Research Challenges in Combating Terrorist Use of Explosives in the United States
Research Challenges in Combating Terrorist
Use of Explosives in the United States
Subcommittee on Domestic Improvised
Pre-Decisional Draft - For Official Use Only
About the National Science and Technology Council
The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is a Cabinet-Level body established by Executive
Order on November 23, 1993, to serve as the principal instrument within the executive branch for co-
ordinating science and technology policy across the diverse entities that make up the Federal research
and development enterprise. Chaired by the President, the NSTC also includes the Vice President, the
Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads
with significant science and technology responsibilities, and other White House officials.
A primary objective of the NSTC is the establishment of clear national goals for Federal science and
technology investments across a broad array of topics spanning virtually all the mission areas of the
executive branch. The Council prepares research and development strategies that are coordinated
across Federal agencies to shape investment packages aimed at fulfilling multiple national goals.
The purpose of the Subcommittee on Domestic mprovised Explosive Devices is to advise and assist
the Committee on Homeland and National Security and NSTC on policies, procedures, and plans for
Federally sponsored technologies to combat the domestic use of improvised explosive devices (EDs)
by terrorists. The scope of the Subcommittee encompasses assessment of technologies, standards,
and science and technology policies of the entire counter-explosives domain: deterrence, prevention,
detection, protection and response. The work of the subcommittee also serves to meet the research,
development, testing and evaluation (RDTE) coordination function assigned to the Secretary of
Homeland Security in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 19 (HSPD-19), paragraph 9.
About this Report
EDs are generally easy to develop, difficult to combat, and cause disproportionate harm (physical
and psychological) to the citizenry. RDTE options to assist in domestic ED efforts are plentiful, eas-
ily overwhelming the ability of government and industry to fund. This report outlines ten challenge
areas where concentrated research can be most beneficial in combating ED use in the homeland, and
is a summation of interagency efforts to analyze operational capabilities and gaps, as well as their as-
sociated research needs.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
Terrorists have repeatedly shown their willingness and The D-ED SC recognizes that part of the solution to
ability to use explosives as weapons worldwide and improving our security relative to EDs lies in chang-
there is ample evidence to support the conclusion that es to tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), or
they will continue to use such devices to inflict harm. policy. Furthermore, many of the needs identified are
n acknowledgement of this threat, the President issued already being addressed in other interagency coor-
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 19 (HSPD-19), dination bodies, such as the NSTC Subcommittee on
“Combating Terrorist Use of Explosives in the United Biometrics and dentity Management. The D-ED SC
States,” which establishes overall national policy, and members focused on needs that can be met by devel-
calls for the development of a national strategy and an opment of scientific and technological solutions. Each
implementation plan to deter, prevent, detect, protect of the needs in the consolidated list was assigned one
against, and respond to terrorist use of explosives in the of the following priorities:
United States. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordina- • Critical: Must do and time critical
tion with the Department of Defense (DoD) and other • Necessary: Needed but not time critical
interagency partners, developed the National Strategy to • Recommended: Value added feature or
Combat Terrorist Use of Explosives in the United States enhancement
and the HSPD-19 mplementation Plan, which provide
a way forward. Ten needs were determined by the D-ED SC to fall
into the Critical category.
Both the National Strategy and the mplementation
Plan highlight the importance of a coordinated ap- • C-ED Network Attack and Analysis
proach to a counter-ED (C-ED) RDTE program. The • Detection of Homemade Explosives
co-chairs of the NSTC CHNS, with concurrence from • Standoff Rapid Detection of Person Borne EDs
the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) • Vehicle-borne ED Detection
and the Homeland Security Council (HSC), established • ED Access and Defeat
the Subcommittee on Domestic EDs (D-ED SC) to • Radio Controlled ED Countermeasures
serve as the formal mechanism for this coordination. • ED Assessment and Diagnostics
The membership of the D-ED SC comprises represen- • Waterborne ED Detect and Defeat Systems
tatives of the organizations in the Federal government • ED Warnings
that have responsibilities in the area of countering the • ED Threat Characterization and Signatures
terrorist use of EDs.
The descriptions of the needs contained herein form
The D-ED SC developed this report to describe the the basis upon which the Federal agencies with re-
high priority science and technology challenges to be sponsibilities in the C-ED effort will build their pro-
addressed. The operational needs identified by the DHS grams. This report will also serve to focus the govern-
Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP) within the Office ment partners in academia, private industry and other
of nfrastructure Protection (P) as part of the develop- governmental entities on the development of science
ment of the HSPD-19 mplementation Plan, and supple- and technology to meet these needs and will foster in-
mented by input from the members of the D-ED SC, teragency collaboration and partnering.
formed the starting point for gap identification.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
V NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
Table of Contents
About the National Science and Technology Council ...............................................................I
About this Report ........................................................................................................................I
Dr. Marburger Letter ................................................................................................................. II 1
Executive Summary .................................................................................................................. III
Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 9 2
Grand Challenges: A Framework for Action........................................................................... 11
Deter Predict 3
Grand Challenge 1 - Counter IED Network Attack and Analysis .......................................... 12
Grand Challenge 2 - Detection of Homemade Explosives ................................................ 14
Grand Challenge 3 - Standoff Rapid Detection of PBIEDs ................................................ 16
Grand Challenge 4 - VBIED Detection ................................................................................. 18
Grand Challenge 5 - IED Access and Defeat ....................................................................... 22
Grand Challenge 6 - RCIED Countermeasures ................................................................... 24 5
Grand Challenge 7 - IED Assessment and Diagnostics ..................................................... 26
Grand Challenge 8 - Waterborne IED Detect and Defeat Systems ................................... 28
Grand Challenge 9 - IED Warnings ...................................................................................... 32
Grand Challenge 10 - IED Threat Characterization and Signatures ................................ 34 7
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................ 36
Appendix A: HSPD-19 .............................................................................................................. 37 8
Appendix B: Charter of the Subcommittee on Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices ... 40
Appendix C: Grouped Rankings of Operational Needs ......................................................... 44
Appendix D: Glossary ............................................................................................................... 45
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee V
V NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
T he United States is a nation at risk from new
and evolving threats. The new, and not so
new, forces engaged in terrorism have studied
our approaches to security and have developed
strategies designed to take advantage of our security
The co-chairs of the National Science and Technology
Council (NSTC) Committee on Homeland and
National Security (CHNS), with concurrence from
the Office of Science Technology Policy (OSTP)
and the Homeland Security Council (HSC), estab-
shortfalls. Terrorists have repeatedly shown their lished the Domestic mprovised Explosive Devices
willingness and ability to use explosives as weapons (D-ED) Subcommittee (SC) to serve as the formal
worldwide, and there is ample evidence to support mechanism for this coordination.
