Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Facing U.S. budget cuts, the industry that makes drones, radar equipment, and sensors for use in Iraq and Afghanistan is looking to sell them at home to police, border patrol, and others.

It’s known as IBISS, the acronym for the Integrated Building Interior Surveillance System. Like its name suggests, it can see through the walls of buildings and sketch out images of what’s inside.

Until this year, IBISS was a classified system, a piece of high-tech wizardry the military used to fight the war on terrorism. The contractor that made the system, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), couldn’t talk about it in public, but that’s changing. IBISS is one of the new products SAIC is hoping to sell to local police stations and fire departments as the defense contractor explores what is known in the industry as “adjacent markets.”

Adjacent markets can mean anything from foreign militaries to the Department of Homeland Security for the industry that makes the computer systems, software, remote sensors, radar and ground stations that comprise Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) for the military.

For the first decade of the war on terrorism, the ISR industry thrived, and companies like SAIC, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin made big profits. Those days are coming to an end though...