Skip to comments.Pentagon Fishes for Good Ideas to Thwart Terror
Posted on 10/26/2001 9:08:52 AM PDT by 74dodgedart
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon (news - web sites) cast a wide net on Thursday for bright ideas on thwarting terrorism, seeking to pick the brains of just about everyone from tinkerers in their garages to big corporations worldwide.
The Defense Department said it was seeking help in ''defeating difficult targets, conducting protracted operations in remote areas and developing countermeasures to weapons of mass destruction.''
The goal is to find concepts that could be developed and fielded in 12 to 18 months, much faster than normal Pentagon purchasing and deployment timetables.
U.S. officials from President Bush (news - web sites) down have said they fear more terrorist attacks after the Sept. 11 hijack attacks that killed more than 5,000 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on a crashed flight in Pennsylvania.
Laying out an unusually straightforward, three-step process for entering the competition, the Pentagon called for one-page concept descriptions by Dec. 23. Those retained will be asked to provide up to 12 pages of details in a second phase.
The department then would invite those with the most promising ideas to submit full proposals ``that may form the basis for a contract,'' the statement said.
``We're open to ideas from just about everybody,'' added Glenn Flood, a Pentagon spokesman. More information on the process has been posted at http://www.bids.tswg.gov/.
Jacques Gansler, who served as the Pentagon's acquisition chief under former President Bill Clinton, said similar approaches had worked well for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon's chief research and development arm.
``The beauty of it is you can get a broad range of people thinking out of the box,'' he said. ``Often you'll get ideas from inventors'' as well as from big defense contractors.
Generally, the Defense Department spells out, often in excruciating detail, what it wants to buy when it solicits bids for a project.
In throwing a competition wide open without spelling out what it had in mind, the Defense Department was hoping to unleash creative solutions to old problems typically handled in less innovative ways, he said.
``They're saying, 'I've got a problem. Help me solve it','' said Gansler, now at the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs.
Unfortunately, as the lady observed, "a head is a head is a head". Medical technology hasn't currently advanced to the point where a CATSCAN can make a quick and accurate post-mortem evaluation of a head. We still can't sift through whatever crude or funky, or demented or fine, ideas any non-living head may once have been filled with.
I'm also not aware of any ritual tatooes, or other identifying marks or scars, that would let you clearly distinguish among Taliban, and Turkish, Tunisian, Tajik, or Taoist heads.
So a bounty on heads is just that, a bounty on heads. And $10,000 is a whole lot of incentive to separate them from any set of shoulders they might currently be connected to.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.