Saturday, December 29, 2007

Future Combat Systems, DARPA (RAID) +

Army's high-tech future is near

Some see Buck Rogers in the technology, others the bucks in the price tag - $200-billion.

By Washington PostPublished December 28, 2007
EL PASO, Texas - A $200-billion plan to remake the largest war machine in history unfolds in one small way on a quiet country road in the Chihuahuan Desert.
Jack Hensley, one of a legion of contractors on the project, is hunkered in a slowly moving sport-utility vehicle, serving as target practice for a baby-faced soldier in a Humvee aiming a laser about 700 yards away. A moment later, another soldier in the Humvee punches commands into a computer transmitting data across an expanse of sand and mesquite to a site 21/2 miles away. On an actual battlefield, this is when a precision attack missile would be launched, killing Hensley almost instantly.
For soldiers in an experimental Army brigade at the sprawling Fort Bliss base, it's the first day of field training on a new weapon called the Non-Line of Sight Launch System, or NLOS-LS, a box of rockets that can automatically change direction in midair and hit a moving target about 24 miles away. The Army says it has never had a weapon like it. "It's not the Spartans with the swords anymore," says Emmett Schaill, the brigade commander, peering into the desertscape.
In the Army's vision, the war of the future is increasingly combat by mouse clicks. It's as networked as the Internet, as mobile as a cell phone, as intuitive as a video game. The Army has a name for this vision: Future Combat Systems, or FCS. The project involves creating a family of 14 weapons, drones, robots, sensors and hybrid-electric combat vehicles connected by a wireless network. It has turned into the most ambitious modernization of the Army since World War II and the most expensive Army weapons program ever, military officials say.
It's also one of the most controversial. Even as some early versions of these weapons make their way onto the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, members of Congress, government investigators and military observers question whether the Defense Department has set the stage for one of its biggest and costliest failures. At risk, they say, are billions of taxpayer dollars spent on exotic technology that may never come to fruition, leaving the Army little time and few resources to prepare for new threats.
Future Combat Systems "has some serious problems," said Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, chairman of the House air and land forces subcommittee. "Since its inception, costs have gone up dramatically while promised capability has steadily diminished. I don't see how the Army can afford to rebuild itself and pay for the FCS program as it stands today."
To hear the military tell it, there's a hint of Buck Rogers in the program, including an unmanned craft that hovers like a flying saucer between buildings and detects danger. The idea of Future Combat Systems is to create a lighter, faster force that can react better to tomorrow's unpredictable foes.
The last time the Army tried anything so far-reaching was more than half a century ago when it introduced mechanized forces, moving soldiers en masse by machine rather than by foot.
Others say the Army has pushed too far. The Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office have questioned the cost and management of Future Combat Systems.
The project originated in part in 1995 when Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales Jr., now retired, launched a series of war games. As director of the Army After Next project, his job was to divine the nature of war a quarter-century hence. So Scales assembled a team of about 700, including members of the Army, Air Force, Marines, the CIA and civilian scientists, who warred over the next two years in a huge simulation center at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. "The Army had never done it - they thought I was off my rocker," he said.
The blue team represented the Americans. The red were the Iranians, who in one scenario captured Riyadh and began executing the royal Saudi family on live television. That drew the blue team into the streets of Riyadh, which, choked with heavy armor, became a bloody mess. Scales, building on earlier military research, realized that the United States needed a lighter, mobile force.
He called it the "Aha moment."
Then a fiasco hastened the Army's commitment to modernize. In 1999, the Army was bogged down in muddy logistics as it sought to move Apache helicopters into Albania so they could be used in the Kosovo war. They didn't make it before the fight ended, an embarrassment that prompted Army Chief of Staff Eric K. Shinseki to declare that the service needed to get lighter and faster - quickly.

Joint Capability Developer: Advancing Warfighter Effectiveness and Combat

DARPA is working on a program called Adversarial Intelligence and Decision-making (RAID), a tool for semi-automated generation of enemy estimates.

Reading the mind of your enemy may soon become easier. Computers may be able to do so even better than humans, experiments conducted by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) Real-time Adversarial Intelligence and Decision-making (RAID) program suggest.
RAID is a tool for semi-automated generation of enemy estimates. Its job is to anticipate the upcoming actions of the enemy, and do so not just before, but also during the unfolding battle, in near real-time. In a way, one may say the purpose of RAID is to read the mind of the enemy. (cont...)

* Please see Nico Haupts latest article:

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, DHS, Russia: Military News

Raytheon creates real-world training ground
The Indiana Office of Energy and Defense Development is calling attention to an initiative of Raytheon Co.’s Fort Wayne operations as one of the most impressive success stories emerging from Gov. Mitch Daniels’ efforts to grow the state’s defense business. An announcement on the completion of the agency’s Defense Asset Study earlier this month said collaboration it has been promoting could help advance the development of Raytheon’s promising Networked Urban Operations Test Bed. The Office of Energy and Defense Development study highlighted ways for companies and universities to attract more defense dollars to the state. The effort is expected to translate into more jobs for Hoosiers and continued growth for Indiana’s $4.6-billion defense contracting industry. “This project has been more than a study, it’s been a process,” said Jason Lovell, manager of the OED’s Defense Division. “Through this effort, companies within the seven sectors the study identified have come together, built lines of communication and formed alliances to go after more defense dollars.” Defense electronics is among the industry sectors the state wants to develop, and there is a growing cluster of related businesses in northeast Indiana. Regional groups were formed to identify and leverage opportunities within the state’s defense business sectors, and Lovell said the OED would like to see “all these sector’s groups keep … growing, going and winning contracts.” Raytheon is one of the major employers in that business cluster, and the company’s Networked Urban Operations Test Bed could become very important to innovation within the defense industry. The test bed is a training program for military personnel and first responders, and also allows them to evaluate new technology and its use in real-world situations. The concept received favorable reviews when it was demonstrated in May at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County near Butlerville. The center is a secluded, self-contained community, once home to the Muscatatuck State Developmental Center. The 1,000-acre site was turned over to the Indiana National Guard in 2005 and since has been evolving into a full-immersion contemporary urban training environment. Late last year, U.S. Joint Forces Command announced a two-year cooperative research and development agreement with Raytheon to create “a nationally accessible operations-oriented test bed for exploration and rapid deployment of net-centric capabilities and components for use in urban environments.” In addition to Muscatatuck, various sites throughout Indiana, including the Indiana National Guard’s Camp Atterbury facilities, the Naval Surface Warfare Center located at Crane and facilities owned by Purdue University will serve as this test bed. Raytheon will provide USJFCOM network access to the Indiana test bed at the command’s offices in Suffolk, Va. USJFCOM and Raytheon will provide scientific, engineering, and operational expertise as needed. Russ Richards, who heads the USJFCOM Office of Research and Technology Applications, said the agreement was important because “to really explore new concepts and new capabilities that support urban operations we need to do experimentation. But we don’t have a place that we can do live experimentation very well.” Because Muscatatuck is a complete town consisting of 70 buildings, a hospital, power station and subterranean tunnels located on a thousand acres of rural, isolated property, the command said it is an ideal urban environment for joint concept development and urban operations experiments. The May training exercise at Muscatatuck was a simulated terrorist attack in which Indianapolis was hit with a dirty nuclear device and panicked survivors were trying to evacuate along Interstate 69 in time to avoid a radioactive cloud drifting northeast toward Fort Wayne. Bruce Menshy, operations director for Raytheon Network Centric Systems in Fort Wayne, said a training exercise that puts technology to a real-world test will generate important feedback on its strengths and weaknesses, and help identify its best use and opportunities to improve it. And “the good thing is, this leverages assets we have in the state,” he said. Timothy Morris, a technology acquisition manager for Raytheon in Fort Wayne, is administering the test bed and said it has the potential to dramatically accelerate the successful development and use of important new defense technologies. New technologies and even upgrades typically can take 10 to 15 years to come into use. “The fastest I’ve ever see one deployed is three years, and that took a Herculean effort,” Morris said.

