Call for Anti-terrorism Ideas Showing Fruit

4 Dec 2001 |

DoD wanted the good ideas Americans had in combating terrorism. Officials issued a broad agency announcement in early November to solicit their ideas.

The announcement searches for ideas in combating terrorism, conducting protracted operations in remote areas, defeating difficult targets and developing countermeasures to weapons of mass destruction. The response has been almost overwhelming, officials said.

DoD puts out these announcements all the time, but the public interest isn't normally what it has been for this one. In March, DoD issued two announcements to roughly 300 registered users and received roughly 900 submissions, officials said.

As of Nov. 29, DoD had received more than 8,000 registered users for the terrorism announcement, said Jeff David, deputy director of the Technical Support Working Group. "The BAA has been downloaded more than 80,000 times, and we have already received more than 700 submissions."

Prior experience shows that more than 90 percent of suggestions that will be received come in the last two days of the announcement. David expects up to 20,000 submissions from the announcement, "but in reality, we aren't sure," he said. The deadline for suggestions is 4 p.m. Eastern time Dec. 23.

The office's mission is to conduct a national interagency research and development program for combating terrorism. The idea is the office solicits ideas, evaluates them and then shepherds the most promising "rapidly" through the process. "By 'rapid,' I mean that we identify a requirement and then, within two years, try to field that capability," David said.

While many suggestions come from contractors, one promising idea came "from a guy in a garage," said John Reingruber of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict.

Reingruber immediately forwarded the idea to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. The person there immediately forwarded the idea to "one of our war-fighting generals." He hasn't heard the result of the action and cannot give specifics. "But I've been in that office for a long time, and it's rare that I see something that I think is really new and interesting, and this one definitely was," he said.

He said the suggestion was an innovative application of technology. "We were very pleased with it," Reingruber said. "It's one of those cases where ... you come in with an idea, and someone says, 'Aren't people already doing this? This is so obvious.' But no, no one had ever thought of it."

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