Exercise Koa Lightning
B-52 Stratofortress takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to participate in an exercise scenario Aug. 22. The aircraft, aircrew and maintainers are deployed from Barksdale AFB, La., as part of the continuous bomber presence in the Pacific region. During their deployment to Guam, the bomber squadron's participation in exercises will emphasize the U.S. bomber presence, demonstrating U.S. commitment to the Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Mahmoud Rasouliyan)
Video Games As Disaster-training Tools
Science Daily — Peanut butter and jelly. Wine and cheese. Dinner and a movie. Some things just naturally go together. But national security and video games? At first glance, those two aren’t exactly a soft brie and a glass of Merlot in terms of compatibility.
Players of the game can view the action from several vantage points. Here, fire trucks and police cars can be seen from building level. The exclamation points in red depict 9-1-1 calls that may offer valuable information to players, such as medical symptoms that citizens may be experiencing. Other icons re identified in the legend in the left-hand corner. (Credit: Image courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories)
If Sandia computer scientist and software engineer Donna Djordjevich has her way, however, perhaps today’s video game-loving youth will become our next generation’s terrorist-fighting scientist, especially if a prototype project she now has under development with the University of Southern California’s GamePipe Laboratory fulfills its promise. And a recent demonstration of the prototype for real-world emergency responders indicates she is on track.
Djordjevich is the principal investigator of a Sandia-funded project titled “Game Technology-Enhanced Simulation for Homeland Security.” Its mission is to create an interactive gaming platform specifically designed to prepare decision makers and first responders for weapons of mass destruction/weapons of mass effect (WMD/WME) attacks in metropolitan areas. The first version of this platform, more commonly known as “Ground Truth,” provides a virtual environment where users can play through such a scenario to see the effects of their decisions under the constraints of time and resources. The project was funded and started in FY07, with development beginning last October. (Cont..)
Boeing Border Effort Faces Delays
Boeing Co. has changed the management of an electronic-surveillance project along the U.S.-Mexican border after falling more than two months behind schedule, marking the complications involved in setting up a new generation of border security.
The project, part of a larger Department of Homeland Security program called SBInet, is a critical link in the plan to use technology to monitor the borders for illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and possible terrorists. Towers set up along a stretch of the border near Nogales, Ariz., are supposed to use motion sensors, cameras and radar to keep track of wide areas. According to the government, Boeing has had trouble getting the different components to work together without glitches.
The government's plans for monitoring as much as 6,000 miles of the Canadian and Mexican borders hinge on towers such as these working properly. If they prove ineffective, officials could be forced to spend billions of dollars for more traditional security measures, such as fences and more officers. The Homeland Security Department currently estimates that the virtual fence will cost about $8 billion through 2013, although the agency's inspector general wrote last November that the cost could balloon to $30 billion.
In recent days, Boeing named Daniel Korte, a veteran executive in the company's Integrated Defense Systems unit, to head the SBInet program. Mr. Korte was previously vice president of supplier management and procurement for the defense unit and has also worked on the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Jerry McElwee, who had been overseeing SBInet, is working with Mr. Korte during the transition and remains at the advanced systems group. Mr. McElwee's next assignment hasn't been announced.
Boeing characterized the changes in management as part of a planned transition of the SBInet program to the network and space-systems group from its previous home in the advanced-systems group, which handles competitions and project development. The network and space-systems group oversees key programs, such as Future Combat Systems, which is supposed to use high-tech vehicles, communications and sensors to tie together all parts of the battlefield.
U.S. missile shield is provocation: Austrian minister
VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos has called U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in eastern Europe a "provocation" reviving Cold War debates.
"That the United States are installing a defense shield in eastern Europe is a provocation in my view," Darabos was quoted as saying in an interview with daily Die Presse on Thursday.
"The U.S. has chosen the wrong path in my opinion. There is no point in building up a missile defense shield in Europe. That only unnecessarily rekindles old Cold War debates."
The remarks drew a swift reaction from Washington.
"We view the Cold War as being over. Such comments are not helpful and we now face a new strategic environment that requires us to move beyond Cold War thinking," State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said.
"We've been open and transparent with all E.U. and NATO allies on this, and we'll continue to do so. We're discussing missile defense with the Russians," Gallegos said at a news briefing.