Russia elevates Iran air defense,1,940822.story?ctrack=3&cset=true
BEIRUT - Iranian officials said Wednesday that they have signed a contract to buy an advanced Russian anti-aircraft system, a move that could complicate any plans for an air attack by U.S. or Israeli warplanes.The sale to Tehran of powerful new air-defense missile technology also would create new sources of friction between the Bush administration and the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. officials harshly criticized Russia for an earlier missile sale to Iran completed in January.

Daily News: Flu Shots Allow Practice Drills
Some states are offering free flu vaccinations as practice for an emergency response to a pandemic or bioterrorism attack. Arkansas conducted the largest free flu-shot drive in the country, vaccinating more than 100,000 people in a three-day, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded test, according to the website. Stations were set up in 81 schools, churches, fairgrounds and other venues. They were even offered on a drive-through basis in parking lots. It was funded under a $500 million program launched last year. The CDC paid for personnel, equipment, and transportation. The cost of the shots is being recovered through private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and the state. Colorado, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Nebraska, and New York offered shots on much smaller scales

Lockheed grabs up PercepTek
Lockheed Martin Corp. will acquire PercepTek Inc., a provider of autonomous decision-making software technologies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition is intended to strengthen Lockheed Martin’s capabilities in unmanned surveillance, company officials said. Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control unit will manage the PercepTek business, they added.
PercepTek of Littleton, Colo., develops software that supplies autonomous navigation for unmanned ground vehicles, autonomous collaboration operations for unmanned aerial vehicles and automated surveillance for security applications. Among the company’s customers are the Army, Air Force and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Georgetown Bioterrorism Expert Appointed to Biodefense Advisory Board
Washington, DC—Georgetown University bioterrorism expert Kenneth Dretchen, PhD, has been named by Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt to the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) for a three-year term. The panel was created as part of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act in 2006 to provide expert guidance to the Secretary on technical issues related to bioterrorism. Dretchen, chair of Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Pharmacology, was part of a team that developed a portable chemical antidote injection that every member of the U.S. military now carries

New government-transparency database will decrease available info about intel agencies
A new online government spending database -- designed to increase transparency as to how taxpayer dollars are spent -- will actually allow intelligence agencies to keep more secrets about their private contracts than before.
"[W]hen it comes to intelligence spending, there will actually be a net loss of public information because categories of intelligence contracting data that were previously disclosed will now be withheld," reports Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News.

Spending on internal security to reach $178 bn by 2015
DUBAI: The global homeland security business is flourishing and governments and businesses worldwide are expected to spend some $178 billion by 2015 to counter terror threats, according to security experts and industry sources, WAM news agency reported Thursday. "International expenditure on homeland security now surpasses established enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenues," said Angela Schierholz, senior show manager at Epoc Messe Frankfurt GmbH, organizer of Intersec Middle East exhibition to be held in Dubai Jan 13-15, 2008

US air defences scramble to meet F-15 fleet grounding
With hundreds of US F-15 Eagle jets now grounded because of dangerous structural defects, the country's air defence network is becoming strained somewhat, particularly as Russia has chosen this time to adopt a an aggressive posture in the air space surrounding Western countries

Monday, December 24, 2007

NORAD/Santa, DEW Warheads, India: GCC, FBI +

NORAD in full deployment to track Santa
*Please See: NORAD Tracks SANTA and Other Fictions

Pentagon Eyes High-Speed Missiles for Stealth Aircraft

By Robert Wall and Douglas Barrie
The U.S. military is increasingly interested in developing a new generation of high-speed air-to-surface missiles that could be integrated into stealth aircraft to attack an enemy’s radar sites or fleeting targets.
U.S. Air Force planners are anxious about enhancements in air defense technology, worrying that as powerful computer processing becomes more ubiquitous and network cabling becomes cheaper, adversaries can link radar systems of different types to raise their chances of spotting and potentially shooting down even low-observable aircraft.
Although the military is putting much effort into using directed-energy and network attack tools to thwart such threats, the kinetic kill approach hasn’t fallen out of favor entirely. One reason is that the initial generation of directed-energy systems will still require aircraft to get comparatively close to a threat, while missiles can be launched at greater stand-off ranges. The missiles themselves could also be candidates for directed-energy warheads.
There has been frustration among weapon developers that the U.S. and Europe have not done more to push high-speed technology, with a few exceptions such as the European rocket/ramjet-powered Meteor air-to-air missile. Russia has ramjet-powered air-to-surface weapons in its inventory, and China and India are also pursuing this area aggressively, bemoans a European industry official.
But the situation may be changing. One emerging project, for instance, is a Raytheon initiative to design a ramjet-powered version of the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), according to a company official. Raytheon has been exploring various options for a ramjet motor, which would be paired with an enhanced HARM front end. (cont...)

