entering an area or disabling or neutralizing these means of transportation; and

Countercapabilities, which focuses on disabling or neutralizing facilities and systems, including those for weapons of mass destruction.
Today, non-lethal weapons technologies cover a broad spectrum, including areas related to the development of acoustics systems; chemicals (e.g., antitraction materials, dyes, markers, and malodor­ants); communications systems; electromagnetic and electrical systems; entanglement and other mechanical systems; information technologies; optical devices; non-penetrating projectiles and munitions; and many others.[3] It is also possible to combine non-lethal weapons with lethal ones or with electronic, psychological, and/or information warfare, making these other anti-terrorism tools more effective and discriminate.

Research by the U.S. military suggests four areas of non-lethal weapons development that show par­ticular promise. They are:
Calmatives and malodorants for controlling crowds and clearing facilities, developed and applied in accordance with U.S. treaty obliga­tions in the Chemical Weapons Convention;

Directed-energy systems beyond the vehicle-mounted active denial system (VMADS): high-power microwave (HPM) for stopping vehicles or vessels and solid-state lasers for advanced non-lethal weapons applications;
Novel and rapidly deployable marine barrier systems; and
Adaptation of unmanned or remotely piloted platforms and other sensors for non-lethal weapons applications, including intelligence collection and assessments.[4]

Data Mining and Link Analysis Technologies. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly awash in commercial and government informa­tion. The trail of the terrorist, however, is often indistinguishable from a mass of bills, license applications, visa forms, census records, and tele­phone lists. Traditional law enforcement investiga­tion techniques often begin with the identification of a suspected individual, followed by the labori­ous process of seeking out information related to that individual. As more and more information becomes available, this task becomes more and more problematic.

Technology, however, now has the potential to turn this challenge into an advantage. Rather than trying to narrow the scope of information that has to be looked at, data mining and link analysis tech­nologies work best by exploiting larger and larger amounts of information.

Data mining is a “technology for analyzing histor­ical and current online data to support informed decision making.”[5] It involves identifying patterns and anomalies from the observation of vast datasets. The primary goals of data mining are prediction and description. Prediction involves using some vari­ables or fields in the database to predict unknown or future values of other variables of interest, and description focuses on finding human-interpretable patterns describing the data. Description concerns increasing knowledge about a variable or dataset by finding related information.[6]

This second characteristic of data mining- description-is often referred to as link analysis. Whereas data mining attempts to identify anomalies in vast amounts of information, link analysis technol­ogies sift through databases to find commonalties.

Link analysis is a slightly different twist on data mining. In preventing a terrorist attack, it is critical that one understands the relationships among indi­viduals, organizations, and other entities which could be security threats. Link analysis is the pro­cess of analyzing the data surrounding the suspect relationships to determine how they are connect­ed-what links them together.

While the technology to conduct data mining is rapidly maturing, it is currently limited by its capacity to handle non-structured formats; i.e., those that are a mix of text, image, video, and sen­sor information. In addition, future algorithms will also need to incorporate the knowledge of human experts into their derivation of patterns.
“Breakthrough” Technologies

My final two candidate technologies definitely fit into the last category of an aggressive technology acquisition program. They offer two potential breakthroughs which could significantly reshape the nature of competition between terrorism and counterterrorism.

Nanotechnology. As a counterterrorism tool, nanotechnologies are in their infancies. Nanotech­nology involves developing or working with mate­rials and complete systems at the atomic, molecular, or macromolecular levels where at least one dimension falls with the range of 1-100 nanometers.[7] Working at such a small scale offers unique capabilities, such as being able to control how nanodevices interact with other systems at the atomic or molecular level.

Current research areas include materials, sensors, biomedical nanostructures, electronics, optics, and fabrication. Materials which have been modified at the nanoscale can have specific properties incorpo­rated into them. For instance, materials can have coatings that make them water-repellant or stain-resistant. According to a study by Daniel Ratner and Mark A. Ratner:

Nanoscale sensors are generally designed to form a weak chemical bond to the substance of whatever is to be sensed, and then to change their properties in response (that might be a color change or a change in conductivity, fluorescence, or weight).[8]

Biomedical nanostructures, by design, interact with people at the molecular level, allowing for tar­geted drug delivery, adhesive materials for skin grafts or bandages, etc. Nanoscale electronics can help to shrink computer circuits even further and to make them more efficient. Nanoscale optics allow once again for materials that fluoresce to be tuned at the nanoscale to change specific properties under certain conditions. Fabrication at the nanoscale offers the potential of creating devices from the atom up, as opposed to having to shrink materials down to the needed size.

According to a RAND report, there are numerous future applications for nanotechnology, though most face at least some technical hurdles. They include nanofabricated computational devices like nanoscale semiconductor chips, biomolecular devices, and molecular electronics.[9] If one includes integrated microsystems and micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) in the discussion, and one probably should, there are additional uses for nanotechnology, including smart systems-on-a-chip and micro- and nanoscale instrumentation and measurement technologies.[10]

While there are counterterrorism applications for all of the research areas, sensors are the most promising. Nanodevices offer the opportunity for fast, cheap, and accurate sensors and detectors, and markers that can be used for a wide range of foren­sic activities.

