Policy, Practice, and the Search for Alpha
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If there were a scale to measure the level of abstraction associated with science, technology, strategy, and policy, we could think of science and technology at one end and strategy and policy at the other. While scientists and technologists often must work to understand and manipulate very small, detailed aspects of a problem (like searching for the value of alpha in a formula that will optimize coverage by a radio signal), policymakers often attend to the large, macro aspects (perhaps deciding who can use available radio frequencies and for what purposes). While both ends of the spectrum are important, my observation is that it is sometimes a challenge for these groups to understand and best benefit from each other. Yet innovations in science and technology can enable policy options that were not previously available and policy goals can drive scientists and technologists to find ways to reach heretofore-unobtainable objectives. To work well, these diverse worlds need to work together. It is with that idea in mind that we present a set of papers recently judged best-in-track and best--in-conference at the 2010 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Homeland Security Technology (HST) Conference, the tenth annual meeting of this group.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (March 2011), Supplement no.3
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