India ready for naval exercises with GCC countries
Atul Aneja
FUJAIRAH (UAE): The Indian Navy was ready to hold joint exercises with countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), defence attache to the GCC countries M.D. Suresh said.
“We are ready to hold naval exercises either on a bilateral basis or multilaterally with the GCC countries.”
He made these remarks at a press conference which coincided with the goodwill visit of the two modern Indian naval ships, INS Brahmaputra and INS Tabar to the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
Fujairah’s location along the Sea of Oman was significant as ships docking here could avoid crossing the vulnerable strait of Hormuz — a narrow shipping channel located towards the north.Largest oil exporters
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE made the GCC. The GCC countries together were the largest oil exporters of the world. India and China were among the fastest growing consumers of oil produced by the GCC. (cont...)

Army Looks to SC Nuke Site for Training in Total Darkness

The Army wants to use the 310-square mile site near Aiken to train its light infantry units in nighttime battle exercises there that may include Army, Navy and Air Force Special Operations Forces.The exercises could involve anywhere from a handful of troops to 4,000 soldiers that make up certain types of combat teams. (cont...)

FBI chief Hoover proposed mass arrests in 1950: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover proposed imprisoning 12,000 Americans in 1950 and suspending their right to habeas corpus because they were "potentially dangerous," the New York Times reported on Sunday (cont...)


Experts will be posing the ultimate computer question in Aberdeen - can a machine be taught to think?The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour is holding its annual convention in Aberdeen between April 1 and April 4 next year. (cont...)

FBI Prepares Vast Database Of Biometrics

CLARKSBURG, W. Va. -- The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad.
Digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns are already flowing into FBI systems in a climate-controlled, secure basement here. Next month, the FBI intends to award a 10-year contract that would significantly expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives. And in the coming years, law enforcement authorities around the world will be able to rely on iris patterns, face-shape data, scars and perhaps even the unique ways people walk and talk, to solve crimes and identify criminals and terrorists. The FBI will also retain, upon request by employers, the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks so the employers can be notified if employees have brushes with the law.
"Bigger. Faster. Better. That's the bottom line," said Thomas E. Bush III, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which operates the database from its headquarters in the Appalachian foothills.
The increasing use of biometrics for identification is raising questions about the ability of Americans to avoid unwanted scrutiny. It is drawing criticism from those who worry that people's bodies will become de facto national identification cards. Critics say that such government initiatives should not proceed without proof that the technology really can pick a criminal out of a crowd.
The use of biometric data is increasing (cont...)

* The # 19 again! Some code and part of Psyop (subliminal reminder 19 hijackers:Iran=Al Qaeda)
Iran to seek bids for 19 atomic power plants: MP

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

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
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)
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

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Iran war Games, Lockheed Martin, General Dyn. + DHS News ...

* all articles are continued beyond highlight
Second, third stages of IRGC Navy exercises held in Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf-Navy Exercise The second and third stages of Iranian Navy exercise called 'Courage 86' was carried out in an area of 7,000 nautical miles in the Persian Gulf.
Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Brigadier General Ali Razmjoo said that the second exercise included pre-emptive defensive and psychological operations, air defense, mine planting operation, tracking down the vessels of hypothetical enemy at night time, destroying vessels of the hypothetical enemy and parachuting frogmen from copters into the sea.
The third stage included chemical defense, shooting targets at sea, intercepting vessels of hypothetical enemy and capturing hypothetical targets, he said.
Several hundred vessels, missile launchers, destroyers, mine planters have been involved in a series of IRGC naval exercises in an area between Northern Bushehr province and Asalouyeh for four days since Sunday.
He said that the exercises focused on non-conventional defense and new mission to protect territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, the Iranian Islands and coastal area.

First Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing Stealth Fighter Unveiled at Lockheed Martin
FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, the first fighter to combine stealth with short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) capability and supersonic speed, made its debut today amid customers from the United States Marine Corps, the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, and the Italian Air Force and Navy.

Japan Successfully Destroys Ballistic Missile During First Test of Lockheed Martin Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System
KAUAI, Hawaii, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force made history yesterday when, for the first time, a Japan Aegis guided missile destroyer equipped with Lockheed Martin's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile target in space.

Lockheed Martin Advances Biometrics Portfolio Through Cooperation Agreement With Cognitec
GAITHERSBURG, Md., Dec 18, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- LMT charts news PowerRating -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] further advanced its capabilities and offerings in biometrics solutions through a cooperation agreement with Cognitec Systems, a leader in facial recognition technology. The Cognitec agreement will enable closer cooperation between the two companies in the rapidly growing marketplace for biometrics solutions.
"Biometrics is an increasingly important technology area for our customers in intelligence, defense, law enforcement and homeland security," said Bob Eastman, Lockheed Martin Vice President, Information Systems. "This cooperation agreement will improve our ability to offer our customers a complete and fully-integrated portfolio of biometrics technologies. We're also committed to helping small, innovative businesses such as Cognitec continue to advance the state-of-the-art in biometrics technology in an open and collaborative marketplace."

General Dynamics wins $22M DHS job
General Dynamics Corp. has won a $22 million task order from the Department of Homeland Security to hire around-the-clock watch officers to oversee the agency's National Coordinating Center.
The Falls Church-based government contractor also will provide the center with experts in information-assurance analysis, document development and information system support under the four-year contract.
The task order was awarded under the Enterprise Acquisitions Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) contract.

NH gets high marks for pandemic preparedness
CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire gets high marks in a new national review of how prepared states are to handle public health emergencies.
more stories like this
Only seven states performed adequately in each of the 10 categories measured by the Trust for America's Health, a research group. New Hampshire was among 14 states rated adequate in nine categories.
"I think we have worked very hard in this state to achieve what we've got," said Public Health Director Mary Ann Cooney. "We're still working hard. We still have a ways to go."
The state missed a perfect score because it does not use a pandemic surveillance, or tracking, system that's compatible with the federal Electronic Disease Surveillance System

Simulating an emergency
A workshop on 3D modeling and simulation held in the city revealed how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and DI GUY modeling tools can help in emergency situations like bomb-scare.
How will a large crowd of people behave on hearing a bomb-scare? How will vehicles move in a chaotic traffic situation? The police department would love to know this beforehand. Help is now available from simulation tools developed in India.A workshop on 3D modeling and simulation held in the city revealed how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and DI GUY modeling tools can help in many such scenarios. “We demonstrated to those present, including the police, how the application can help them prepare their staff and volunteers to remain ready to face emergencies,” explained Ravi Kiran, Country Head-Sales, EDS Technology, which has been working on implementing 3D modeling and simulations With the improved compute power and significant advancements in imaging and 3D technologies, the visual pictures presented before the audience were compellingly real.

