DARPA boosts info awareness
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Feb 17, 2002
Information Exploitation Office
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."