Sunday, August 12, 2007
Khaan Quest 07, CS&T + SCO & New "Cold War"
Khaan Quest 07
Command post exercise draws to a close
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia - Approximately 120 officers conduct an after-action review at the conclusion of a command post exercise here Aug. 10. The CPX was part of exercise Khaan Quest 07 and brought officers from 19 countries together in a simulated United Nations force headquarters which aimed to improve Global Peace Operations Initiative Peace Support Operations core competencies, enhance multinational interoperability, enhance military-to-military relationships, and improve teamwork and multinational cooperation.
Approximately 120 officers from 19 countries bid adieu to each other and the command post exercise which brought them together here.This training evolution simulated establishing a United Nations force headquarters in a deployed location in response to a regional peace operation and included both classroom-type briefings as well as practical application.The exercise participants conducted an after action review to look back at the lessons learned as well as provide feedback for future training."Obviously, the problem we’ve got here is every [noncommissioned officer’s] nightmare," joked Maj. Lee Smart, British Army’s assistant military attaché and the assistant watch keeper for exercise Khaan Quest 07. "Any NCO in any army in the world would panic at the thought of 100 officers conducting a plan completely unsupervised by NCOs!"Though Smart joked, he was but one of many officers who offered up valid points, both good and bad, on how the exercise went.One participant spoke of having five "bosses" to answer to while another touched on the dreaded e-mail leadership. But Smart points out, "We have done all this unsupervised without the assistance of the people we would normally have around to help us."Robert N. Sweeney, the Global Peace Operations Initiative program manager for the U. S. Pacific Command, acknowledged the challenges inherent in an exercise of this magnitude."In a training environment where you pull 19 nations together and try to make it happen, it’s extremely difficult, because everyone comes from a different environment, a different planning process."The chief of staff at the exercise had a unique view to see those differences."If I was running the command post exercise in the Mongolian way," said Col. Bayarsaikhan Dashdoudog, the Mongolian Armed Forces chief of staff at the exercise, "it would be very easy to [just] give an order. In an international environment, it is very different."All in all, the exercise was deemed a success for the individual participants, their native countries and peacekeeping as a whole.
Cognitive Revolution: Integrating Computing, Nanotech, Simulation And You
Sandia researcher Rob Abbott uses a joystick and plays the role of a student in a training exercise driving an amphibious assault vehicle simulator used by the Navy and Marines. The second monitor is an instructor/operator application called CDMTS. In the background is a thermal image of a student's face used for investigating biometrics to monitor the student in various ways including the level of engagement and focus of attention. (Credit: Photo by Randy Montoya)
Science Daily — Imagine a world where a machine creates a "virtual you" by modeling how you think and your expertise on a subject. Or one where your car’s computer appreciates your driving skills and compensates for your limitations.
Thaat’s the world Sandia National Laboratories has entered full throttle through its Cognitive Science and Technology Program (CS&T).
A revolution is at hand, says Chris Forsythe, member of the Labs’ cognition research team. It’s not one of just better guns and weapons for national security. Instead, "it’s a revolution of the mind — of how people think and how machines can help people work better."
Focus on individual
A large portion of Sandia’s program today focuses on the uniqueness of the individual interacting with others and with machines. It involves using machines to help humans perform more efficiently and embedding cognitive models in machines so they interact with users more like people interact with one another. The result is the ability for researchers to take advantage of the basic strengths of humans and machines while mitigating the weaknesses of each.
Cognitive projects and research at Sandia span a whole gamut of areas, ranging from student training to assisting with Yucca Mountain licensing, from designing "smart" cars to using video-like games to train military personnel, and from determining how neurons give rise to memory to global terrorist threat detection.
The initial decision for Sandia to develop cognitive technologies is based on the belief that "there are numerous positive impacts cognitive systems technologies can have on our national security," says Russ Skocypec, senior manager of Sandia’s Human, Systems, and Simulation Technologies Department.
Today’s conflicts, he says, are unlike others over the past century. Although all wars are driven by humans, major influences on the outcomes have differed. World War I was a chemists’ war, World War II a physicists’ war, and the Cold War an economic war. Today, he believes, "we are engaged in a human war that is influenced primarily by individual human beings rather than technology or bureaucracy."
That is why he considers it appropriate for Sandia, a laboratory with national security as its mission, to use its resources to better understand the minds of this country’s adversaries, as well as to use machines to enhance the Labs’ abilities to recognize patterns, deal with massive amounts of data, solve perplexing problems, and perform complex activities.