House boosts funding for key homeland security projects
The omnibus spending bill approved by the House Dec. 17 includes $34.9 billion in baseline funding for the Homeland Security Department in fiscal 2008 and boosts major departmental information technology contracting efforts focused on the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program and the Real ID Act of 2005

Monday, December 17, 2007

GD Future Combat Systems, LRAD (update) Space War +

General Dynamics Successfully Completes Future Combat Systems Phase I Robotic Convoy Experiment

WESTMINSTER, Md., Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- General Dynamics Robotic Systems successfully completed Phase I of the Future Combat Systems (FCS) Robotic Convoy Experiment (RCX) at White Sands Missile Range. The unmanned Stryker vehicle reached speeds up to 55 kilometers per hour (34 mph). General Dynamics Robotic Systems is a part of General Dynamics Land Systems (Sterling Heights, Michigan), a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics .
As part of the company's Autonomous Navigation System contract with the U.S. Army, the Phase I experiment is designed to test basic robotic convoy functionality and accuracy with obstacle detection and avoidance technology.
The test vehicles were a Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle and Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV).
"We received positive results from our team at White Sands," said Phil Cory, president of General Dynamics Robotic Systems. "The current preparations position us for a successful Phase II experiment in July 2008."
Stryker, LMTV and Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTV) are expected to be used during Phase II testing.
The robotic experiment is being funded under a contract to develop the Autonomous Navigation System for FCS. General Dynamics was awarded the task order because of its technology development on previous robotic convoy experiments and demonstrations.

Congress Pulls Plug on Shady Defense Deals

The Army's shady approach to its $200 billion makeover has been such a disaster, Congress has ordered the entire military to stop using the arrangement, forever.
The Army's mammoth Future Combat Systems push is "arguably the most complex" modernization project the Defense Department has ever pursued, according to the Government Accountability Office's Paul Francis.
So complex, in fact, that the Army figured it couldn't pull off FCS by itself. The service just didn't have the know-how to manage something as big, as ambitious as remaking just about everything in its inventory -- tanks, artillery, drones, you name it -- and then building a brand new, absolutel y titanic operating system and set of wireless networks, to tie it all together. Forget a traditional defense contract; the Army needed an industrial partner, instead -- some company that could watch over the zillions of moving parts needed to make FCS work. Eventually, the service settled on Boeing as that partner, or "Lead Systems Integrator," in Pentagonese (cont..)

Death Ray Replaced By The Voice of God (LRAD update)

December 17, 2007: While U.S. efforts to deploy it's microwave Active Denial System (which transmits a searchlight sized bean of energy when makes people downrange feel like their skin is on fire) continue to be delayed, another non-lethal system, LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) has been quietly deployed to Iraq. And there the story gets a little strange (cont..)

Space: No longer a sanctuary

The US grapples with defending its assets in space in the face of a perceived Chinese threat to extend the battlefield. (cont..)

Broad approach best in emergencies, Chertoff says

Officials need to take the broadest possible approach in planning for emergency response so they can be ready to deal with a crisis regardless of the cause, the Homeland Security Department’s chief said today. “It could be a cyberattack, it could a pandemic flu, it could be a terrorist attack,” said DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff at the second annual National Congress on Secure Communities. Officials need to be able to merge all of their response plans so they can be ready for any situation, he said. Chertoff pointed to the National Response Framework released in draft form by DHS in September as guidance for how to respond to different emergency situations. Chertoff also emphasized the role that the private sector — which owns and operates most of the country’s infrastructure — had to play in preparing for and responding to a disaster. (cont..)

SAIC to supply Navy with program management services

“This win enables us to continue [helping to transform] operational needs into effective and affordable chemical and biological capabilities for the U.S. military and our allies,” said Tom Baybrook, senior vice president and business unit manager at SAIC

License Plate Scans Beef Up Mall Security

Thursday, December 13, 2007

UCF Simulation Lab, Presidio Terror Drill, + "Audio Spotlights"

UCF, U.S. Army Research Lab Expands for Simulation Work

Photo: Institute for Simulation and Training.
M.J. Soileau (left), vice president for Research and Commercialization at UCF, shakes hands with Lt. Col. Ray Comptom, acting director for RDECOM STTC. Full Photo

A new research agreement between the University of Central Florida and the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command, Simulation and Training Technology Center (RDECOM STTC) means more space for innovative modeling and simulation research.
UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training and RDECOM STTC plan to expand their existing facilities to include a cultural awareness lab, virtual world research center, medical modeling and simulation research lab and a super-computer research lab.

"The Simulation Research laboratory will establish and implement strategies for dual-use technology in modeling, simulation and training that focus on simulation architectures, learning technologies, artificial intelligence and sensor representation in simulations and behavior representation."
Anti-terror exercises set at Presidio (CA)

The loud booms coming from the Presidio of Monterey on Friday will likely be an antiterrorism exercise.
The exercise is scheduled through the day, and the High Street gate will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to officials from the Defense Language Institute and the Presidio of Monterey.
Simulated explosions may be heard and emergency vehicles may be on site, but all are part of the exercise, said Daisy Bueno, a public affairs officer for the Presidio.
Normal operations should not be affected and offices will remain open during normal business hours.
Billboard Blasts Passers-By with Audio Advertisement

Walk by the billboard for the new A&E show "Paranormal State" on Prince Street in Manhattan, and you could find yourself targeted by a narrow beam of sound projected from the ad using technology from Holosonics, which specializes in creating what it calls "audio spotlights," which are audible only to the person whose cranium they hit. Not even earplugs will keep the beam out, because it apparently vibrates within the head. (cont...)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Weaponized Space, FEMA Pandemic X, "Cyber Storm II" + News

Kehler: 'The future of Space is now'
-- "Air Force Space Command performs a national, and in some cases, an international space mission," said Gen. C. Robert Kehler, the new commander of AFSPC. "The space capabilities we provide today are embedded in all of our combat operations," he said. "They're also embedded in our military operations, short of combat, across the board. In fact, we cannot fight the way America fights today without space capabilities." A central piece of this is the nation's intercontinental ballistic missile mission. "When it comes to nuclear weapons, perfection remains the standard," said General Kehler. "That's been the case since I was a young missileer, and that hasn't changed today. It's imperative we maintain that focus of perfection in all of our activities surrounding nuclear weapons, which remain the foundation of our defense." The general also stated his concern about the need for increased focus on protecting U.S. space capabilities in a contested environment. "Today, space has become a contested environment," the general said, "and we know that in any conflict our adversaries will try to deny us use of those space capabilities. We're taking steps to prepare for that. Not only are we working to improve our space situational awareness, but we're addressing the vulnerabilities we know (cont...)