the conclusion that they will continue to use such
devices to inflict harm. The threat of explosives The D-ED SC is co-chaired by Dr. Ruth Doherty
attacks in the United States is of great concern (DHS ST), Mr. Jeffrey David (Technical Support
considering terrorists’ demonstrated ability to make, Working Group (TSWG)) and Mr. Duane Blackburn
obtain, and use explosives; the ready availability of (OSTP). The membership of the D-ED SC comprises
components used in the construction of mprovised representatives of the organizations in the Federal
Explosive Devices (EDs); the relative technological government that have responsibilities in the area of
ease with which an ED can be fashioned; and the countering the terrorist use of EDs. The following
nature of our free society. organizations have been actively participating in the
work of the D-ED SC:
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 19 (HSPD-
19), “Combating Terrorist Use of Explosives in the Department of Commerce (DOC):
United States,” establishes the overall national poli- • National Oceanic and Atmospheric
cy, and calls for the development of a national strat- Administration (NOAA)
egy and an implementation plan for the deterrence, Department of Defense (DoD):
prevention and detection of, protection against, and • Army Asymmetric Warfare Office (AAWO)
response to terrorist use of explosives in the United • Army Research, Development and Engineering
States. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Command (RDECOM)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coor- • Joint mprovised Explosive Device Defeat
dination with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Organization (JEDDO)
other interagency partners, developed the National • Office of Naval Research (ONR)
Strategy to Combat Terrorist Use of Explosives in Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
the United States and the HSPD-19 mplementation • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Plan, which provide a way forward that streamlines • National Protection and Programs Directorate,
and enhances current activities, thereby reducing Office of nfrastructure Protection (P), Office
conflict, confusion, and duplication of effort among for Bombing Prevention (OBP)
interagency partners. • Science and Technology Directorate (ST)
• Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
HSPD-19 designates DHS as the lead agency for co- • Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL)
ordination of research, development, testing, and Department of Justice (DOJ)
evaluation (RDTE) projects related to combating • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
terrorist use of explosives and EDs in the home- Explosives (ATF)
land, and the mplementation Plan appoints DHS • Federal Bureau of nvestigation (FB)
Science and Technology Directorate (ST) to coor- • National nstitute of Justice (NJ)
dinate interagency advancement of priority technol- Department of State (DOS)
ogy capabilities. ntelligence Community (C)
Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
Both the National Strategy and the mplementation Technical Support Working Group (TSWG)
Plan highlight the importance of a coordinated ap- U. S. Postal nspection Service (USPS)
proach to a counter-ED (C-ED) RDTE program.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 9
Operational Needs: • Requirements submitted by other DHS compo-
Prioritization Process nents, including CBP, ST, and TSA ;
• JEDDO capability gaps;
One of the first activities undertaken by the D-ED SC • nput from subject matter experts in leader-
was the prioritization of operational requirements or ship positions, such as the National Bomb
needs. The process employed and the results are pre- Squad Commanders Advisory Board (NBSCAB)
sented below. and the Scientific Working Group on Dog and
Orthogonal detection Guidelines (SWGDOG);
The D-ED SC started with results of the DHS OBP ef- and
fort, conducted as part of the development of HSPD- • TSWG broad-agency announcements gathered
19, to identify and prioritize operational requirements through their interagency requirements process.
for C-ED science and technology consideration.
The examination of these sources yielded a list of ap-
OBP gathered operational requirements from numer- proximately 180 operational needs, described with
ous sources including: varying degrees of specificity. Subsequently the D-ED
SC combined many of the similar technology needs
• DHS OBP-led capability analyses, conducted na- and removed those that were not related to RDTE
tionwide, to identify gaps in C ED capabilities (e.g., needs that were mainly related to tactics, tech-
of public safety bomb squads, public safety dive niques, and procedures (TTPs) or policy matters), or
teams, explosives detection canine teams, and were already being addressed in other interagency co-
SWAT teams. The National Capabilities Analysis ordination bodies, thus reducing the total number un-
Database (NCAD) captures the results of these der consideration to 36. The D-ED SC members re-
assessments, which provide an on-going mea- viewed the consolidated list and assigned priorities to
sure of counter-ED capability improvements the needs. The allowable priorities were restricted to
and often reveal gaps in technology or research three categories:
10 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
Grand Challenges: A Framework for Action
• Category A (Critical) – Must do and time critical • ED Access and Defeat
• Category B (Necessary) – Needed but not time • Radio Controlled ED Countermeasures
critical • ED Assessment and Diagnostics
• Category C (Recommended) – Value added fea- • Waterborne ED Detect and Defeat Systems
ture or enhancement • ED Warnings
• ED Threat Characterization and Signatures
Priority rankings of the list of 36 needs were submit-
ted by the following organizations: AAWO, ATF, CBP, Once addressed, the key contributions in science and
FB, JEDDO, NJ, OBP, ONR, TSA and USPS. The technology outlined here can help achieve these needs
consensus of the D-ED SC was that ten of the needs for the Federal, State, local, tribal and territorial com-
belonged to Category A. munities. These Grand Challenges require sustained
Federal investment in research, testing, and the effec-
Appendix C provides the SC’s consensus ranking for tive application of technology. They further outline
all 36 needs by Critical, Necessary, and Recommended the overall scope that scientists and engineers must
priority. address as they develop the technologies needed to
combat the domestic use of explosives by terrorists.
A Framework for Action The overall Grand Challenge in countering the terror-
ist use of EDs can be summarized as providing the
The members of the D-ED SC identified the following science and technology required to break the chain
10 operational needs as the most critical priorities: of events leading up to an attack and to deal with the
aftermath, should an attack succeed. The challenges
• C-ED Network Attack and Analysis that follow are organized in the order shown in the
• Detection of Homemade Explosives lower half of Figure 1. The order does not reflect rela-
• Standoff Rapid Detection of Person-borne EDs tive priorities.
• Vehicle-borne ED Detection
Figure 1: Interrupting the Terrorist Attack Sequence
Figure 1 illustrates the high level sequence of events involved in the planning and execution of a terrorist IED attack (top) as well as
the government’s response (bottom).
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 11
1 DETER PREDICT
Counter IED Network Attack Analysis
T here is currently not an effective ability to
identify active radicalized individuals or groups,
or terrorist support networks within the United
States, or reliably recognize activities that indicate
preparations are underway for an ED attack.
ic models and lack a dynamic ontology or associ-
ated taxonomy. On the international stage, our ad-
versary’s agile and adaptive TTPs have succeeded
repeatedly against this static approach. A dynamic
computational framework that employs a science-
based social and behavioral analytical approach is
An improved understanding and anticipation of ED essential to understanding and anticipating better
threats will enable the United States authorities to the ED threat.
predict potential actors, behaviors, targets, and tim-
ing more accurately for the purposes of interdiction, The domestic environment is an open, complex,
prevention, and protection. multi-cultural setting for which no fundamental
baseline description of the society, based on sound
Worldwide intelligence gathering activities and in- social and behavioral scientific principles, has been
vestigations of ED events have generated volumes established. The applicability of approaches used
of data related to the activities involved in planning in foreign settings has not yet been demonstrated
for terrorist attacks, and to the tactics, techniques, within the United States.
and procedures (TTPs) used to execute bombings.
There is a need to improve analytical tools to better predict and
prevent the enemy’s successful use of IED threats.
We must draw on this abundance of information Key Operational Considerations:
to improve our ability to identify the operational
signatures of individuals, groups, or networks and A robust predictive capability must support the fol-
predict potential targets and staging areas consistent lowing near real-time capabilities:
with applicable law, including those laws relating to
privacy and confidentiality of personal data. 1. Recognition of radicalization-related indi-
cations and warnings through social sci-
To deploy our limited resources most efficiently, ence-based pattern extraction, analysis, and
we must study the enemy as thoroughly as he has visualization;
studied us, and strive to develop an ability to iden- 2. Prediction of cultural- and adversary-based
tify behaviors and TTPs that radicalized individuals target and staging areas based upon CONUS
or groups, and networks, might take under various and OCONUS patterns of adversary specific
conditions. This requires the development of mod- behaviors and TTP; and
els that reflect our adversary’s behavior, capturing 3. Prioritization of intelligence, surveillance, and
elements from radicalization to acts of terrorism, reconnaissance (SR) assets through formula-
and including detailed patterns of behavior ranging tion and testing of customized hypotheses,
from group formation through dissolution. given particular attack variables.
