Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Space "Pearl Harbor", US/China, Mass Vax, DHS Preps Youth, Nano Weaponry+

Better Than X-Rays: The Z-Backscatter Scan-Van

American Science and Engineering's Z Backscatter Van™ (ZBV) is a low-cost, extremely maneuverable screening system built into a commercially available delivery van. The ZBV employs AS&E's patented Z Backscatter technology, which reveals contraband that transmission X-rays miss – such as explosives (including car bombs), plastic weapons, and people – providing photo-like imaging for rapid analysis.
The Z-Backscatter Van is also capable of identifying low levels of radioactivity from both gamma rays and neutrons with optional Radioactive Threat Detection (RTD) technology. Here's how it works

A lot of organic material is low-density, and doesn't show up well on traditional transmission X-ray images. For instance, organic matter like explosive materials contains low atomic number (low Z) elements such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen.
American Science and Engineering, Inc.'s (AS&E) products creates photo-like Z Backscatter images showing organic materials by directing a sweeping beam of X-rays at the object under examination, and then measuring and plotting the intensity of scattered X-rays as a function of the beam position. Akin to light reflection, Z-Backscatter signals are particularly strong whenever the incident X-rays interact with explosives, plastics, and other biological items, which typically contain low Z materials. Even inorganic objects, such as metals, are given shape and form in Z-Backscatter images, making them easier to interpret than transmission images during X-ray evaluation.

Pentagon makes official protest to China

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon issued a formal protest to China on Wednesday over its refusal to permit U.S. Navy ships to enter the port of Hong Kong on two occasions last week.
Also, the Chinese foreign minister met with President Bush on Wednesday and blamed the incident on "a misunderstanding."
Navy officials have said they are most troubled by China‘s refusal to let the two Navy minesweepers enter Hong Kong harbor to escape an approaching storm and receive fuel. The minesweepers, the Patriot and the Guardian, were instead refueled at sea and returned safely to their home port in Japan.
The Kitty Hawk, which has its home port near Tokyo, was forced to return early to Japan when Chinese authorities at the last minute barred the warship and its escort vessels from entering Hong Kong harbor. Hundreds of families of sailors aboard the Kitty Hawk had flown from Japan to spend Thanksgiving weekend in Hong Kong, but had to return home after China refused the port entry (cont...)

Free Flu Shots Given During Mass Vaccination Drill (CA)

It's not too late to get your flu shot. Hundreds of people are expected to receive a free flu shot during a mass vaccination drill Wednesday morning.The drill is designed to help the Health And Human Services Agency test its readiness for a possible health emergency.The first 1,000 volunteers will receive a free flu shot for taking part in the drill.The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Marcos Civic Center located at 1 Civic Center Drive

* preparing today's equivalent Hitler youth
Homeland Security program ties lessons to real world

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - Students compete in a scavenger hunt using NASA-inspired global positioning systems, learn lessons in cybersecurity and participate in mock drills responding to tanker spills and terrorist attacks.
The Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program at Joppatowne High School is the first in the nation to groom the next generation of national security analysts, chemical warfare scientists, Arabic translators and defense contractors. (cont...)

One weapon for everything (article censored on Google News)
Researchers think large and small to develop munitions of the future

EGLIN AFB — Something about the nature of the work at the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate can be deduced from the badges people without appropriate security clearances must wear. The badges sport a skull and crossbones graphic with “Escort Required” printed boldly beneath. There’s no one way to characterize what the Munitions Directorate, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and its several hundred employees do. They’re prognosticators and theoreticians, assemblers and disassemblers, inventors and exploiters of existing technologies. Although imagining weapons of the future is a big part of their mission, Munitions Directorate workers often handle immediate needs. They were instrumental in fielding the “Bunker Buster” laser-guided bomb during the first Persian Gulf War and playing mind games with Saddam Hussein before the second war by dropping the nearly 11-ton “Mother of All Bombs

Ten or 15 years ago, the emphasis at the directorate was precision — hitting a target dead-on. Today, the focus is “nano” and “bio,” among other “o’s,” says John H. Pletcher, associate director for weapons. None of the categories are mutually exclusive. Someday, the directorate might demonstrate a nano-energetic, robo-plane based on a hummingbird’s physiology that flies itself into the head of a terrorist drinking thick coffee on a balcony in Beirut, Lebanon, and then explodes. Nano and Bio “Nano” refers to scale. It’s one-billionth of a unit. A nanometer. A nanoliter. A nanogram.
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Plan of action drafted for flu pandemic (WA)

The Snohomish Health District will utilize locations generally along the Interstate 5 corridor to treat residents during pandemic flu should hospital beds no longer be available, officials said last week.
In addition, the health district will open triage centers for diagnosing how much care is needed in seven cities throughout Snohomish County. (cont...)

Real Star Wars

Space isn’t the final frontier – Just the next arms race.

In the depths of the Cold War, as the arms race between the United States and Soviet Union escalated, the terrible benchmarks were recorded — nuclear test dates, the unveiling of new weapons systems, the brinksmanship of the Cuban missile crisis.
So mark this date for a future history book: On Jan. 11 of this year, a ground-launched missile destroyed a space satellite orbiting more than 500 miles above the Earth. It wasn’t an American or a Russian missile — it was Chinese. Ostensibly, China was just removing an obsolete weather station. Metaphorically, it was a shot across the bows for the U.S., and it rattled windows in the Pentagon and around the world, as surely as a blast on a Pacific atoll did in 1946.
The launch showed military planners everywhere that the door had been opened on space as another field of war — despite a 40-year-old treaty and a half-century of effort by many nations to prevent that. The Chinese satellite destruction was so important that some have called it 1/11 — the space-war version of 9/11.
But it wasn’t really China that blew open that door. Six years to the day before the Chinese missile launch, a group headed by future U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asserted that it’s only a matter of time until there is all-out war in the heavens. Every part of our world has become a theater of war, the Rumsfeld-led group advised, and space will be no different. And if that’s so, the report said, the U.S. needs to get there first, with the biggest guns.
At least since then, the space weapons rush has been on, and North Texas defense contractors have been getting a major share of the market, investing technology, experts, and millions of lobbying dollars each year in the effort. Lockheed Martin, the nation’s top defense contractor and a major Fort Worth employer, has been the second-biggest beneficiary of this new arms race, helping develop a whole new alphabet soup of weapons and defense systems — the Aegis, the PAC-3, the XSS-11 anti-satellite system. Raytheon, with several North Texas installations, is another major and controversial space-war player, the main or subcontractor on a host of space-related weapon and defense systems, and a major supplier to the CIA and other spy agencies.
The space weapons list includes things like micro-satellites, which could stalk and destroy satellites of other nations; the EAGLE project, a series of orbiting mirrors to direct beams from ground- or air-based lasers at targets in space; and the Falcon, a sort of space shuttle for bombs. Then there are the still-theoretical “rods from God,” 20-foot-long tungsten poles, a foot in diameter, that would be launched from low Earth orbit at 25,000 miles per hour to pulverize “hardened” targets in enemy territory, such as intensely protected underground bunkers.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

