[ISN] DARPA boosts info awareness

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 22:33:40 PST

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    By Dan Caterinicchia 
    Feb. 18, 2002
    The events of Sept. 11, combined with the constantly evolving world of
    information technology, inspired the Defense Advanced Research
    Projects Agency to open a new office focused on providing
    informational awareness for national security.
    The new Information Awareness Office was formally established in
    mid-January. Its mission is to develop and demonstrate information
    technologies designed to counter "asymmetric threats," such as
    terrorist attacks.
    The IAO will attempt to achieve that goal by providing "total
    information awareness" that can be used for national security warning
    and decision-making, as well as preempting nefarious acts, according
    to the office's evolving Web site (www.darpa.mil/iao).
    John Poindexter, national security adviser to former President Reagan,
    is the director of the new agency, said Jan Walker, DARPA spokeswoman,
    confirming reports by the New York Times. Before joining DARPA to lead
    the IAO, Poindexter served as senior vice president of information
    systems at Syntek Technologies Inc., an Arlington, Va.-based technical
    services firm.
    Walker said the new office is exploring how myriad technologies can
    help it achieve its mission including:
    * Biometrics, speech recognition and machine translation.
    * Collaboration technologies that would help decision makers share the 
      same data to make quick decisions.
    * Knowledge discovery.
    * DARPA's ongoing asymmetric threats program, which includes things 
      such as last year's terrorists attacks.
    "DARPA changes office structure every two to three years, based on
    technologies," Walker said. "As technology becomes more up and coming
    or more mature, we put together an office focused on that technology."
    DARPA had been developing and using the IAO technologies under
    different offices before Sept. 11 and recognized the challenges that
    they, along with other things such as biological warfare, pose to the
    defense community.
    The terrorist attacks "validated those as challenges and refocused our
    energy and attention on them," Walker said.
    The Bush administration's fiscal 2003 budget proposal for the Defense
    Department calls for significant research and development funding
    increases, but specific numbers for the new office are not yet
    available, Walker said.
    Another new DARPA office created in the aftermath of Sept. 11 is the
    Information Exploitation Office (IXO), Walker said. The office's
    mission is to develop sensors and systems with "application to battle
    space awareness, targeting, command and control, and the supporting
    infrastructure required to address land-based threats in a dynamic,
    closed-loop process."
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