Sunday, September 30, 2007

Iran War Prep, + Raytheon, CACI, In Q-Tel

The American air force is working with military leaders from the Gulf to train and prepare Arab air forces for a possible war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
An air warfare conference in Washington last week was told how American air chiefs have helped to co-ordinate intelligence-sharing with Gulf Arab nations and organise combined exercises designed to make it easier to fight together.
Gen Michael Mosley, the US Air Force chief of staff, used the conference to seek closer links with allies whose support America might need if President George W Bush chooses to bomb Iran.
Pentagon air chiefs have helped set up an air warfare centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Gulf nations are training their fighter pilots and America has big bases. It is modelled on the US Air Force warfare centre at Nellis air force base in Nevada.
Jordan and the UAE have both taken part in combined exercises designed to make sure their air forces can fly, and fight, together and with American jets.

Tucson's Raytheon Missile Systems is on a roll.The company's Tomahawk and Paveway missiles are the weapons of choice for the U.S. military in Iraq.Its Standard Missile 3s and its Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles are the backbone of an elaborate plan to defend the United States and its allies from enemy attacks
Raytheon Missile Systems, a unit of Waltham, Mass., defense contractor Raytheon Co., now is the world's largest supplier of guided missiles and the largest private employer in southern Arizona.Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and subsequent invasion of Iraq, Raytheon has racked up billions of dollars in new government contracts that have doubled company revenue to more than $4.5 billion a year.Louise Francesconi, Raytheon Missile Systems' forward-thinking president, isn't satisfied. She's obsessed with reinventing a peacetime role for the wartime powerhouse and new niches for the company inside an increasingly high-tech U.S. military.
Francesconi, 53, the defense industry's highest-ranking woman, has been on a mission to diversify Raytheon's products and make the company more responsive to its customers since she took the helm in 1996. With long-term contracts to supply and maintain weapons arsenals in the U.S. and dozens of foreign countries, Raytheon could cruise like one of its renowned Tomahawks. Instead, it is looking to leverage technology that can guide a missile to a target in space into a range of new products for national defense and space exploration.The projects include guidance systems for spaceships, protective force fields for airports, weapons that shoot light and radio waves, and satellitelike robots that seek out and ram enemy missiles in space.And those are just the projects the tight-lipped defense contractor can talk about."If anyone is going to invent us out of business, I want it to be us," said Michael Booen, Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president of advanced missile defense and directed energy weapons.
Mandates for change
Francesconi asserts that the company has no intention of abandoning the guided missiles that have been its bread and butter since industrialist Howard Hughes founded the business in 1951. But she adds that new technology, changes in the way wars are being fought and political pressure to rein in defense spending and get out of Iraq are mandates for change that the company can't ignore. When she thinks of the military's future, Francesconi sees directed energy weapons such as lasers and microwave beams, unmanned air, sea and land vehicles and smart missiles all linked and controlled by computers.
'Bike Shop' innovation
To come up with new products, Francesconi has created an "innovation tank" comprising two groups of about 650 people who are focused on developing new technologies for use on and off the battlefield.Many products are developed at a Tucson research facility she started called the Bike Shop. There, engineers and machinists develop prototypes of products and existing weapons that have been modified to meet the changing demands of urban warfare.Francesconi has been focusing Raytheon's sights beyond the Department of Defense.Raytheon sees a bright peacetime future for itself at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and is bidding on a key contract there that could get its foot in the door."The technology that literally allows us to hit a bullet in space with one fired on the ground certainly has applications in space," Booen said.Raytheon wants to build the avionics and guidance system for NASA's Ares I crew launch vehicle that will carry astronauts into orbit when the Space Shuttle is retired in 2010. NASA is expected to award a contract for the Ares I rocket guidance system before the end of the year. "NASA is a perfect fit for us," Francesconi said.
Hybrid company
Raytheon Missile Systems now consists of the amalgamated missile-manufacturing businesses of Hughes Aircraft, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Texas Instruments. Hughes bought General Dynamics' missile business in 1992 and Raytheon bought Texas Instruments' missile unit in 1997. Then Raytheon bought Hughes later in 1997 and consolidated the missile businesses in Tucson.While the U.S. Department of Defense is Raytheon's largest customer, about 25 percent of its revenue comes from foreign military sales that are either arranged or approved by the U.S. government.The ramp-up in defense spending after 9/11and subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been a boon to Raytheon."The growth has been unbelievable," said John Patterson, Raytheon spokesman. He noted that production of Raytheon's air-launched Paveway missiles went from a handful to more than 2,000 per month after 9/11.During that period, global employment has grown by 2,500, to 12,000, and in Tucson by 1,000, to 9,000. With a backlog of more than $5 billion in orders at the end of 2006, the trend is expected to continue - but not indefinitely.Not only is demand for its traditional products likely to diminish as the war in Iraq winds down, but Francesconi sees its primary customer, the Defense Department, becoming more cost-conscious."We have to produce products that do more and cost less," she said.
Changing wartime needs
The urban nature of the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq also is creating demand for smaller, more precision weapons that cause less collateral damage.As the U.S. military becomes more Internet-centric, or "netted," weapons are going to have to be able to communicate and do more than hit a target.The next generation missiles will be able to be reprogrammed from the ground and gather and disseminate information while in flight.Technology also is changing the nature of weapons. Instead of bullets, they will fire directed beams of light and radio waves.
Directed-energy research
So-called directed energy is a major area of research and development for Raytheon and a field where the company has taken the lead.The company's prototype laser weapons can destroy a mortar at 500 meters and, someday, may be able to take out aircraft and enemy missiles.Its Vigilant Eagle Airport Protection Systems is a protective microwave dome that covers large commercial airports and airbases and protects planes in the airspace from terrorist attacks. The microwaves scramble the heat-seeking sensors on shoulder-launched missiles, diverting them from the target.Another developing product called Silent Guardian is a focused radio beam that penetrates the skin creating an intolerable heating sensation. The sensation causes the targeted individuals to "instinctively flee or take cover."The company is developing a large-scale version for the military and a smaller one that could be used by law-enforcement agencies.

