Flash Gordon Left Me The Keys

The TEST OF ALL MOTHERS

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

 
Think Tank Taps Defense Dollars

A 12-member think tank within Sandia National Laboratories hopes to become the star technology-solution center for the government's security concerns.

Sandia grew out of the Manhattan Project, America's push to develop the atomic bomb during World War II. While many of Sandia's daily operations still center on nuclear weapons development and management, the lab is shifting its focus to the hot-button field of security. The Advanced Concepts Group think tank is looking ahead to all kinds of possible national and global security threats -- and trying to determine what the lab can do to counter them.

"ACG is focused on developing solutions to future national security threats and problems that don't yet exist," said Gerry Yonas, vice president and principal scientist at Sandia in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "(With ACG) we speed up the new idea generation and exploration process within Sandia, and stimulate creativity outside the day-to-day lab requirements."

Since 1999, ACG members have been paid exclusively to think. Their mandate is to create big ideas to meet constantly changing and complex U.S. defense priorities. The PhDs, MBAs, engineers, social scientists -- and even an artist -- who are members serve two-year stints.

Sandia is funded primarily by the Department of Energy (to the tune of $1.5 billion per year), but the lab still must seek nearly $500 million to meet this year's budget. The Department of Defense, with a yearly budget of nearly $380 billion, is a primary target as Sandia searches for additional funding.

"As with everyone else in the defense industry, Sandia has been looking at their current capabilities and how these can be retooled to the homeland security market," said John E. Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a defense consultancy.

Yonas, with more than 30 years in the defense industry under his belt, worked on the Strategic Defense Initiative (remember President Reagan's Star Wars program?) and today leads ACG. His goal is to "infect" the rest of the Sandia organization with ideas created within ACG.

For instance, Yonas describes a smart network in development at Sandia that came out of ACG. It is formed by tiny sensors that can "see, decide, act and communicate" with one another and with humans, military terminology that's referred to as "SDAC."

The network forms an electronic skin that covers an area as large as several miles, collecting real-time, ubiquitous, persistent information about the area, terrain and even enemy location. Yonas would like policy makers to imagine these sensors dropped into hostile territory, like the mountains of Afghanistan or the cities of Iraq, delivering information to U.S. troops long before an invasion begins.

"It seems that the brain trust at Sandia is trying to think up new proposals that the Bush administration is willing to fund," said Christopher Paine, a senior nuclear weapons analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental organization with a long history of litigation against the defense industry.

"The U.S. secretary of defense is a big sucker and seems to buy off on anything, which is an ideal situation for weapons entrepreneurs like Sandia," said Paine.

Though the defense industry is flooded with private industry offerings, Sandia's chief competition comes from federal labs such as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

According to analysts, Sandia has been well-managed historically and, because it built non-nuclear components, the lab hasn't been limited to nuclear tasks. This diversity helped win Sandia a broader market base than other labs.

With security scandals and management questions plaguing Los Alamos and other labs, ACG could be in a strong position to help shape national defense initiatives.

"Sandia is one of 26 labs (within the Department of Energy) and seems the most capable of self-promotion, which when competing for funding, projects and personnel is not necessarily a bad thing," said Jeff McKaughan, senior analyst with the Teal Group, an aerospace and defense consulting firm.

ACG members work in an open, informal office environment in New Mexico, where they interact with each other in a near-constant state of brainstorming. Leaving formal titles at the door, everyone in the group, no matter how senior by title or age, is equal in stature and opinion. If a picture of chaos and ineffectiveness leaps to mind, ACG members tell a different story.

"Sitting around yakking at each other has been very useful," said Yonas.

"What we lack in efficiency, we make up for in end products and ideas," said Ben Wu, a current ACG member. Wu heads up a project that uses a computer-based simulation tool to mock up street gangs in a game-like environment. The ACG team plays with scenarios that could cause street gangs to form, and tests ways to combat the resulting problems.

"We have no illusions that this is an oracle that can tell you what will happen," said Wu, who heads up the project. "But it will give you scenarios of what could happen, which is a lot better than having no way to test these theories at all."