AZ "Flu Drill' , Unitech, LMT, GD, CAE, + NGA "WorldView"

US firefighters being trained to spot terrorists
A scheme to train firefighters in major cities to look out for terrorists has raised fears that their iconic standing in American society could be damaged.
Unlike police, firemen and paramedics do not need warrants to get into homes and other buildings during technical inspections of emergency facilities, making them particularly useful for spotting signs of terrorist planning.
The Homeland Security Department has been secretly testing a pilot scheme in New York in which firefighters are trained to identify suspicious material or behaviour. If successful, the programme will be extended to other large cities.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that using firemen to gather intelligence is a step toward limiting people's privacy.
Since the September 11 attacks, Americans have given up some of their privacy rights in an effort to prevent future strikes. (BS cont..)

Free Flu Shots During Emergency Drill (AZ)
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is offering 3,000 flu shots free during a mass vaccination exercise Wednesday at Glendale Community College.
The exercise will test the county's response capabilities to a health emergency.
"This holiday season, the last thing you want is for you or your loved ones to get the flu," said County Supervisor Max Wilson. "This is a great opportunity to protect yourself and those close to you by getting a free flu shot and helping your health department prepare for emergencies while you're at it."
Mass vaccination exercises help the Public Health department prepare for emergencies by testing their ability to vaccinate thousands of people within a few hours. During Wednesday's exercise, the flu shots will be available from noon until 7 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis in the Glendale Community College gym, 6000 W. Olive Ave.
Participants in Wednesday's exercise include Glendale Community College, Glendale Police Department, Glendale Fire Department, Glendale Emergency Management, Peoria Fire Department, Phoenix Fire Department, Arizona Public Service Co., Arizona Department of Health Services, Avondale Fire Department, Indian Health Services, Arizona Department of Emergency Management, and Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

DigitalGlobe's WorldView-1 Reaches Full Operational Capability With the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,229490.shtml
LONGMONT, Colo., Nov. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- DigitalGlobe, provider of the world's highest-resolution commercial satellite imagery and geospatial information products, today announced that WorldView-1 has completed its commissioning, meets all of its requirements, and is delivering imagery to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as part of the NextView program. Full Operating Capability (FOC) with NGA began on November 17th. Following a controlled roll-out with NGA, DigitalGlobe will begin taking orders for WorldView-1 imagery from its global resellers, partners and customers on January 3, 2008. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on September 18, and delivered its first sample set of high-resolution images on October 15.
"We are thrilled to announce that we have started delivering WorldView-1 imagery to NGA and we are excited for the general availability of WorldView-1 imagery" said Jill Smith, chief executive officer of DigitalGlobe. "This is truly a fabulous milestone for DigitalGlobe, we are proud to be serving the NextView contract and excited to be operating a new imaging satellite that addresses the worldwide demand for map accurate satellite imaging capacity."
WorldView-1 is part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's (NGA) NextView program, and was partially financed through an agreement with the NGA. The majority of the imagery captured by WorldView-1 for the NGA will also be available for distribution through DigitalGlobe's ImageLibrary. Additionally, WorldView-1 frees capacity on DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite to meet the growing commercial demand for multi-spectral geospatial imagery
WorldView-1 is the first of two new next-generation satellites DigitalGlobe plans to launch in the near term. In late 2008, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. and ITT Corporation will complete WorldView-2, bringing the total number of satellites DigitalGlobe has in orbit to three and enabling the company to offer a constellation of spacecraft that will provide the highest commercial collection capacity, with more than 1 million square kilometers per day of high-resolution Earth imagery. Additionally, WorldView-2 will provide eight bands of multi-spectral for life-like true color imagery and greater spectral applications in the mapping and monitoring markets.

UNITECH(R) Highlights Training & Simulation Solutions at I/ITSEC Nov. 26-29, to Prepare U.S. Troops, Combat IEDs,230925.shtml
WINTER PARK, Fla., Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- UNITECH(R), a world-class leader in interactive training, simulation and security solutions, will showcase the latest T&S innovations at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) conference Nov. 26-29 in Orlando, Fla.
UNITECH will focus on its emerging technologies by highlighting several product lines, with an emphasis on training and simulation, at its I/ITSEC booth No. 3700 in the West Hall of the Orange County Convention Center. It's the epicenter of continuously changing 5- to 10-minute demonstrations on the latest training and simulation technologies, including urban training, OneMILES, UNITREX, RAD, IEDs, weaponry and serious gaming.
"UNITECH is excited to once again be a part of I/ITSEC," said Earl W. Stafford, UNITECH Chairman and CEO.
UNITECH is an award-winning, solutions-oriented professional services company specializing in first-response training and simulation, international and federal programs, maritime security and technology and training solutions.
UNITECH is one of the mid-Atlantic's fastest growing companies and has earned a reputation as an industry leader in MILES training technology and overall simulation products and services in the live and test domains. Military operations use live forces and instrumented weapon systems interacting on training, test and exercise ranges. Those exercises simulate experiences during actual operational conditions

CAE collaborates with Microsoft on defence, homeland security markets

Lockheed Martin wins $849 mln missile contract
WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Monday it awarded No. 1 U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp(LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) a $849 million contract for continued work on the Trident II (D5) Missile, a submarine-launched ballistic missile armed with nuclear (cont…)

General Dynamics Buys Mediaware International
Nov 26, 2007 (INTERNET BUSINESS NEWS via COMTEX) -- GD charts news PowerRating -- General Dynamics has acquired Mediaware International, a developer of real-time full-motion compressed digital video processing software and systems for defense, intelligence and commercial customers

Monday, November 26, 2007

I/ITSEC SAIC etc, "Sindex", Threataganda AZ, + News

Islamic terrorists target Army base -- in Arizona

By Sara A. CarterNovember 26, 2007
Fort Huachuca, the nation's largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.
Fort officials changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were to be smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high-powered weapons to attack the Arizona Army base, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times.
"A portion of the operatives were in the United States, with the remainder not yet in the United States," according to one of the documents, an FBI advisory that was distributed to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, Customs and Border Protection and the Justice Department, among several other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. "The Afghanis and Iraqis shaved their beards so as not to appear to be Middle Easterners."
According to the FBI advisory, each Middle Easterner paid Mexican drug lords $20,000 "or the equivalent in weapons" for the cartel's assistance in smuggling them and their weapons through tunnels along the border into the U.S. The weapons would be sent through tunnels that supposedly ended in Arizona and New Mexico, but the Islamist terrorists would be smuggled through Laredo, Texas, and reclaim the weapons later.
A number of the Afghans and Iraqis are already in a safe house in Texas, the FBI advisory said.
Fort Huachuca, which lies about 20 miles from the Mexican border, has members of all four service branches training in intelligence and secret operations. About 12,000 persons work at the fort and many have their families on base.
Lt. Col. Matthew Garner, spokesman for Fort Huachuca, said details about the current phase of the investigation or security changes on the post "will not be disclosed." (cont..)