CACI to Expand High-Security Force

CACI International, an
government contractor, said yesterday it was buying Athena Innovative Solutions, an intelligence-analysis firm with a coveted supply of employees with security clearances but also a controversial past.
The acquisition, valued at $200 million, would give CACI, a developer of technology systems for the Defense Department, intelligence agencies and civilian agencies, a company in which 95 percent of the 600 employees hold top-secret security clearances.
The deal also represents a new phase for Athena, which was known as MZM and ran into trouble after it was linked to the bribery scandal of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a former Republican congressman from California who is serving eight years and four months in prison.
MZM's founder, Mitchell J. Wade, stepped down in June 2005 after reports suggested he did financial favors for Cunningham while the lawmaker pushed funding for military intelligence programs on which MZM worked. MZM was bought for an undisclosed sum in August 2005 by Veritas Capital, a New York private-equity firm that invests in contractors and defense companies. The company was renamed Athena. Wade pleaded guilty in February 2006 to four criminal counts in connection with the scandal.
"Nobody wanted to touch the company because of its cloud of problems," said Jon B. Kutler, chief executive of Admiralty Partners, a merchant bank in the aerospace and defense industry. Veritas "came in to take that risk and transformed the image of the company."
CACI, like other big contractors, has been on a buying binge, acquiring at least 20 companies since 2004 in the hunt for top-secret security clearances. "You can't duplicate the type of people that Athena has and the clearances it has," said Robert B. McKeon, president of Veritas. "It's a very tight market for these types of clearances. In one fell swoop to be able to buy a company with 600 of them is quite an achievement."
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the demand for such clearances has grown fast as the government outsourced more classified intelligence work. At the same time, the process for obtaining security clearance has grown arduous. A government report in February found that it took, on average, more than a year for top-secret clearance and six months for a lesser clearances. The report said it was "a totally unacceptable length of time" for the 1.9 million clearance requests each year.
CACI said its purchase of Athena is expected to close in November. Company officials declined to comment beyond a news release.
CACI, which had revenue of $1.8 billion in 2006, experienced an unexpected drop in business from the Pentagon and other federal agencies last year. Athena is expected to have revenue of $110 million this year.

QinetiQ Launches Unmanned Stealth Jetski

CIA squirrels cash into British radio software
AN investment fund launched by the CIA, the US intelligence service, has made its first investment outside North America, with a stake in a British software firm.
In-Q-Tel, a fund which specialises in investing in technologies that can be adopted by the security and intelligence communities, has taken part in a £2.25m fundraising by Etherstack, a developer of software used in two-way radios employed by the military and the police

Software Takes Aim at Altered Photos

Providence holds emergency disaster (update)drill

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Emergency personnel from around Rhode Island are honing their response skills at a large-scale emergency disaster drill.
The drill beginning tomorrow morning at the Convention Center will simulate a full-scale emergency in which toxic chemicals are released into the air resulting in hundreds of injuries.
Nearly 300 people have volunteered to play the victims.
The state's Greater Providence Medical Response System, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Mass Casualty Drill plans will be put into action.
The drill involves first responders from Providence, Pawtucket, East Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Central Falls, West Warwick, North Providence and Johnston

Saturday, September 29, 2007

DEW, FCS, DARPA +Daily Dose of Terror

E-Weapons: Directed Energy Warfare In The 21st Century (older article, good refresher)

LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico -- There is a new breed of weaponry fast approaching--and at the speed of light no less. They are labeled "directed-energy weapons" and may well signal a revolution in military hardware--perhaps more so than the atomic bomb.
Directed-energy weapons take the form of lasers, high-powered microwaves, and particle beams. Their adoption for ground, air, sea, and space warfare depends not only on using the electromagnetic spectrum, but also upon favorable political and budgetary wavelengths too.
That's the outlook of J. Douglas Beason, author of the recently published book: The E-Bomb: How America's New Directed Energy Weapons Will Change the Way Wars Will Be Fought in the Future (Da Capo Press, October 2005).Beason previously served on the White House staff working for the President's Science Advisor (Office of Science and Technology Policy) under both the Bush and Clinton Administrations.
After more than two decades of research, the United States is on the verge of deploying a new generation of weapons that discharge beams of energy, such as the Airborne Laser, the Active Denial System, as well as the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL).
"History has shown that, without investment in high-technology, fighting the next war will be done using the last war type of technique," Beason told Putting money into basic and long-range research is critical, Beason said, adding: "You can't always schedule breakthroughs."
A leading expert in directed-energy research for some 26 years, Beason is also Director of Threat Reduction here at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) - noting that his views are his own and do not represent LANL, the Department of the Defense, nor the Department of Energy.
Ripe for transformation?
Though considerable work has been done in lasers, high-power microwaves, and other directed-energy technologies, weaponization is still an ongoing process.
For example, work is on-going in the military's Airborne Laser program. It utilizes a megawatt-class, high-energy chemical oxygen iodine laser toted skyward aboard a modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Purpose of the program is to enable the detection, tracking and destruction of ballistic missiles in the boost phase, or powered part of their flight.
Similarly, testing of the U.S. Army's Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) in White Sands, New Mexico has shown the ability of heating high-flying rocket warheads, blasting them with enough energy that causes them to self-detonate. THEL uses a high-energy, deuterium fluoride chemical laser. A mobile THEL also demonstrated the ability to kill multiple mortar rounds.
Then there's Active Denial Technology--a non-lethal way to use millimeter-wave electromagnetic energy to stop, deter, and turn back an advancing adversary. This technology, supported by the U.S. Marines, uses a beam of millimeter waves to heat a foe's skin, causing severe pain without damage, and making the adversary flee the scene.
Beason also pointed to new exciting research areas underway at the Los Alamos National Laboratory: Free-electron laser work with the Navy and a new type of directed-energy that operates in the terahertz region.
Niche for new technology
While progress in directed-energy is appreciable, Beason sees two upfront problems in moving the technology forward. First of all, "convincing the warfighter that there's a niche for this new type of weapon," and secondly making sure these new systems are not viewed as a panacea to solve all problems. "They are only another tool," he added.
Looming even larger is the role of those that acquire new weapons. "The U.S. could put ourselves in a very disastrous position if we allow our acquisition officials to be non-technically competent," Beason explained.
Over the decades, Beason said that the field of directed-energy has had its share of "snakeoil salesmen", as well as those advocates that over-promised. "It wasn't ready for prime time."
At present, directed-energy systems "are barely limping along with enough money just to prove that they can work," Beason pointed out. Meanwhile, huge slugs of money are being put into legacy-type systems to keep them going.
"It's a matter of priority," Beason said. The time is now to identify high-payoff, directed-energy projects for the smallest amounts of money, he said.
Unknown unknowns
In Beason's view, Active Denial Technology, the Airborne Laser program, the THEL, as well as supporting technologies, such as relay mirrors--are all works in progress that give reason for added support and priority funding.
"I truly believe that as the airborne laser goes, so goes the rest of the nation's directed-energy programs. Right now, it's working on the margin. I believe that there are still 'unknown unknowns' out there that are going to occur in science and technology. We think we have the physics defined. We think we have the engineering defined. But something always goes wrong...and we're working too close at the margin," Beason said.
Step-wise, demonstration programs that spotlight directed-energy weapon systems are needed, Beason noted. Such in-the-field displays could show off greater beam distance-to-target runs, mobility of hardware, ease-of-operation, battlefield utility, and other attributes.
Directed-energy technologies can offer a range of applications, from botching up an enemy's electronics to performing "dial up" surgical, destructive strikes at the speed of light with little or no collateral damage.
Beason said that one blue sky idea of his own he tagged "the voice from heaven". By tuning the resonance of a laser onto the Earth's ionosphere, you can create audible frequencies. Like some boom box in the sky, the laser-produced voice could bellow from above down to the target below: "Put down your weapons."
Relay mirrors
Regarding use of directed-energy space weapons, Beason advised that "we'll eventually see it."
However, present-day systems are far too messy. Most high-powered chemical lasers -- in the megawatt-class -- require onboard fuels and oxidizers to crank out the amount of energy useful for strategic applications. Stability of such a laser system rooted in space is also wanting.
On the other hand, look to advances in more efficient lasers--especially solid state laser systems--Beason advised. "What breakthroughs are needed...I'm not sure. But, eventually, I think it's going to happen, but it is going to be a generation after the battlefield lasers."
Yet, having the directed-energy source "in space" contrasted to shooting beams "through space" is another matter, Beason quickly added. Space-based relay mirrors--even high-altitude airships equipped with relay mirrors--can direct ground-based or air-based laser beams nearly around the world, he said.
"So you're using space...exploiting it. But you are going through space to attack anywhere on Earth," Beason said.
History lesson
Late last year, speaking before the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., Beason told his audience that laser energy, the power sources, beam control, as well as knowledge about how laser beams interact with Earth's atmosphere are quite mature. The technology is ready to shift into front line warfare status.
"The good news is that directed-energy exists. Directed-energy is being tested and within a few years directed-energy is going to be deployed upon the battlefield," Beason reported. "But the bad news is that acquisition policies right now in this nation are one more gear toward evolutionary practices rather than revolutionary practices."
"Visionaries win wars...and not bureaucrats. We've seen this through history," Beason observed

(Good summary from Dan A.)

Leaders back Manhattan as home for defense lab (KS)
As the formal public-comment window closed for a potential National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, six prominent Kansans — members of the state’s congressional delegation — made their support for the project known in a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Their conclusion: Kansas is the best home for the potential $450 million project.
"Kansas has demonstrated the research capacity, strong public support and necessary infrastructure to meet DHS’ requirements to fulfill and implement NBAF," members of the delegation said in their letter, released Friday. "We urge your careful consideration of both the Kansas proposal and look forward to ensuring the success of NBAF in Kansas."
Signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; and U.S. Reps. Nancy Boyda and Dennis Moore, D-Kan.; and U.S. Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan.
Four other sites also are in the running for the project, which is commonly referred to as NBAF: San Antonio; Madison County, Miss.; Athens, Ga.; and Granville County, N.C.
Plum Island, N.Y., which is home to the current Homeland Security lab, also is considered an alternative, although the site would have to be upgraded.
The new lab would be a top-security center where scientists would conduct research on plant and animal diseases, including those that could affect humans. Officials have said that the center could employ up to 500 research positions, spur an estimated 1,500 construction jobs and ensure an ongoing flow of federal research dollars, spin-off operations and related offerings expected to carry positive, long-term economic effects.
In Manhattan, Kansas State University has offered Homeland Security the use of the university’s new bioresearch lab, while the federal government would build the new 500,000-square-foot NBAF. (Cont..)

Boeing robo-copter lifts heavy load

DARPA, the Pentagon research bureau which likes to put the battiness back into battle-boffinry, is pressing ahead with its robot dog/packmule/mini-Imperial-Walker programme.
Partly-functional "BigDog" petrol-engined droid packmules have already been developed, but it seems the machines' controlling software isn't really up to dealing with rugged terrain. (Cont..)

Security Drill on Main CT Artery
State police and federal authorities conducted a homeland security drill Tuesday that caused a traffic backup on the Merritt Parkway and left Connecticut commuters wondering about the delay.Lt. J. Paul Vance, state police spokesman, said the drill was conducted to test new equipment and communications between various municipal, state and federal agencies.The drill was conducted near Exit 41 on the southbound side of the parkway at about 11 a.m. It tied up traffic for at least two hours, as state police and men wearing camouflage reduced the roadway to one lane and appeared to be checking vehicles.

Emergency responders set to hold joint exercise with state (NM)

LAS CRUCES — Emergency responders from federal, state and local levels will be in Las Cruces starting today to plan for the worst.
The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will coordinate with several DoZa Ana County agencies — as well as the El Paso Fire Department — in a full-scale exercise to begin today and continue through the weekend near the old city landfill at 4755 E. Foothills Road in Las Cruces.
"It's as close to real life as you can get without destroying anything or hurting anybody," Las Cruces deputy fire chief Andrew Bencomo said.
The goal, sheriff's investigator Richard Chavez said, is "to demonstrate how important emergency preparedness is. It is also to make sure that our personnel is adequately trained to deal with a large-scale incident."
The training will be continuous over the the three days and will focus on how the participating agencies plan and execute their response.
The state's Homeland Security Department will also test its Joint Information Center, tasked with disseminating information to the public during disasters.
Officials will simulate a building collapse (cont..)