FEMA To Host Joint Influenza Pandemic Exercise
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be hosting a joint federal-state exercise to strengthen contingency plans for an influenza pandemic. Operation PANEX '07 is the first functional exercise of its type in this country designed to determine best practices for a coordinated multi-agency response to an outbreak.
The participants will involve key federal agencies including the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Defense (DOD) in partnership with their counterparts in the six New England states. The operation is part of an ongoing development opportunity to exercise established procedures and coordinated plans of action for disseminating public information and resource allocation.
FEMA Region I Administrator Art Cleaves underscored the importance this exercise plays in preparing for an event of this nature.
"It is imperative that we, the responsible federal (and state) agencies, consistently come together to engage in coordinated response planning," said Cleaves. "Obviously, in the event of an influenza pandemic, which is the focus of this exercise, it will require a sophisticated and aggressive course of action."
A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, and for which there is no vaccine. The disease spreads easily person-to-person, and can sweep across the world in a very short time. The 'Spanish Flu' Pandemic of 1918-1919 killed between 30 and 50 million globally; an estimated 675,000 Americans were among the dead.
State Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) will be activated and participating federal agencies will work with state and local health officials and emergency managers to respond to the simulated event. In the event of an actual influenza pandemic, DHS has primary responsibility for coordinating the overall federal response. FEMA's role would be to coordinate the identification, mobilization and deployment of federal resources to support the life-saving and life-sustaining needs of the states and their populations.
"The goal is to assess our strengths and weaknesses and identify areas that need improvement," said Cleaves. "Exercises like this are a vital component to maintaining a proactive approach to emergency management."

Cyber Storm II
DHS planning Cyber Storm II exercise in March
A Department of Homeland Security official said Cyber Storm II, a national cyber security exercise, is slated for March 2008.
In comments before the New York Metro Infragard Alliance Security Summit on Tuesday, Greg Garcia, assistant secretary of cybersecurity and communications at the DHS, said planning is underway for a March 2008 cyber security exercise, dubbed Cyber Storm II. Here’s what Garcia said:
At the national level, we are actively planning for the March 2008 national cyber exercise, Cyber Storm II, which follows the highly successful cyber storm I held in February 2006. This exercise examines our response and coordination mechanisms against a simulated cyber event affecting international, federal, state, and local governments, and the private sector.
By organizing and executing an exercise such as cyber storm, DHS is able to test our planning, information sharing and response to attack scenarios, assess our strengths and weaknesses in those areas, and learn how to improve response capabilities.
I am thrilled that the financial services sector, through the financial services ISAC, is once again fully engaged in the planning and execution of the cyber storm exercise.
Their participation in the exercise demonstrates their firm commitment to cyber preparedness and I hope sends a signal to other sectors that cyber security measures need to be taken seriously.
Garcia reiterated that the DHS needs cooperation with private enterprise on cybersecurity since companies own 85 percent of the nation’s infrastructure

Secret military nanotechnology development
Nanowerk Spotlight) Given past revelations of previously top secret military technology programs there is a good chance that some 'black' projects somehwere tinker with advanced nanotechnology applications. But, you keepers of military secrets, relax. This Spotlight is not a piece of investigative journalism into the world of military black projects. It is the first in a series of eight scenarios that have just been published by the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) - and we here at Nanowerk have posted the entire nanotechnology scenario project on our site. CRN's scenarios depict various versions of a near-future world into which transformative manufacturing concepts may emerge. Across eight separate storylines, an international team of policy, technology, and economic specialists organized by CRN imagined in detail a range of plausible, challenging events - from pandemics to climate crises to international conflicts - to see how they might affect the development of advanced nanotechnology over the next 15 years. Please keep in mind that this and the others seven scenarios are NOT predictions but fiction. CRN intends the scenarios to provide a springboard for discussion of molecular manufacturing policies and societal responses. While each scenario can be understood individually, the real value of the process comes from the comparison of multiple scenarios. A strategic response that appears robust in one scenario may be dangerous in another; an organization, community, or polity using these scenarios to consider how to handle the emergence of molecular manufacturing should strive for responses that are viable across multiple scenarios.

Most in military believe a war with China will come
More than 50 percent of military personnel believe there is going to be war between Taiwan and China -- numbers the Ministry of National Defense's General Political Warfare Bureau said yesterday were a good sign.

U.S. Army Establishes Project Office for Gaming
GamePolitics has reported on an article in the Training and Simulation Journal Online, describing the new TPO Gaming as focusing on "integrating videogame graphics into Army simulations for soldiers and small-unit leaders. "We will focus on the visualization piece of those technologies, not so much the entertainment piece," said TPO Gaming Director Col. Jack Millar. The office is intended to offer game-based training options not currently available in commercial game software. "I haven't seen a game built for the entertainment industry that fills a training gap," Millar said

QinetiQ awarded contract for Watchkeeper UAV evaluation

Military Flights Scheduled for Odd Hours
December 11, 2007 - 10:46am

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

PA Drill, SAIC, China: Bird flu + Cyber Attack, Weaponized Space

Drill tests response to attack (PA)
'Victim' April Dawn McCann passes through a decontamination station set up outside the building. (Earl Brightbill / Lebanon Daily News)
From a distance, it looked real enough: flashing red lights, fire trucks and police. But the activity in the 300 block of North Fourth Street in the city shortly before daybreak this morning was only a drill.
The exercise was designed to test the ability of city and county agencies and the Pennsylvania National Guard to work together in an emergency.
The scenario called for the city fire department to be sent to a vacant warehouse on the west side of the 300 block of North Fourth Street just before 6 a.m. for a report of smoke inside the structure, said Mayor Robert Anspach, who served as the civilian public information officer (cont..)

SAIC Announces Army and Homeland Security Strategic Account Executives
SAN DIEGO and MCLEAN, Va., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Science Applications International Corporation announced today that it has appointed two key strategic account executives, Joe DeFrancisco (lieutenant general, U.S. Army, retired) and Bill Carroll, a longtime employee and leader within the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), are the Army and Homeland Security strategic account executives respectively. (cont…)

Bioterrorism drill termed 'a fantastic success' (CA update)
When terrorists let loose a deadly airborne disease at a crowded concert in San Jose -- the story behind the Golden Guardian disaster drill Nov. 14 -- Palo Alto officials and volunteers snapped into action, the City Council heard from participants Monday night.
"It was amazing to me how many people took part in it and how well it went," Councilman Jack Morton said.
The exercise was a "fantastic success," according to Vicki Running, administrative director of the Office of Service Continuity and Disaster Planning at Stanford University Medical Center.
Nonetheless, many lessons were learned from the day-long event that involved more than 160 city staff members, community volunteers and representatives from Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Stanford, among other organizations. (cont..)