IAF, Singapore Air Force begin exercise

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force and its Singaporean counterpart on Monday began air combat and ground attack exercises at Kalaikunda in West Bengal. While the Singaporean air force has brought a squadron of US-made F-15 fighters, the Indian Air Force is fielding its Russian-built Mig-27 ground attack fighters in the war games named 'Sindex', which will go on till December 13, according to IAF sources here (cont...)

Northrop Grumman Showcases Training and Simulation Technologies At I/ITSEC 2007

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 26, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) will highlight a full range of training and simulation products and services for military and homeland security operations at the 2007 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.
The conference will take place Nov. 26-29 at the Orange County Convention Center. Northrop Grumman will be located at booth 1724.
The company's exhibit will feature flight training and homeland security solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense and various government agencies (cont...)

SAIC Demonstrates 'Science - Services - Solutions: The Warfighter's Edge' at the 2007 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Science Applications International Corporation will demonstrate specialized defense, law enforcement and security solutions at the 2007 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) Nov. 26 through 29 at the Orange County Convention Center.
SAIC and its team will present a series of complex multisystem war-gaming simulations, including interoperable live, virtual, and constructive capabilities. The demonstrations showcase SAIC's system integration capabilities and illustrate how unrelated simulation systems can be brought together to create powerful training solutions. Three different vignettes will be played each day and simulated newscasts will tie the demonstrations together. (cont...)

Objective Interface Sets New Standard for Highly Realistic Military Simulation
OIS's DMMfx Animator and DMMfx Engine Provide First Real-Time Physical Modeling for Military Simulation

ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwire - November 26, 2007) - Objective Interface Systems, Inc., the leading provider of high-performance, real-time and embedded communications middleware, today announced DMMfx™ Animator and DMMfx™ Engine, the first real-time material physics for building military simulations. DMMfx Animator and DMMfx Engine enable rapid development of highly realistic visually immersive environments containing objects that accurately model the physical fidelity of movement. DMMfx objects respond in a lifelike manner based on their physical properties without the use of manual, prearranged results.
DMMfx Animator and DMMfx Engine are based on the revolutionary Digital Molecular Matter technology created by Pixelux Entertainment, an industry innovator in video game realism. Applying the laws of physics in real-time means that when a user blows up a brick wall, that wall breaks apart in ways that are true to its physical properties -- as opposed to manual, pre-scripted animations. DMMfx computes this real-time simulation of physics utilizing the principles of finite element modeling, the same technology utilized by designers to model the physical properties of everything from jet aircraft to automotive engines. (cont...)

Trusted Computer Solutions Delivers First TENA Guard for Defense Modeling, Simulation and Training

Homeland Security Investor Conference Attracts Security Executives, Investors & Prime Defense Contractors

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For the second year in a row, more than 300 middle-market homeland security industry executives, investors, and prime defense contractors looking to capitalize on growth in the homeland security and government services market are expected to attend The Homeland Security Investor Conference, a private, invitation-only event on Dec. 10 and 11, 2007, in Washington, D.C.
This premier homeland security conference organized by CapitalSource, Civitas Group and USBX Advisory Services will highlight some of the most promising middle-market investment and business development opportunities in the global homeland security and government services market. The event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., and provide a forum for more than 30 middle-market businesses and their CEOs to showcase their companies to industry leaders, private equity investors, and prime defense contractors.
Highlighting the event’s focus on technology in the homeland security space will be keynote speaker Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania Governor and the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who will speak during the luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ridge is currently head of Ridge Global, a Washington, D.C., based strategic consulting firm that provides strategic consulting services that advance the security and economic interests of businesses and governments worldwide.
Under Secretary Ridge’s tenure, DHS was tasked with using technology to strengthen the country’s critical infrastructure, institute layered security measures at air, land and seaports, develop a unified national response to incidents and improve communication and intelligence information sharing across countries, federal, state and local law enforcement and the private sector.
CapitalSource, Civitas Group and USBX Advisory Services – each a leader in their respective finance, strategic consulting and investment banking services markets – established this conference to provide large global security companies, investors, and government services representatives a first look at new business and investment opportunities from companies developing in-demand products and services in the homeland security and government services industry. The conference also gives government agencies researching new technologies rare insight into emerging technological and business solutions.
The Homeland Security Investor Conference is structured with a unique format of 30-minute presentations by CEOs of leading companies from five important sectors in the homeland security market. Those markets include: Intelligence and Data Management, Weapons of Mass Destruction /Screening Technologies, Public Safety and Security, Critical Infrastructure Protection, and Identity Solutions.
For a list of previous Presenters, Conference Attendees, and information about The Homeland Security Investor Conference, visit

States test pandemic plans with free flu shots AR

As flu season nears, some states are offering free vaccination campaigns in settings that mimic an emergency response to a flu pandemic or bioterrorism attack. Arkansas last month conducted the largest ever free flu shot drive in the country, delivering more than 100,000 vaccinations in a three-day test of the state’s emergency response plan (cont..)

BAE Systems wins $18 million DARPA contract to lead imaging system program

WASHINGTON, 26 Nov. 2007. BAE Systems has received an $18.5 million, 30-month contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a new class of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems and capabilities.
BAE Systems will lead DARPA's Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) program. The company will develop, integrate, and demonstrate advanced ISR systems and capabilities for wide-area persistent monitoring. The systems are targeted for use in Department of Defense unmanned and manned surveillance platforms. (cont..)