Top Army Commander Visits San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Sep. 28, 2007 (KGO) - One of the Army's top commanders came to San Francisco.
General George Casey discussed his vision for the soldier of the 21st century.
Wearing his usual Army fatigues and a relaxed demeanor, General George Casey spoke before members of the Commonwealth Club. Casey says right now the Army is out of balance, but not broken.
"When we are consuming our readiness as fast as we're building it that we can not get back the strategic flexibility and the readiness the country needs for future contingencies," said Casey, U.S. Army Chief of Staff.
Casey commanded the multi-national forces in Iraq from July 2004, until he became the Army Chief of Staff earlier this year. He says the Army's primary goal is retaining and preparing its all-volunteer force. So far this year, 250,000 soldiers have enlisted or re-enlisted.
"That's a quarter of a million folks. So there's a lot of people out there that still understand what's at stake here and are committed to the ideals that this country stands for," said Casey.
With regard to a future draft, Casey says the Army is not planning on one.
"The Army is doing nothing in our planning or forecasting that involves a requesting, a reinstatement of the draft," said Casey
The Army is investing heavily in future technologies, to the tune of $160 billion in 2006. It's called future combat systems or FCS.
"I've been out here visiting laboratories in Los Angeles and Santa Clara. It's exactly the kind of system we need for our soldiers to be empowered for the 21st century warfare," said Casey.
"We're trying to get to the point where we can take a little unmanned aero vehicle&fly that thing down the alley&and they can see what they're up against before they go down there. Find an IED, those kinds of things. That's powerful."
In response to direct questions about Iraq, General Casey said there is no question the troop surge is helping.
At the same time, the Army is planning to reduce its soldiers' 15-month deployments, so they come home sooner.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 28, 2007) - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. showed members of Congress equipment now being used in Iraq that incorporates technologies developed under the Future Combat Systems program.Gen. Casey and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren spoke to the House Armed Services Committee Sept. 26 about the need to reset and modernize the Army to improve its overall readiness."We are ultimately working toward an agile, globally responsive Army that is enhanced by modern networks, surveillance sensors, precision weapons and platforms that are lighter, less logistics-dependent and less manpower-intensive," Gen. Casey said.Research and development of such systems is well underway with the FCS program, Gen. Casey said, but he added that the Army needs the support of Congress to keep up the momentum. While major new FCS systems may not be fielded until 2012 with the new FCS Brigade Combat Teams, Gen. Casey pointed out that a number of new technologies "spun out" of the research are already helping Soldiers today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Micro Air Vehicle is shown here during an operational test flight with a military Explosive Ordnance Disposal team at China Lake, Calif. A similar UAV was shown to members of Congress Sept. 16 during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

Firefighters agree to participate in weekend terror drill (update)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --Providence firefighters have reversed course and agreed to participate in a statewide terror drill this weekend.(cont..)

Friday, September 28, 2007

AgroTerrorism?, TOPOFF 4 update, + Drills

Drill focuses on farm terrorism

Washington state deputy veterinarian Dr. Paul Kohrs walks past cattle in his protective suit Thursday on a farm near Monroe. Kohrs was participating with multiple agencies in a drill.

MONROE -- It starts with a sick cow. It continues with specially trained FBI agents walking through cow patties searching for evidence of a terrorism attack on a Monroe dairy farm.It is what the FBI calls agroterrorism -- when bad guys use viruses to attack the food supply instead of crashing airplanes into skyscrapers. It is a real threat and needs to taken seriously, experts said Thursday."We don't want to get caught unprepared," FBI Special Agent Peter de laCuesta said.FBI agents joined National Guard troops, officials from the state Department of Agriculture and others Thursday for the first agroterrorism training exercise in the United States.It happened on the Werkhoven Dairy Farm south of Monroe.The drill was meant to bring officials from different government agencies together on a working farm to practice for a real attack."We need to help people know what to look for," said Mark Kinsel, a state epidemiologist.Biological agents, such as those that cause foot-and-mouth disease, are highly contagious, easily portable and could potentially devastate the economy, de laCuesta said.From field to fork, one in six American jobs are tied to the food business, he said. The beef industry alone contributes more than $182 billion to the U.S. economy, $3.6 billion in Washington, officials said."Bioterror is a major risk. As a cattleman, I'm extremely sensitive," said Dale Reiner, a board member of the Snohomish County Farm Bureau. "All it takes is one cow."Thursday's drill started with a simulated report of a Monroe cow infected with foot-and-mouth disease. In keeping with the scenario, state veterinarians started sounding the alarm while anti-terror experts in Washington, D.C., began gathering intelligence about a possible attack near Seattle.As the training exercise played out, two men were arrested in a Seattle warehouse and teams were deployed throughout the region, including Monroe.On Thursday, a SWAT team entered the Seattle warehouse, bomb-sniffing dogs searched Seattle's Qwest Field and agents dressed in hazardous material outfits collected evidence at the Monroe farm."When I look around and see how susceptible we are to that kind of terrorism, I can't imagine why (a drill) hasn't happened sooner," Reiner said. (Cont..)

"Urban Shield"

250 Participate In Anti-Terrorist Drill In Dublin

DUBLIN, Calif., Sep. 28, 2007 (KGO) - A first of its kind anti-terrorist drill is getting underway in Alameda County. 250 members of law enforcement from across the state are involved in a Homeland Security operation called Urban Shield.
There will be helicopter drills at a base camp in Dublin and they will get to practice their fire arms training at a gun range there. However, most of the activities will take place far away from Dublin and you might even see them in your community (cont..)

