Monday, March 10, 2008

FCS, China Anti-Terror, NORAD/NORTHCOM, + News

Army's $200 Billion Reboot Fizzles; Murtha Wants $20 Billion More

The Army's gargantuan digital modernization plan has turned so rotten, a new congressional report says it's time to start thinking about killing off the effort, and looking for new alternatives. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania), the powerful head of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, has another plan: Pump another $20 billion into the sickly, $200 billion behemoth "Future Combat Systems" before it drops dead under its own weight.....


A call to cyber armsMilitary looks to contractors for more than just armor

Foiled terror plots targeted Olympics

BEIJING, China (AP) -- Chinese police killed alleged terrorists plotting to attack the Beijing Olympics, and a flight crew foiled an apparent attempt to crash a Chinese jetliner in a separate case, officials said Sunday

Wang Lequan, the top Communist Party official in the western region of Xinjiang, said materials seized in a January raid in the regional capital, Urumqi, showed the plotters' planned "specifically to sabotage the staging of the Beijing Olympics."
"Their goal was very clear," Wang told reporters at a meeting of Xinjiang delegates in Beijing.
Wang cited no other evidence and earlier reports on the raid had made no mention of Olympic targets.......

New Center to Boost NORTHCOM, NORAD Capabilities
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2008 - An integrated command center scheduled to become operational in May will improve the global situational awareness critical to U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Command in protecting the homeland, the commands' top officer said yesterday.
The new center, in the works since 2006, will help both commands confront threats posed by unpredictable adversaries who are increasingly networked and dynamic, Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr. told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Renuart commands both NORTHCOM, which protects the United States from enemy attacks and natural disasters, and NORAD, a U.S.-Canadian command that focuses on airborne threats to North America. The two commands work as partners in what Renuart called a "no-fail mission" of protecting the homeland. "Our missions require a culture of anticipation," Renuart told the senators. He called the ability to anticipate events that may require a military response an essential element of success for both commands. The new command center will go a long way in promoting global situational awareness and interconnectivity with key homeland defense and civil support partners, Renuart said. "The NORAD and USNORTHCOM Command Center will provide a more efficient and effective means of executing homeland defense against threats coming from all domains," he stated in his prepared testimony. The center will provide better coordination between defense activities and other stakeholders, especially Canada Command, to support defense activities, he said. It also will enhance the military commands' ability to provide defense support of civilian authorities. As work continues in bringing the new center on line, NORTHCOM and NORAD continue bolstering their abilities to provide homeland defense for the United States and Canada, Renuart said. Both commands "are steadfastly committed to our mission of defending our homelands, and we know we cannot fail," he said. Renuart described some of the top-priority efforts under way: -- Building more capability to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives incidents, whether a deliberate terrorist attack or an accident; -- Leading Defense Department preparations for a potential pandemic influenza, working to synchronize military efforts globally to minimize contamination and prevent further spread of the pandemic; -- Strengthening preparations for and responses to natural disasters ranging from hurricanes to floods to wildfires in the United States; -- Boosting U.S. homeland defense through continual improvements in the commands' operational missile defense program and maritime and air defense activities; -- Strengthening partnerships at the international, interagency, state and local levels to improve homeland defense and civil-support capabilities; and -- Improving situational awareness capabilities essential to predicting threats from space as well as the maritime domain. "Through continued emphasis on anticipating and preparing for all-hazards response with our mission partners, strengthening relationships with our mission partners, improving our homeland defense and civil support capabilities and anticipating future impacts to our continent security, we are on the right path for a secure nation," Renuart said. "With Congress' sustained support, USNORTHCOM and NORAD will continue to protect and defend our fellow citizens and the freedoms they enjoy."
SOURCE: American Forces Press Service

Bush and Polish PM see progress on missile shield deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush pledged on Monday to help modernize Poland's military as part a U.S. effort to secure agreement for basing components of a global missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. (cont...)

Warning: This is only a drill (NH)
Guard team tests response to disaster

The New Hampshire National Guard staged a mock drill in the State House yesterday. Here, members of the 12th Civil Support Team take “radiation readings” in a corridor near Representatives Hall

The New Hampshire guardsmen padding around the State House in hazmat suits were just practicing, but their elaborate drill involved multiple searches of the building, complex chemical tests and a credible back story.
The 12th Civil Support Team, which specializes in responding to attacks involving weapons of mass destruction, was downtown yesterday as part of an evaluation the unit will need to pass to remain certified. It involved fake chemical, biological and radiological weapons, which were spread throughout the building for the soldiers to find, identify and neutralize.
Soldiers were told that the Legislature had held a special session Saturday to discuss gun control legislation, according to Lt. Col. Kevin Major, who commands the unit. During the fictional hearing, Major said, some "unofficial lobbyists" yelled out, "You'll never take guns from me." Later that night, the team was told, legislators started showing up at local hospitals complaining of difficulty breathing and itching, burning skin......

Wenatchee woman trains others to be prepared for attack

Marianne Patton, left, instructs emergency hospital staff on how to handle a patient injured by a dirty bomb without contaminating hospital staff and patients during a recent training session at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Ala. (Photo provided by Marianne Patton)

Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States are holding global counter-terrorism war games to test the security of vital infrastructure and services. (update)

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