Challenges: The capabilities should be flexible and scalable to
ensure that the resulting tools and information are
Today’s analytical tools are based largely upon stat- usable throughout the ED community of interest
12 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
including Federal, State, local, tribal, and territori- patterns of adversary specific behaviors and TTP,
al responders and policy makers. These capabilities will require:
should integrate privacy protections in all phases of
design, development, and deployment. • A data structure that integrates behavioral, de-
mographic, and cultural factors with tradition-
Key Science and Technology al geospatial and network analysis;
Contributions: • Validated targeting models (group, culture, 1
and tactic specific);
The following science and technology efforts can • Validated staging areas models (group, cul-
contribute to the development of a computational ture, and tactic specific); and
framework that better reflects the adversary’s agile • Near real-time capability to integrate and ana-
and adaptive behavior: lyze emerging geospatial and behavioral data.
Recognition of radicalization-related indications Prioritization of SR assets through customized hy-
and warnings through social science-based pattern pothesis formulation and testing will require:
extraction, analysis, and visualization will require
the development of: • An interactive interface to support hypoth-
esis generation, analysis, and visualization, of
• A data structure that integrates individual, threat patterns, and to prioritize intelligence,
group, and community-level indicators of rad- surveillance, and reconnaissance assets;
icalization and incorporates multiple model- • An ability to leverage the near real-time geo-
ing, simulation, and visualization techniques; behavioral analytical capability referenced
• Validated radicalization models that span the above.
group formation life-cycle; and
• Radicalization-related data extraction and con- References:
tent analysis technologies.
a. HSPD-19, paragraphs, 4 (a), 5 (f), 7, 8
Prediction of cultural and adversary-based target and
staging areas, adapted from CONUS and OCONUS
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 13
2 DETECT DEFEAT
Detection of Homemade Explosives
T he terrorist threat facing our nation’s critical
infrastructure can take many forms, including
HMEs. n fact, for over 20 years, terrorists
have used HMEs to target U.S. interests with notable
success and devastating consequences. Considering
The detection of the wide range of materials that
can be used in constructing HMEs is challenging,
and a successful solution may require multiple tech-
nologies. The integration of multiple technologies
into a system that can give comprehensive cover-
likely events based on available intelligence and age against known threats and be adaptable to cover
past experiences, HMEs will continue to be used by new threats as they emerge will require a strong sys-
terrorist groups against U.S. interests due primarily tems architecture approach from the start.
to the wide availability of improvised bomb making
materials, the ability to conceal large amounts of The term HME has been used to cover a wide range
explosives, the ease of getting the ED to the target, of materials from pure explosive compounds, such
the proliferation of bomb making instructions, and as TATP, that can be synthesized from readily avail-
the history of success, which increases repetition able articles of commerce to home-made variants
and imitation. of explosives, such as ANFO, that are used in very
There is a need for a means to detect Homemade Explosives
(HMEs, historically known as Improvised Explosives [IEs2]) and their
precursors in both screening and standoff applications in order
to alert an operator or responder to the presence of materials in
sufficient quantities to be a significant threat.
Challenges large commercial blasting operations. The former is
a very sensitive material, and so ordinarily is not
The diversity of materials that can potentially be made in large quantities. The latter is relatively in-
used to devise HMEs, and their normal presence in sensitive, and can be made in very large quantities.
streams of commerce make detection of these mate- n non-transportation applications, the detection of
rials a particularly difficult problem. mprovised ex- the precursors of the explosives in a way that al-
plosive devices (EDs) can be constructed from bot- lows discrimination between legitimate use of those
tles of liquid medical essentials, flammables, indus- precursors and illegal use to make explosives is ex-
trial gases, explosives, or reactive/energetic chemi- tremely challenging.
cals. The main challenge for finding a solution to the
detection problem is that the only common thread Key Operational Considerations
for these materials may be their energetic/reactive
nature. The solution must provide a capability to detect
HMEs and their precursors in a variety of venues and
While DHS, ATF, and the FB have agreed on nine situations. For use at a security checkpoint where in-
explosives chemical precursorsC as having the largest spection of persons is conducted, the envisioned us-
quantities in unregulated distribution, as well as the ers will be security personnel who are non-scien-
highest destructive potential, the detection of HME tists, so the technology must be adaptable for use by
and their precursors cannot be limited to this set. people who have not been technically trained.
14 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
However, the need for HME detection goes far be- Key Science and Technology
yond screening in a transportation venue. There is Contributions
also the need to detect HME precursors and their
relative quantities in other environments in such The introduction of the technological solution
a way as to allow a decision to be made regarding should enable the end user to maintain current
what action should be taken to protect the first re- tactics, techniques and procedures without major
sponders and others in the vicinity. changes to their current practices. The deliverable
sought for this requirement gap should include the
At this time there is no stand-off or remote detection following:
of classes of liquid explosives or flammables for use
in screening and portal environments. There is also
a need in security and operational law enforcement
1. Underlying science for the sampling and de-
tection of HMEs and their precursors that are
environments to detect explosives, including HMEs, applicable under a wide range of environ-
from a safe standoff distance for a given quantity of mental conditions at stand-off and screening
2. Systems architecture capable of addressing the
Sampling and detection methods are needed that are known HME threats and extendable to new
able to screen at a fast rate (nominally 5 sec) while materials and/or classes of HMEs in the future.
maintaining a low false alarm rate (false positives) 3. Comprehensive characterization data on the
and a high enough rate of detection (true positives) relevant characteristics of vapor and sur-
to deter terrorist use of HMEs. face contamination from known or expected
HMEs to enable development of the sampling
deally the sampling and detection methods should and detection methods.
be useable in various modes of employment, with an 4. A listing of materials and chemical classes the
emphasis on transportation (air) checkpoints (most technological solution addresses and could be
critical due to the small amount of explosive needed expanded to in the future.
to create catastrophic damage), but also for screen-
ing at large crowd venues, such as sports events. t References
would be preferable to have both a fixed and por-
table version of the equipment with real time re- a. HSPD-19: Sections 4b and 5e.
sponse for screening people and baggage. b. National Strategic Plan for U.S. Bomb Squads,
December 2007, National Bomb Squad
The need is immediate but the envisioned time hori- Commanders’ Advisory Board, page 19,
zon for the technology should be adaptable to meeting Section 7
changing and emerging threats of the future. c. Containing the Threat from llegal Bombings:
An ntegrated National Strategy for Marking,
Tagging, Rendering nert, and Licensing
Explosives and Their Precursors, National
Academies Press 1998.
The term Improvised Explosive (IE) has been used extensively in the explosives scientific community and the field of law
enforcement to describe explosives that are formulated from readily available ingredients. It has also been extensively utilized
in the historical underground, or anarchist, literature. Homemade Explosive (HME) has recently come into usage to describe
the same types of materials, i.e., readily available materials, but places greater emphasis on the simplicity of fabrication
methods. It is included in the WTI Lexicon and has gained international currency, so the term HME will be used here, but
should be understood to include those materials also referred to as IEs.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 15
3 DETECT DEFEAT
Standoff Rapid Detection of Person-Borne
Improvised Explosive Devices (PBIEDs)
P BEDs are not new to the United States. n
1997, police in Brooklyn thwarted a double
suicide bombing of the New York City subway
system. Countering PBEDs is a particularly difficult
problem in a free and open society such as ours,
to handguns, with instantaneous effect. The prob-
lem is further complicated by the fact that PBEDs
are usually concealed, so the detection methodology
must be able to cope with clothing or other cover as
well as the possibility that the aspect presented to
where individuals are free to travel without leave or the detector may hide the device or other materials
hindrance, and where the Fourth Amendment to our being probed.
