The coming conference on technologies for homeland security may be the most important one in years
DALLAS (Feb. 25, 2013) – Fears abound the next fiscal cliff bringing sequestration and decimating the federal defense budget by $50Billion will cripple US homeland security. “We could be in for a heap of trouble,” said one defense contractor who didn’t want to be identified, “many major gains we have made with this nation’s security since 9/11 will be in limbo. We have done a great job so far of keeping Americans safe, even hunting down and killing terrorists, but new terrorists are now eying our current weaknesses.”
Now the next IEEE conference on homeland security technologies, (HST13, that each year tackles terrorists challenges), is faced with these questions. One conference committee member is reassuring, saying that funding for many programs has already been allocated for this year. Still others are suggesting private sector financing be integrated to support government initiatives.
One of the highlights of last year’s conference was the subject of rapid DNA analysis that will revolutionize the field of forensics by allowing DNA profiles to be generated in ±80 minutes outside of a laboratory environment by non-experts. Making the presentation was Melissa May, senior director of strategic planning for NetBio in Waltham, Massachusetts. “It’s a lab on a chip,” said May, “with a person in custody, we can collect their sample and determine, before we have to release them, whether or not they are associated with a crime.”
May spoke by phone from her office near Boston on the ScienceNews Radio Network program aired today, the Promise of Tomorrow with Colonel Mason. The program originates in Dallas, Texas, and is now archived and Webcast for its world audience.
The question now is whether congress will solve the defense problem this time or “just continue to kick the hornet’s nest down the road,” Mason said. Many believe a deal will happen soon because House republicans blocking a resolution are worried they will be blamed by voters as stubborn and careless, such as in 1994 when a block led by republican congressman Newt Gingrich shut down the government. “It took the GOP several years to recover politically from that move,” said Mason.
Vital to US and world security, the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security will be held at the Westin Waltham hotel in Waltham, Mass., USA, 12-14 November, 2013. For more information and to register, visit www.ieee-hst.org.