The simulation project springs from the notion that the root causes of terrorism can be determined and the steps to eradicate it completely can be visualized and tested. The tool can be applied to all kinds of social and economic theories and potential solutions to societal problems.

Ideas generated by ACG that reach fruition often are developed by Sandia, but some ACG members take the work that comes out of their teams outside the Sandia umbrella.

Vipin Gupta spent his time at Sandia helping plan the binational sustainability laboratory, or BNSL (PDF), a joint project currently in development on the U.S.-Mexico border that is designed to stimulate economic growth and foster collaboration in the region. Gupta is now working with Stanford University as a science fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation to make the project a reality.

"Sandia is one of the more important labs, primarily due to its work in the nuclear field," said Teal Group's McKaughan. "But they also have far-reaching research, futuristic thinking and programs that are key to the Department of Defense's future."

ACG is banking on it.


Archives

Mar 21, 2003   Mar 22, 2003   Mar 23, 2003   Apr 1, 2003   Apr 2, 2003   Apr 4, 2003   Apr 5, 2003   Apr 6, 2003   Apr 9, 2003   Apr 10, 2003   Apr 14, 2003   Apr 15, 2003   Apr 16, 2003   Apr 18, 2003   Apr 22, 2003   Apr 24, 2003   Apr 25, 2003   Apr 27, 2003   Apr 29, 2003   Apr 30, 2003   May 1, 2003   May 3, 2003   May 6, 2003   May 7, 2003   May 15, 2003   May 16, 2003   May 17, 2003   May 18, 2003   May 19, 2003   May 24, 2003   May 28, 2003   May 29, 2003   May 30, 2003   Jun 3, 2003   Jun 5, 2003   Jun 6, 2003   Jun 7, 2003   Jun 9, 2003   Jun 10, 2003   Jun 12, 2003   Jun 16, 2003   Jun 17, 2003   Jun 18, 2003   Jun 19, 2003   Jun 21, 2003   Jun 28, 2003   Jul 8, 2003   Jul 9, 2003   Jul 16, 2003   Jul 20, 2003   Jul 24, 2003   Jul 27, 2003   Jul 31, 2003   Aug 3, 2003   Aug 4, 2003   Aug 18, 2003   Aug 29, 2003   Sep 5, 2003   Sep 20, 2003   Oct 10, 2003   Oct 26, 2003   Feb 13, 2004   Apr 8, 2004   Jul 27, 2004   Aug 12, 2004   Aug 13, 2004   Aug 24, 2004   Sep 15, 2004   Oct 31, 2004   Nov 17, 2004   Dec 2, 2004   Jan 17, 2005   May 14, 2005   Jul 29, 2005   May 18, 2006   Mar 1, 2007   Apr 29, 2007   May 31, 2007   Jun 5, 2007   Jun 22, 2007   Jul 5, 2007   Aug 1, 2007   Sep 2, 2007   Nov 9, 2007   Dec 3, 2007   Jan 5, 2008   Jan 22, 2008   Feb 3, 2008   Jun 7, 2008   Jul 11, 2008   Jul 17, 2008   Jul 19, 2008   Jul 22, 2008   Jul 24, 2008   Jul 29, 2008   Jul 31, 2008   Sep 11, 2008   Sep 24, 