Constitution guarantees protection from unreasonable
searches and seizures. Fourth Amendment rights pose PBEDs are terror weapons that are typically em-
particular challenges in the context of protecting the ployed in venues where large concentrations of indi-
public from PBEDs in a public venue, where they are viduals congregate, such as at major sporting events
most likely to be used. or in airports or shopping malls. The presence of a
crowd makes the detection problem more difficult
Portal-based solutions to PBED detection require due to clutter and possible interferences.
proximity to the suspected bomber and the coop-
eration of the individuals going through the portal, Since they can have minimal metal content, PBEDs
thereby impeding traffic flow and causing people are hard to detect with technologies that presume
to collect in a relatively small area, making them the presence of metallic components and rely on
potential targets for PBEDs. ncreased range for the that feature for positive detection.
There is a need for a means to detect improvised explosive devices
concealed on an individual’s person at a sufficient distance, and in
sufficient time, to allow actions to be taken to safely deal
with the threat posed by that device.
detection of PBEDS, either remotely or at standoff Response to a PBED is a significantly more com-
distances, is desirable to minimize the accumulationplex undertaking, particularly for domestic law en-
of people and to give additional time to react to a forcement agencies, than dealing with other types
detected threat. of deadly force situations, such as those involving
handguns. The PBED is ordinarily concealed under
Challenges: clothing or other cover, and may not be exposed
before the device is detonated. Whatever approach
The main challenges associated with PBEDs are the is taken to identification of a PBED and subsequent
need for detection before the bomber is in a po- incapacitation of the bomber must have a degree of
sition to carry out his mission and with enough certainty that is legally sufficient to justify the use of
time to allow an effective response once the PBED whatever means of incapacitation is employed, up to
is detected. PBEDs can have a large lethal radius, and including deadly force.
much more than the 15 meters nominally assigned
16 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
Key Operational Considerations: Key Science and Technology
A solution is needed that provides security personnel
the ability to detect PBEDs at a sufficient distance, to a
Science and Technology should develop the stand-off
reasonable degree of certainty, and in sufficient time, capability described through a prototype stage, using
to allow reasoned decisions to be made and effective an open competitive process to take maximum advan-
actions to be taken to safely deal with the threat posed tage of our nation’s science and technology infrastruc-
by that device in a public venue. ture. ndustry should be encouraged to participate and
team with other members of industry and with the
That solution must be unobtrusive, because if the Federal government, to ensure that this capability is
bomber knows that they are being observed, they are commercialized and available to the local and State re-
likely to detonate, causing as much damage as pos- sponder community, our first line of defense.
sible. deally, that solution will require no cooperation
from the subjects under observation. References:
Many of the venues in which detection of PBEDs will a. HSPD-19 Requirement 5(d): mproving
be done are outdoors and do not have controls over Capabilities to Combat Terrorist Use of
environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, Explosives within the United States.
precipitation, dust, etc.). Any proposed solution must b. High Priority Technology Needs, June 2008,
be able to detect PBEDs that have minimal metal con- Science and Technology Directorate, Department
tent under a variety of clothing, in all weather, day or of Homeland Security, page 10, Counter-ED.
night, outdoors, and that may contain a variety of dif- c. National Strategic Plan for U.S. Bomb Squads,
ferent types of explosives. December 2007, National Bomb Squad
Commanders’ Advisory Board, page 12, Section.
When the individual carrying an ED is in a crowd, 5.1.1; page 19, Section 7.
the solution must be able to detect the device without
impeding pedestrian traffic flow.
The solution must have a high probability of detection
and low false alarm rate. False positives–an indication
that there is a PBED when there is not one–are accept-
able within limits. False negatives–an indication that
there is not a PBED when there is one–are not.
The solution may provide stationary, portable or mo-
bile adaptations, preferably all three.
The solution must be easy to use, require minimum
training, and be cost effective.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 17
4 DETECT DEFEAT
Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive
Devices (VBIED) Detection
O ver the last two decades, terrorists have used
VBED tactics (sometimes in sophisticated
simultaneous attacks) to target global
suppliers of critical resources and U.S. interests
around the world. This tactic has impacted our
ence of a VBED; and (b) mobile or portable applica-
tions that may be needed to determine from a dis-
tance whether or not a suspicious vehicle is a VBED.
The applicable technologies for these two categories
may be the same or different, but the implementa-
government’s ability to protect its citizens and tion will differ based on operational considerations.
workers of host nations, provide vital services, and
has created the potential for using system disruption Challenges:
tactics as a method of strategic warfare. Gauging by
the number of casualties and amount of property All existing solutions to remotely confirming the
damage, VBEDs have been the most successful presence of a VBED require proximity. No existing
means of terrorist attack both domestically and solutions provide the ability to detect a VBED, with
internationally, except for the September 11, 2001 any reasonable degree of assurance, at a sufficient
attacks. Available intelligence based on global events distance, and in sufficient time, to allow actions to
and terrorist trends and past experiences, such as the be taken to safely deal with the threat posed by that
bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, suggests device. A sufficient distance depends on the size and
that terrorist networks will most likely use VBED nature of the explosive device(s) carried in the ve-
tactics to attack our homeland. Factors contributing hicle, but can safely be assumed to be on the order
to the popularity of VBEDs among terrorists are the of 100s of meters.
wide availability of materials used to make EDs;
the ability to conceal large amounts of explosives; Bomb squads rely on visual confirmation, with ei-
There is a need for a non-invasive capability to detect vehicle-borne
improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) at a sufficient distance, and in
sufficient time, to allow actions to be taken to safely deal
with the threat posed by those devices.
the ease of getting the vehicle to the target; the ther a bomb technician or, preferably, a robot, in
proliferation of bomb-making instructions; and a close proximity to a vehicle. Confirmation will of-
history of extensive experience and success, which ten require punching a hole in the vehicle and in-
increases repetition and imitation. serting a probe, risking premature detonation and
placing the bomb technician in great danger.
The problem of VBED detection can be split into
two operational categories: (a) checkpoint screening There are numerous challenges associated with de-
applications, wherein the detection system occupies tecting VBEDs. One challenge is that there is not
a fixed location and observes all vehicles passing a standard type of vehicle associated with VBEDs.
through the checkpoint for evidence of the pres- Thus any proposed solution must be applicable to
18 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
any of the types of vehicles likely to be encountered High false alarm rates can result in opera-
where the detection system is deployed. Vehicle se- tors clearing or ignoring alarms, and have
lection usually depends on several factors: the potential to cause major delays to ground
• Ability of the vehicle to blend in with the nor- 2. Explosives with low vapor pressures may be
mal traffic at the target particularly difficult to detect, depending on
• Vehicle availability the basis of the detection technology.
