Saturday, March 1, 2008

"Silver Dragon II", "Cyber Storm II", + News

“Silver Dragon II”
Disaster drill to mimic real chaos, test response quickness

Mar 1, 2008 6:00 AM (11 hrs ago) by Tamara Barak Aparton, The Examiner
San Mateo County (Map, News) - In a race against time and amid simulated chaos, volunteers will pound the pavement for three hours to get emergency “medicine” into the hands of 3,000 San Mateo and Foster City residents.
Dubbed “Silver Dragon II”, the March 13 exercise will test the county’s ability to receive and distribute large quantities of medicine and medical supplies from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Strategic National Stockpile. The SNS was designed to provide immediate medical care after an explosion or bioterrorism attack.
Working with Foster City and San Mateo fire and police, as well as the county health departments, volunteers in brightly colored vests will go door to door in both cities from 9 a.m. to noon.
While they will hand out earthquake preparedness materials in place of medicine, the drill has been designed to mimic the chaos and confusion that would accompany a real disaster, said San Mateo County Health Department spokeswoman Beverly Thames.

County officials will gauge how many households the volunteers can reach in three hours and test communication using satellite phones, handheld and HAM radios

County officials will gauge how many households the volunteers can reach in three hours and test communication using satellite phones, handheld and HAM radios.
The drill is the biggest of its kind in the area, Thames said. In January 2007, the health department coordinated with Foster City to conduct a similar drill, Silver Dragon, reaching 1,300 households.
“I think the biggest challenge this year for the health department was making the exercise more realistic, so we could get a better picture of how many households we could reach,” Thames said.
In an actual health crisis serious enough to deplete local supplies, medicines could be delivered by the federal government within 12 hours. The goal of the March 13 drill is to see how quickly those supplies could get into the hands of San Mateo County residents, Thames said.
While the exercise is a colossal coordination project, the organizing of volunteers and hammering out of logistics is being done by the fire departments, said Carl Hess, the county’s bioterrorism grant coordinator.
“The fire departments are extremely organized and experienced, so it’s easy to conduct a drill with them,” he said

Cyber Storm II stirring

The Homeland Security Department is getting ready to lead foreign governments, corporations, states and federal agencies on a second round of cyber war games. During the second week of March, nine states, four foreign governments, 18 federal agencies and 40 private companies will participate in Cyber Storm II — a weeklong simulation designed to better prepare the players for cyberattacks. DHS, FBI and the Defense Department are among the federal agencies that will participate. The exercise will be the culmination of more than 18 months of planning, led by DHS’ National Cyber Security Division, to design a series of simulations that will test the players’ abilities to respond to cyberattacks on information technology, communications, chemical and transportation infrastructure. The first Cyber Storm exercise, in 2006, focused on air transportation. Cyber Storm II participants have been broken into two teams: planners and players. The players have not seen any of the scenarios they will have to mitigate. A source familiar with the planning of the exercise said that this year’s simulation exercises could include elements of organized crime, terrorism or a hacking attempt driven by political goals. “We are looking at a more sophisticated scenario this time around,” he said. “It’s going to be quite an event.” The exercise will take place in Washington, but will also be played out virtually by thousands of people worldwide. Australia, along with the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, is planning a simultaneous cyber simulation exercise that will include its military. Each of Cyber Storm II’s participants will have their own goals and challenges designed to bolster their own abilities. The private-sector participant list includes giants such as Dow Chemical, Microsoft, McAfee, Cisco and Nova Chemicals, among others, the source said. “The exercise is very much deliberately intended to overload people,” the source said. “We don’t do these things to pat ourselves on the back.” ...

China and U.S. Agree to Open Military Hot Line

China and the United States officially signed in Shanghai on Friday an agreement on setting up a military hotline between the two defense departments, the Chinese Defense Ministry said.

The Real R2D2: ASTRO Takes on Space Rogues,2933,333575,00.html

R2D2, the feisty, resourceful and intrepid droid that specialized in saving the day in the “Star Wars” films, has leaped from the big screen into real life. ASTRO, also rotund and ingenious, is the real deal and ready to play ball in today’s space race.
When ASTRO recently achieved a first-in-space-history moment 300 miles above Earth on March 8, 2007, he did so with the modest low profile we may associate with R2D2.
The Russians may have created a lot of hoopla when they accused the U.S. of covering up the testing of an anti-satellite weapon, but talk about a storm in a teacup. Of course the U.S. can shoot down satellites. What the Russians should be worried about is real cutting-edge U.S. technology like ASTRO......

Headed Toward an International Robot Arms Race?

MAGTFTC Battle Simulation Center puts combat in virtual perspective CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWETNYNINE PALMS, Calif.(Feb. 29, 2008) -- The Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command Battle Simulation Center is providing deploying Marines and sailors with a variety of cutting-edge virtual training tools to help them prepare for today’s combat environment.The BSC was stood up at the Combat Center in 1996 and originally offered only a couple of training simulations, the MAGTF Tactical Warfare Simulation and the Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation, said Gary R. Stump, BSC site manager and simulation analyst.MTWS focused primarily on larger-scale training, meaning the company, battalion and regimental levels, while JCATS was designed to train Marines at the fire team through platoon levels.“We’ve always been here to train Marines, but since 1996, we’ve expanded,” said Stump. “We have a lot more capabilities now than we did back then.”The Battle Simulation Center works closely with the MAGTF Integrated Systems Training Center, which focuses of command and control systems training. To date, the BSC offers 10 different training simulators and the MISTC hosts seven training programs.Virtual Battle Space 1 and 2: VBS 1/2 are PC-based first-person viewpoints of a fully functional battlefield that focus on smaller-unit operations. VBS2 is currently more advanced and more prevalent than its older counterpart. Depending on the demands of the individual units, VBS can take the form of many different combat scenarios and environments, which can immerse between one and 100 Marines into a virtual world where small-unit leaders can test their standard operating procedures, as well as conduct rehearsals on the same terrain they will be likely walking to in the near future....


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