2008   Sep 30, 2008   Oct 8, 2008   Oct 29, 2008   Nov 12, 2008   Nov 18, 2008   Nov 25, 2008   Dec 31, 2008   Jan 13, 2009   Mar 9, 2009   Apr 7, 2009   May 8, 2009   Jun 11, 2009   Jul 3, 2009   Aug 3, 2009   Aug 12, 2009   Aug 13, 2009   Aug 14, 2009   Aug 21, 2009   Aug 27, 2009   Sep 2, 2009   Sep 8, 2009   Sep 18, 2009   Sep 25, 2009   Sep 29, 2009   Oct 1, 2009   Oct 5, 2009   Oct 13, 2009   Oct 19, 2009   Nov 11, 2009   Nov 13, 2009   Nov 18, 2009   Nov 19, 2009   Dec 7, 2009   Dec 27, 2009   Jan 1, 2010   Jan 20, 2010   Jan 25, 2010   Jan 29, 2010   Feb 16, 2010   Feb 24, 2010   Feb 26, 2010   Mar 4, 2010   Mar 5, 2010   Mar 6, 2010   Mar 23, 2010   Mar 30, 2010   Apr 6, 2010   Apr 15, 2010   May 5, 2010   Jun 2, 2010   Jun 17, 2010   Jul 10, 2010   Jul 16, 2010   Jul 21, 2010   Aug 4, 2010   Aug 19, 2010   Sep 14, 2010   Nov 11, 2010   Dec 21, 2010   Jan 1, 2011   Jan 13, 2011   Feb 8, 2011   Mar 23, 2011   Apr 29, 2011   May 10, 2011   May 17, 2011   May 19, 2011   May 24, 2011   Jun 1, 2011   Jul 23, 2011   Jul 26, 2011   Aug 10, 2011   Aug 25, 2011   Aug 29, 2011   Aug 31, 2011   Sep 2, 2011   Sep 8, 2011   Sep 26, 2011   Oct 4, 2011   Oct 20, 2011   Oct 25, 2011   Oct 27, 2011   Nov 1, 2011   Nov 3, 2011   Nov 4, 2011   Nov 9, 2011   Nov 17, 2011   Nov 21, 2011   Nov 23, 2011   Nov 30, 2011   Dec 9, 2011   Dec 19, 2011   Dec 21, 2011   Dec 22, 2011   Dec 25, 2011   Dec 30, 2011   Jan 2, 2012   Jan 4, 2012   Jan 5, 2012   Jan 6, 2012   Jan 11, 2012   Jan 12, 2012   Jan 13, 2012   Jan 16, 2012   Jan 21, 2012   Jan 24, 2012   Jan 30, 2012   Jan 31, 2012   Feb 1, 2012   Feb 2, 2012   Feb 3, 2012   Feb 6, 2012   Feb 7, 2012   Feb 9, 2012   Feb 10, 2012   Feb 13, 2012   Feb 14, 2012   Feb 15, 2012   Feb 16, 2012   Feb 17, 2012   Feb 20, 2012   Feb 21, 2012   Feb 23, 2012   Feb 24, 2012   Feb 28, 2012   Feb 29, 2012   Mar 1, 2012   Mar 2, 2012   Mar 5, 2012   Mar 6, 2012   Mar 9, 2012   Mar 12, 2012   Mar 13, 2012   Mar 14, 2012   Mar 15, 2012   Mar 16, 2012   Mar 17, 2012   Mar 20, 2012   Mar 21, 2012   Mar 22, 2012   Mar 23, 2012   Mar 26, 2012   Mar 28, 2012   Mar 29, 2012   Mar 30, 2012   Apr 2, 2012   Apr 3, 2012   Apr 4, 2012   Apr 9, 2012   Apr 10, 2012   Apr 11, 2012   Apr 12, 2012   Apr 13, 2012   Apr 16, 2012   Apr 17, 2012   Apr 18, 2012   Apr 19, 2012   Apr 20, 2012   Apr 23, 2012   Apr 24, 2012   Apr 25, 2012   Apr 26, 2012   Apr 27, 2012   Apr 30, 2012   May 2, 2012   May 3, 2012   May 4, 2012   May 7, 2012   May 8, 2012   May 9, 2012   May 10, 2012   May 11, 2012   May 14, 2012   May 15, 2012   May 16, 2012   May 