Remember that great scene in Aliens 2 where Ripley wants to help and hops into a exoskeleton loader and picks up a pallet of military equipment that weighs hundreds of pounds? The Catepillar style exoskeleton does all the work, but Ripley’s controlling the arms and legs like they’re extentions of her own. Well, with the Sarcos Military Exoskelton, that day is here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Iran "Ettehad-86", Japan Missile Drill, D.E.W. Test, +

Iran to launch military exercise
Iran's navy commander says Iran will launch a military maneuver in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman to exercise its naval capabilities. "The maneuver will test the latest Iranian warfare and military tactics," Commander of the Army Naval Force Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Saturday. He said the seven-day 'Ettehad-86' maneuver is scheduled for February.

Japan To Conduct Missile Drills In Capital

John Concepcion - AHN News Writer
Tokyo, Japan (AHN) - Japan is planning on conducting anti-ballistic missile drills in 10 locations in Tokyo this December, according to local media on Sunday.
A report on Yomiuri, Japan's largest daily, said the country's defense ministry will conduct the Patriot Advanced Capacity-3 (PAC-3) missile deployment exercise to test the missile shield's adaptability to the capital.
The report quoted unnamed sources in the ministry, who said that the drills are also aimed at verifying whether locations have communications barriers in order to assess them fit for future deployment.
The country's PAC-3 missiles are currently deployed at the Iruma base in Saitama. The surface-to-air missiles are the last resort in case of incoming missiles not intercepted by U.S. or Japanese ships.
However, the report said in order to protect the capital from a missile attack, the PAC-3 missiles will have to be deployed in Tokyo. The Iruma base where the PAC-3 missiles now are deployed is some 17 miles away from the capital.

U.S. Tests Anti-IED Laser

Within three years, the U.S. Army hopes to field a solid-state, 1-kilowatt, vehicle-mounted laser that can destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and UAVs, Army program managers said.
A prototype weapon called the Avenger performed well during a Boeing-Army test in September at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala.
Encouraged, Army officials are working with the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) to secure funding for more tests, build more prototypes and mount the laser onto a Cougar vehicle.
It was the first test of record for the solid-state laser.
“The laser propagates through a telescope built onto the AMW, focusing that kilowatt of power out at operational ranges, placing the hot, high-intensity thermal light beam on UXO [unexploded ordnance] and/or IEDs,” said Lee Gutheinz, Boeing’s high-energy laser and electro-optical program director. (cont...)

Radiation detection an arduous task at ports

Excerpt: "U.S. radiation monitoring equipment is running at eight foreign ports that send goods to the United States and at about 450 border crossings and airports around the world. Under federal law, 100% of cargo arriving legally at U.S. borders by 2012 will be scanned abroad and then again at U.S. ports. More sophisticated monitors, costing billions of dollars, are under development.Ultimately, federal officials envision a time when the nation will be ringed by radiation monitors at ports, along isolated sea coasts, plying the oceans, roving highways in police cars and even dotting checkpoints on routes into major cities -- all tied into a central national command center and staffed around the clock.Some scientists at the Department of Homeland Security are calling the effort Manhattan 2, referring to the massive project that developed the first atomic bomb. Vice President Dick Cheney has taken a special interest in the effort and backed the political appointment of a key ally to the job of developing the architecture for the system."

FRES (Future Rapid Effect System)

A team led by BAE Systems has been assembled to deliver a fleet of medium-weight armoured fighting vehicles for the British Army.
The team includes Cranfield University, GE Aviation, QinetiQ, SAIC and Selex Sensors & Airborne Systems. It will compete for the role of Vehicle Integrator for the ‘Utility’ family of FRES (Future Rapid Effect System), the first and largest element of the programme. The successful bidder is expected to take an overseas vehicle design, and customise, manufacture and support it through life to meet UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) requirements.
The vehicle will be based on an eight-wheeled design currently being selected by the MoD and is expected to enter service from 2012. Some 7000 jobs will be sustained by the overall FRES programme.
FRES is worth up to £16bn for the acquisition phase. It will provide the British Army with up to 17 vehicle variants in five families for a wide range of battlefield tasks. These vehicles will be heavily protected but light enough to be deployed by air

Friday, November 23, 2007

Canadian Disaster X, In Q-Tel, Drills

Emergency Response Teams Tested at One of Largest Disaster Exercises in Canadian History

TORONTO - Emergency response teams took part in a live, simulated large-scale disaster exercise today at a Toronto-area hotel, involving a simulated bomb blast. The purpose of the exercise was to test the coordination and interoperability of these teams in a real emergency, and identify where improvements can be made. In total, close to 1,000 participants, observers, and evaluators were involved. (cont..)

In Q-Tel

Simulation company to expand in Orlando

A California-based computer-simulation company says it plans a multimillion-dollar expansion of its Orlando division, thanks in part to a venture-capital fund backed by the CIA.Forterra Systems Inc. announced recently it received a "strategic investment" from In-Q-Tel, the CIA's privately run venture affiliate, to develop computer-based virtual-conferencing systems for the nation's intelligence community. Financial terms were not disclosed.(cont...)

Public Health plans emergency drills (NY)

HERKIMER - Herkimer County Public Health is planning to conduct two emergency preparedness drills in December to see if the county would be ready in case of an epidemic.“This serves as a good practice in case we really had to give something out for things such as the avian flu or pills for anthrax,” Director of Public Health, Dr. Gregory O'Keefe said. “We can see what we need as far as personnel and volunteers. It also serves to prepare alternate sites for distribution of vaccines or pills.”The drills are scheduled for Dec. 5 from 2:30-7 p.m. at East Herkimer Elementary School on Gros Boulevard and Dec. 17 from 2-6 p.m. at the town of Webb Elementary School in Old Forge.
The drill will give out free flu shots to adults age 19 and over. O'Keefe said he expects to have about 1,000 doses of the flu shot available at the drills. Participants are required to show their driver's license to receive the shot.O'Keefe says these drills are mainly for people associated with the infrastructure for the community (cont...)

