Defense wants more details on 600 antiterrorism ideas

Pete Aldridge asked industry to submit ideas for antiterrorism products that could be fielded within 12 to 18 months.

The Defense Department has completed its evaluation of thousands of responses from industry, submitted in the months after Sept. 11, to develop technologies to combat terrorism.

Members of the multiagency Technology Support Working Group have identified 600 proposals out of more than 12,500 it considers 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.

Last October, Defense officials put out a broad agency announcement asking small and large businesses to submit proposals. Among the nearly 600 DOD considered promising:
  • 190 were for technology to prevent and combat terrorism;

  • 20 were aimed at locating and attacking difficult targets;

  • 120 were for systems to conduct lengthy operations in remote areas;

  • 260 were intended to 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 in 12 to 18 months.

A few of the ideas for which the group sought system or product proposals 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 to 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 and Energy Department.

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