Tech part of anti-terror plan

Even before the tragedies of Sept. 11, the Defense Department was working on 21st-century plan that included homeland security.

The Pentagon's "Blueprint for Transformation of the Department of Defense to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century," addressed the problems facing the nation in protecting itself from attack in the United States and abroad, said Christopher Mellon, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for intelligence.

The report recognizes that "our adversaries seek to target us here," Mellon told attendees of the Executive Leadership Conference of the Industry Advisory Council Oct. 15.

Mellon said technology and information systems hold the key to protecting the country from terrorism and other threats. But to meet the challenge, DOD is "going to have to transform itself."

"[Information technology] holds the vast potential for maximizing the work of our men and women in uniform," Mellon said.

"Clearly," he told the IT executives from government and industry, "the department is going to need your expertise, your resources, your ability more than we ever have before."

Mellon also told the gathering that part of the threat comes from globalization, but that "no other country has responsibilities across the globe as the United States does."

The conference in Hershey, Pa., focused on e-government, but the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks formed an undercurrent of discussion at every session.

Historian Michael Beschloss also told the group that IT will be at the forefront of the war effort to quash terrorism worldwide.

"Technology will be an important component of fighting the war," Beschloss said.

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