MONCADA 2007 Military Exercise Successful (Cuba)

Havana, Nov 23 (Prensa Latina) The cohesion of the different forces and Cuban means was used for the defense of a zone besieged by a supposed enemy, with the use of tanks, infantry, artillery and aviation.
The success of the territorial device against several attempts of invasion was praised by the President of the Provincial Defense Council of Havana Ivan Ordaz, at the end of the military exercise Moncada 2007. (cont...)
Tech Extends Strategic Agreement With SAIC
Police to Deploy Spy Drones in Texas

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Russia: Exercises, Nano-Weapons, I SWARM, + Drill updates

"Stability-2008" Russia

Russia to conduct strategic military exercises in 2008

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Armed Forces will hold a series of command-and-post exercises under a common strategic concept in 2008, the defense minister said Tuesday.
The Stability-2008 exercises will be held for two months in various regions of Russia with the goal of practicing strategic deployment of the Armed Forces, including the nuclear "triad," to counter potential threats near the Russian borders.
"The maneuvers will include a number of theater-level, tactical and command-and-post exercises, under a common strategic concept," Anatoly Serdyukov said at a Defense Ministry meeting, attended by President Vladimir Putin.
Addressing senior military staff at the meeting, Putin reiterated the need to continue the development of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces and said they should be able to respond promptly and effectively to any aggression.
"One of the most important tasks today is to enhance the combat readiness of the Strategic Nuclear Forces. They should be in

Europe researches millimeter-scale swarming robots

NETANYA, Israel — A European research project codenamed I-SWARM is developing millimeter-scale robots for various applications, mostly for dangerous activities. The project is coordinated by Joerg Seyfried at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. These robots operate using solar power and can communicate with each other. The I-SWARM project is working towards the development of an artificial ant and brings together expertise in micro-robotics, in distributed and adaptive systems as well as in self-organizing biological swarm systems. The project is set to produce technological advances to allow the production of swarms of up to 1000 microrobots. These client robots will all be equipped with limited, pre-rational on-board intelligence. The heterogeneous robots will differ in the type of sensors, manipulators and computational power. Such a robot swarm is expected to perform a variety of applications, including micro assembly, biological, medical or cleaning tasks

Russia To Design Nanotechnology Weapons – Commander

The chief of the Russian Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defence Troops has said that nanotechnology-based weapons for combating radiation, chemical, and biological terrorism will be developed in Russia within fifteen years. According to the article, he indicated his prediction that the country’s Programme of Coordination of Work in the Field of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials “will allow developing advanced arms and means of radiation, chemical and biological defence at a new qualitative level.” The article says that such defense technologies include “unique remote reconnaissance complexes, automated systems for the collection and processing of data about the radiation, chemical and biological situation integrated in an automated system of control of the troops will join the armed forces in a nearest prospect.” The article can be viewed online at the link below

San José Firefighters Take Part in Bioterrorism Drill (update)
The drill simulated a mock terrorist attack on a music festival$57173

First responders from multiple agencies, including the San José Fire Department, descended upon San José's Municipal Stadium for the Golden Guardian 2007 bioterrorism drill held on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
The scenario required interagency cooperation to contend with a mock terrorist attack on a music festival using airborne pneumonic plague.
San José Fire units, directed by Deputy Incident Commander Kevin Conant, initiated a full-scale response using the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to manage all aspects of the drill.
Firefighters from San José Stations 1 and 29 worked with firefighters from Santa Clara County, Mountain View, Gilroy, CAL FIRE, and medical personnel from American Medical Response, Silicon Valley Ambulance, and the Santa Clara County EMS Agency

Conerns persist over Chinese anti-satellite test: US military

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bird Flu is Back, Drills, DHS News + Oil Scam: WWIV Pretext

How Well Can Wall Street Handle Pandemic Flu? Drill Results Are Mixed…

Employers ‘must prepare for flu calamity’

With bird flu outbreaks cropping up from Europe to Asia, scientists say the new pattern of spreading infection makes a worldwide human pandemic more likely. So how well prepared are U.S. financial firms for a pandemic?Well, 2,775 financial firms recently took part in a drill to try and answer that very question.
The U.S. Treasury, together with SIFMA and the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee (FBIIC) held a 3-week pandemic drill for the financial services industry, giving enough time to simulate a full pandemic wave and clarify its ripple effects within the markets and interdependent sectors.
Preliminary results of the three-week long exercise were mixed. (cont..)

"Noble Midas 2007" (NATO)

Croatia hosts major NATO exercise
"The live exercise included personnel from 12 NATO nations -- Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the United States -- as well as partnership nations Albania and Croatia. Forces included 60 aircraft, 40 ships and six submarines. Approximately 8,000 troops were involved in the exercise, with 2,000 of them participating directly in the area."

Bioterrorism drill tests teamwork (IL),4_1_1_JO19_HAZMAT_S1.article
"Around 180 people from over a dozen agencies practiced a bioterrorism hazardous material drill Saturday at the racetrack."

Bush Homeland Security Adviser Resigns

President Bush's chief terrorism adviser announced this morning that she is stepping down, becoming the latest in a series of high-level exits from the White House as the Bush presidency heads toward its final year.
Frances Fragos Townsend, the president's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, managed the White House response to all manner of natural disasters and extremist threats over the last 4 1/2 years. (cont..)

* Please see Nico's research for context:

Barksdale to close today for exercise (LA)

Homeland Security Technologies

Security experts emphasize that the “war on terror” is a different sort of conflict than wars past. Nevertheless, at least one commonality links the current struggle to previous wars: an army of private contractors has emerged to supply both governments and private companies with the products and services needed to make fighting more efficient. According to Homeland Security Research Corporation, a consulting firm, the U.S. market for homeland security products and services was $23.8 billion in 2006, and barring any future attacks, that figure is expected to increase roughly 50 percent by 2011 (PDF). Fueled by voracious government and private sector demand, this booming business features a bevy of cutting-edge products designed to perform new functions. (cont...)

Pretext for WWIV

Chavez, Ahmadinejad to Work Against US

Chavez Tells OPEC to Use Politics, Curb `Imperialism' (Update1)

OPEC Interested in Non-Dollar Currency

China voices alarm at dollar weakness,Authorised=false.html?
China on Monday expressed concern at the decline in the dollar, joining a growing chorus of global policymakers alarmed by the weakness in the world’s main reserve currency.
Premier Wen Jiabao told a business audience in Singapore it was becoming difficult to manage China’s $1,430bn foreign exchange reserves, saying that their value was under unprecedented pressure

Obama to the Hague with the rest of the lying frauds!

Obama: Takes Terrorism ‘Deadly Serious’

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Exotic Weapons, US Military Ready To Hit Streets,

Military's Exotic Weapons Manual

The military has a new field manual for tasers, laser dazzlers, pepper spray, and sonic blasters. Field Manual 3.22-40: Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the Tactical Employment of Nonlethal Weapons looks at all kinds of weaponry and military approaches where the design is not to kill.
"The prevalence of urbanization in many crisis-prone regions of the world creates the potential for large, vulnerable groups of civilians to be entrapped in volatile operations in urban terrain," the manual notes. So maybe it'd be better to use techniques and tools that are a bit less deadly. (cont...)

How I was zapped by a heat wave gun

On a cold and rain-swept morning on a US marine base, I stood and braced myself to be zapped by the latest prototype weapon in the American armoury - an invisible heat beam from a high-powered ray gun.

