DOD looks closer at promising technologies

DOD looks closer at promising technologies

Nearly eight months after it released a request to industry for help developing technologies to combat terrorism, the Defense Department will now take the next step.

Members of the multiagency Technology Support Working Group have been sifting through more than 12,500 responses and has identified 600 proposals it considered promising. The group asked the companies that submitted them to create white papers on their proposals and expand on details, including costs.

'We are now at a point where we are trying to ask for specific numbers and move on some of those ideas,' said Deidre A. Lee, director of Defense procurement.

During this phase, ideas will be more closely scrutinized to see if they are feasible, said Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Halbig, a Defense spokesman. As the white papers come in, the working group will narrow the pool further.

Defense officials have asked for technologies that will prevent and combat terrorism, attack difficult targets, conduct protracted operations in remote areas and develop countermeasures to weapons of mass destruction.

Pete Aldridge, Defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, and head of the working group, asked for new products and applications that could be fielded within 12 to 18 months.

The chosen ideas for which the group sought white papers included:

  • a system that, using an integrated database and data mining tools, could identify patterns and trends of terrorist groups and predict their behavior

  • a portable polygraph machine to conduct impromptu interviews

  • a screening system with integrated sensors to alert officials of someone carrying chemical or radiological weapons.

  • 'We received an incredible outpouring of interest from all over the globe,' Halbig said.

    The working group is made up of 80 federal agencies including DOD, the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, Federal Aviation Administration and Energy Department.

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