The United States plans to deploy elements of its shield -- designed to intercept and destroy missiles from "rogue states" like Iran and North Korea -- in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Russia sees the initiative near its borders as a threat to its own security. On Tuesday Russia's military chief told the Czech Republic that hosting the shield would be a "big mistake".
Darabos said he saw no danger from Iranian long range missiles and the United States should try for a different solution.
Anti-terrorism drill coming Saturday
BUCKEYE LAKE — Buckeye Lake will be the target of a fake terrorist attack this weekend.
Licking County first responders will team with Fairfield and Perry county responders in a drill Saturday, said Jeff Walker, director of the Licking County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency ManagementThe drill will start at 7:30 a.m. and wrap up by 3 p.m.
The exercise will be a mock terrorist attack based on the July 4 celebration, in which a terrorist group would plant mock homemade explosives in the area. The agency would then work with other agencies to address the situation. (cont..)
DRPA Performs Emergency Response Drill
CBS 3) PHILADELPHIA The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Coast Guard conducted an emergency preparedness drill Thursday morning near the Ben Franklin Bridge and Philadelphia Port Authority.
The Port Security Training Exercises Program (PortSTEP) exercise is a means to evaluate preparedness and response to a terror-related incident. Officials believe the drill will help improve current maritime security plans.
"PortSTEP is designed to benefit maritime and surface transportation security communities throughout the U.S. via a suite of training exercises, evaluations and accompanying information technology products," said Noreen Brown, TSA's PortSTEP Project Officer. "This information will prove invaluable as we work to balance freedom of commerce and protection of our nation's transportation system."
Exercise scenarios ranged from an explosion on the Ben Franklin Bridge to terror-related activity around the port. (cont..)
To thwart nuclear terror, US directs trade partners to inspect 11 million cargo containers
WASHINGTON: The specter of a nuclear bomb, hidden in a cargo container, detonating in an American port has prompted Congress to require 100 percent screening of U.S.-bound ships at their more than 600 foreign starting points. (Cont..)
Serco gets more anti-terrorism work
Serco Inc. has won a three-year, $62 million contract from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center to design and deploy advanced anti-terrorism systems for ships, Navy ports and other unspecified federal facilities.
The new Naval Electronic Surveillance Systems contract could be worth as much as $115 million if all five of the six-month options are exercised, Serco said (Cont..)
Aerostar UAV Supports USAF Angel Thunder 07 Exercises
Aeronautics' Tactical Class, Aerostar Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), operated by the New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory (NMSU-PSL), successfully participated in the USAF Exercise Angel Thunder 07, from 11 to 18 July at the Playas Training and Research Center (PTRC) of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT). The Air Combat Command (ACC) exercise involved multi-service, tactical air and ground teams in Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions (cont..)
LandWarNet gaining momentum
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — U.S. Army Secretary Peter Geren urged Army information technology managers and industry executives to stay focused on technology efforts that deliver the right information to the right people in real time, noting “we cannot afford a modernization holiday.”
Speaking at the LandWarNet conference, Geren stressed the importance of equipping soldiers with information about their situation without overwhelming them.
“We must make sure we don’t replace the fog of war with the fog of information overload,” he said.
He also noted that Army leadership was committing greater attention to LandWarNet and the use of technology with the creation of a new LandWarNet directorate at G3 “to help synchronize the efforts across the force,” he said.
“LandWarNet is central to changing how the Army fights. It seeks to integrate every element of Army modernization,” he said, “and seamlessly connect the leader to the soldier on the battlefield — and connect the soldier to the information he or she needs wherever and whenever he or she needs it.”
That future is taking place now, he said.
“We are spinning out the first of the [Future Combat Systems] technologies, unattended ground sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles,” Geren said. “Instead of line-of-sight radio and up-and-down satellite signals, LandWarNet and FCS will give us a three-dimensional mesh of ground, aerial and satellite platforms and nodes, with the soldier on the ground at the center of the effort.”
Balancing the need for security and proper classification and the urgent needs on the battlefield remain important issues and “will not be easy,” he said. “We’re working on it. We must get it right for the soldier.” (cont..)
Park will close for mock drill
CDC Coordinates Emergency Drills in WV
Joint training leader discusses Unified Endeavor 2007
NFIRE satellite tracks Minuteman ICBM
Is US Army ordering robot spy blimp? (Update)