It was noted, however, that younger generations often seek information less from specific institutions than from knowledgeable individuals within those institutions, and that their searches are often buttressed by peer-to-peer cultural practices.

Making S&TI Actionable for COCOMs

When evaluating the relevance of S&TI, COCOM panel participants expressed the need for a clear assessment of time (when the threat might be realized), impact (an assessment of the consequences), mitigation actions (ways that the impact might be reduced), and a concept of operations describing how the technology might be used against the United States. Related discussion themes are described below.

  • Sharing of information between S&TI and the warfighter community is important, but it must be in context to be of value. The commands expressed a preference for information sharing through some type of interactive dialogue rather than formal documents that may not sufficiently address the potential operational impact.

  • Limited access to classified networks such as the JWICS (Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System) and the SIPRNet (Secret Internet Protocol Router Network) was discussed as a bottleneck restricting the distribution of S&TI products. Additional limiting factors for information sharing include over-classification within the government as well as the lock-down of intellectual property in private and academic entities. While these issues are challenges, they were highlighted in the discussion of S&TI solutions needed—ways to overcome these impediments in order to make S&TI more readily available to COCOMs.

  • Participants acknowledged that sometimes the information needed to answer a query is not available, or is incomplete, when the question is asked. They suggested that information systems be expanded to retain the questions asked together with all subsequent S&TI exchanges to improve the continuity and consistency of S&TI products. Similarly, participants felt that adoption of the research community’s trend toward publishing negative results as well as positive results might also be of value to consumers—as well as to other S&TI producers.

  • The U.S. cultural inclination—particularly in the defense establishment—is to solve problems with technology-based systems. But, as mentioned in the section “Process-Specific Concerns About Technology Surprise” in Chapter 2, too often the U.S. assumption is that others behave similarly. Instead, the S&TI community must consider social systems and decision processes to account for varying adversary thought processes. This issue can be addressed by including cultural and social science factors as part of



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