Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nano Weapons, TOPOFF4, SAIC/DHS EAGLE ,etc..

Early Products in the Nanotech Revolution

"Advanced military technology may have an immense impact on our future. It seems clear that even a modest effort at developing nano-built weapon systems will create systems that will be able to totally overwhelm today's systems and soldiers. Even something as simple as multi-scale semi-automated aircraft could be utterly lethal to exposed soldiers and devastating to most equipment. With the ability to build as many weapons as desired, and with motors, sensors, and materials that far outclass biological equivalents, there would be no need to put soldiers on the battlefield at all. Any military operation that required humans to accompany its machines would quickly be overcome. Conventional aircraft could also be out-flown and destroyed with ease. In addition to offensive weapons, sensing and communications networks with millions if not billions of distributed components could be built and deployed. Software design for such things would be far from trivial, however.It is less clear that a modest military development effort would be able to create an effective defense against today's high-tech attack systems. Nuclear explosives would have to be stopped before the explosion, and intercepting or destroying missiles in flight is not easy even with large quantities of excellent equipment. Hypersonic aircraft and battle lasers are only now being developed, and may be difficult to counter or to develop independently without expert physics knowledge and experience. However, even a near parity of technology level would give the side with molecular manufacturing a decisive edge in a non-nuclear exchange, because they could quickly build so many more weapons.It is also uncertain what would happen in an arms race between opponents that both possessed molecular manufacturing. Weapons would be developed very rapidly up to a certain point. Beyond that, new classes of weapons would have to be invented. It is not yet known whether offensive weapons will in general be able to penetrate shields, especially if the weapons of both sides are unfamiliar to their opponents. If shields win, then development of defensive technologies may proceed rapidly until all sides feel secure. If offense wins, then a balance of terror may result. However, because sufficient information may allow any particular weapon system to be shielded against, there may be an incentive to continually develop new weapons.This overview has focused on the earliest applications of molecular manufacturing. Later developments will benefit from previous experience, as well as from new software tools such as genetic algorithms and partially automated design. But even a cursory look at the things we can plan for today and the problems that will be most limiting early in the technology's history shows that molecular manufacturing will rapidly revolutionize many important areas of human endeavor"


Assad: DOD not keen on more integrator-led programs

A senior Defense Department procurement official said this week the Pentagon has little appetite for new contracts involving a lead system integrator approach, but he stopped short of saying department officials will never use the concept again. The Pentagon is using lead system integrators for a small number of large, complex and expensive programs. Companies designated as lead system integrators have a high degree of influence over program decisions, performing duties traditionally reserved for government employees. In the future, DOD officials will use the construct sparingly, if at all, said Shay Assad, director of procurement policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. "We can effectively accomplish the work that we need to get accomplished with the mechanisms we already have," he said in an Aug. 28 interview with Federal Computer Week. The military’s most notable example of a lead system integrator-led program is the Future Combat System, in which Boeing and Science Applications International Corp. act as lead system integrators. The program has come under fire from lawmakers for cost overruns and schedule slips. (cont..)

U.S. will spend $1.7B on military robots

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. military will spend about $1.7 billion on ground-based robots in the next five years, according to figures reported by a defense analyst.The figures, covering the 2006-12 period, come from the National Center for Defense Robotics, a congressionally funded consortium of 160 companies, and were reported by analyst David Isenberg in the Asia Times Tuesday. (Cont..)

SAIC gets Eagle task from ICE

Science Applications International Corp. has won a task order worth as much as $85 million over three years to provide information technology operations and maintenance support to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau.
SAIC won the task order through the Homeland Security Department’s Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions program, a government wide acquisition contract launched a year ago.
Under the task order, SAIC will support more than 19,000 agents at 550 sites for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau.
The new task order will provide ICE with comprehensive IT support services that include local area network administration, hardware and software maintenance, help desk, directory and messaging services and network and security operations, SAIC said.
"This key award provides an additional SAIC service offering to ICE, and will allow us to expand our Integrated Services Management Center capabilities to DHS," said Randy Cash, SAIC senior vice president and manager of the enterprise solutions business unit.

South Africa: Navy, Nato Ships to Conduct Training Drill

The South African Navy is to engage in a training exercise early next week, with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) naval marine group.
Six NATO ships from the navies of Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States arrived in Cape Town, Tuesday.

South Africa's four new frigates and new submarines would be taking part in the exercise.
As part of the exercise, the South African Navy will stage mock attacks on the NATO group.
According to Lieutenant Commander Greyling van den Berg of the South African Navy the ships will be in the country until the end of the exercise next week.
"The ships will be opened for members of the public to view over the weekend," said Lieutenant Commander van den Berg.
The officer said this would be the first time that South Africa engages its newly acquired frigates as well as its submarines in a training exercise with foreign forces in local waters.
"The exercise will help to sharpen our skills and we also hope to learn from each other."
South Africa's new warships were acquired from a German company.
The first corvette, Amatola, was received in 2001. The SAS Isandlwana was the second corvette which was received in Durban last year, followed by Spioenkop early this year.
SAS Mendi is the fourth corvette acquired as part of government's multi-billion rand strategic arms procurement package approved by Cabinet in 2001.
All four corvettes, were named after the battles fought in South Africa, in order to honour and commemorate the bravery of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

TopOff 4 Homeland Sec Exercise (update)

Taking place October 15-24, 2007, the TOPOFF 4 Full-Scale Exercise (T4 FSE) will feature thousands of Federal, State, territorial, and local officials. These officials will engage in various activities as part of a robust, full-scale simulated response to a multi-faceted threat. The exercise will address policy and strategic issues that mobilize prevention and response systems, require participants to make difficult decisions, carry out essential functions, and challenge their ability to maintain a common operating picture during an incident of national significance. As in a real-world response, agencies and organizations will deploy staff into the field and will face realistic incident-specific challenges, including the allocation of limited response resources and exercise actions needed to effectively manage conditions as they emerge. Planning and preparation for the exercise will also help strengthen working relationships between departments and agencies that are critical to successful prevention and response in real emergencies.

There's an interesting piece in
Time magazine about developments in laser weapons. As well as describing the usual anti-missile systems – like the famous multi-billion-dollar Airborne Laser - there's a smaller one I hadn't seen before. This sounds as though it might have some useful tactical applications:
…more down-to-earth military uses of the laser may be much closer at hand. TRW Systems in Redondo Beach, Calif., for instance, is working on a portable chemical laser (which produces a beam from the energy released in the reaction of two or more chemicals) that could be carried into battle by a unit of only three men. Aimed like a rifle, it would silently burn a fatal, quarter-inch-wide hole in the body of an enemy soldier up to five miles away. "Once you've got him in your sights," says a TRW engineer, "you've got him. There are no misses." (cont..)

Central Fla. Anti-Terrorism Facility Opens

An anti-terrorism facility opened on Monday in Orange County, one of only a few regional buildings of its kind in the United States.
The Central Florida Intelligence Exchange, called CFIX, will fuse together nine counties -- from Lake to Martin -- and analyze data and intelligence from local, state and federal law enforcement with the goal of intercepting possible terrorist threats to the community.

"There is a lot of data that is coming in from all different sources," FDLE Special Agent Joyce Dawley said. "They take all that data in. They look at it. They correlate it. They link it to other data that they have."

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