Report urges defense to help with domestic technologies

The Defense Department should help the Homeland Security Department develop technologies to fight disasters or terrorism, the National Academies of Science National Research Council said in a report released Thursday.

"Many of the needs of emergency-response personnel could be addressed by technologies developed by the Army and other military services, so [Homeland Security] and [Defense] should partner to answer these needs," committee Chairman John Lyons said in a statement. Lyons is a retired director of the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md. The report identifies the Army as the service with the most experience in providing support to civilian authorities.

The report, which is based on analysis from March, praised the Bush administration's efforts on homeland security but criticized its lack of planning.

"The paradigm for conducting the overseas 'homeland defense' phase of this war [on terrorism] is well understood," the report said. "However, at home the situation is much different. As of this writing ... no coherent planning paradigm or operational model for homeland security yet exists."

The report added that although a "national operational concept" for emergency response is being developed, no fully approved comprehensive framework exists to pull together the efforts of federal, state and local responders. "While much has been done in homeland security, there is much more to accomplish," it said.

The academy specifically highlights the military's strength in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or so-called C4ISR. "The committee believes that C4ISR is a high-payoff capability that offers great return on investment for the nation," it said, while acknowledging that other conclusions could be reached with more analysis.

The committee recommends that the Army, coordinating with Defense, work with Homeland Security to create a process for collaboration and sharing between the Army and Homeland Security. The panel also recommended assisting Homeland Security in establishing the research, development, testing and evaluation infrastructure to support emergency responders.

The recommendation also calls for finding common areas of science and technology collaboration, with a focus on the development of architecture to enable the integration of the technologies into a system. And finally, the committee suggested establishing a process for joint operations, including training and exercises, shared standards, and systems that can communicate with each other.

The report highlights the different ways the Army and the emergency-responder community acquire technologies. Defense has a "very well-developed" model with formal procedures and management, while emergency responders go through local purchasing agents with varied or no formal procedures.

Defense "had the most experience in coming up with new technologies for security, so they're the logical place to start," said James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But he added that the department may not accept because of past public outcry about its research on a database technology known as Total Information Awareness, or TIA.

The department "will see the letters T, I, and A glowing in the sky in red," Lewis said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.