Thursday, December 20, 2007

China/India, Pentagon's Robots, UAV's, DHS News, +

China and India start first-ever joint military exercise

China and India began a small joint military exercise Wednesday, the first time two countries have cooperated militarily at that high a level.
The past rivals, who fought a brief war over a border dispute in 1962, have grown ever closer in recent years, mostly due to burgeoning trade ties, Agence France-Presse reports.
"The aim of the training is to enhance mutual understanding and mutual trust between the Chinese and Indian militaries," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said.
India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (14,670 square miles) of its territory, while Beijing claims the whole of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is 90,000 square kilometers.
However ties between the regional rivals have thawed since the 1990s, and trade between the two has flourished in recent years.
Qin played down the effects of the lingering border dispute, emphasizing the world's two biggest developing countries had much in common on international issues.
The exercise is being billed as an antiterror drill by the two sides, which The Guardian newspaper points out emphasizes what the two countries have in common: Concerns about separatism in their far-flung possessions (cont..)


Singapore, Thailand, US in trilateral military drill
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/318272/1/.html

SINGAPORE: The opening ceremony of Exercise Cope Tiger, an annual trilateral military drill involving Singapore, Thailand and the US, was conducted at Paya Lebar Airbase on Wednesday. The exercise will be carried out in two phases. The first phase, a Command Post Exercise (CPX), was held at Paya Lebar Airbase from 12-14 December. MINDEF said the CPX enabled the participants to gain a greater appreciation of the operating and planning procedures across the three air forces. The second phase, the Flying Training Exercise - which involves 96 aircraft and over 1,000 personnel - will be conducted in Korat, Thailand from 27 January to 5 February 2008.


The Pentagon's Robots: Arming the Future
http://www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/bg2093.cfm
*excerpts:
The Pentagon's New Weapons
After decades of military research and develop­ment, robotic technologies have finally matured to where they present significant national security applications. Their effectiveness is most notice­able in environments that are ill-suited to manned warfare.
Cognitive Action.To streamline robot-human interactions, researchers must develop machines capable of reasoning like human beings.[15] Autono­mous robots must be capable of learning and mak­ing decisions. In dealing with humans, the robot will need not only to reason, but also to have cogni­tive skills, such as being able to follow an ambigu­ous order that requires intuitively understanding what the command means.
Evolutionary robotics is a newly emerging field of robotic design in which a machine system works out a solution and then repeats the process until the robot determines the most efficient process. The solution then guides the control system in operating the robot's physical attributes, such as walking.[16] Such innovations may presage the deployment of autonomous robots.
To maintain a level of control over autonomous robots, the military services are investigating "vari­able autonomy," combining aspects of autonomy and human control.[17] The Naval Research Lab is researching human control of robots through voice commands and hand movements.[18] (cont...)

Environmental Tectonics Corporation Hosts Advanced Disaster Management Simulator Users' Conference in Orlando
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/NETH00720122007-1.htm

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa., Dec. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Environmental Tectonics Corporation's ("ETC" or the "Company") Simulation Division today announced the success of the 7th Annual ADMS Users' Conference.
On November 26 and 27, worldwide users of ADMS, ETC's Advanced Disaster Management Simulator, gathered at ETC Simulation's facility in Orlando, Florida, for the 7th Annual ADMS Users' Conference. Conference attendees from several of the world's premier training institutions, major international airports and fire departments came together to share training experiences, discuss best practices to maximize their ADMS training programs, experience the latest generation of ADMS, and get hands on with ADMS-ARFF, ETC's new Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Vehicle Simulator. The conference also supported users in coordinating and developing a common wish list for future simulation capabilities. (cont..)

Lab comes one step closer to building artificial human brain
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/dec/20/research.it

In a laboratory in Switzerland, a group of neuroscientists is developing a mammalian brain - in silicon. The researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in collaboration with IBM, have just completed the first phase of an ambitious project to reproduce a fully functioning brain on a supercomputer. By strange coincidence, their lab happens to lie on the same shores of Lake Geneva where Mary Shelley dreamt up her creation, Dr Frankenstein.
In June 2005, Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain project, announced his intention to build a human brain using one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. "The critics were unbelievable," recalls Markram. "Everybody thought we were crazy. Even the most eminent computational neuroscientists and theoreticians said the project would fail." (cont..)

DoD Unmanned Aircraft Systems
http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4108

DoD Press Briefing with Mr. Weatherington from the Pentagon Briefing Room, Arlington Va

BRYAN WHITMAN (Pentagon spokesman): Well, good morning, and thank you for joining us today. Some of your colleagues may be joining us shortly, but let's go ahead and get started.

Many of you know that the use of unmanned systems has grown at what some would say a staggering rate over the past decade, and the use of unmanned aerial systems has certainly proven themselves in recent combat operations as technology advances. How these systems are employed, development, the future operational needs have been laid out in two previous roadmaps, but this year in 2007 the department has developed a roadmap that incorporates not just the aerial systems but land and maritime systems also. (cont...)

Feds Plan To Unveil U.S. Cyber Security Plan
http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7009507882

Washington, DC (AHN) - The Department of Homeland Security plans to reintroduce later this week a domestic spying plan giving federal and state authorities greater access to satellite images. The program was temporarily suspended after legislators questioned the plan.
The revised program includes a new federal satellite spying unit called the National Applications Office and a charter guaranteeing the government will abide by the law.
Among the protections is a promise the NAO will obtain warrants when necessary and will not snoop on voice communications

Mobile unit could combat bioterrorism
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/840294.html

RALEIGH - A mobile unit that could incinerate pathogens from bioterrorism, avian flu and mad cow disease has been developed by a Raleigh waste management company for the federal government.
The device, which could be deployed quickly after natural disasters or disease outbreaks, destroys large volumes of animal carcasses or contaminated material to keep disease from spreading and protect human health.
BGP Inc., a private company, designed the prototype mobile unit under a $2.1 million contract with a multiagency federal team focused on homeland security. Because of recent outbreaks in other countries of Avian flu and mad cow disease, the federal government has given priority to developing rapid-response waste-disposal technology. (cont..)

Anthrax vaccine will add to America's arsenal against bioterrorism
http://www.news-medical.net/?id=33697

A company, based in Rockville, Maryland in the USA, with the help of government funding, has used the human genome to develop a vaccine that may give protection from anthrax.
The pharmaceutical company Human Genome Sciences Inc. (HGSI) received a federal contract last year from the Department of Heath and Human Services to the tune of $165 million and says it's anthrax vaccine, ABthrax, proved to be effective at protecting monkeys and rabbits who had inhaled anthrax spores (cont..)

Boeing creates unit for SBI work http://www.washingtontechnology.com/online/1_1/32003-1.html

For the second time in four months, Boeing Co. today reshuffled its management units and created a new component that will oversee the Homeland Security Department’s $30 billion high-tech Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet) surveillance system.


Crews evacuate building in scheduled drill (NM)

http://kob.com/article/stories/S290538.shtml?cat=517
Dozens of firefighters and rescue crews swarmed the tallest building in downtown Albuquerque Wednesday, evacuating hundreds of workers in a scheduled drill.
The commotion at the Bank of Albuquerque was part of a training exercise for the Albuquerque Fire Department.
Crews were learning how to handle an emergency situation in a high rise building.
People working in the

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