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Countering Terrorism with the Help of Information Technology

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Introduction

Countering Terrorism with the Help of Information Technology Shane Schulze Review Topic #1, Article #1 What steps are needed for a nation to prevent terrorist threats being carried out? In a recent article by a few of DARPA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) managers, that answer is using IT (Information Technology). Robert Popp, Thomas Armour, Ted Senator, and Kristen Numrych state that the DARPA's goal is to "empower users within the foreign intelligence and counterterrorism communities with IT" so that the decision makers can make informed choices. The need for this information to be 100% accurate is vital not only for the United States national security but for the integrity of our government. DARPA is a United States Military program that pursues high payoff research that can be applied to government policies. They continuously research advanced technologies with a high enthusiasm from each of their department managers. They encourage these radical innovations by steadily rotating their managers in and out of the company every 4 years thereby injecting a great amount of energy into their programs. New people come in with fresh ideas and are able to quickly start them with an extremely large budget (2004 annual budget of $2.9 billion). They are also able to sponsor far reaching technology explorations through other organizations. They just recently sponsored the DARPA Challenge in April, 2004; in which contestants were challenged to manufacture a fully automated vehicles that could travel from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with no help from their human creators for a $1,000,000 prize. ...read more.

Middle

One perspective and one policy must be chosen and proven in order for this tool to operate correctly. Once these principles have been established, communications will flow faster and more smoothly as too much time is currently wasted on researching when immediate information is demanded. However, the requirement of using a synchronized set of tools the methods must be consistently challenged to ensure that the tools are always valid. Always questioning the set methods will allow the users to find out if any fixes are needed due to outlining problems or outdated practices. The use of tools in pattern analysis is important to assist in the flagging of potentially illegal activities. The theory behind this is that terrorists must participate in certain activities to carry out their plans, i.e. destructive methods, financing. These activities leave sparse pieces of embedded information that can be detectable and when assembled with already recognized suspected movements it will send a warning to an analyst. A great assistant to a pattern analyst is the use of graphical illustrations. These help analyst's discover and visualize the networks created by the flagged information. This is more practical in larger information pools as data can easily be lost in the text and the connecting lines can make things be more noticeable. Foreign languages are the third area that DARPA has focused it's IT on. ...read more.

Conclusion

was bombing a small town in Iraq that supposedly was hiding one of the former military leaders. The bombs were sent, buildings destroyed, and people were killed; but not the right ones. The leader was later shown on TV alive. So the U.S. had made a decision with the information that was given to them and they made a mistake. Not only does this waste our time and resources and it makes the U.S. look extremely poor in the eyes of our allied nations. The failed search for WMD's (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq also didn't help as our country is perceived now as a "evil power" to more people. The government is trying to make the analyst's work totally computerized, thereby trying to regulate everything from a small lab in a secure area. A part of the reason terrorists such as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have so successful in eluding capture is that there is no element in the guidelines to verify the information is correct. In the past these elements were spies that penetrated the groups to validate the information. Granted that having a analyst doing this work eliminates the risk involved but there needs to be human factors contributing to the research continuously. Overall, the article from DARPA's group was very interesting as I am a great admirer of their agency. The ideas and technologies generated by there group are truly incredible, beneficial to the U.S. and I'm sure that these IT tools are no different. ...read more.

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