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

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement