I've not posted for a while due to a stealth mode startup I'm involved with. In the interim, I've had the chance to reflect on past areas of interest, including homeland security technology. Though I still maintain active interests and relationships in this area, and have a deep belief that technology from our existing labs and universities can be marshalled to detect and project against terrorism, it's frankly a lousy place to do business.
Here's a classic example why:
Net Net: Large, influential companies such as Home Depot and WalMart are actively lobbying to PREVENT the use of technology to scan 100% of containers coming into the U.S. . That's right, PREVENT the scanning of containers for potential radioactive, biological, or explosive threats. Why? Because it will generate an expense of ~$20 per container. Now, there are 20M odd containers coming into the U.S. each year, so the aggregate expense is substantial, but spread across several multi-billion dollar revenue companies, plus a network of transporation interests, this strikes me as incredibly short sighted.
I had the pleasure to visit the Kennedy Space Center over the winter, and I marveled at how we once "girded our loins" (In the Shakespearean sense) during the '60s to go to the moon. Once upon a time, personal courage and national interest came together to achieve great things. Now we live in an age where large, stodgy companies who invent NOTHING block the use of technology so that they can keep the cost of Chinese flip flops as low as possible.
Time for Home Depot et al to Cowboy up and act responsibly. In the interim, there a sea of companies like AESI, Savi, etc. that could potentially help introduce new technologies to achieve a 100% scanning goal, but they're at the mercy of the big boys. Hence, a noble cause, but a lousy place to do business.