Tags: 'Manhattan | Project' | Apparent | Terror | War

No 'Manhattan Project' Apparent in Terror War

Friday, 17 May 2002 12:00 AM

No simple silver bullet, the atomic bomb of the war on terrorism is seen by the experts as a sophisticated mix of tools, including: software, systems, and analytical resources to track terrorists; sensors to detect nuclear, biological, chemical, and cyber threats; and endless parades of gadgetry such as cutting edge bio-metric devices (facial-recognition technologies).

Carnegie and other war-watchers note a lot of tax dollars out the door with only modest gains in bringing the latent power and ingenuity of private enterprise online in a dramatic way.

On the heels of 9-11, the Pentagon received nearly $18 billion for its anti-terrorism campaign – on top of its regular 2002 appropriations. Since then, the Pentagon has tapped Congress for $14 billion more to see out the current fiscal year and asked to increase the defense budget by $48 billion in fiscal 2003.

But the biggest chunks of this cash go to the expensive proposition of fighting the war in Afghanistan, as well as other odds and ends like improving harbor security and building roads in the Philippines to aid in hunting terrorists in that country.

On the home front, there is nearly $38 billion earmarked for homeland security in the administration’s fiscal year 2003 budget. However, forecast the experts, by the time this largesse drains down to the many federal, state and local agencies with their hands out, the cash left over for technological development will be relatively modest.

The Washington, D.C., law firm Buchanan Ingersoll has a proposal on the table that might serve as a model to better harness the talent lurking in the private sector.

The firm wants an anti-bioterrorism technology development venture capital fund that would funnel U.S. dollars to venture capital professionals who would shake out the most promising technologies for identifying and containing potential biological attacks.

At the top of the shopping list: new bio-analytical devices that can determine whether pathogens reside in food. Taking 30 minutes rather than hours to determine whether a terrorist with a bacterium or lethal chemical has adulterated a food product would save lives.

According to Carnegie, both the Pentagon and Tom Ridge, director of Homeland Security, know well the value of private talent and have begun to fund new private-sector ventures that can satisfy immediate and longer-term tactical and strategic needs.

However, the rub is that the mechanisms in place are still too modest.

For instance, the Technical Support Working Group at the Pentagon, which coordinates DoD interaction with private-sector technology developers, received 12,405 proposals for new technologies in the war on terrorism between October 2001 and January 2002. (Similar requests for proposals have in the past garnered 900 to 1,000 responses). However, this key office funds only about $70 million in such projects a year.

Another example is the Central Intelligence Agency’s venture fund In-Q-Tel, Inc.

At In-Q-Tel, Inc., applications for funding have gone from approximately 700 during the first 30 months of the organization’s existence to over 1,000 during the last six.

In-Q-Tel, Inc., which is interested in Internet search engines, analytical software, and security and privacy technologies, has only funded about 20 ventures in its short existence and allocates only about $30 million a year for investment purposes.

All this, say the experts, leaves a vacuum that, irrespective of government initiatives, private enterprise might yet fill.

During the last half of the 1990s, U.S. venture investment increased 20-fold, reaching a peak of $102.3 billion in 2000. These amounts fell dramatically in 2001 to approximately $38 billion.

This attractive pot of money is still vastly greater than many of the federal budget’s most significant new technology development programs.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
No simple silver bullet, the atomic bomb of the war on terrorism is seen by the experts as a sophisticated mix of tools, including: software, systems, and analytical resources to track terrorists; sensors to detect nuclear, biological, chemical, and cyber threats; and...
'Manhattan,Project',Apparent,Terror,War
600
2002-00-17
Friday, 17 May 2002 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved