Sky marshals, metal detectors and multiple identification checks may increase security in the corporeal world, but guarding the nation's information superhighway requires different tactics. And in the information age, homeland security must extend into the digital realm, or even a tiny crack could allow adversaries into some of the most important systems in the world today.
The U.S. Defense Department is introducing a new tool to protect military installations by transforming force-protection information sharing from a hierarchical, service-centric model to a network-centric model. The system will allow subscribers to have a common awareness of all suspicious events that are taking place in their vicinity.
Information operations are coming of age, moving through the exploration stage of adolescence and forward toward a future that some experts believe should feature ubiquitous integration. Although computer systems have already proved their ability to influence the nature of warfare, the maturation of doctrine and technologies is likely to bring with it even more substantial changes in the way the military conducts operations.
The debates over information operations have shifted from academia and Pentagon studies, military exercises and computer simulations to joint warfare over the sands of Iraq. This is the first opportunity to document and evaluate the role information actually plays in evolving military transformation into truly joint operations.
The U.S. Coast Guard is using a nautical tracking and collision avoidance system to monitor cargo ships entering American ports. Operating on internationally accepted standards, the technology permits law enforcement and intelligence agencies to automatically query data such as a vessel's cargo, crew roster, port of origin and destination.
The Washington, D.C., Beltway sniper shootings, military campaigns abroad and steadily increasing terrorist alerts have inspired the creation of a law enforcement tool that promises to improve security in local jurisdictions and on the battlefield.
Technology may be the key to ensuring that the public can respond quickly if a chemical or biological weapons attack occurs. Until recently, the U.S. population, protected by two oceans, had not given much thought to terrorism or to the intentional release of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials. Occasionally, industrial or hazardous material accidents occur. However, these types of situations are usually dealt with through local emergency response teams to minimize the impact on the lives and health of the surrounding population.
Information security researchers at George Washington University are studying new ways to strengthen identification authentication processes while keeping transactions as simple as possible. The techniques involve deliberate perturbations of traditional authentication processes and can be applied to password, token and biometric systems alike.
The science-fiction image of robot warriors engaging in decisive battlefield conflicts may be closer to reality with the development of new robotic technologies. Researchers are sending autonomous vehicles up stairs, through fields and across a nation as they work toward mobile machines that can learn new behaviors while operating independently of human control.
Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley have developed an approach to information security and sharing that combines the power of the Internet with a memory-sharing system and creates a globally distributed hard drive that is accessible to millions of users. The information would remain intact even when servers fail, natural disasters strike, malicious attacks are launched or all three occur simultaneously.