TOPOFF 4 (update)

Huge homeland security exercise to be staged in Chandler

Federal authorities will descend on Chandler's historic Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort in October to stage one of the largest homeland security exercises in the country, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials announced this week. Top Officials 4, or TOPOFF 4, will run Oct.15-19 and involve various federal agencies along with representatives from Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, officials said. "San Marcos was a facility that could accommodate the needs of the exercise," said Michael Murphy, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Health Services, who is assisting in communications for the exercise
The hotel offered the government discounted per diem rates, Murphy said. All the rooms will be occupied by participants of the exercise. The exercise will also take place in Oregon and Guam, and combined will involve more than 15,000 participants, including the Chandler Fire Department, in a full-scale, simulated response to radiological dispersal-device attacks, FEMA authorities said in a statement. The devices are unconventional weapons that a terrorist might use to destabilize a community. A "dirty bomb" is one example. The operation will focus on mass decontamination, long-term recovery, prevention and intelligence.

Russia promises retaliation if weapons deployed in space

MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to take appropriate measures if weapons are deployed in space, the commander of the Russian Space Forces said Thursday.
"Should any country deploy weapons in space, then the laws of armed warfare are such that retaliatory weapons are certain to appear," Col. Gen. Vladimir Popovkin said.
He said Russia and China have drafted an international declaration on the non-deployment of weapons in space and sent it to the UN.
"It is necessary to establish the rules of the game in space," he said, adding that the deployment of weapons in space could have unpredictable consequences, since such weapons are "very complex systems."
"A sizable war could break out," the commander said.
He said space must not be the sphere of interests of any one country.
"We do not want to fight in space, and we do not want to call the shots there either, but we will not permit any other country to do so," he said.
Popovkin also said that Russia has an integrated missile attack warning system, covering the country's entire territory.

Russia to carry out 308 counter-terrorism drills this year

Alabama City Reopening Fallout Shelters

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - In an age of al-Qaida, sleeper cells and the threat of nuclear terrorism, Huntsville is dusting off its Cold War manual to create the nation's most ambitious fallout-shelter plan, featuring an abandoned mine big enough for 20,000 people to take cover underground.
Others would hunker down in college dorms, churches, libraries and research halls that planners hope will bring the community's shelter capacity to 300,000, or space for every man, woman and child in Huntsville and the surrounding county.
Emergency planners in Huntsville - an out-of-the-way city best known as the home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center - say the idea makes sense because radioactive fallout could be scattered for hundreds of miles if terrorists detonated a nuclear bomb.(cont..)

US Video Shows Simulated Hacker Attack

A government video shows the potential destruction caused by hackers seizing control of a crucial part of the U.S. electrical grid: an industrial turbine spinning wildly out of control until it becomes a smoking hulk and power shuts down. (Cont..)

Governor criticizes firefighters' planned terror drill protest

Excerpt: "The drill is funded by a $50,000 federal grant and involves a hypothetical terrorist attack at the Rhode Island Convention Center."

UIC Plays Host To City's Emergency Drill

Former 8th Air Force head outlines space, cyberspace needs

US-RP Phiblex and Talon Vision exercises

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

U.S. Military Recruits Kids w/Games, + Drills & more...

Manchester – By 9 p.m. more than 100 gamers, some with parents in tow, had gathered at the GameStop for a "Halo 3" release party, and plenty more were expected by midnight, when the wildly popular X-Box game would officially go on sale.
There was only one glitch in the festivities -- a "Halo 2" tournament was delayed after the chain store's district manager, Suzan Shockley, announced that nobody under 18 could participate. Top prize: a copy of "Halo 3."
"I'm sorry, but it's a company rule. We take the game ratings seriously," she said. "Our store manager misunderstood the rules of the tournament."
The futuristic combat game is rated M for Mature for "blood and gore, mild language and violence," which means you have to be 17 to buy it, or a parent has to buy it for you.
Fortunately, the Air Force was on hand to save the day.
As co-sponsor of the gaming event, local Air Force recruiters were manning party central outside in the strip shopping center parking lot off South Willow Street, where underage gamers who had fled the store in despair flocked for pizza, Mountain Dew and a chance to play "Halo 2" on a split screen from the back of a pimped-out military SUV.
T.J. Abbott, 13, propped a cell phone between his left ear and shoulder while his rapid-fire fingers unloaded a plasma grenade, via wireless controller, onto a lanky alien who came into range from behind a tree in a desolate virtual village.
"Nice kill," said an electronic voice.
Abbott and his friends, R.J. O'Brien, Jorge Rojas and Sean Collins, all eighth-graders at Southside Middle School, have been waiting since the 2004 release of "Halo 2," when they were just a bunch of little kids, for this moment.
"We're getting up at 5 a.m. to play it," said O'Brien, who considered taking a day off school after a late night at the launch party. "But then I couldn't talk about it in school."
For more than a year now, gamers who have loved the first-person shooter aspect of "Halo" have been salivating over all the high-tech improvements promised by Microsoft in its final incarnation.
Pre-sales of "Halo 3" beat all previous records by hitting the million mark two months before the game's release, said Darrell Kiley, a GameStop employee and member of the National Guard.
Sales are expected to be unmatched.
That's thanks to heightened anticipation fueled by a mass-marketing campaign that has included a host of strategic TV trailers and key sponsors -- from Mountain Dew and 7-Eleven, to NASCAR, Pontiac and Burger King.
And of course, having the U.S. government on board doesn't hurt.
"This is going to be huge," said Air Force recruiter Staff Sgt. Christopher Johnson, who got to the site about an hour before the party to set up. He took a break from attaching wings to a replica of a mini F-22 jet.
"We expect a big showing. We have the same demographic as they do," he said, nodding toward the video game store across the parking lot, where kids were already starting to mill around inside. "Our target market is identical to that of video game stores," Johnson said.
He said last month's Air Force/GameStop tailgating bash for the launch of "Madden '08" netted two new recruits.
He said he has yet to hear anyone object to the marketing marriage between the military and adolescent video-gamers.
"I was warned when I got to New Hampshire that it was a very liberal, not exactly pro-military environment, but so far I haven't had any negative feedback," Johnson said.
Joe Turcotte of Derry, a veteran of the Iraq war and member of the New Hampshire chapter of Iraqi Veterans Against the War, said there are those who feel the practice of using simulated war games as a recruiting tactic isn't the best way to enlist new soldiers.
"The whole idea of serving your country out of patriotism gets lost. It cheapens the honor and sacrifice when you turn it into a video game," Turcotte said. "We are proud of our service to our country, but there's something about this that just doesn't seem right."
He feels having military recruiters at the biggest video game launch in history is over-the-top marketing.
"I would like to know if there's a disclaimer, if they're warning kids that their actual combat experience may vary," he said. "War is not a game."