But my mind was still conjuring up the impact of a scalding shower or a burning iron as I stared, 500 yards down the firing range, at the unnerving sight of an armoured vehicle with the large antenna dish of its Active Denial System (ADS) pointing directly at me.
Then the officer standing next to me used his radio to call in the strike.

A moment later, jolted by a blast of directed energy delivered at the speed of light, I was squirming, grimacing and heading rapidly for cover - just as intended.
It felt as if I had opened a furnace with my face too close and been hit by a wall of scorching heat. Or, that I had been exposed to a searing draft of air from a huge hair-dryer, turned to extra hot - around 130F, to be precise.
Either way, it was intolerable after just a couple of seconds and I scurried out of the way - fast. But as soon as I escaped the fire zone, the temporary burning sensation subsided, although my skin continued tingling for several minutes.

I was the only British journalist invited by the US military's Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate to join a small group of reporters and some Pentagon top brass to experience the ADS first-hand at the base in Quantico, Virginia.
The aim was to spread the word that the device, nicknamed the Silent Guardian, is neither sinister nor dangerous. In an age when the US military has been dogged by allegations of torture at secret bases, such perceptions are crucial.
As the weapon's operator, Senior Airman Robert Hudspeth was the man immediately responsible for my suffering. Sitting in the passenger seat of a Humvee, he had first trained his camera on me, fixing me in the crosshairs on the touch-screen in front of him.

When the driver had separately checked on his own screen that I was the right target, the young airman squeezed the red trigger on a joystick to release the invisible beam of millimetre waves at me from the antenna on the vehicle's roof.
The energy struck my skin but only penetrated 1/64th inch (the thickness of three sheets of paper).
"It would be very useful technology in the field in Iraq," said Airman Hudspeth, who has witnessed the need for better ways to control angry and threatening crowds during two tours there. (cont...)

Military prepares to support states in disaster

Joint Interagency Coordination Group responds to simulated attacks

National emergency exercises emphasize real-world experience

National Response Framework

Friday, November 16, 2007

NORAD, CO Vax, China + India X's

Exercise Falcon Virgo 08-02

Military Flights Over D.C. Are Training Exercises
WASHINGTON -- NORAD will conduct a series of training flights Friday over the D.C. region.
The flights, part of Exercise Falcon Virgo 08-02, will take place during the early morning and late night hours.
Exercise Falcon Virgo 08-02 is designed to test NORAD's intercept and identification operations and the National Capital Region's warning system.
Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s and Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters will participate in the exercise

Colorado Tests Its Readiness For Outbreak

Deb Stanley, 7NEWS Producer
A Blackhawk helicopter took off from Buckley Air Force base Friday morning as part of a statewide drill.
On board was the Colorado National Guard carrying thousands of doses of flu vaccine.
It's being delivered around the state as part of a mass vaccination drill scheduled for Saturday.
The idea is to test how fast and how well the state could vaccinate people in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak.
To do the test, health officials will give regular flu shots Saturday at dozens of locations across the state: Thornton, Alamosa, Denver, Las Animas, Cheyenne Wells, San Luis, Blanca, Colorado Springs, Fountain, Monument, Granby, Gunnison, Hugo, Highlands Ranch, Delta, El Jebel, Edwards, Eagle, Kiowa, Brush, Bailey, Lamar, Saguache, Breckenridge, Woodland Park, Ft Lupton and Silverthorne.
They hope to vaccinate 20,000 people.
You can get involved and get a free flu shot at the same time, at three locations in the metro area:
Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch; North Valley Tech Center in Thornton; and Coors Field in Denver.
Coors Field is only vaccinating adults.
Each location has a limited supply of flu shots. The drill begins at 9 a.m.
To find a location closer to you, click here. For more information about the clinics in Thornton and Highlands Ranch, click here.
Some locations are charging a fee, the Web site will tell which locations.
The drill is one of the largest exercises of its kind in the country. It's being paid for by a federal grant.
A final report on how well it worked is due in January.

Responders stage radiological bomb drill (NJ)

PATERSON -- Rarely does the Salvation Army hand out hot chocolate before the dirty bomb explodes. But on a dreary Thursday morning, warmth needed to come before the mock-disaster. Emergency responders from all levels of government, including the military, converged on Rifle Camp Park for a training exercise that was straight out of the Fox network's "24": A radiological "dirty" bomb has exploded and several agencies must contain the mess. (cont..)

First-ever joint China-India military exercise in Dec

NEW DELHI: The world's largest and third-largest armies will hold their first-ever joint military exercise in December, with Indian Army troops engaging with soldiers from the People's Liberation Army in a counter-terrorism manoeuvre in China. Though the exercise will be a small one, involving only 100-odd soldiers, it will be a step towards building ties between the 1.13-million Indian Army and the 2.5-million PLA, which have been suspicious of each other ever since the 1962 war(cont...)

Chief of Staff of the Army Statement on the Army's Strategic Imperatives

Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., U.S. Army Chief of Staff, discussing the Army's strategic imperatives before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Excerpt: "We live in a world where global terrorism and extremist ideologies are real threats. As we look to the future, national security experts are virtually unanimous in predicting that the next several decades will be ones of persistent conflict -- protracted confrontation among state, non-state, and individual actors that use violence to achieve their political and ideological ends. Adversaries will employ propaganda, threat, intimidation, and overt violence to coerce people and gain control of their land or resources. Some will avoid our proven advantages by adopting asymmetric techniques, utilizing indirect approaches, and immersing themselves in the population. "

ManTech to buy McDonald Bradley

ManTech International Corp. will acquire McDonald Bradley Inc., a prime contractor on the Homeland Security Department’s EAGLE contract, for $76.5 million in an all-cash deal.
McDonald Bradley’s work focuses on the Defense and Homeland Security departments and the U.S. intelligence agencies. The company provides secure information sharing and information technology solutions.
DOD, DHS and intelligence markets account for more than 60 percent of the company’s revenue, and the Defense Intelligence Agency is its largest customer, company officials said.
EAGLE stands for Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions. McDonald Bradley is one of the 25 prime contractors on the project. Another 28 small businesses also are qualified to receive tasks under the contract. The seven-year, $42 billion indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract is structured so that companies compete against one another for individual task orders. (cont...)
Homeland Security officials say government unprepared for dirty bomb

US talks up biometric border protection
Close-air-support exercise tests Atlantic Strike participants

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CA Bioterror Update, BAE UAV, +"Fortress Britain"

"Golden Guardians" CA Terror Drill (update)
Bioterrorism drill creates a 'race with death'

Paul Gilman, posing as a physician, stands beside Palo Alto Police Chief Lynne Johnson during a pree conference Wednesday about the Golden Guardians drill. Photo by Norbert von der Groeben/Palo Alto Online.