• The security surrounding the intended target 3. Vehicle checkpoint throughput rates are low
and detection technologies are not able to rap-
For instance, “hardened” facilities with good physi- idly screen vehicles of various sizes (ranging
cal security measures (including barriers to ensure from cars to trucks.)
significant standoff distances) may require the ter- 4. There are difficulties in penetrating various
rorist to use trucks with large, enclosed cargo areas. materials/commodities to screen concealment
A vehicle of this size provides increased explosives areas in vehicles.
capacities capable of generating damaging air blast 5. Depending upon the technology, passen-
effects over a large distance. gers may not be able to stay inside the vehicle
while it is being screened because of safety
Secondly, there are no standard explosives associ-
ated with VBEDs. f the proposed solution focus-
concerns. Furthermore, exclusion areas are
required for equipment operators, vehicle oc-
es on detection of the explosives rather than de- cupants and the general public; this requires a
vice components (e.g., wires, batteries, other elec- large operational footprint.
tronic components), then the explosives detection 6. Detection technologies tend to be expensive to
technologies must be able to detect a spectrum of purchase, operate, and maintain.
threats including HMEs. Additionally, these tech-
nologies must possess standoff detection capabili- X-ray imaging systems are much less susceptible to
ties in a fast-paced environment with dynamic false alarms than explosive detection technologies,
backgrounds, and must be able to achieve low false but share many of their other limitations, including
alarm rates. Furthermore, detection systems cannot safety and high cost. They also tend to be large and
be static. They must include the capability to easily cumbersome.
upgrade system algorithms to respond to new ex-
plosives threats and background conditions, as well Key Operational Considerations:
as threats actively attempting to defeat the system
and security measures. The desired VBED detection solution:
Other challenges in detecting VBEDs with explo- • Must provide rapid, non-invasive, standoff ex-
sive detection technologies: plosives detection capabilities across the threat
spectrum, in a noisy environment, in suffi-
1. The reduction of false alarm rates while main- cient time (minutes if not seconds,) for effec-
taining detection capability is central to a solu- tive action to be taken to neutralize the threat
tion for this need. nsufficient signal to noise at a sufficient distance to place the opera-
on the detector, and interference with detec- tor and target outside of the hazard zone for
tion capabilities from frequently carried com- that category of device. Optimally, it also will
modities, cause high false alarm rates and have identify the location of the explosives within
the capability to obscure explosive threats. the vehicle.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 19
4 DETECT DEFEAT
Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive
Devices (VBIED) Detection
• For mobile applications should be compact in the vicinity; elements such as water, salt,
enough to be transported on a bomb squad dirt, sand and other grime that is commonly
response vehicle or trailer, require minimal found on vehicles. t must be able to operate
effort to set-up and operate, and have a small in all environments and weather conditions.
footprint. deally would be handheld or at • Must not pose an unacceptable safety risk to
least small and light enough to be deployed by the operator, bystanders or occupants of the
a robot, or carried and set-up by an individual vehicle being surveyed. Safety considerations,
wearing a bomb suit. both with regard to operation and disposal of
• Should require minimal training to operate nuclear materials, would seem to make nucle-
and maintain. ar-based solutions unsuitable for use by State
• Should be able to quickly screen suspect ve- and local agencies.
hicles without having to scan each side of the • Must be cost effective.
• Must be able to quickly adjust screening capa- Key Science and Technology
bilities to accommodate any size vehicle. Contributions
• Must not be affected by: the physical condition
of the vehicle; emissions that are given off Science and technology should support the develop-
from the subject vehicle or any other vehicles ment and testing of VBED explosives detection solu-
20 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
tions to standards that meet the minimum require- References:
ments of end users. Among the key contributions that
may be provided by investments in ST are a. HSPD-19 Requirement 5(d): mproving
Capabilities to Combat Terrorist Use of
• development of concepts for rapid and non-in- Explosives within the United States.
trusive imaging of the contents of a vehicle, b. High Priority Technology Needs, June
• approaches to standoff detection of ED com- 2008, Science and Technology Directorate,
ponents through electromagnetic signatures or Department of Homeland Security, page 10,
other characteristics of the initiation system, Counter-ED.
• development of methods of access that are c. National Strategic Plan for U.S. Bomb Squads,
minimally disruptive and have a low probabil- December 2007, National Bomb Squad
ity of initiating an ED accidentally, Commanders’ Advisory Board, page 12,
• standoff methods of detecting explosives resi- Section. 5.1.2.; page 19, Section 7.
dues deposited on the vehicle,
• characterization of the likely distribution and
quantity of explosives residues on vehicles
This is not an exclusive list and other ST approach-
es are welcome.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 21
5 DETECT DEFEAT
IED Access and Defeat
ED design is largely unpredictable, and ED
defeat operations do not follow rigid courses of
action. Today’s devices, and those developed by
future bomb makers, will likely contain not only
a high explosive charge and improvised initiator,
Gaining access to critical components and materials
is an integral part of the render safe procedure. This
requires that ED defeat operators receive standard-
ized training and equipment in order to access and
perform render-safe procedures on all types of EDs,
but a power source and activation mechanism that including VBEDs and RCEDs.
reflects state-of-the-art technology. However, as
newer and more technologically advanced devices Key Operational Considerations
emerge, the simple device consisting of readily
obtainable low explosive or pyrotechnic materials Preservation of human life is paramount in con-
and a rudimentary firing mechanism will remain ducting ED defeat operations. To the greatest ex-
a deadly variant in the bombers arsenal. Therefore tent possible, ED access and render-safe procedures
response technologies must address the entire are performed remotely in order to reduce risk of
spectrum of possible threats, not just the latest harm to personnel. n most instances, this is accom-
devices design and employment strategy. plished through the use of robotic platforms which
There is a need for technologies to access and defeat IEDs
in a way that ensures the safety of IED defeat operators and
first responders involved in bomb disposal operations.
Challenges are controlled by either radio or fiber-optic cables.
However, the use of non-RF methods of remote
Bomb technicians and other ED defeat operators control for robots and other EOD tools is required
must penetrate the barrier materials or structures to address the RCED threat.
surrounding or containing the item of primary con-
cern (gain access to), as well as the contents and Due to the potential for creation of an infinite num-
components of suspect packages, in order to decide ber and variety of EDs, bomb technicians require
upon the selection of appropriate tools to disrupt a wide range of tools in order to be prepared for
or disable the device without causing the device to all possible scenarios. These tools range from sim-
function as designed. ple hand tools, to radiographic equipment, and in
some cases, disruption charges that weigh hun-
The range of EDs that may be encountered is very dreds of pounds when assembled. Therefore, in ad-
broad, from tens of pounds of explosive that might be dition to remotely operated tools, ED defeat opera-
found in a leave-behind ED to thousands of pounds tors need the ability to quickly and easily transport
that might be present in a VBED. The energetic ma- tools, equipment, and the technician themselves
terials used in the devices also range in sensitivity to the incident site and subsequently down range.
from fairly insensitive (e.g., ANFO) to extremely This is especially true for larger tools such as those
sensitive (e.g., TATP). Approaches to defeating one of used for VBEDs.
these materials might initiate the other. A variety of
tools applicable to the range of EDs is needed.
22 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
Threats identified in urban areas, or areas where a approach the ED to do manual defeat
high-order detonation would not be warranted, re- 3. methods of mitigating blast when defeat must
quire careful planning for access and defeat. Every ED be done in a location where collateral damage
defeat operation carries some risk of a high-order det- must be minimized (e.g., in an urban setting)
onation, but proper training of bomb disposal per- 4. tools that can function in the presence of, and
sonnel help mitigate this potential. However, train- interoperable with ECM equipment.
ing alone may not ensure that ED defeat operators 5. defeat techniques that do not require substan-
are able to quickly and easily select the most appro- tial amounts of explosive (which carries with it
priate tool to render safe a given device, depending a hazard of its own) or water (which may not be
on the sophistication of the device; the complexity of readily available in large quantities at the site).
the tool; and the experience level of the technician.
Because of this, access and defeat tools should be suf- References
ficiently characterized to allow operators to select the
appropriate tool based on the devices construction and a. HSPD-19 4 (b, c, d), 9; HSPD-19 -Plan (Draft)
its placement. Task Ref: 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3, 3.2.4, 3.2.5
b. National Guidelines for Bomb Technicians
Key Science and Technology (Revised 4/06)
Contributions c. National Strategy for U.S. Bomb Squads
(December 2007) page 19, Section 7.
