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Nanotechnologies Will Enhance Counterterrorism Abilities into the 21st Century

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By Shelley Smith

20th-century commentators on nanotechnology may have to take a back seat as law enforcement, the military, and Homeland Security address the realistic challenges of battling terrorism issues in the 21st century using “breakthrough technologies.”


“Traditional means of developing law enforcement technologies are simply inadequate to deal with today’s strategic realities, and the war on global terrorism should top our list of concerns.” Stated, Dr. James Jay Carafano from the 2005, Heritage Lecture #885 Notes by Dr. Carafano “The Future of Anti-Terrorism Technologies” delivered at a Middle East Police Exhibition Conference held at the Dubai World Trade Center.

The development of new technologies requires unprecedented innovation to counteract terrorism and by overcoming barriers for the needs of law enforcement, homeland security issues, and strengthening the U.S. infrastructure. Two “breakthrough technologies” amongst others that Dr. Carafano has suggested is to continue initiatives to further develop nanotechnologies and enhance biometric technologies. Biometric technologies include; iris recognition, hand geometry, fingerprint recognition, face recognition, and voice recognition. Nanotechnologies for security can involve nanodevices or fabrications that interact with other systems at the atomic, molecular, or macromolecular levels. This could include sensors, communications, materials, fabrications, optics, electronics, bio-medical nanostructures, and others.

Internationally, there is a global race to develop nanotechnologies for a myriad of applications that is being viewed as having the ability to stabilize economies. Applied methods for consideration to improve capabilities of independence is; energy efficiency during the geographical seasonal times, such as winter, and to introduce new markets and products on a long-term scale.

During 2003, the United States estimated that nanotechnology had already reached over $45.5 billion in revenue and from the article “Nanotechnology Boom Expected 2015,” by Jonathan Katz, the market for nanotechnology based-product is expected to reach an estimated $3.1 trillion by 2015. Nanotechnology already improves products and is found in coating materials to boost engines and protect electronic devices, but the Iranians recently took it a step further.

Iran Makes Nano-Crystal Coated Titanium”, issued Sept. 14, 2008, by the Iranian Fars News Agency, Tehran. “Iranian researchers have successfully made pure nano-crystal coated titanium using plasma electrolytic boriding for industrial purposes.” The nano-crystal coating the titanium is hard enough to protect it from corrosion and erosion depending on certain factors.

According to the Iranian press TV, the team’s lead researcher Mahmoud Aliof Khazraei stated, “The oil, gas and petrochemical industries along with the automotive and military industries will be the main domestic customers of the product.” The Iranian researcher is expecting this product to be internationally marketed for aerospace industries and others.

In this instance the quote by Louis Pasteur, “The role of the infinitely small is infinitely huge” dutifully fits the present and future when viewed as the small size of technologies battling against the large issues of terrorism and crime. In the near future, the “small tech” could very well be a good friend to law enforcement, the military, agencies, and the consumer by being a major driver towards not only boosting the economy, being a valuable forensic function, and in battling against terrorism to preserve national security and it’s allies.


About the Author

Shelley Smith is an expert in analysis and research on varied national and international issues, homeland security, terrorism and counterterrorism, law enforcement, criminal justice systems, and other. Smith has an A.S. in Criminal Justice with Honors and a B.A in Intelligence Studies. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Intelligence Studies Capstone with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies at American Military University.

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