South China holds exercise on bird flu outbreak

GUANGZHOU, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, both in south China, on Tuesday launched a joint bird flu outbreak drill, days of a father and a son were confirmed to have contracted the H5N1 virus. (cont…)

India-China war games from December 20
New Delhi: The Indian and Chinese armies will conduct their first war games December 20-28, a defence spokesman said Tuesday.
"The exercise will begin on December 20 and conclude on 28th. It will be conducted in China's Chengdu military region," Wing Commander RK Das of the Indian Army's Kolkata-based Eastern Command, told IANS on the telephone.
The exercise will see each side fielding some 100 officers and men.
"The exercise will feature a special anti-terrorism drill. We have considerable experience in handling insurgency and terrorism and the Chinese would like to learn from us," Das added.

Oak Ridge Cyber Attack May Be From China

A cyber attack reported last week by a federal government nuclear weapons laboratory may have been launched from China, according to a confidential Department of Homeland Security memorandum.
The Department of Homeland Security distributed the confidential warning to public and private security officials Wednesday, which security researchers said included a list of Web addresses linked to locations in China, according to a New York Times report.
While appearing to be from China, such links do not necessarily mean that Chinese government or malicious Chinese agencies were behind the attacks, experts said. Security researchers assert that cyber criminals from any location in the world could possibly infiltrate or compromise computers based in China and subsequently use them for their own malicious aims. (cont..)

STRATCOM: Chilton: U.S. Needs ‘Balanced’ Approach to Anti-Satellite Threat
The U.S. military should explore a range of options when responding to a future foe attempting to destroy an American satellite, said Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, U.S. Strategic Command chief.
The Pentagon should use “all the tools in the toolbox” if a potential foe like China, which sent ripples around the globe in January when it destroyed one of its own weather orbiters with a ballistic missile, targets an American satellite.
Sources have indicated there are different ways of thinking about how best to deal with the new threat.
Some military officials say space assets should be hardened — or even weaponized — to counter such weapons. Others, particularly within the Air Force, think the answer is better intelligence to warn of anti-satellite (ASAT) launches, followed by quick bombing strikes to take out the missiles before they are fired. (cont..)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Raytheon/Boeing Lasers, CA Mass Evac Drill, Russia vs US +

Police agencies look to Raytheon weapon: 'Burning' beam of directed energy marketed mainly to the military

Dec 09, 2007 (The Arizona Daily Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) A recent spate of violence in Los Angeles County jails has Cmdr. Sid Heal looking for a better way to quell disturbances, and a Tucson-made weapon may be just the tool he needs.
Heal, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, is looking to new "directed-energy" technology from Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems as a possible addition to his department's arsenal against unruly inmates.
The weapons, which deliver a beam of energy that feels akin to scalding hot water but leaves no injuries, have been developed for use by the Defense Department as a "force-protection" tool for use on battlefields overseas.
Now, Raytheon says, civilian law enforcement -- and "security organizations" -- may benefit from the technology, which the company calls a "truly non-lethal system" for situations when lethal force "may not be appropriate or warranted." While the final price is unclear, Heal said it cost his department $3 million for Raytheon to build a prototype.
"We have the largest jail in the world, with 20,000 crooks, and they all brought their problems with them," said Heal, who heads the department's Technology Exploration Unit.
Directed energy, specifically Raytheon's Active Denial System, works by emitting a focused beam of energy that penetrates the skin to 1/64th of an inch, which produces an intolerable heat that causes targeted people to flee.
That system, which Raytheon delivered to the U.S. Air Force in September, has been marketed primarily to military contractors, spokesman John B. Patterson said.
But demands from the Los Angeles County sheriff and potential future requests from other agencies or prisons, could change that, especially if directed-energy weapons were to follow the path of Taser weapons(cont…)

Laser Equipped C-130H Prepared for Flight Testing in 2008

Boeing has installed a 12,000 pound high-energy chemical laser module on board a C-130H aircraft, as part of the US Air force Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (CTD) program. The module was moved into place aboard the aircraft and aligned with the previously-installed beam control system, which will direct the laser beam to its target. The aircraft is being prepared to conduct a series of tests leading up to a planned demonstration flight in 2008. (More...)

Drill to require evacuations in SP (CA)
More than 1,100 people will be instructed to leave their waterfront buildings and then bused to Ports O' Call during the hazardous-material-release exercise coordinated by the Los Angeles Fire Department and other agencies.
Several waterfront buildings in San Pedro will be evacuated Monday morning for an emergency drill.
More than 1,100 people will be instructed to leave their buildings and then bused to Ports O' Call during the hazardous-material-release exercise coordinated by the Los Angeles Fire Department and a host of other agencies.
"This is the largest (mock) evacuation the city of Los Angeles has ever had," said Assistant Fire Chief Lou Roupoli. Earlier exercises have evacuated some 200 to 300 people.
Buildings that will be cleared out include San Pedro City Hall, the Port of Los Angeles Administrative Building, Port of Los Angeles High School, the harbor Boys and Girls Club, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and Fire Station 112 (cont...)

"I.R. Phone Home"

Mock Disaster Communications Drill

Multi-state emergency responders prepared for the worst Saturday, a loss of communications during an extreme winter storm, in a mock disaster training at WVU-P.
Participants role-played in operation "I.R. Phone Home," that there was no access to interstates and also acts of terrorism that took advantage of the vulnerability in the aftermath from the storm. It was a test run for when voice and data communications fail during an event such as this.
West Virginia and Ohio military along with private and volunteer communications resources on the federal, state, local and regional levels gathered on campus. Aproximately 128 people participated and 20 agencies from outside Wood County. (cont…)

Russian naval ships complete exercise in Northern Atlantic
Russian Mediterranean Naval Build-Up Challenges NATO Sixth Fleet Domination

“Following completion of the program in North Atlantic, the strike group is moving to the Mediterranean where it will join ships of the Black Sea Fleet.
The North Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet are two of the four major territorial divisions of the Russian Navy. The other two are the Baltic and Pacific Fleets”

