Transforming Strategy to Reach the Vision

Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology will provide the understanding critical to rapid progress in the development of new, higher-performance, information technology nanodevices, of high performance materials, and of sensors/activators for biological systems. In a simplified, but useful, perspective, nanoscience will underpin the information technology and biotechnology components of a warfighter system program. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) will provide a broad-based program in nanoscience; it remains a challenge to couple that program most effectively with information technology and biotechnology.

Information Technology (ITI) is also a U.S. national initiative. The coordinating offices for both the NNI and ITI programs have been collocated in order to encourage close collaboration. The Information Technology Initiative identifies areas where advances in device capability would be most effective and works to advance modeling and simulation (high-performance computing) so that theoretical contributions to nanoscience will be an equal partner with the experimental efforts. The Nanotechnology Initiative must accelerate progress in those areas where new, cost-effective technology will lead to the most significant impact on information systems.

Biotechnology is effectively a third U.S. national imitative if one includes the NIH budget for health and medicine. A principal challenge here is acceleration of chemical, physical, materials, and engineering contributions to biotechnology. Biology must also better identify the biochemical basis for alertness, acuity, and memory retention.

The large investments already present in nano-, info- and biotechnology should be coordinated and coupled with efforts in cognition. DARPA, NASA, NIH, and NSF already have major programs that seek to integrate nano-, bio- and info- research. Within the DOD, the Army and Marines have the lead efforts in technologies to impact the individual warfighter. The Army is presently competing a University-Affiliated Research Center (UARC) on the topic, "Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies," that potentially can integrate the essential components of this opportunity.

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