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U.S. Intelligence Community
The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a cooperative federation of 16 separate government agencies that work, separately and together, to conduct intelligence activities considered necessary for the conduct of foreign relations and the protection of national security. Member organizations of the IC include intelligence agencies, military intelligence, and civilian intelligence and analysis offices within federal executive departments. The IC is led by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who reports to the President of the United States.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has created an organization that will increase the speed of technical developments and infuse synergy into all 16 intelligence agencies so they can recapture their ability to surprise adversaries. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is modeled after the military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Nanotechnology is a key area of research focus. For intelligence personnel, making devices very, very small, concealable and secure is an imperative.
The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) R&D program focus emphasizes developments in electronics, structural materials, and power generation and energy storage devices:
- In electronics, the program emphasizes large-scale carbon nanotube (CNT)-based memory, CNT-based logic devices, and CNT field-effect transistors. CNT-based electronics foundry materials and processes are completely compatible with operations in a standard silicon foundry.
- For structural components, the program focuses on use of carbon nanotube threads and yarns to produce conductive wires, impact- and bullet-proof panels, support struts, electromagnetic suppression boxes, and thermal conductive and thermal-electrical converters. Conductive wire research proposes to exceed the conductivity of copper wires while removing up to 80% of the weight of a signal or power harness.
- Nanotechnology R&D for power generation and energy storage devices emphasizes topics such as quartz nanorods as an improved solar cell cover glass, indium arsenide quantum dot technology for higher-efficiency solar cells, and carbon nanotube electrodes and additives to improve the performance and safety of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.
Matthew Cobert, Nanotechnologies Branch Chief
NRO Director’s Innovation Initiative (DII), http://dii.westfields.net