Since the events of 9/11, America has been widely and deeply broadening its homeland security capabilities. One area that this has been occurring in is in the ability to detect an attack and respond quickly to save lives.
MIT Technology Review, 18 March 2008, reports on a new sensor system that can “detect six potential airborne bioterror agents” within three minutes.
The “new detector uses living cells that light up in the presence of airborne bioterror agents such as anthrax and smallpox” as well as botulinum, ricin and two other bacteria.
“The company selling the sensor, Innovative Biosensors of Rockville, MD, is marketing it for use in airports and other buildings, including laboratories where research on dangerous pathogens is performed.”
“The company has a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense for building security in the Washington, DC area.” And one would imagine that similar precautions are being taken in other major metropolitan areas in the country.
This is serious business and Innovative Biosensors is taking no chances. “The system can run 16 tests simultaneously, one in each chamber of the disc…when at least two chambers are devoted to each pathogen, there are no false positives.”
Certainly, we will continue to mature our homeland defenses. To do this, all agencies involved in homeland security must grow and develop their enterprise architectures. As with the new sensor system, protecting this country cannot be done by human factors alone, but will require ever greater technological sophistication to monitor the “bad guys” and prevent, protect, respond to, and recover from any threats.
Our adversaries will not resist using technology to harm us—whether through improvised explosive devises or attacks on our networks—and we will need every technological advantage we can get to defeat them.
One way to maintain our technology edge is through the rigors of enterprise architecture. This discipline is critical in developing a well thought-out business and technology plan, making sound IT investments, and governing our IT with care and diligence.
While at times it may seem that this great country has limitless resources, the truth is that all resources are finite and we must put those to the best uses, so that the technology we develop and deploy truly enables the mission of protecting this honored country and its noble citizens.