Science and technology can contribute to the problem d. FB Special Technicians Bulletin 2007-3: Vehicle
of access and defeat of EDs in a number of areas by Borne mprovised Explosive Device Response
developing Bomb Squad Readiness.
e. Bomb Squad Response to Suicide Bombers and
1. approaches to access the device that are mini- Vehicle Borne mprovised Explosive Devices:
mally disruptive and hence unlikely to cause un- Categories of Situations and Strategies for Each
intended initiation of the ED. Category
2. approaches to protecting operators who must
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 23
6 DETECT DEFEAT
Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device
T he RCED (Radio Controlled mprovised
Explosive Device) is a very real and formidable
terrorist threat facing our homeland, as was
demonstrated in the attack on a women’s clinic in
Birmingham, AL in 1998, among others. Radio
regulatory agency, is assigned responsibility for the
regulation of non-government interstate and foreign
telecommunications. The Presidential authority for
Federal government RF spectrum use has been del-
egated to the Administrator of the NTA, an oper-
Frequency (RF) has been used in a number of ways ating unit within the Department of Commerce.
to trigger conventional ED(s) and VBEDs. Electronic Several other Federal Spectrum Stake Holders such
Counter Measures (ECM) systems to jam RCEDs, as: FAA, NASA, and DoD also have concerns when it
which were developed initially for the military, comes to the RF jamming.
are a necessary tool in accessing and defeating
There is a need for improved means to jam radio-controlled
improvised explosive devices (RCIEDs) within a meaningful
radius of operation, to allow actions to be taken to safely
deal with the threat posed by that device.
RCEDs. The efficacy of ECM systems is continually Key Operational Considerations:
challenged as terrorists are forever reinventing and
redeveloping RCED technology. The solution to this need must be deployable by the
majority of medium bomb robots deployed with
Challenges: U.S. bomb squads, and, if need be, must be capa-
ble of being carried to the scene and emplaced by a
The RCED threat continuously proliferates for several bomb technician.
reasons. One being the wide range of commercially
available radio-controlled equipment readily avail- t must be able to preclude the radio control de-
able and adaptable to ED triggers, another being the vice from initiating a detonation within a meaning-
stand-off distance the RCED gives to the terrorist. ful radius of operation, without affecting radio fre-
t is a technical challenge to meet the changing and quencies outside of that radius to a high degree of
evolving domestic and global RF threats. The domes- certainty.
tic use of any ECM system must be in compliance with
applicable laws and regulations. With each technical t must allow communication with deployed bomb
modification, responding to or anticipating a change robots and, if required, bomb technicians, operat-
in the RCED threat, the potential exists to run afoul ing within that radius of operation.
of regulatory constraints. Regulatory responsibil-
ity for the radio spectrum is divided between the The solution must have meaningful mission dura-
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and tion, be cost effective and compliant with applicable
the National Telecommunications and nformation regulations.
Administration (NTA). The FCC, an independent
24 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
t must require minimal training and be easily em- initiation of EDs with electromagnetic radia-
ployed by the average public safety bomb technician. tion. This may involve more highly targeted in-
tervention with the specific devices of interest,
Key Science and Technology rather than jamming.
ST contributions to RCED Countermeasures include:
a. HSPD-19 Requirement 5(d): mproving
1) Optimization and characterization of the current Capabilities to Combat Terrorist Use of
ECM system on the standardized platform with Explosives within the United States.
the current antenna technologies. A hurdle in b. 28 U.S.C. § 533; 28 C.F.R., § 0.85(l). DOJ/
this effort to bring this capability to future cities FB Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism
is the confidence in the performance of the sys- Authority.
tem. To properly build this confidence in federal c. Executive Order 12333 – United States
spectrum stakeholders, sufficient data is need- ntelligence Activities (December 4, 1981) (E.O.
ed in the characterization of the current ECM 12333).
platform used by Public Safety Bomb Squads. d. PPD-39 – U.S. Policy on Counterterrorism (June
Characterization, combined with new antenna 21, 1995).
technologies on the standardized vehicle plat- e. National Strategic Plan for U.S. Bomb Squads,
form will help expedite the ECM capability to December 2007, National Bomb Squad
future bomb squads. Commanders’ Advisory Board, page 13,
2) Development of alternative approaches to inter- Section. 5.1.3
fering with the ability of terrorists to control the
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 25
7 DETECT DEFEAT
IED Assessment and Diagnostics
mprovised explosive devices are not the product
of logic, but of evolution; an inelegant process.
Bomb makers do not choose the logically best
design to meet their needs; they adapt what already
exists. Because of this, being able to analyze ED
Key Operational Considerations
Assessment and diagnostic procedures should be
performed outside the blast and fragmentation
range of the ED in order to keep bomb technicians
firing systems and circuitry (diagnostics), and out of harms way. Technologies and techniques
evaluate not only the potential for destruction, but that require the technician to approach the device
likelihood of detonation (assessment), are critical should allow the operator to safely collect useful in-
to developing appropriate ED response plans and formation while minimizing the time required be-
render safe procedures. Technologies for assessment ing in close proximity to the device. Furthermore,
and diagnostics performed on EDs must undergo for a technology to be useable near an ED, consid-
a sustained development, testing, evaluation, and eration must be given to its functionality in an ECM
improvement process in order to mitigate the environment.
impact of new and emerging ED threats, and
offset the technological adaptations and defeat The personal protective equipment necessary for
countermeasures developed by the enemy. working near an ED limits not only movement, but
There is a need for technologies that can assess and
diagnose new and emerging IED threats.
Challenges vision and hearing as well. All equipment should be
easy to operate while the technician/operator is in
The makeup of an ED is no longer limited to con- a bomb suit regardless of proximity to the device.
ventional explosives such as TNT. Devices designed The logistical burden associated with the tools and
and built by bomb makers today can incorporate im- techniques for assessment and diagnosis of the ED
provised explosives and detonators, modified ord- should be kept to a minimum.
nance, and hazardous materials such as industrial
toxic chemical, radiological materials, or substances With respect to the detection of potential explo-
that enhance the effect of the explosive materials. n sives contained within a device, special consider-
addition, ED designs may span the range of simple ation should be given to identification of improvised
pressure-plate devices to systems which use micro- explosives because of their potential sensitivity to
processor controlled sensor circuitry. Assessment influences such as heat, shock, friction, and static
and diagnostic tools that provide qualitative and discharge.
quantitative information on the threat is critical for
planning access and defeat procedures.
26 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
Key Science and Technology
Science and technology can contribute to the devel-
opment of advanced assessment and diagnostic tools
and techniques in the following areas:
• Novel imaging approaches to identify the pre-
cise location of EDs whether by detection of
the explosive filler, energized or un-energized
circuitry, or some other yet to be identified
• Approaches to stand-off diagnostics.
• dentification of characteristics of EDs that
provide information that can be used in the
selection of an approach for defeating the ED.
• Approaches to assessment and diagnosis suit-
able for use by responders who may not have
the scientific or technical background to in-
terpret quantitative data, and will therefore be
dependent on qualitative information.
a. HSPD-19, paragraphs 4 (b, c, d), 9;
b. HSPD-19 -Plan Tasks: 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3,
c. National Guidelines for Bomb Technicians
d. National Strategy for U.S. Bomb Squads
(December 2007), page 13, Section 7.
e. FB Special Technicians Bulletin 2007-3:
Vehicle Borne mprovised Explosive Device
Response Bomb Squad Readiness
f. Bomb Squad Response to Suicide Bombers and
Vehicle Borne mprovised Explosive Devices:
Categories of Situations and Strategies for Each
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 27
8 DETECT DEFEAT
Waterborne IED Detect and Defeat Systems
T he terrorist threat facing our nation’s critical
infrastructure can take many forms including
bombs used in a maritime environment.
