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DoD Seeks Technology For Anti-Terrorism Fight

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2004 – The Defense Department is seeking out technology suitable for use in combating terrorism, a senior DoD official said here April 8.

In fact, much of the progress in the war on terror has come from technological developments, Peter F. Verga noted to attendees at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association luncheon.

Verga, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, explained that DoD invests almost $100 million annually in the Technical Support Working Group a department-run forum that gathers "information on new ideas that may be useful in the war on terrorism."

Some TSWG-sourced ideas, Verga noted, include blast-resistant building designs, countermeasures against explosives and weapons of mass destruction, personal- protection equipment, and equipment for military and civilian emergency- response teams for chemical incidents.

"All of those ideas started and were put through the TSWG process," Verga said.

Verga noted another DoD initiative, the Combating Terrorism Technology Task Force, was formed within a week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. That task force first found suitable technologies to employ for homeland defense and in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, he said.

Now, he continued, the task force is identifying and accelerating technology -- such as explosives detection devices -- suitable for protection of troop convoys moving along roads in Iraq.

Verga said he also works closely with the Department of Homeland Security's undersecretary for science and technology, helping to find technology that can be used by state and local first responders, such as night-vision and thermal- imaging devices, information-sharing systems and biometric identification systems.

"All of those are technologies developed for DoD purposes that are relevant and have applicability in the homeland security mission," he concluded.

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