National Security and Intelligence
|Sensor Systems for Biological Agent Attacks: Protecting Buildings and Military Bases
Over the last ten years, there has been growing concern about potential biological attacks on the nation s population and its military facilities. It is now possible to detect such attacks quickly enough to permit treatment of potential victims prior to the onset of symptoms. The capability to detect to warn , that is in time to take action to minimize human exposure, however, is still lacking. To help achieve such a capability, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to assess the development path for detect to warn sensors systems. This report presents the results of this assessment including analysis of scenarios for protecting facilities, sensor requirements, and detection technologies and systems. Findings and recommendations are provided for the most probable path to achieve a detect-to-warn capability and potential technological breakthroughs that could accelerate its attainment.
|Defending the U.S. Air Transportation System Against Chemical and Biological Threats
Historically, most terrorist attacks on civilian targets have involved the use of firearms or explosives, and current defensive strategies are aimed at preventing attacks perpetrated by such means. However, the use of the nerve agent sarin in 1995 to attack the Tokyo subway system, the use of the U.S. mail in 2001 to distribute letters containing anthrax spores, and the discovery in 2004 of the biological toxin ricin in U.S. Senate Office Buildings in Washington, D.C., demonstrate that chemical and biological agents have been added to terrorists' arsenals. Attacks involving chemical/biological agents are of great concern, not only because of the potential for mass casualties but also because there is no strategy or technology fielded today that can respond adequately to this threat. As the United States and other countries reassess the security measures they have in place to prevent or defend against such attacks, the risks to the air transportation system as a primary target become clear. Defending the U.S. Air Transportation System Against Chemical and Biological Threats is an exploration of defensive strategies that could be used to protect air transportation spaces (specifically, airport terminals and aircraft) against attack with chemical or biological agents and makes recommendations with respect to the role of TSA in implementing these strategies.
|Summary of a Workshop on the Technology, Policy, and Cultural Dimensions of Biometric Systems
Biometrics the use of physiological and behavioral characteristics for identification purposes has been promoted as a way to enhance security and identification efficiency. There are questions, however, about, among other issues, the effectiveness of biometric security measures, usability, and the social impacts of biometric technologies. To address these and other important questions, the NRC was asked by DARPA, the DHS, and the CIA to undertake a comprehensive assessment of biometrics that examines current capabilities, future possibilities, and the role of the government in their developments. As a first step, a workshop was held at which a variety of views about biometric technologies and systems were presented. This report presents a summary of the workshop s five panels: scientific and technical challenges; measurement, statistics, testing, and evaluation; legislative, policy, human, and cultural factors; scenarios and applications; and technical and policy aspects of information sharing. The results of this workshop coupled with other information will form the basis of the study s final report.