The Robots Among Us
If robotics technology now stands where computing did in the '70s, what can we expect in the future?
Fremont resident Rakesh Guliani likes to say that a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner saved his marriage.
Messy floors had been causing friction, says the 41-year-old Guliani (pronounced Goo-liani). His wife, Kavita, 35, was particularly annoyed by the footprints he and their daughters, Ashna, 10, and Rhea, 6, tended to track through the house.
"I am soccer coach to both of them, and when we come in with our dirty cleats, I am more tolerant of that because I am tracking dirt, too," says Guliani, vice president of the job-placement firm Park Computer Systems. He vacuumed several times a week but it never seemed enough to satisfy his wife, a technical writer for Google.
"I was sucking the thread out of the carpet," says Guliani, who bought a Roomba last fall and programmed it to scour the carpets for dust, dirt and grime. Regular cleanings by the Roomba restored household harmony. "It never gets bored and it never complains," he says.
The Guliani family is at the cutting edge of what may be the next technological revolution - the emergence of software and hardware capable of performing tasks once reserved for that race of toolmakers called Homo sapiens.
"Sometime in the next 30, 40, 50 years we will have human-level machine intelligence," predicts Marshall Brain, a computer science teacher turned author and technology forecaster.(cont...)

Military Broadens Use of Virtual Reality

The Virtual Iraq simulation, which runs on desktop pcs using head-mounted displays, recreates the sights, sounds and even smells of the battlefield (registration require)
DHS conditionally accepts SBInet component
The Homeland Security Department is taking conditional acceptance of a radar and communications system designed to bolster 28 miles of the United States’ southern border, DHS also has awarded the project’s prime contractor, Boeing, another $64 million to design a Common Operating Picture (COP) software system for the border, the department announced Dec. 7. (cont...)
Revisiting intelligence reform

The NSA, the NGA, and the NRO are the crown jewels of America’s vast intelligence system and make up the most powerful surveillance and eavesdropping system on the planet.
BAE Systems contracted to develop adaptive software technology for DARPA

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Future Conbat Systems, Space War, Flu Drills +

FCS Future Combat Systems

The Army's $200 Billion Makeover
Victor Valdez welds support frames for the hull of a prototype of the manned ground vehicle. The army has plans for eight vehicles sharing the same armored hull and many of the same integrated systems.
EL PASO -- A $200 billion plan to remake the largest war machine in history unfolds in one small way on a quiet country road in the Chihuahuan Desert.
Jack Hensley, one of a legion of contractors on the project, is hunkered in a slowly moving SUV, serving as target practice for a baby-faced soldier in a Humvee aiming a laser about 700 yards away. A moment later, another soldier in the Humvee punches commands into a computer transmitting data across an expanse of sand and mesquite to a site 2 1/2 miles away. On an actual battlefield, this is when a precision attack missile would be launched, killing Hensley almost instantly.
For soldiers in an experimental Army brigade at the sprawling Fort Bliss base, it's the first day of field training on a new weapon called the Non-Line of Sight Launch System, or NLOS-LS, a box of rockets that can automatically change direction in midair and hit a moving target about 24 miles away. The Army says it has never had a weapon like it. "It's not the Spartans with the swords anymore," said Emmett Schaill, the brigade commander, peering into the desert-scape.
In the Army's vision, the war of the future is increasingly combat by mouse clicks. It's as networked as the Internet, as mobile as a cellphone, as intuitive as a video game. The Army has a name for this vision: Future Combat Systems, or FCS. The project involves creating a family of 14 weapons, drones, robots, sensors and hybrid-electric combat vehicles connected by a wireless network. It has turned into the most ambitious modernization of the Army since World War II and the most expensive Army weapons program ever, military officials say.
It's also one of the most controversial. Even as some early versions of these weapons make their way onto the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, members of Congress, government investigators and military observers question whether the Defense Department has set the stage for one of its biggest and costliest failures. At risk, they say, are billions of taxpayer dollars spent on exotic technology that may never come to fruition, leaving the Army little time and few resources to prepare for new threats.
Future Combat Systems "has some serious problems," said Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), chairman of the House air and land forces subcommittee. "Since its inception, costs have gone up dramatically while promised capability has steadily diminished. . . . And now, with the Army's badly degraded state of readiness from nearly five years of continuous combat in Iraq, I don't see how the Army can afford to rebuild itself and pay for the FCS program as it stands today."
To hear the military tell it, there's a hint of Buck Rogers in the program, including an unmanned craft that can hover like a flying saucer between buildings and detect danger. The idea of Future Combat Systems is to create a lighter, faster force that can react better to tomorrow's unpredictable foes. (cont...)
Ukraine Big: We Can Spot Your Sats, Control Space
Even the world's most technologically sophisticated militaries still have trouble getting a clear fix on what's in orbit. As Aviation Week once pointed out, if an American satellite suddenly blinked out tomorrow, and U.S. space officers were asked for an explanation, one of their most likely replies would have to be: 'We don't know, and there's not much we can do."'
But in a recent interview, Ukranian space poobah Stanislav Konyukhov says his country is about to bring online a space monitoring system that can not only spot just about anything up in orbit -- but also "gives Ukraine a real mechanism of control over any object in space." (cont...)

Pandemic drill puts cityTo Test
businesses to Christine Kosmos, deputy commissioner of the Chicago Dept. of Public Health (center), Leslee Stein-Spencer (right) of the Chicago Fire Dept. and members of five city departments watch a mock exercise of an avian flu pandemic unfold on their computer screens. (Tribune photo by Chuck Berman / December 6, 2007),1,1135023.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

The news kept getting worse and worse: highways and airports shut down, hospitals filled to capacity, pharmacies running out of medicine.As the computer-simulated flu pandemic in Chicago continued to spread, public and private officials taking part in an emergency-response drill this morning got a taste of the high-pressure decisions they would have to make should such a disaster happen here.Representatives of the city's Police, Fire and Public Health Departments, the Mayor's Office and the Office of Emergency Management and Communication sat at computers in the CNA Building, 333 S. Wabash Ave., evaluating on-screen information about the pandemic as it spread and making quick decisions about how best to deal with it. (cont...)

India to conduct mock drills and exercise to combat bird flu
NEW DELHI: Beginning January 2008, India would conduct table-top exercises, simulations and mock drills jointly with other by countries to combat Avian influenza or commonly known as bird flu.New Delhi is also planning to integrate pandemic preparedness into national disaster management structures to review roles and responsibility to engage different sector other health. (cont...)

