During the past few years, there has been increasing attention paid to the monitoring and control of pollution and other forms of environmental damage. The integration of the sensors, deployed to monitor various parameters in the environment, with the analysis of the information they collect, is an example of an integrated system.
More specific examples include the environmental controls on power plants, both solid fuel and nuclear, the monitoring of acid rain damage in a forest, or an airborne military system to monitor chemical signatures over a suspected chemical weapons plant.
These technologies provide the basis on which the success of the "clean car" produced by Partnership for the New Generation Vehicle can be judged and on which environmentally friendly construction designs can be based. They contribute to the efficiency of physical infrastructure by providing a basis for a better understanding of how climate and weather affect transportation. They provide the basis on which energy production and utilization methods can be judged for their environmental effects. Finally, these technologies provide data which are a prerequisite for ecosystem management and ex post monitoring and evaluation for understanding interaction of humans with the environment.
Integrated environmental monitoring technologies contribute to several national goals. By providing data which permit assessment of environmental effects on health, as well as by increasing food security through better monitoring and prediction of natural disasters, these technologies contribute to the health of the U.S. population. Environmental monitoring technologies also contribute to job creation and economic growth in a variety of ways.
Integrated monitoring and assessment technologies can make a significant contribution to our national security as well. By providing the ability to identify developing environmental disasters which may cause social and political turmoil and even conflict between nations, we may be able to intercede to prevent or mitigate such destabilizing events. At a finer scale, that ability to monitor the physical environmental conditions on the battlefield can provide a warfighting advantage and provide information with which simulations for future possible missions can be constructed as means of training. Environmental monitoring technologies are also essential to assuring non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
At present, Russia is only slightly behind the United States in remote sensing technologies. The United States is currently the leader in satellite-based, multispectral data processing technology capability, followed by Russia (based on military capability), France, and Japan. Environmental monitoring is a fertile area for international cooperation, including cooperation in space- based monitoring with the Former Soviet Union-- Russian platforms