Approximately 15,000 attendees at a two-day JAMFEST concert at HP Pavilion in San Jose are in a literal "race with death" to be treated for a deadly, highly contagious pneumonic plague.
That is the crux of a statewide disaster simulation this morning called the Golden Guardians. The Palo Alto scenario was that bioterrorists had released airborne pneumonic-plague bacteria sometime during the JAMFEST concert Nov. 13 and 14 using large canisters resembling welding tanks.
Police and medical officials taking part in the one-day exercise said they practiced using every method at their disposal to warn the public of the deadly threat of infection.
Volunteers from throughout Palo Alto took part by role-playing everything from nosy reporters and hysterical mothers in search of their children to City Council candidates in search of publicity for their political campaigns.
At an emergency-volunteer base at Cubberley Community Center, volunteers offered their help. At a medical and triage center at Mitchell Park, blue M&Ms were supplied as "antibiotics" against the disease to volunteers pretending to be victims.
The purpose of the exercise was to test how well agencies and the public would communicate with one another in a disaster. (cont..)

BAE shows new UAV system in Dubai

"With its ability to take off, complete a full mission and land -- all at the click of a computer mouse -- HERTI has been designed to meet a wide variety of operational needs both cost effectively and with extremely high levels of reliability whilst removing the need for an operator or pilot to control the aircraft from the ground," BAE Systems said.

Gordon Brown reveals 'Fortress Britain' plan (thanks to Derek Case)

There is also to be a huge "hearts and minds" drive aimed at diverting young Muslims away from the influence of fanatics. The Prime Minister said a review of vulnerable buildings and crowded spaces like shopping centres had led to a rethink of the way they are protected.
More than 250 busy railway stations, airports and seaports as well as 100 "sensitive" installations like power stations and electricity substations will be given extra security.
This could include screening luggage at major stations like London King's Cross or Manchester Piccadilly using mobile checking devices that can be moved around the country.
More buildings will be defended by barriers to stop car bomb attacks, extra blast-proofing, vehicle exclusion zones and metal detectors. (cont...)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CA Terror Sim, Drills, + Raytheon Robotics, BAE +

O.C. Authorities Participate in Terror Simulation

DECONTAMINATION: Firefighters decontaminate simulated victims after an explosion scenario involving hazardous materials on a train during Wednesday's Golden Guardian disaster exercise at Angel stadium in Anaheim.

Exercise Involved Federal, State, County, and City Officials

By John Gregory
ANAHEIM, Nov. 14, 2007 (KABC-TV)

- Several Orange County agencies took part Wednesday in a state wide drill to prepare for a terror attack or other disaster.
If terrorists were to strike it would be disastrous. A simulated explosion shook the parking lot at Angel Stadium leaving victims and debris scattered in every direction.

First responders including police, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene. It was chaotic and confusing, a lot like what it would be if an attack really happened.
"They are going to be surprised by what they see. They don't know if they are encountering just some sort of an accident, an explosion or if it was an intentional act. The determination that takes place will be for them to find out what occurred and where do they go from here," explains Sgt. Rick Martinez, Anaheim Police Department.
Actors were recruited to play the role of bombing victims and they did their part. A heavy dose of fake blood and screaming added to the first responders tensions.
The goal was to make the simulation as real as possible. There were body parts mixed in with the debris.
A bus was blown up to get an accurate feel of what would happen if a terrorist attack did occur and how the debris would spread (cont...)

Palo Alto embroiled in bioterrorism drill (update)

St. Louis Area Hospitals Respond To Disaster Drill

(KSDK) - A surprise disaster drill Tuesday night took staff at 32 hospitals

The scenario involved an explosion outside a downtown St. Louis office building with 500 injuries and 75 fatalities.The call for a mass casualty drill went out at 8 p.m. St. Louis University Hospital was the second to respond (cont...)

Mall hosting emergency exercise (NM)

Raytheon Acquired Sarcos' Robotics technology

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has acquired the robotics technologies and capabilities of Sarcos, a company specializing in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and robotics for the entertainment and medical industries. "We look forward to being part of the [Raytheon] IDS team," said Dr. Stephen Jacobsen, president of Sarcos. he added that by joining with Raytheon Sarcos will be better positioned to move our technology from research and development to execution." Integrated Defense Systems is Raytheon's leader in Joint Battlespace Integration. (More...)

Underground Object Mapping Capability from BAE Systems

The US Air Force awarded BAE Systems Electronics and Integrated Solutions, Inc. a $8 million contract to build and demonstrate an 'active electromagnetic' tomography sensor, designed to characterize complex sub-surface objects such as underground facilities or perimeter breaching tunnels. Such objects are usually concealed from conventional airborne imaging or radar based sensors. (More...)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

5 Year Massive Attack Simulation, DARPA, Drill....

Massive attack simulation to involve every stateU.S. engaging in 5-year 'game-play' exercise for terror attacks, major disasters