Terrorism simulation will have real explosions, fires

Downtown Wichita will be rocked by explosions, fires and mass casualties next month.
Elsewhere in the city, terrorists may hold a school hostage.
But it will only be a drill.
Emergency service agencies from more than a dozen counties will converge on Wichita to take part in a full-scale terrorism simulation and training from Oct. 13 to 21.
The exercise will be capped by a 48-hour simulation with actual explosions and fires unfolding in more than one location around the city, officials said.
The mass casualty disaster simulation is being sponsored by the University of Kansas Medical Center and the South Central Kansas Homeland Security Council, and financed in part by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
Dozens of people acting as victims will await rescue in rubble left behind by a terrorist attack on buildings on the northwest corner of Washington and Waterman. A demolition crew on Tuesday tore down part of a building that will be used in the simulation.
"This is just an unprecedented opportunity to have real-time training in a scenario that's as realistic as you can get," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the state's adjutant general and director of Kansas Emergency Management.
A wide range of emergency personnel -- firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency management, doctors and medical technicians -- will take part in the simulation after several days of training at locations around Wichita.
"Victims" will wear moulage, realistic body make-up depicting injuries, officials said. Medical personnel will "treat" victims caught in the rubble. (Cont..)

Anthrax drill unites agencies, shows potential problems

Imagine a outbreak of anthrax. How can help be given to residents without cause mass confusion and widespread panic?Several area agencies worked together Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Hancock County Fair Grounds in Augusta to run through a mass medication dispensing drill for an outbreak of anthrax.The practice drill included the Hancock County Health Department, Hancock County ESDA, Augusta Fire Department, West Point first responders and about a dozen community volunteers. Students from Southeastern High School played community members who drove to the fair grounds to receive medications.Public information officer Melita Finney of the health department began the day with a media session at Augusta City Hall. She read a prepared statement outlining the anthrax outbreak and the steps citizens needed to take to receive medication.The instructions stipulated no one was to leave their vehicle. People were also to know their family medical history, to note any medications they were on or give any conditions like allergies.(Cont.)

Bank exercise plans for disaster

What if bird flu mutated into a disease that could be passed readily from human to human? What if it was brought to the United States by an infected traveler and quickly spread to pandemic proportions?
And what if financial life had to go on - transactions essential and mundane needed to be conducted - despite the dire nationwide circumstance?
Sometime after the next three weeks, you can ask the U.S. Treasury Department.
A total of 2,725 banks and other financial institutions across the country - including several in the Eugene-Springfield area - have volunteered to take part in a federal exercise to highlight the risks a pandemic would present and the readiness of the financial services sector to weather such an outbreak. The drill began Monday and will run through Oct. 12. (Cont..)

Australia to take part in U.S. anti-terrorism exercise

CANBERRA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock announced on Wednesday Australia will take part in a U.S. counter-terrorism exercise for the first time next month.
Exercise Top Officials 4 in Arizona, Oregon and the U.S. territory of Guam, or TOPOFF 4, is the fourth in a series of exercises hosted by the United States.
The exercise is aimed at testing U.S. preparedness and response systems in relation to a simulated terrorist incident.
Australian government agencies will join Canada and the United Kingdom in this year's exercise.
"Australia has a comprehensive counter-terrorism exercise program to test our arrangements at a national level," Ruddock said in a statement.
"TOPOFF 4 will allow our Australian security agencies to test their responses in conjunction with some of our international partners," he said.
"Taking part in a large scale international exercise allows Australia to continue to strengthen our national preparedness while also expanding international coordination mechanisms," he said.
During the exercise, personnel from Australian agencies will beembedded with U.S. agencies as they respond to simulated attacks.
Australia will also work with the three countries to respond toconsular issues arising from the attacks.

Anthrax spores. Hostages in the schools. Terror hits home. Sort of.On Sept. 22, the county's public safety personnel including police and firefighters, and school officials participated in the Virginia Department of Emergency Management's Region II Full-Scale Exercise (cont..)

Phoenix to conduct 'World's Biggest Fire Drill' on Oct. 4

SAIC homeland security work may jump 20 pct in 2008


Fort Belvoir, Va. Department of Defense officials broke ground at Fort Belvoir on Tuesday, kicking off a massive set of construction projects that will eventually accommodate thousands of new workers on the base.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA, plans to bring 8,500 workers to the installation’s Engineer Proving Ground over the next four years. The shift is part of the 2005 round of federally mandated Base Realignment and Closure adjustments and is expected to add a total 19,000 new jobs to Belvoir’s work force.
The NGA, headquartered in Bethesda, is a highly secretive intelligence agency whose mission is to collect and analyze geographic data for national security purposes. The new $1.4 billion facility at Belvoir includes 2.4 million feet of administrative and support space and will house all of the agency’s eastern operations. The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

From the Start, the Space Race Was an Arms Race

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

DC Exercise, Future Combat Syst.'s updates +Drills

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Residents in the national capital region may hear and see military aircraft zipping through the skies today -- but there's no need for alarm. The North American Aerospace Defense Command --or NORAD -- says that it will conduct in-flight training exercises, including F-16s and Coast Guard helicopters. NORAD has held such training exercises since the September 11th, 2001 attacks. It says it has responded to more than 2,300 possible air threats. Residents can expect the flights to occur throughout today, even early morning and late at night.

I/ITSEC Selects Alion Paper to be Presented at Annual Conference

Excerpt: "The paper looks at the Urban Resolve 2015 Experiment, conducted in 2006, and examines the successes and challenges encountered during the experiment. It also makes recommendations for streamlining integration among diverse simulations distributed over multiple sites. The experiment, which tested roughly 30 simulations that replicate an urban environment after a major crisis has occurred, involved more than 1,000 participants at 19 different sites across the United States. " (cont..)

