joseph_traub's picture
Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University; coauthor, Complexity and Information

On January 20, 2009, our nation's leaders will gather in Washington for the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States. How many more such public inaugurations will we see?

Due to the threat from increasing precision, range, and availability of weapons, will it be safe for our nation's leaders to gather in one public place? Such weapons are or will be available to a variety of nations, NGOs, and terrorist groups. It might well be in someone's interest to wipe out the nation's leadership in one blow.

Why am I willing to announce this danger publicly? Won't it give terrorists ideas? I've come to believe that terrorist groups as well as other nations are smart and will identify such opportunities themselves.

What can be done about the potential physical threat when our leaders are gathered in one place?