17, 2012   May 18, 2012   May 22, 2012   May 23, 2012   May 24, 2012   May 25, 2012   Jun 4, 2012   Jun 5, 2012   Jun 7, 2012   Jun 8, 2012   Jun 9, 2012   Jun 11, 2012   Jun 12, 2012   Jun 14, 2012   Jun 15, 2012   Jun 22, 2012   Jun 25, 2012   Jun 26, 2012   Jun 28, 2012   Jun 29, 2012   Jul 3, 2012   Jul 5, 2012   Jul 6, 2012   Jul 9, 2012   Jul 10, 2012   Jul 11, 2012   Jul 12, 2012   Jul 13, 2012   Jul 19, 2012   Jul 23, 2012   Jul 25, 2012   Jul 27, 2012   Jul 28, 2012   Jul 30, 2012   Jul 31, 2012   Aug 1, 2012   Aug 3, 2012   Aug 6, 2012   Aug 8, 2012   Aug 9, 2012   Aug 10, 2012   Aug 13, 2012   Aug 14, 2012   Aug 15, 2012   Aug 16, 2012   Aug 21, 2012   Aug 22, 2012   Aug 23, 2012   Aug 24, 2012   Aug 27, 2012   Aug 28, 2012   Aug 29, 2012   Aug 30, 2012   Aug 31, 2012   Sep 3, 2012   Sep 4, 2012   Sep 5, 2012   Sep 6, 2012   Sep 7, 2012   Sep 10, 2012   Sep 11, 2012   Sep 13, 2012   Sep 14, 2012   Sep 18, 2012   Sep 19, 2012   Sep 21, 2012   Sep 25, 2012   Sep 26, 2012   Sep 27, 2012   Sep 28, 2012   Oct 1, 2012   Oct 2, 2012   Oct 3, 2012   Oct 4, 2012   Oct 5, 2012   Oct 8, 2012   Oct 9, 2012   Oct 11, 2012   Oct 16, 2012   Oct 17, 2012   Oct 19, 2012   Oct 25, 2012   Oct 30, 2012   Oct 31, 2012   Nov 1, 2012   Nov 2, 2012   Nov 6, 2012   Nov 7, 2012   Nov 8, 2012   Nov 13, 2012   Nov 15, 2012   Nov 16, 2012   Nov 20, 2012   Nov 21, 2012   Nov 22, 2012   Nov 23, 2012   Nov 27, 2012   Nov 28, 2012   Dec 3, 2012   Dec 7, 2012   Dec 10, 2012   Dec 12, 2012   Dec 17, 2012   Dec 19, 2012   Dec 20, 2012   Dec 21, 2012   Dec 25, 2012   Dec 28, 2012   Dec 29, 2012   Dec 30, 2012   Jan 2, 2013   Jan 8, 2013   Jan 10, 2013   Jan 11, 2013   Jan 15, 2013   Jan 22, 2013   Jan 28, 2013   Jan 29, 2013   Jan 30, 2013   Jan 31, 2013   Feb 1, 2013   Feb 4, 2013   Feb 7, 2013   Feb 8, 2013   Feb 11, 2013   Feb 12, 2013   Feb 13, 2013   Feb 14, 2013   Feb 15, 2013   Feb 18, 2013   Feb 19, 2013   Feb 20, 2013   Feb 22, 2013   Feb 23, 2013   Feb 25, 2013   Feb 26, 2013   Mar 2, 2013   Mar 4, 2013   Mar 6, 2013   Mar 8, 2013   Mar 11, 2013   Mar 13, 2013   Mar 14, 2013   Mar 18, 2013   Mar 19, 2013   Mar 21, 2013   Mar 22, 2013   Mar 26, 2013   Apr 1, 2013   Apr 2, 2013   Apr 3, 2013   Apr 5, 2013   Apr 9, 2013   Apr 16, 2013   Apr 17, 2013   Apr 23, 2013   Apr 30, 2013   May 3, 2013   May 6, 2013   May 8, 2013   May 10, 2013   May 14, 2013   May 22, 2013   May 24, 2013   May 30, 2013   Jun 7, 2013   Jun 12, 2013   Jun 14, 2013   Jun 17, 2013   Jun 21, 2013   Jun 25, 2013   Jun 27, 2013   Jun 28, 2013   Jun 29, 2013   Jul 2, 2013   Jul 4, 2013   