Although FAS has been at the forefront of many of these new information systems, some other organizations in our community have also taken important steps in these and related areas. Unfortunately, most other organizations have yet to implement such applications, and the full value of advanced information systems for any one organization can only be realized through implementation community-wide. Our commitment is thus not only to the work of FAS in particular, but to the peace and security community generally.
The range of new information systems includes both implementations that can significantly enhance our work, as well as a far larger range of implementations that either provide limited enhancement, or are essentially irrelevant either to our work, or our type of organization. Through our commitment to continuous improvement through advanced applications, we are able to practically evaluate those applications most immediately beneficial to our community.
We are committed to functioning as a Pathfinder Site for the peace and security community. As we have implemented new information systems, we have demonstrated their capabilities to organizations and individuals both in our immediate community, as well as individuals and organizations in other policy communities. We are committed to evaluating new and promising software and hardware implementations as they become available, and providing experience-based advice to the community.
The Federation of American Scientists has adopted a "bleeding edge" philosophy in implementing information systems. We are committed to being an early adopter of new and emerging information hardware and applications, and to apply these systems to our work as soon as they become available.
We were the first organization in our community to implement Optical Character Recognition for document management and dissemination, the first to implement a full-scope World Wide Web Homepage, the first to actively campaign on Usenet, and the first to implement Pentium platforms. We have also been a leader in other areas such as E-mail and faxcasting, as well as in the development of strategic concepts for applying these new tools to our research, education and outreach activities.
We are committed to evaluating and implementing new hardware implementations and software applications as they become available to further enhance the effectiveness of our programmatic work. This process of continuous improvement will require ongoing monitoring of new developments, in-house evaluation of competing solutions, progressive implementation of new software applications as they are released, and acquisition of new hardware platforms as needed to support future applications.
But advanced applications is more than merely new hardware and software. It is most importantly new concepts and strategies for applying these new tools to our research and public education work. As described in our CyberStrategy concept paper, we believe that emerging information systems will fundamentally transform the way in which we gather, process, and disseminate information. We are committed to continuous improvement in our understanding and application of this transformative process, and communicating this vision to our community and the public at large.
As part of our CyberStrategy Project, we are implementing a web-matrix of webpages for other organizations and Working Groups in our community. Our general conception is to construct a hyper-matrix in which each organization has hyperlinks to all the Working Groups in which it participates, and each Working Group has hyperlinks to participating organizations. This implementation provides enhanced connectivity beyond that normally provided in top-level Virtual Malls and typical hot-link implementations. We believe that this organization/Working-Group matrix provides a powerful metaphor to display our community and its warez. We look forward to extending this metaphor to include additional organizations and Working Groups (both Real World and virtual), and are soliciting suggestions for further matrix extensions.
The FAS CyberStrategy Project is the WebMaster for a number of community working groups and campaigns, including the Arms Transfer, Economic Conversion, Information Systems, Internationalism and Interventionism, Media Strategy, Military Spending, and Plutonium Challenge Working Groups, the Good Government Groups, and Campaigns on Star Wars, the Stealth Bomber, and the Seawolf Submarine. In addition, we have implemented interim homepages for a number of organizations in our community.
At present essentially this entire matrix is currently hosted in the fas.org domain, but we anticipate that an increasing number of these organizations will rehost their org homepages and initiate active WebMastering of their own content. In the meantime, we hope to jumpstart this process by HTML authoring selected contents for certain organizations, and providing other support services to facilitate migration from this legacy implementation.
The dynamic pace of innovation in information systems is producing information overload. Dozens of mass-circulation magazines, controlled-circulation industry publications, professional newsletters, E-mail listservs and Internet websites are filled with information on new industry developments, reviews of new applications and other products, and a range of other information essential to navigating cyberspace. This deluge of information is beyond the absorptive capacity of most Chief Information Officers in the peace and security community, whose responsibilities include many more pressing tasks than monitoring the current literature for relevant new developments. However, if our community is to fully utilize new information systems as they become available, to enhance our comparative advantage in the policy arena, we must maintain real-time situation awareness of the latest development in information systems.
The FAS CyberStrategy Project is committed to monitoring the full range of hard-copy and electronic periodicals to rapidly identify new and emerging trends of relevance to our community. We maintain subscriptions to most of the leading information systems periodicals, and will bring important reports in these periodicals to the attention of our community as needed. We are also an active participant in a number of Usenet newsgroups, permitting real-time interactive evaluation of developments in advance of reporting in periodical publications. These initiatives support both the FAS commitment to advanced applications, as well as our commitment serving as a Pathfinder for the peace and security community.
The Information Systems Working Group (ISWG) is the primary forum for collaboration for the Chief Information Officers of the Washington-based peace and security community. The FAS CyberStrategy Project, along with the Council for a Livable World, has taken the lead in organizing and convening this Working Group. We host the bi-weekly ISWG meeting, and maintain an E-mail distribution list through which we notify ISWG participants and others interested parties of developments in the Group's work as well as relevant developments in cyberspace generally. Along with other Group participants, we have initiated the development of a collaborative strategy to implement advanced information systems throughout the national peace and security community.
The Federation of American Scientists, along with other organizations in the peace and security community, is [in the current parlance of cyberspace] a value-added content provider. That is, our core competence is the generation and dissemination of information, fact and interpretation. In order to remain focused on our core competence, we have traditionally out-sourced supporting activities, such as printing and photocopy machine maintenance, which were essential to hard copy dissemination of our information products, but outside our core-competence of content creation.
We are also out-sourcing electronic dissemination support activities, but the nature of these newinformation systems both requires and facilitates a more direct alliance between content providers such as ourselves and others with complementary technical expertise and capabilities. Thus we have formed strategic partnerships with others with core competencies in information systems.
Our strategic partners in this effort include Randy Winn our primary computer consultant , Chris Herbst our consulting WebMeister of Information Bank, and ClarkNet, our internet service provider on which this website is hosted (ClarkNet also has its own newsgroups for more information). We are also members of the IGC Peacenet family.