Excerpt: "...Pino explained that the current RDD scenario of VS08/TOPOFF4 has been designated as National Planning Scenario No. 11.
"We will exercise all 15 of these national planning scenarios in the construct of the national exercise program over a period of years," he explained. "A perfect example is that last May, we conducted a national exercise as a precursor to this one, where we exercised against national planning scenario No. 1; that is, a nuclear detonation in a major metropolitan city."
From May 10-18 in Ardent Sentry 07, USNORTHCOM, in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, exercised the detonation of an improvised nuclear device in Indiana.
USNORTHCOM's Joint Task Force Civil Support deployed in the exercise more than 2,000 active-duty military personnel and some 1,000 National Guard personnel to Camp Atterbury and the Muscatatuchk Urban Training Area, simulating an attack on Indianapolis.
Pino explained that each year at least one exercise will be designated a national level event, in which multiple state and local jurisdictions will be involved.
"That one national level event will be coupled with four 'Top Official Seminars' per year," Pino explained. "In the Top Official Seminars, we will take those national planning scenarios and discuss them in a seminar format with the principals and department heads in a table-top discussion environment.
"The issues that surface from those seminars will then be fed into the planning process for the national level exercise we will conduct," he continued. "It's a learning process in which we say, 'Okay, we talked about this as a potential challenge. We worked on what we believe is a proper answer to that challenge. Now we exercised it to validate that it, in effect, did accomplish the effect that we were after.'"
Pino also explained that the national exercise program is constructed to coincide with the four-year cycle of a presidential administration.
"So, in the first year of a president's administration," Pino explained, "we will have a ramped-up training program for the new administration on all the duties they are going to have in their homeland security and homeland defense responsibilities."
Pino laid out how the exercise cycle would work in conjunction with a presidential term.
"So, in the first year of a president's administration, like in 2009, the scenario will be one of the terrorist-related national planning scenarios. Then in 2010, the second year of this upcoming presidential administration, the exercise will be a natural disaster, perhaps a major hurricane or a major earthquake, affecting multiple jurisdictions."
He continued: "The third year will be an overseas Department of Defense-centric or humanitarian assistance to another nation state during a large-scale natural disaster, or a counter-insurgency-type operation, because we need to work national security too; this is a national exercise program.
"Then in the fourth year of a new administration," he concluded, "we will have domestic terrorist events as the foundation of that exercise."
Pino further specified that in each specific national exercise, different training objectives are identified.
"As I mentioned," he continued, "the planning for this exercise started 14 months ago. We identified certain exercise objectives we wanted to focus upon. Because this is a strategic national Top Officials exercise, our focus is working linkages and relationships and information-sharing between a strategic theater commander, a combatant commander – in this case NORAD-USNORTHCOM – and the national political leadership in Washington."
Therefore, Pino, explained, VS08/TOPOFF4 "has placed very little focus downward to operational forces on the ground or tactical units on the ground."
"We never intended to move very many actual forces around in this exercise," he said. "But, we designed the exercise to involve three venues – one in a U.S. territory that allows us to work those challenges of working a territory, the other two venues in Oregon and Arizona."
Pino also explained how the exercises were designed to involve FEMA regions nationwide.
"We have 10 FEMA regions throughout the nation," he explained. "A particular FEMA region is assigned the responsibility for a certain number of states, to provide disaster response and support. But FEMA Region 9, in this particular case, also has the responsibility for our territories in the Pacific. Oregon is FEMA Region 10, out of Seattle, and Arizona is FEMA Region 9, out of Oakland."
"Our goal," he concluded, "is to exercise the full scope of national planning exercises – ranging from natural disasters, to terrorist events, to health emergencies such as epidemic flu, such that each FEMA region and all the states have the opportunity to work through emergency exercises within the planned exercise cycle."
Master-control cell
The master-control cell of the national planning exercise is in the Department of Homeland Security in Virginia," Pino pointed out.
"USNORTHCOM has representatives there in Virginia in that master-control cell," he said. "Then you have the venues in Guam, Oregon and Arizona, with on-site control groups that are linked by satellite to the master-control cell. The day-to-day game-playing takes place in the JIASC interagency environment where information is processed and decisions are made."
The objective of the exercise, Pino said, is to "drive the action forward by providing the injects on real world systems."
"Inside the white cell, we have representation from every element of NORTHCOM," he said. "You'll notice there's an intelligence seat, a public affairs seat; there an operations seat, there's an inter-agency seat.
The chief controller from the War Fighting Center, Steve Zakaluk, is Pino's chief manager.
Zakaluk, Pino said, built every aspect of the exercise for NORTHCOM, working in partnership with the War Fighting Center.
"We react to what the players are doing to create the next day's and next two-day's environment to make sure we are moving in the right direction," Pino said.
He explained how the exercises are designed to benefit from lessons learned as the exercise is gamed.
"The most important piece of exercising is to observe your performance," Peno stressed. "What tasks need to be accomplished to satisfy the requirements of the plan? Then, what are the standards you are measuring yourself against?
"We bring together a significant number of subject matter experts from throughout the Department of Defense to work with us to observe our performance during the exercise," he continued, "to identify accomplishments and challenges."
"These experts then report back to me with all their observations," he explained. "Then what I will do is take every single one of these observations, and I build a 'lesson-identified' on that observation. From there, we put in place a corrective action program to fix that issue, and then we will revalidate it on a future exercise."
Observer-trainers then, he said, are working with each of the staff elements to identify the value of standards and conditions of the tasks that are supposed to be performed.
"Then we have analysts and subject matter experts in specific domains like intelligence, operations, planning, interagency synchronization, etc.," he continued, describing an interactive feedback loop at the heart of systems and operations planning science.
"They observe our performance and report back to me on their observations," Pino explained, "and then the analysts give us a perspective on their analysis of particular trends that are going on. Then we take that information from these guys, and we feed it into that 'lessons-learned' corrective-actions program for the next planned exercise."
Built into the national exercise program, therefore, is a "corrective-action program," Pino stressed.
"We identify a challenge, an issue, something that didn't go right, and it is fed into the Homeland Security Council," said Pino. From there, the Homeland Security Council assigns a department among the interagency partners designated to fix the problem and reports back to the Homeland Security Council."

DARPA spies on analyst brains; hopes to offload image analysis to computers

As things currently stand, computers have some pretty severe limitations when it comes to image analysis, as they frequently misidentify the basic components of an image. That leaves humans the undisputed champs at recognizing significant features of photographs. From a military and intelligence perspective, this is a big problem: it's easy to obtain images, meaning trained image analysts are the big bottlenecks when it comes to intelligence. To avoid this problem, DARPA is working on developing a human/machine hybrid process to speed the screening of image data.
The work takes advantage of the fact that the brain does a lot of work in filtering visual information before making the conscious mind aware of what has been seen. This can take the form of weeding out distractions, generating associations, and identifying features that may be worthy of further attention. All of these process happen even if images are only visible for fractions of a second.
The DARPA program funds Honeywell to work with academic researchers to listen in on the brain's internal conversation to help filter out those images that aren't worth detailed analysis. Trained analysts are fitted with electrodes that monitored their brain activity, and then shown stacks of 50 images in rapid succession.

Ex-Walter Reed Chief to Run Fort Detrick

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) -- A two-star general who was fired as the head of Walter Reed Army Medical Center amid reports of shoddy treatment of wounded soldiers will oversee U.S. biological weapons defense research as commander of Fort Detrick, the Army said Tuesday.
War costs could top $1.6 trillion, panel says

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost the U.S. economy $1.6 trillion through 2009, about double the amount directly requested by the Bush administration so far, according to a report released Tuesday by Democrats on the House-Senate Joint Economic Committee.
The report includes costs not included in the administration's funding requests, including the interest on money borrowed to finance the war, an estimate of the impact on oil markets, and costs tied to treating the wounded and disabled and other related costs.
Those costs, when added to direct funding of $607 billion, push total costs for the Iraq war to $1.3 trillion, the report said. If spending in Afghanistan is included, costs could reach $1.6 trillion by the end of fiscal 2008. The report estimated that both wars could carry economic costs of $3.5 trillion between 2003 and 2017.

Emergency simulation today at Kimberly-Clark in Neenah