Jul 5, 2013   Jul 6, 2013   Jul 9, 2013   Jul 10, 2013   Jul 15, 2013   Jul 16, 2013   Jul 17, 2013   Jul 18, 2013   Jul 22, 2013   Jul 26, 2013   Jul 29, 2013   Jul 31, 2013   Aug 2, 2013   Aug 5, 2013   Aug 9, 2013   Aug 12, 2013   Aug 13, 2013   Aug 15, 2013   Aug 16, 2013   Aug 20, 2013   Aug 27, 2013   Aug 29, 2013   Sep 10, 2013   Sep 12, 2013   Sep 13, 2013   Sep 20, 2013   Sep 24, 2013   Sep 26, 2013   Sep 27, 2013   Oct 1, 2013   Oct 3, 2013   Oct 4, 2013   Oct 8, 2013   Oct 9, 2013   Oct 11, 2013   Oct 15, 2013   Oct 18, 2013   Oct 23, 2013   Oct 26, 2013   Oct 28, 2013   Oct 29, 2013   Nov 2, 2013   Nov 7, 2013   Nov 8, 2013   Nov 15, 2013   Nov 19, 2013   Nov 23, 2013   Nov 25, 2013   Nov 28, 2013   Nov 30, 2013   Dec 2, 2013   Dec 3, 2013   Dec 4, 2013   Dec 6, 2013   Dec 10, 2013   Dec 11, 2013   Dec 13, 2013   Dec 16, 2013   Dec 20, 2013   Dec 21, 2013   Dec 28, 2013   Dec 30, 2013   Jan 2, 2014   Jan 3, 2014   Jan 7, 2014   Jan 8, 2014   Jan 9, 2014   Jan 10, 2014   Jan 11, 2014   Jan 16, 2014   Jan 18, 2014   Jan 20, 2014   Jan 21, 2014   Jan 22, 2014   Jan 23, 2014   Jan 25, 2014   Jan 27, 2014   Jan 28, 2014   Jan 30, 2014   Feb 4, 2014   Feb 5, 2014   Feb 8, 2014   Feb 10, 2014   Feb 11, 2014   Feb 12, 2014   Feb 13, 2014   Feb 14, 2014   Feb 17, 2014   Feb 18, 2014   Feb 21, 2014   Feb 24, 2014   Feb 25, 2014   Feb 27, 2014   Feb 28, 2014   Mar 3, 2014   Mar 10, 2014   Mar 11, 2014   Mar 12, 2014   Mar 13, 2014   Mar 15, 2014   Mar 17, 2014   Mar 19, 2014   Mar 20, 2014   Mar 21, 2014   Apr 1, 2014   Apr 3, 2014   Apr 7, 2014   Apr 10, 2014   Apr 14, 2014   Apr 16, 2014   Apr 22, 2014   Apr 23, 2014   Apr 24, 2014   Apr 29, 2014   May 3, 2014   May 5, 2014   May 7, 2014   May 8, 2014   May 10, 2014   May 12, 2014   May 14, 2014   May 15, 2014   May 16, 2014   May 20, 2014   May 21, 2014   May 23, 2014   May 26, 2014   May 29, 2014   May 31, 2014   Jun 3, 2014   Jun 5, 2014   Jun 9, 2014   Jun 10, 2014   Jun 16, 2014   Jun 17, 2014   Jun 20, 2014   Jun 21, 2014   Jun 24, 2014   Jun 25, 2014   Jun 30, 2014   Jul 2, 2014   Jul 3, 2014   Jul 5, 2014   Jul 7, 2014   Jul 8, 2014   Jul 9, 2014   Jul 10, 2014   Jul 11, 2014   Jul 12, 2014   Jul 15, 2014   Jul 17, 2014   Jul 19, 2014   Jul 21, 2014   Jul 22, 2014   Jul 23, 2014   Jul 26, 2014   Jul 29, 2014   Aug 1, 2014   Aug 4, 2014   Aug 12, 2014   Aug 15, 2014   Aug 22, 2014   Aug 29, 2014   Sep 5, 2014   Sep 9, 2014   Sep 11, 2014   Sep 13, 2014   Sep 16, 2014   Sep 18, 2014   Sep 29, 2014   Sep 30, 2014   Oct 1, 2014   Oct 2, 2014   Oct 4, 2014   Oct 6, 2014   Oct 