Over the last two decades, terrorists have used
WBEDs to target U.S. interests with notable success
tach explosive devices or limpet mines to ship hulls,
bridge supports, dams, levees, locks, or oil rigs.
Recently the Sri Lankan government was targeted
successfully by a suicide SCUBA diver who wore,
placed, and detonated a device against the hull of a
and devastating consequences, including the deadly fast patrol boat in Trincomalee Harbor, resulting in
suicide bombings of the USS Cole and a French its sinking.
oil tanker off the coast of Yemen. Considering
likely events based on available intelligence and Challenges:
experience, terrorist groups will continue to use
WBEDs, on land and in a maritime environment, n the maritime environment, our ability to detect
against U.S. interests. the presence of explosives or explosive devices, lo-
cate the explosive or device precisely, diagnose the
Over two billion tons of domestic cargo move device to determine its components and how they
through U.S. ports annually, and a significant por- function, and defeat the device using the best tool
tion of domestically produced commodities and to eliminate the threat is made more difficult by the
products are shipped by water. Nearly two-thirds of water environment. Not only may there be more
all U.S. wheat and wheat flour, one-third of soybean variables to consider than in a non-maritime envi-
and rice, and almost two-fifths of domestic cotton ronment, the presence of the water changes the im-
production is exported via U.S. ports. Records indi- plications of variables that are part of our under-
cate that approximately 4.2 million passenger cars, standing developed on land.
vans, SUVs and light trucks pass through U.S. sea-
ports annually. Within the Public Safety Dive Teams (PSDT) com-
munity there is a lack of national standards in both
More than four million Americans work in port-re- the equipment and training necessary to provide
lated jobs that generate $44 billion in annual per- an effective response throughout U.S. ports, which
sonal income and $16.1 billion in Federal, State, puts both the diver and port at risk. A response must
and local taxes. Port activity also contributes more be successful in adverse operational conditions that
than $723 billion annually to the Gross Domestic may include unstable vessels or platforms, cold wa-
Product. Additionally, public ports serve national ter, offshore locations, poor visibility, and the possi-
security functions. The DoD routinely uses public bility that a device or hazard is entirely submerged.
ports for the mobilization, deployment, and re-sup-
ply of U.S. armed forces. Many naval installations are Each of the various conditions under which bomb
based in U.S. ports, creating a unique set of cross- technician divers operate requires them to possess
sector challenges. specific skills, tools, and standard operating proce-
dures that currently do not exist nationally. To com-
Accessibility by water as well as land, proximity to plicate this mission further, many PSDTs are creat-
vast metropolitan centers, and inherent integration ed as a collateral duty responsibility, and therefore
into transportation hubs present additional multi- divers are often multi-tasked within their respective
faceted security challenges for ports. We know that departments.
drug smugglers use divers as a means of attaching
and retrieving contraband, and it is not a far stretch Recognized standards for tools and operating pro-
for us to recognize that terrorist combat swimmers cedures do exist nationally for bomb technicians in-
and boat operators may act alone or in teams to at- volved in non-waterborne render-safe procedures.
28 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
The development of those tools and procedures falls in U.S. ports or other maritime infrastructure.
under the purview of the staff at the Federal Bureau
of nvestigation’s (FB) Hazardous Devices School Key Operational Considerations:
(HDS). While HDS staff work in coordination with
the Department of Defense and the NBSCAB to set U.S. Navy EOD technicians are currently the only
standards, develop tools, and train render-safe per- personnel properly trained and qualified to ren-
sonnel, this is the only such school or organization der safe an underwater hazardous device (UHD).
with responsibility for this function within the en- However, domestic response is not U.S. Navy EOD’s
tire United States. primary mission, and nearly 70% of its forces are
currently deployed in support of the Global War on
n recognition of the value of this existing set of Terrorism, reducing domestically stationed detach-
national tools and standards, which are rare in any ments to the minimum manning levels permissible
other public service, the FB has initiated a process to maintain operational status.
to begin to assess the training or actual deployment
There is a need to protect our ports and waterways by being able to
detect the presence of explosives or explosive devices, locate the
explosive or device precisely, diagnose the device to determine its
components and how they function, and defeat the device
using the best tool to eliminate the threat.
techniques currently being used by bomb squad The USCG is the Federal organization most responsi-
divers across the United States. The FB, in collabo- ble for domestic, maritime security. n addition to its
ration with DHS, has simultaneously developed and normal shore stations, USCG maintains thirteen ter-
implemented a nationally consistent training pro- rorism-focused Maritime Safety and Security Teams,
cess to equip PSDTs with the skills and procedures established through the Maritime Transportation
they need to operate more safely in the WBED en- Security Act, that possess explosives detection canine
vironment and to seamlessly integrate with bomb
squad assets during a WBED event.
teams, and has consolidated its diving resources into
two Deployable Operations Groups (DOG), located
in Norfolk, VA, and San Diego, CA. The USCG has
To develop a national standard for WBED opera- some UHD search capability, but limited maritime
tions, there is a need to develop a set of tools and or underwater explosive device preparedness and
operating standards that may become the subject of response capability.
enhanced training for bomb squad divers at the FB’s
HDS. This new set of tools and procedures will be in- n a number of areas of the country, public safety
tegrated with existing and/or enhanced training for dive teams (PSDT) and their bomb squad counter-
public safety dive teams in order to provide a single, parts have moved to develop local solutions to the
vertically integrated approach to WBED incidents capability gap represented by the issues previously
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 29
8 DETECT DEFEAT
Waterborne IED Detect and Defeat Systems
described. Today, none of those programs has pro- Where such ED placements affect maritime traf-
duced the capability that can replace a U.S. Navy fic, including shipping and passenger cruise ships,
EOD team in the WBED render-safe role. Further, CKR, national security activities, etc., solutions
the responsibility for render-safe of waterborne mil- must address devices emplaced where the presence
itary ordnance will likely continue to reside primar- of water changes the buried or ground-emplaced
ily with the U.S. Navy. characteristics of a classic device, e.g., in drainage
conduits, wetlands, shallow areas of fresh or saltwa-
The response community in the maritime domain ter, on bridge supports, etc.
today expands to include those who have the daily
responsibility for port security diving; their bomb Solution development should provide material for
technician diver counterparts who have ultimate developing threat characterizations, tool perfor-
local responsibility for handling render-safe issues mance testing, and standards.
within their areas of operation; and the U.S. Navy
EOD technicians who will likely always remain the A plan for transition of DoD technology for State
ultimate reach-back capability for WBED response. and local use will be included.
We must develop technology and associated train- Related Requirements:
ing for public safety divers, bomb technician div-
ers, and other dive resources who may respond to Maritime Operational Threat Response (MOTR) for
domestic UHDs, since we cannot expect U.S. Navy the National Strategy for Maritime Security:
EOD technicians to continue as the sole providers
of assistance to conventional dive teams possessing “DHS will plan for the prevention and detection of
minimal render-safe capabilities. The ability to lo- sea mining and swimmer operations in waters sub-
cate and validate possible threats is the minimum ject to the jurisdiction of the United States.”
acceptable level of response.
