Star Wars Spending Spree
Billions for Missile Defense, peanuts for anti-terrorism.
A few specialists, who ask not to be identified, suggest some relatively cheap ideas. For $9 million, 100 officials in each of the 30 largest cities could be investigated for security clearances so they could sit down with DOE scientists and work out the most effective local measures. For $20 million per city, in many cases much less, emergency-management officials and scientists could set up a formal testing program. For $100 million, top weapons-lab scientists—who are currently competing for crumbs—could be brought together for a two-year project to look at existing projects in high-energy physics (say, those involving detection and measurement of very faint chemical and radiological signals) and figure out how to apply the technology to practical, deployable sensors. Many lab scientists are eager to do this work, but nobody's given them the money, much less a plan and certainly not a free pass.
Fred Kaplan is Slate's "War Stories" columnist and author of the book, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter.
Photograph of missile intercept test on the Slate home page by Ho/Reuters.