TOPOFF 4 (update)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Conducts Largest Counterterrorism Exercise To Date

US Army eyes miniature weapons for Future Combat System air vehicles

Range could use common propulsion section and family interchangeable warheads
Work is under way to design a new range of munitions specifically for use by the unmanned air vehicle element of the US Army's Future Combat Systems programme, with a version of the service's General Atomics Warrior potentially to be the first to benefit.
US military UAVs have until now used inventory weapons such as the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire and Northrop Grumman Viper Strike, but a new range of munitions could use a common propulsion section and a family of interchangeable warheads to deal with both stationary and moving targets.
Each munition is expected to be around 45cm (18in) long, weigh around 0.9kg (2lb) and to deliver smaller areas of effect than traditional missiles, possibly requiring them to be launched in salvoes, or to have a glide capability, the army says.
"We want lethality for a non-traditional enemy," US Army advanced science and technology directorate director Suzy Young told the US-European micro air vehicle competition and workshop in Toulouse, France. The service has also set out a long-term roadmap for innovative methods for target acquisition and tracking, she said, with FCS payload options including laser designators to highlight targets for armed unmanned ground vehicles.
The US Army meanwhile expects to test fire an air-launched version of Israel Aerospace Industries' gun-launched laser homing anti-tank weapon system from a Northrop MQ-5 Hunter UAV. The anti-armour missile weighs 13kg and has a maximum range of over 14km (7.5nm).

Senate Wants Robo-Copter, ASAP

US Army dalek assassins to pack mini-missiles?

The US Army is looking to develop a range of miniaturised guided missiles for use by its robot warriors of the future, according to reports. Each missile could be the size of a large party cracker.
Under its Future Combat System (FCS) programme, the US Army plans to kit itself out with all kinds of futuristic gear. Originally, this was to include a lot of robots - including a kind of autonomous droid tank and four different kinds of aerial death-mech - but budget worries have led to several of the machine warriors being deferred.
Some are still left, however, including the miniature flying-dalek Class I and the robotised helicopter Class IV (the class-IV, charmingly, is to be capable of Manned and Unmanned teaming, or MUM operations, in which it cooperates with ordinary fleshy pilots. We suggest SCHTUM, Sudden CHange to Targeting of Unsuspecting Meatsacks, for the day of the inevitable machine-army coup d'etat).
Not so much "Exterminate" as "Obliterate", then.
Thus far, flying kill-droids have tended to be armed with ordinary air weapons, for instance the Hellfire laser-guided missile. This is carried by air force Predators and Reapers, as well as ordinary old Apache attack helicopters. But Hellfires are big old five-foot jobs weighing 100 pounds. They're a bit heavy for little robots to lift. Sometimes, too, a Hellfire might be a bit of a sledgehammer when what you really wanted was a nutcracker.
Now, according to Flight International, the US Army plan to address these concerns. The plan is to develop a new class of mini-missiles, perhaps not dissimilar to the ones used for corridor scuffling by the little flying killbots at the end of Terminator 3.
Suzy Young, US Army advanced science and tech chief, told a killbot convention in France that "we want lethality for a non-traditional enemy", presumably referring to testy southwest Asians rather than the Governator and chums. It appears that each missile will be perhaps 18 inches long and weigh two pounds, even smaller and lighter than the Vietnam-vintage M72 LAW rocket.
(The LAW was always of dubious usefulness against its intended target - enemy tanks - but has long been popular among foot soldiers for taking out bunkers, blowing holes in walls etc. US Marines are still using it in Iraq, reportedly fitted with a new trendy fuel-air warhead.)
The LAW was a simple free-flying job, too, but the new droid-carried micro-missiles will be capable of tracking in on a laser dot at the very least. There are man-portable weapons which do this, or which can track an aircraft's heat exhaust, but they tend to be quite heavy and bulky.
The new US initiative seems to suggest a guided missile not much bigger than a tube of Pringles; one that could perhaps be carried by the new generation of man-portable, hand-launched silent mini-planes now going into action.
Latest-generation thermal imager kit might allow the new micro-missiles - or their launching droid motherships - to track the heat signature of individual humans in true sci-fi style. Flight reckons there will be a "family of interchangeable warheads", no doubt including fashionable fuel-air, armour piercing etc.
In many ways it seems a bit lazy of the US defence establishment to only develop these lightweight super-missiles for the convenience of robots. Many a cursing, overburdened human grunt of recent decades would have been glad to have a trouser-pocket thermobaric bomb rather than a mortar baseplate or similar.
The arms designers would contend, of course, that until very recently they were mainly looking to blow up enemy tanks - and you need a fairly big, fat missile for that. But it could be that in fact the weapons factories are working more and more for the robot army rather than the fleshy one...


Local health department to conduct Flu Drill

The East Central Health District and the Jenkins County Health Department will conduct a mass immunization drill Oct. 2-4. The purpose of the drill is to test the organizations' capacity to provide mass immunizations in the event of a biological disaster. (cont..)

Anthrax drill is met with relief and skepticism (Update)

Queshan 2007 military exercise heats up in central China

Is India aligning in a new Cold War?

Even as Russo-American tensions smoulder from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to the Arctic seabed, the US Secretary of State is denying the onset of a renewed Cold War. Yet, unmistakable signals of a counter-balancing effort by Russia and China were sent last month through the largest-ever war games of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a six-nation anti-US alliance (cont..)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday Sept 19 updates

* PMC News may not be updated until the following Tue...I will be taking a vaction in L.A and SF....