While Sandia dipped its toes in cognitive research in the late 1990s, the Labs’ real effort in the area started in 2002 when the program won an internally funded LDRD grand challenge. Based in part on the success and path set by the grand challenge in 2005, the former Mission Council — a group that consisted of senior Sandia vice presidents — selected cognitive science and technology (CS&T) as a research focus area for the Labs.
Strategic planning for cognitive science and technology
During the spring and summer of 2006, the cognition team conducted two investigations. The first looked at what cognitive capabilities exist at Sandia.
The second examined opportunities involving the convergence of Sandia’s initiatives in the areas of cognition, biotechnologies, and nanotechnologies. This led to a Cognitive Science and Technology Plan with three technical objectives — a basic science understanding of the human brain, mind, and behavior; improved human performance; and advanced human-machine systems at all scales.
"The plan is at the level of ‘send a man to the moon’ — beyond the scope of what any one institution can possibly do," Forsythe says. "It’s a synthesis of ideas. Now, our intent is to home in on a few areas in which the labs can make a unique and profound contribution."
Forsythe says there are two elements to Sandia’s strategic planning for cognition.
"What makes most sense is for Sandia to select areas where we have unique, collective technical strengths, areas that few others in the world can do as well," Forsythe says. "These include such capabilities as high performance computing, nanotech, physics-based modeling and simulation, and surety." That is the first element. (Surety is an engineering discipline that emphasizes methods and technologies enabling assessment and technical solutions for the combined safety, security, and reliability of systems.)
The second involves a focus on opportunities where specific national security problems have a human factor.
John Wagner, manager of Sandia’s Cognitive and Exploratory Systems and Simulations Department, says the new area of research means "profound opportunities exist for the Labs."
"CS&T’s ambitious direction may not be realized for many decades, but the information required for progress is emerging today," he says. "It is reasonable to expect future discoveries will become the Nobel-class achievements for the cognitive and neuroscience communities at large in the years to come."
What is a cognitive system?
The term "cognitive systems" has been used worldwide to identify a variety of programs, initiatives, and technologies. However, so many varied uses have led to ambiguity of meaning. Sandia has established its own definition of cognitive systems: "Cognitive systems consist of technologies that utilize as an essential component one or more computational models of human cognitive processes or the knowledge of specific experts, users, or other individuals."
Wagner says that cognitive research at Sandia — like most worldwide — is in its infancy. He anticipates that within the next decade research that seems like science fiction today will be a daily part of everyone’s lives. The cognitive revolution will be in full bloom.
"Once that happens, the best of both worlds can happen," Wagner says. "If we understand human cognition better, we can work together as a nation to reduce tension, find problems before they turn into armed conflict, and to work toward actions that establish and maintain peace worldwide."
Funding for the research has come from the Office of Naval Research, Sandia’s internal Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program, Department of Energy, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and other government agencies. The CS&T program also benefits from collaborations with the University of New Mexico, the MIND Imaging Center in Albuquerque, and most recently the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) laboratory. It is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
SCO military forces start 2nd phase of anti-terror joint drill
Chinese troops march during a parade at a military base near Chelyabinsk of Russia Aug. 11, 2007. About 2,000 troops from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members held a joint field exercise in Chelyabinsk on Saturday, starting the second phase of the "Peace Mission 2007" anti-terror drill. (Xinhua Photo/Li Gang)
CHELYABINSK, Russia, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- About 2,000 troops from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members held a joint field exercise here on Saturday, starting the second phase of the "Peace Mission 2007" anti-terror drill.
Those troops, from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, staged a parade at a military base near Russia's Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk.
Commanders from the six countries agreed that since the SCO was forged in June 2001, it has abided by the "Shanghai Spirit," which embodies mutual trust and benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity and a desire for common development.
The organization has established a new model of defense and security cooperation under the principles of openness, transparency and non-targeting at the third party, they noted.
In the first phase of the drill, chiefs of staff of the six military forces held strategic negotiations and gave orders in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday.
Weapons of mass destruction: Red Dragon Army exercise
The Fort McCoy Red Dragon training exercise will simulate reacting to weapons of mass destruction over the next two weeks. Local firefighters and volunteer groups will participate in the training on and off base. (Cont..)
Arctic War Games: The New Cold War?
US doles out millions for street cameras
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security is funneling millions of dollars to local governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost, privacy rights advocates warn.
Since 2003, the department has handed out some $23 billion in federal grants to local governments for equipment and training to help combat terrorism. Most of the money paid for emergency drills and upgrades to basic items, from radios to fences. But the department also has doled out millions on surveillance cameras, transforming city streets and parks into places under constant observation. (Cont..)
* this openly transparent BS sickens me, Ny'ers sicken me, this city should be up in arms, they watched the perps implode the WTC., they bought the TV fakery hook line and sinker....
New York alert for 'dirty bomb'