Directed-Energy Weapons. Active defenses such as directed-energy weapons could provide counter­terrorism protection for critical infrastructure.[11] Directed-energy weapons include a host of technol­ogies, including lasers and microwave radiation emitters. These weapons can inflict casualties and damage equipment by depositing energy on their intended target.

Compared with conventional weapons, which rely on the kinetic or chemical energy of a projectile, directed-energy weapons can hit a target with sub­atomic particles or electromagnetic waves that trav­el at speeds at or near the speed of light. They generate very high power beams and typically use a single optical system both to track a target and to focus the beam on the target in order to destroy it.[12]

Lasers-the most mature form of directed-ener­gy weapon that can counter airborne threats-form intense beams of light that can be precisely aimed across many kilometers to disable a wide range of targets, from satellites to missiles and aircraft to ground vehicles.[13] Additionally, the laser beam can be redirected by mirrors to hit targets not visible from the source, all without compromising much of the beam’s initial power.

Such systems could evolve to provide active defenses against a wide array of potential threats from artillery, rockets, mortars, missiles, and low-flying unmanned aerial vehicles to improvised explosive devices. For example, these weapons could be deployed at airports to defend planes from attacks by shoulder-fired missiles (and by make­shift rockets and missiles) during takeoff and land­ing-the times when aircraft are most vulnerable.

With most airports located in or near major urban centers, directed-energy weapons could help to address the near impossibility of providing ade­quate, credible security zones around airports. Fur­thermore, they could defend coastal airports from attacks launched from a commercial or private ship loitering offshore-a potentially ideal platform for launching precision strikes. Several countries, including the United States, already have these sys­tems under development.[14]


How Technology Fights Terrorism


Yesterday we reflected on 9/11 and honored the thousands killed in New York, Washington, D.C. and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It was an intensely personal day, one that crescendoed into a chorus of shared emotion and remembrance.

The commitment to ensure that such a catastrophic act of terror never happens again involves not just preventing a repeat of the past, but also imagining what else is possible and making sure that doesn’t happen either.

This has spurred innovation in many directions, from processing and analyzing data at speeds we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago to devising nearly foolproof recognition software to designing skyscrapers that can survive the level of devastation that brought down two of America’s tallest buildings.

Here are some of the ways we’ve moved forward in coping with an increasingly turbulent world:

Risk assessment: It’s one thing to accumulate massive amounts of data from all over the world; it’s another to make sense of it. But supercomputers using risk-assessment software have become much more sophisticated in recognizing travel and language patterns and in analyzing links between people, places and events. That becomes the basis of risk profiles and watchlists used at airports and borders. But the computers can still struggle with interpreting local jargon and metaphors. And, unfortunately, people who aren’t suspicious at all can still turn up on watchlists.

Reading faces: Face recognition software is making a leap forward from 2-D to 3-D scanning. For a computer to analyze facial “landmarks” using 2-D software, the person in the photo pretty much had to be looking straight into the camera. But 3D facial recognition software can adapt flat images, using distinctive features—such as curves of the eye socket or the nose–to identify someone. Other recognition methods coming into play are “surface texture analysis,” which uses a “skinprint” of pores, skin texture and scars to identify someone, and identification through the iris of a person’s eye. The latter is now used at only a handful of airports around the world, but will be tested at two yet-unnamed U.S. airports later this year.

Body scanning: People worried about the new airport body scanners revealing a little too much of their naked selves will be happy to know that a machine being tested at London’s Heathrow Airport makes you look a lot like Gumby.

Speaking the language: There’s long been a language barrier for American troops in Afghanistan, but Lockheed Martin has developed a Dial-a-Translator system called LinGO Link. Soldiers in the field use a customized smart phone to connect, over secure lines, to a bank of translators who can interpret, in real time, what’s being said.

Crisis control: One of the more disturbing lessons learned on 9/11 was that first responders had a very hard time communicating with each other. Commanders inside the World Trade Center didn’t have a clear idea of what was happening outside. But now the city has a high-tech Fire Department Operations Center, which will help prevent the situation 10 years ago when too many ambulances were dispatched to the Twin Towers. Now commanders in the operation center can use GPS tracking which displays on maps all of the vehicles dispatched to a disaster scene.

Safer skyscrapers: None of us will ever forget watching the Twin Towers collapse into a mountain of debris. The failure occurred partly because the planes severed the buildings’ sprinkler systems, allowing the fires to burn and fatally weaken the structure. Skyscrapers of the future are being designed to ensure that never happens again. Now sprinkler supply lines are being located within an impact-resistant core. Also, new buildings are being constructed with steel floor structures designed to resist collapse. And new skyscrapers are being built with fast “lifeboat” elevators that can rush people from high floors directly to the lobby.

Rise of the robots: Little robots called Packbots got their baptism under fire digging through the rubble of the World Trade Center and proved their value for search and rescue missions in unsafe environments. Earlier this year they were used to inspect damage at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Now smaller versions—so small they can fit into a backpack—are in demand in Afghanistan. If a soldier wants to see what’s in a building, he just tosses the robot inside, then controls its movements while watching what its camera sees. The Defense Department is impressed enough that it’s likely to order as many as 5,000 of the little machines.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s