Key Science and Technology
Contributions: a. HSPD-19 4 (b, c, d), 9
b. HSPD-19 -Plan (Draft) Task Ref: 3.2.2
Desired solution(s) will provide capabilities to de- c. National Strategy for Maritime Security.
tect, diagnose, and disrupt or disable EDs, by re- September 2005
mote, semi-remote, or manual means, in a mari-
time environment. Solution(s) must address EDs at-
tached to ship hulls at depth and devices attached to
small crafts afloat that may be used themselves as
30 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 31
T he terrorist threat facing our nation’s critical
and civic infrastructure can take many forms
including vehicle bombs, suicide attacks, or
combinations thereof. This includes attacks such as
those seen in the Beslan School or the Moscow Theater,
that authorities can and should take at the local, re-
gional, and national levels to inform the public, and
manage the security problem posed by terrorism. The
ability to provide information quickly and accurately
is critical to preserving public confidence at the local
which combine armed attackers, hostages, and EDs. level and generating awareness, cooperation, and sup-
n the event that ED attacks were to occur – or port of the public in identifying abnormal or suspi-
worse, that a campaign of terrorist use of explosives, cious events that might indicate imminent danger or
employing such methods, were to be launched on U.S. precursor activities to an ED attack.
soil – authorities must quickly provide the American
people with accurate information about the nature Challenges:
of the threat. Authorities also must provide guidance
on protective actions and precautions that Americans There are two challenges involved in this effort:
might take to improve security in their communities
and reduce the risks to them and their families. • Protecting the public from initial and successive
ED events, especially in the face of a general
The United States has very little experience in dealing lack of official knowledge of the unfolding sce-
with an immediate threat of attack that could affect nario, and
individual American citizens in their own commu- • Maintaining public confidence in the face of po-
nities. Likewise, civic officials have very little aware- tential threats. Public confidence is important
ness or training in how to instruct the public properly in preserving public conviction at the local lev-
regarding the safety measures they should take dur- el and generating awareness, cooperation, and
ing terrorist attacks or similar extraordinary events. support of the public at the local level in identi-
Officials’ experience is generally centered on manag- fying abnormal or suspicious events that might
ing public information and security during serial mur- indicate imminent danger or precursor activities
ders or kidnappings; civil unrest, gang violence, and to an ED attack.
inner city crime waves; and rare events exemplified
by the 1979 Three Mile sland event, the Unabomber Key Operational Considerations:
attacks from 1978 to 1995, and the anthrax and sniper
attacks in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in The threat of ED attack is shared almost universally
2001 and 2002, respectively. Criminologists or terror- by U.S. communities and citizens, private sector en-
ism experts serving local law enforcement or the FB terprises and public sector agencies, and across the 18
have formulated most instructions to the public, and sectors of the nation’s critical infrastructure and key
senior law enforcement officials have issued them. resources, and its private and public sector managers
and operators. Consequently, the community of inter-
f terrorists stage a coordinated attack, or multiple at- est for this research effort includes public officials and
tacks against the American people using EDs, VBEDs, agency leads across the range of U.S. jurisdictions and
or suicide bombers against targets within communi- communities from the Federal, State, regional, and lo-
ties and public gathering places, the problems pre- cal levels.
sented will be significantly more complex and will
likely have national implications. n a free and open The results of this project should prepare government
society, it is impossible to ensure the constant safety officials, civic leaders, media representatives, law en-
of people and the certain protection of targets against forcement officials, and emergency managers to prop-
terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, there are clearly steps erly delineate and issue hazard and risk warnings to
32 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee
the public, prior to an imminent or suspected ED at- • Consistent and repeatable methods to inform
tack, and provide appropriate protective actions and and employ the public in identifying suspicious
post-attack instructions. circumstances or abnormal conditions in local
communities that could serve as warnings to
Specific stakeholders in the results of this research ef- local authorities of terrorist attack planning or
fort include: potential ED events;
• Development and testing of guidelines for gov-
• Office of the President and White House Staff; ernment and civic leaders in issuing effective
• Department of Homeland Security; emergency communications in the event of an
• DHS/FEMA; ED attack;
• Department of Justice; • Technology that rapidly will provide accurate
• Equivalent agency heads at the State, regional status information from forensic and law en-
and local levels; forcement agencies to government officials and
• Governors’ offices nationwide; leadership, and public safety and security per-
• Local elected officials, e.g., Mayors and County sonnel, with near real-time updates;
Executives; and • Pre-planned responses and messages that have
• Local law enforcement, public safety, and emer- been crafted, analyzed, tested, and rehearsed by
gency management officials. civic officials and members of the media and
There is a need to identify effective methods to guide
public officials quickly and to inform the American public accurately
during conditions of heightened U.S. threat alert.
Key Science and Technology press corps to provide accurate instructions and
Contributions: reassurances to the public;
• Development of local models and simulation-
Research to support this need will focus on develop- based games to exercise first responders and lo-
ment of a data structure and analysis program (and cal government leaders in potential scenarios
accompanying training materials) that will support and test courses of action to support and protect
Federal, State, local, tribal, and private sector partners local populations;
having specific roles and responsibilities within their • Development of simulations to analyze effects
communities for public safety and security against on transportation and public infrastructures,
ED attack. Development of hazard and risk warnings local economies, and tempo of civic life in the
to the public in imminent threat of, or immediately event of an ED attack or terrorist campaign em-
after, a terrorist ED attack will incorporate the fol- ploying EDs, and to analyze and test alternate
lowing requirements: approaches to managing the consequences. 9
• Detailed responses and methodologies to appro- References:
priately inform and protect the public during
terrorist explosive attacks. This should involve a. HSPD-19 Section 4(a, d)
members of professional press and media with b. HSPD-19 mplementation Plan (draft) Task Ref:
local officials and emergency managers; 2.3.4, 3.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee 33
IED Threat Characterization and Signatures
W e are devoting considerable effort and
resources to addressing a great variety
of capability gaps in relation to EDs.
Our contributions will yield a greater level of
effectiveness if we build from a knowledge base of
Key Operational Considerations:
Our ability to analyze ED threats requires common
definitions and lexicon, a detailed process for testing
and characterizing the performance of EDs and ED
ED characteristics and of the consequences of their countermeasures, the ability to simulate ED threats,
use under known conditions. and the development of ED threat models.
To develop the capability to counter ED attacks, we A repository of data, obtained under controlled con-
must integrate our understanding of two aspects ditions, is necessary to conduct the analysis required
of the threat – the actor and the tool. Despite the for this characterization and modeling. Collecting
worldwide proliferation of ED attacks, little stan- data on vehicles used as devices, and on devices in
dardized data exists that can be used to characterize vehicles (person-borne, placed, etc.), will require a
the construction of the EDs, or the resulting blast standard set of procedures for surface sampling to
effects under various conditions and methods of de- characterize the extent of surface contamination oc-
livery. There is no commonly accepted set of test cri- curring during the ED construction process and an
teria on ED detonations or a database of recent per- instrumented range to test small vehicles, with pro-
formance data. gression toward larger vehicles.
The ED community requires an ability to obtain, Results at all levels will drive current and future
access, and analyze detailed and authoritative per- projects involving all partners with a stake in the
formance data on ED threat devices, based on the ED Kill Chain
design, assembly, and detonation of ED threat de-
vices in a laboratory and/or testing environment. Analysis of test data will provide an understanding
of why and how various components can be used in
Challenges: device construction, as well as measurements of the
effects of blasts conducted under different physical
The following challenges limit our ability to charac- configurations.
terize and understand the nature of ED threats:
1. Lack of unrestricted access to fully instrument-
ed explosives test ranges has limited the capa-
bility to conduct multiple tests of ED devices
under controlled conditions and to collect
2. The lack of a common lexicon and data stan-
dards for defining measurements, and storing
and analyzing data, prevents us from compar-
ing and using test results and analyzing previ-
ous, current, and future test data to determine
overall effectiveness of C-ED solutions.
34 NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL - Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices Subcommittee