Pentagon reviews responses to call for anti-terror technology

Defense Department officials are reviewing more than 12,000 responses to their broad appeal last fall for new technological ideas to help combat global terrorism.

The undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics and the interagency Technical Support Working Group jointly issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) on Oct. 23, seeking concepts that could be developed within 12 to 18 months. The announcement specifically requested ideas for fighting terrorism, defeating difficult targets, conducting protracted operations in remote areas, and developing countermeasures to weapons of mass destruction.

By the Dec. 23 deadline for initial submissions, the Pentagon had received nearly 12,500 one-page proposals, according to Maj. Michael Halbig, a Defense Department spokesman. Halbig declined comment on specific ideas that had been submitted because the Pentagon does not make such information public during the contracting process.

The Pentagon will not be able to determine how many contracts it will award until it has reviewed all the proposals.

"It will take a while to go through them," Halbig said, adding that there is no set time frame for the contracting process. Prospective contractors whose ideas look promising will be given 30 days to submit a 12-page white paper explaining their concepts in more detail.

The Pentagon expects to issue two more BAAs in March. "This is their normal way of doing business," Halbig said, adding that while the October announcement was prompted in part by the Sept. 11 attacks, most of the ideas would have been sought anyway.

Halbig said the goal is to combat terrorism at home and abroad. "It does not have a border," he said.

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