The National Academies committee, made up of distinguished scientists and engineers, was formed to assist the federal government in developing a “Science and Technology Program and Research Strategy for combating terrorism.” Its aim is to quickly “establish a set of selected research priorities that can be
put into effect promptly” and aid in sorting out the “chaos of ideas, plans, and claimants on priority funding” to combat terrorist threats.
The National Academies effort was launched on December 19 and 20 in Washington, D.C. Phase 1 of the committee plan involves (a) preparing a typology or taxonomy, characterizing the range of threats to the nation’s
security, for the application of science and technology for countering terrorism; (b) preparing research agendas in seven key areas; and (c) examining a series of cross-cutting issues, multidisciplinary research topics that cut across the seven key areas: biological; chemical; nuclear and radiological; information technology,
computers, and telecommunications; transportation; energy facilities, buildings, and fixed infrastructure; and behavioral, social, and institutional issues.