In the future, innovations in technology will make military actions faster and safer-with far less bloodshed and damage-resulting in greater American security at home and around the world, according to a panel of experts convened by Battelle at the close of the recent war in Iraq.

"We will see a transformation of American security and defense over the next ten years," said Charles Wilhelm, a retired Marine Corps general who leads Battelle's R&D programs for Homeland Security. "As a result of 9/11 the traditional boundaries between military forces abroad and protection of our own country have blurred. Innovative technologies are clearly needed which will give us more security at home and abroad."

The panel of science, technology, and defense experts met at Battelle offices in Washington, D.C., to produce the following list of the ten most innovative technologies for the future of national security and defense. By knowing what R&D programs exist today the experts forecasted the most significant new technologies likely to be ready by the year 2012.

1. Information and Intelligence Management: In another ten years, computer systems will become so powerful, accessible, and easy to use that commanders will have needed information precisely when and where they need it, effectively creating "knowledge warriors." Advanced integrated sensors and reliable networks will provide enormous amounts of real-time information about security threats. Software programs relying on "intelligent agents" will integrate vast amounts of data and information into patterns and displays that allow commanders to make quick and effective decisions. The new information technologies will take advantage of rapid progress being made in sensors, data routing, data mining, high speed computing, expert systems, and displays. "The warfighters and first responders of the future will have highly accurate and current intelligence at their fingertips and will be effective in combat beyond our current imaginations," said Dennis McGinn, a retired Navy admiral, and chief of Battelle's strategic planning.

2. Renewable Energy Sources: Today's defense forces are limited in speed, range and endurance by traditional energy sources-almost like a tank on a short electrical cord. New energy sources, however, will appear over the next decade as advances are made in new generations of alternative energy and batteries. Fuel cells will likely be available by 2012, in both large sizes for tanks and small sizes for soldiers. We will have fuel cells for soldiers with hydrogen cartridges, much like disposable lighters, that will have at least 10 times the energy density and life of a battery. Innovative energy will permit the mobility, range, and endurance required by the fast moving security missions of the future. In a broader context, the development of hydrogen from natural gas, coal, and other domestic sources for fuel cells and advanced engines will help national security by relieving U.S. dependence on oil imports.

3. Non-lethal Weapons: As the war in Iraq showed, the U.S. wants to be successful with as little violence as possible. This is true for police actions as well as military campaigns, especially those involving civilians. Research is underway today to produce an arsenal of new weapons that will temporarily incapacitate rather than wound or kill. They include impact but non-penetrating bullets, shocks, and radio frequency waves. In addition, weapons will greatly increase in accuracy and cause minimal physical damage to unintended targets. The intent will be to create a precise effect rather than to simply destroy. Building upon the experiences of the Iraq war, more weapons will be accurate to a target as small as a basketball.

4. Advanced Detection and Tracking Systems: The security of American borders and transportation centers has improved greatly, but will improve even more. We will have non-invasive biological, chemical, and weapon detectors as reliable and easy to use as x-rays or metal detectors today. We will see integrated sensors and detectors at airports, for example, which will identify illegal drugs and potential weapons of terrorism as quickly as a Geiger counter picks up radiation. "Early detection of biological weapons is absolutely critical to the success of American security in the years to come, and it's an area where much R&D is being done," said Steve Kelly, Senior Vice President and general manager of Battelle's Defense Systems. Once identified, there is a need to accurately track potentially dangerous objects and people. Today, optical scanners, bar codes and computers provide excellent tracking in commercial markets. By 2012, we will see a new generation of tracking with radio frequency identification tags, homing devices, cameras, and global position systems (GPS) for tracking weapons and other potentially threatening materials.

5. Universal Inoculation: Much fear exists today that bacteria and viruses may be used for terrorism or combat against the U.S. Biological weapons were central issues in recent Middle Eastern conflicts. A key protective measure against biological threats of the future will be the universal inoculation. One, or a small number of inoculations, not necessarily shots, will protect large numbers of people from multiple pathogens. By 2012, based on a more thorough understanding of the genetics behind disease, we'll be able to guard people's good health against dozens of bacteria and viruses.

6. The Global Cyber Net: Communications and information are the lifeblood of security. Today we enjoy a worldwide web, which is open but unsecured. In the future, we will have a global cyber net that is faster and better protected than today. The capacity of cyber traffic will increase 100 if not 1,000 times and a distributed architecture will provide redundancy and an organic self-healing network. Advances such as high capacity laser links will be realized in wireless and optical communications without the physical limitations of cable and fiber. It will be further hardened from interferences and more stringently guarded by electronic firewalls. Software will contain embedded safety features inside of the code rather than just surrounding it.

7. Individual Warning Devices: Beyond warning and protecting the general public, there is a need to provide individual warning and protection. Individuals want to be alerted to exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals and hazardous substances. In addition to developing chemical and biological detection systems for battlefields, inexpensive sensors will be available to people worried about exposure to unhealthy air, water, and food. The need for individual warning devices goes beyond the dangers of terrorism-people today want to have simple tests at home to assure them that the food they eat, the water they drink, and the air they breathe is safe. "The interests of combat defense, homeland security, and consumer safety converge to provide a powerful need to develop accurate and quick individual biological sensors," said Steve Millett, futurist and manager of Battelle's technology forecasts.

8. Rapid Deployment and Mobility: Increasingly, military campaigns and defensive responses will become faster and more agile. Speed and flexibility will be keys to success in preventing harm to the American people. The quick war in Iraq shows that the ability to deploy troops to strike quickly and effectively is a key element of victory. American forces will increase the speed of preparing and conducting operations. This will be due to improved communications systems, new methods of logistics management, and faster vehicles of all types. At home, early warning and detection of threats will give homeland security personnel more time to prepare to prevent a terrorist attack. If a terrorist attack were to occur, the rapid response would limit harm.

9. Safe Buildings: The anthrax attack on the Capitol in October 2001 alerted the country to the extraordinary health threat to buildings and the people inside them. The heating, cooling, and ventilation systems of office buildings, public places, and homes were not designed to protect people from biological and chemical threats to their health. New flow control designs, integrated sensors, filtration methods, and automated response mechanisms will significantly improve the quality of both indoor air and water. Filters will be supplemented by other means of detecting and killing harmful bacteria and viruses. Clean air and clean water devices will be deployed in private homes as well as government office buildings and public places, such as airports, stores, and theaters.

10. Advanced Multi-Functional Materials: Strides in material science and engineering will greatly improve what soldiers wear and use on the battlefield. Advances in textiles will allow clothing to better camouflage, protect, and even monitor soldiers' health. Color changing fibers will advance-and individualize-camouflage capability. Advanced lightweight composites will improve body armor protection and save lives. Remote physiological status monitoring will allow commanders to know the exact physical status of soldiers. We may even see technologies that will increase personal power-almost superhero style. Materials used for equipment will be lighter, stronger, more durable and multi-functional, for example, glasses for security personnel that use wireless systems for instant information and communication.

Battelle is a global leader in science and technology. It develops and commercializes technology and manages laboratories for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle and the national labs it manages or co-manages have 16,000 staff members and conduct more than $2.7 billion in annual research and development. Battelle innovations include the development of the office copier machine (Xerox), pioneering work on the compact disc, and medical technology advancements.

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