15, 2014   Oct 16, 2014   Oct 17, 2014   Oct 21, 2014   Oct 23, 2014   Oct 25, 2014   Oct 27, 2014   Oct 29, 2014   Nov 6, 2014   Nov 11, 2014   Nov 13, 2014   Nov 18, 2014   Nov 20, 2014   Nov 21, 2014   Nov 22, 2014   Nov 25, 2014   Dec 1, 2014   Dec 3, 2014   Dec 11, 2014   Dec 17, 2014   Jan 15, 2015   Jan 16, 2015   Jan 19, 2015   Jan 28, 2015   Jan 30, 2015   Feb 2, 2015   Feb 3, 2015   Feb 6, 2015   Feb 10, 2015   Feb 11, 2015   Feb 14, 2015   Feb 17, 2015   Feb 18, 2015   Feb 23, 2015   Feb 25, 2015   Feb 28, 2015   Mar 2, 2015   Mar 6, 2015   Mar 7, 2015   Mar 9, 2015   Mar 10, 2015   Mar 17, 2015   Mar 19, 2015   Mar 30, 2015   Apr 4, 2015   Apr 7, 2015   Apr 11, 2015   Apr 14, 2015   Apr 17, 2015   Apr 18, 2015   Apr 21, 2015   Apr 29, 2015   May 2, 2015   May 4, 2015   May 6, 2015   May 12, 2015   May 14, 2015   May 16, 2015   May 20, 2015   May 23, 2015   May 26, 2015   May 27, 2015   May 30, 2015   Jun 1, 2015   Jun 2, 2015   Jun 9, 2015   Jun 16, 2015   Jun 20, 2015   Jun 26, 2015   Jul 1, 2015   Jul 2, 2015   Jul 4, 2015   Jul 6, 2015   Jul 8, 2015   Jul 10, 2015   Jul 11, 2015   Jul 16, 2015   Jul 18, 2015   Jul 23, 2015   Jul 25, 2015   Jul 29, 2015   Aug 1, 2015   Aug 3, 2015   Aug 6, 2015   Aug 10, 2015   Aug 18, 2015   Aug 21, 2015   Aug 24, 2015   Aug 31, 2015   Sep 3, 2015   Sep 9, 2015   Sep 15, 2015   Sep 17, 2015   Sep 21, 2015   Sep 22, 2015   Sep 25, 2015   Sep 28, 2015   Sep 29, 2015   Sep 30, 2015   Oct 2, 2015   Oct 6, 2015   Oct 9, 2015   Oct 10, 2015   Oct 17, 2015   Oct 20, 2015   Oct 26, 2015   Oct 27, 2015   Oct 28, 2015   Oct 31, 2015   Nov 7, 2015   Nov 14, 2015   Nov 28, 2015   Dec 10, 2015   Dec 15, 2015   Jan 19, 2016   Feb 3, 2016   Feb 16, 2016   Feb 23, 2016   Feb 26, 2016   Mar 9, 2016   Mar 22, 2016   Apr 16, 2016   Apr 22, 2016   May 4, 2016   May 7, 2016   May 8, 2016   May 19, 2016   May 31, 2016   Jun 4, 2016   Jun 11, 2016   Jun 16, 2016   Jun 28, 2016   Jul 4, 2016   Jul 11, 2016   Jul 16, 2016   Jul 17, 2016   Jul 21, 2016   Jul 25, 2016   Jul 31, 2016   Aug 5, 2016   Aug 17, 2016   Aug 27, 2016   Sep 2, 2016   Sep 13, 2016   Sep 22, 2016   Sep 27, 2016   Oct 4, 2016   Oct 8, 2016   Oct 25, 2016   Nov 17, 2016   Nov 28, 2016   Dec 9, 2016   Dec 14, 2016   Dec 31, 2016   Jan 26, 2017   Feb 10, 2017   Feb 14, 2017   Feb 23, 2017   Feb 28, 2017   Mar 2, 2017   Mar 7, 2017   Mar 16, 2017   Mar 18, 2017   Mar 31, 2017   Apr 1, 2017   Apr 10, 2017   Apr 15, 2017   Apr 18, 2017   May 4, 2017   May 12, 2017   May 16, 2017   May 19, 2017  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]