Horizon Lines Hosts Army National Guard Exercise on Homeland Security (PR)

"The exercises included a simulation of a possible radioactive readingaboard a containership. The vessel Horizon Producer was utilized for theexercise and members of the crew and terminal personnel also participated."This exercise is a great opportunity for the U.S. military and other agenciesto prepare in what may be an unfamiliar environment; gaining valuableexperience on how to respond to a real incident aboard a vessel"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

FCS Killer Robots, "Exercise Pegasus", DARPA, + News

Killer robots could replace soldiers
Adam Gettings, self-taught engineer and co-founder of Robotex, with the model MH robot.

NEW YORK (Fortune Magazine) -- It's 1900 hours on Veterans Day in Fayetteville, N.C., a pistol shot from the Fort Bragg military base. Ten minutes ago a 25-year-old self-taught engineer named Adam Gettings pulled into the Waffle House parking lot, lifted the hatch of his black SUV, and unveiled what could very well be the future of urban warfare: a toy-like but gun-wielding robot designed to replace human soldiers on the battlefield.
It's two feet tall, travels ten miles an hour, and spins on a dime. Remote-controlled over an encrypted frequency that jams nearby radios and cellphones, it'll blow a ten-inch hole through a steel door with deadly accuracy from 400 meters.
Now Gettings is sitting calmly on the other side of a plate of fried eggs and sliced tomatoes, talking about how his company, Robotex, has teamed up with a wild-eyed Tennessee shotgun designer to rethink the development strategy for military technology. "
The idea that you can use investor money rather than [government] research money - that's a new thing," says Gettings, who's in town for SpecOps, a war-fighter technology conference.
Military contractors typically get the funding to build, test, and sell new weapons systems from federal agencies. It can take forever.
Robotex, based in Palo Alto, is financed by angel investors and went from idea to product in six months. "This is the new defense, Silicon Valley-style," says Gettings. "You build only what's necessary, iterate quickly, and keep the price low."
How low? Try $30,000 to $50,000. A similar bot, the Talon, which was developed by defense contractor Foster-Miller and is being tested in Iraq, costs six times that amount. "Our system does all the same things as the Talon, weighs half as much, and costs a fraction," says Gettings.
An endorsement from Blackwater
Robotex is the brainchild of Terry Izumi, a reclusive filmmaker who comes from a long line of samurai warriors, has trained Secret Service agents, and worked both at DreamWorks (Charts) and in Disney's (Charts, Fortune 500) Imagineering division.
When Izumi decided to build a better war robot in 2005, he recruited Nathan Gettings, a former PayPal software engineer and founder of Palantir Technologies, who brought in his brother Adam as well as a fourth (silent) partner who hails from both PayPal and YouTube. They had a prototype in no time. But they needed a weapon, and that's how Jerry Baber, his revolutionary shotgun, and a pilotless mini-helicopter come into the picture.
Baber is the fast-talking, white-haired founder of Military Police Systems, an arms manufacturer and ammunition distributor based in the hills of eastern Tennessee. When his chums at Blackwater, the security contractor, told him that the Robotex guys were the real deal, he invited them for a visit.
"I called Nathan and Adam on a Monday, and on Thursday they were here," says Baber.
With that meeting, he turned a promising little robot into something both multifunctional and truly scary. His company's $8,000 Atchisson Assault-12 shotgun was fresh off the assembly line after a dozen years in development. It's made of aircraft-grade stainless steel, never needs lubrication or cleaning, and won't rust. Pour sand through it and it won't clog. It doesn't recoil, so it's accurate even when it's firing in automatic mode, which it does at a rate of 300 rounds per minute.
"It delivers the lead equivalent of 132 M16s," says Baber. "When they start firing from every direction, it's all over."
Is the military really ready to deploy robot soldiers? (cont...)

"Exercise Pegasus"

Exercise tests health system's disaster response (AU)
A two day exercise is underway to test the response of the State's health system to a major disaster involving mass casualties.
It is the first time the test, developed in Sweden, has been carried out in Western Australia.
Seventy hospital and emergency services personnel are involved.
"Exercise Pegasus" is testing the system's ability to cope without affecting regular health services.
The Director General of Health, Neale Fong, says the exercise will re-enact a large scale emergency situation such as the Madrid train bombing in 2004 (cont...)

Dirty Bomb Exercise (AL)

Mobile City and county workers will team up with state and federal agencies for a "dirty bomb" drill. The drill will start at 8:30 Thursday morning. The scenario involves a nuclear dirty bomb detonation at the Alabama State Docks. Volunteer actors will serve as victims. A second drill will take place at Mobile Regional Airport. In that scenario, a suspect will test positive for explosives and be detained at the airport. Some emergency sirens will be set off during the excercise. The Mobile County Emergency Management Association says the exercise will make sure all agencies know what they need to do and can work together in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

Russia to extend naval exercises

Russia is planning naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in what it says is a bid to boost its presence and protect shipping.
Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said battleships, helicopters and aircraft would take part in a range of manoeuvres, due to end in February.
This is the latest sign of a resurgence in Russia's military capabilities, the BBC's Nick Childs says.
Russia recently resumed long-range patrols by its bomber aircraft. (cont...)

The ISE-CCM Homeland Security Index Lists on the NYSE as an ETF

"The ISE-CCM Homeland Security Index, with 30 components, measures the performance of companies primarily engaged in the business of contractual work with the department of Homeland Security, law enforcement agencies, or providing products or services for the following efforts: intelligence and warning; border and transportation security; domestic counterterrorism; protection of critical infrastructure; defense against catastrophic threats; and, emergency preparedness and response."

SRI International receives funding from DARPA for its CALO AI program
Artificial intelligence. We've been reading and watching science fiction with walking, talking robots for nearly a century. Researchers have been tinkering with it for decades. Have we come any closer to android production factories? Not quite. But the CALO project, under the direction of SRI International, is looking at making headway in basic intelligence for widely used computer software.CALO, or Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes, is a very ambitious collaboration between more than twenty different organizations. "The goal of the project is to create cognitive software systems, that is, systems that can reason, learn from experience, be told what to do, explain what they are doing, reflect on their experience, and respond robustly to surprise," states SRI's CALO information page.CALO brings together many experts from different fields of artificial intelligence, like machine learning, natural language processing, and Semantic Web technologies. Groups work on a different piece of CALO, which will be part of the whole functionality. The project is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under its Perceptive Assistant that Learns (PAL) program. The PAL program is expected to spawn innovative ideas that bring new science, fundamental approaches to current problems, and algorithms and tools and yield technology of significant value to the military. SRI was awarded the first two phases of a five-year contract to develop a personalized cognitive assistant. (cont...)
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