events of September 11 and the subsequent mailing of anthrax-infused
letters have alerted Americans to the vulnerability of our open society.
To protect our people, our structures, and our institutions, engineering
educatorsand the profession as a wholeare well suited to
respond. One approach is the use of technology to develop systems that
will give us the ability to respond quickly and effectively to threats
and attacks. By using engineering creativity, we can increase our security
without having armed troops and tanks on every corner of the country.
and engineers, as well as the nation's university laboratories, are
already turning their attention to ways to protect the country against
future attacks. In Prism this month, we've devoted the entire issue
to the fight that engineers have launched against terrorism. In Waging
War we examine some of the challenges in developing the affordable
technology related to our security vulnerabilities. The kinds of research
being conducted at engineering schools across the country will advance
our technological capabilities and reduce the cost of these capabilities.
Ways to Fight Terrorism, we report on some of the most exciting
innovations in the worksan overview that illustrates both the
intensity of effort and the diversity of engineering solutions to threats
against our society. These fascinating innovations include a wide range
of ideasfrom picking the face of a terrorist out of a crowd to
the development of a super-bandage of emulsion polymerized gel to apply
seven years ago, Congress closed the doors of the Office of Technology
Assessment (OTA). Now in light of the importance of technology in many
of the issues facing Congress, there is growing interest in resurrecting
OTA in some form. Where Is OTA When You Need It? suggests
that an OTA-like organization can be an important resource as the level
of scientific content that confronts Congress continues to grow.
11 has presented us with new challengeschallenges
that we as engineers can and will address.
As always, I welcome hearing your thoughts