Members of the 32nd Civil Support Team of the Maryland National Guard suit up to perform simulated hazardous material recovery operations during Exercise Vigilant Guard in downtown Baltimore. Photo by

Maryland National Guard

BALTIMORE (Maryland National Guard, Sept. 19, 2007) - Soldiers of the Maryland National Guard's 115th Military Police Battalion were among the first troops securing the scene at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and six years later, some of these same Soldiers are fully engaged in a homeland defense exercise aimed at preparing for a potential repeat of that day's events - training they hope never to use.It's called Exercise Vigilant Guard, and it's an annual training exercise sponsored by the National Guard Bureau at locations across the country. One such exercise took place in Maryland Sept. 5-7."Exercises such as Vigilant Guard ensure the National Guard is as prepared as possible in order to respond to any contingency that may occur," said Maj. Gen. Bruce F. Tuxill, the adjutant general of Maryland. "Having Soldiers and Airmen who are trained, equipped and ready for domestic emergencies is at the heart of the National Guard mission."The terrorist attack scenario unfolded over the course of the three-day exercise. The first two days were played out on computer screens and communication equipment at the Joint Operations Center at Camp Fretterd Military Reservation in Reisterstown, Md., primarily testing the Maryland Guard's ability to coordinate and interoperate with other state and local agencies.Using simulated reports - "notional injects" in exercise parlance - from a variety of sources, the scenario unfolded. First a truck bomb collapsed a span of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge during rush hour traffic. Next, a bomb exploded on a rail line, derailing a train near the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. As public concern spread, traffic approached gridlock and telephone lines become overwhelmed. Suspected terrorists next fired an anti-tank rocket at a train in downtown Baltimore, followed by a shoot-out with city police who found a suspicious white powder in their vehicle near the M&T Bank Stadium.With local responders overwhelmed, the situation became serious enough to require military assistance, and Gov. Martin O'Malley called out the National Guard.The third day of events was no longer just notional; it was full of action as National Guard troops, Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore City Fire Department and other local first responders swung into action and actually implemented their response in downtown Baltimore.A cloud of debris rose from a parking lot in downtown Baltimore as Maryland National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters landed near the stadium and began to disperse Soldiers from the 115th Military Police Battalion's Initial Reaction Force. Soon the Guardsman had assessed the situation and deployed their forces, setting up checkpoints and patrolling the streets.Meanwhile, Soldiers and Airmen of 32nd Civil Support Team, who specialize in detecting nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, donned blue HAZMAT suits and attempted to analyze materials at the scene.For added realism, the whole operation was under the scrutiny of "mock media" - reporters and news cameramen played by members of the Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.As the military police and HAZMAT teams worked to contain the situation, members of the 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment and the 175th Wing formed a Joint Media Operations Center to respond to reporters' questions and increase the flow of information to a worried public.In the end, the scene was secured and the threat identified.More important, the goal of the exercise was achieved: to prepare for the worst. As Vigilant Guard came to a close, Col. Pete Hinz, the Joint Task Force commander, reflected on the overall intent of the exercise."Although this was a National Guard Bureau sponsored event, Vigilant Guard really encapsulated some of Gov. O'Malley's 12 Homeland Security Goals. Three of the main goals we exercised here today were interoperability among many of the first responders, hazardous material recovery and training, training, training," Col. Hinz said."We have learned a lot from this exercise and will use these lessons learned to continue to improve our homeland readiness here in Maryland."

"Exercise Pacific Shield 07"

TOKYO, Sept 18 (KUNA) -- Japan will host a multinational Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise southwest of Tokyo October 13-15 in an effort to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
"Australia, France, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the US will participate in the PSI Maritime Interdiction Exercise 'Pacific Shield 07,' to be held in the eastern sea area off Izu Oshima, and Yokosuka and Yokohama ports," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

180,000 Private Contractors Flood Iraq

A US private security officer with his face covered against dust, sits in a Chinook helicopter as they accompany Iraq's US civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer on a visit to the southern marsh areas of Iraq in this Thursday, Sept 18, 2003 file photo near the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The Iraqi Interior Ministry said Monday Sept. 17, 2007that it was pulling the license of an American security firm allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of civilians during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade in Baghdad. Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said eight people were killed and 13 were wounded when security contractors working for Blackwater USA opened fire in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad. The spokesman said witness reports pointed to Blackwater involvement but said the incident was still under investigation. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, File) (Karel Prinsloo - AP)

WASHINGTON -- The United States has assembled an imposing industrial army in Iraq larger than its uniformed fighting force and responsible for a such a broad swath of responsibilities the military might not be able to operate without its private-sector partners.
More than 180,000 Americans, Iraqis, and nationals from other countries work under a slew of federal contracts to provide security, gather intelligence, build roads, forge a financial system, and transport needed supplies in a country the size of California.
That figure contrasts with the 163,100 U.S. military personnel, according to U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., the organization responsible for military operations in the Middle East. The Pentagon puts the military figure at 169,000. There are another 12,400 coalition forces in Iraq.
But it has its dangers. Employees for Blackwater USA were involved in a weekend shooting that left 11 Iraqis dead.
The heavy reliance on contractors in a war zone is partly the result of a post-Cold War shrinking of the armed forces and the Bush administration's preference for contracting out government functions to the corporate world.

Bush Urges Congress To Further Expand Spy Powers

Mock bomb exercise at Fort Lee
Drill tests ability to face real thing

*as always..thanks to Nico Haupt:
10/16: Forthcoming huge FCS/DEW 3 Day Conference in Huntsville, Alabama

Sunday, September 16, 2007

GA Anthrax Drill, UAV Kill, Taiwan, + DHS Fraud..

* this is worst than a SNL skit...

Terrorist drill unfolds early Sunday at Mall of Georgia

BUFORD - It was a drill, only a drill, Sunday morning at the Mall of Georgia but Gwinnett area emergency responders treated a terrorist scenario involving deadly anthrax like it was the real thing.Fire, police and public health services observed September's National Preparedness Month with a drill that included simulated bombs, shooters and medical treatment according to Vernon Goins with East Metro Public Health.
"This is the first time that we've ever come together and all of the agencies that would be involved participated in one drill," Goins said." equipment that we've never had to deploy before and setting up a moment's notice to decontaminate and treat people."

Army records first UAV kills

When Army scouts in Iraq spotted two men planting a roadside bomb Sept. 1, they called in a nearby Hunter unmanned aircraft, which dropped a laser-guided bomb and killed the two men.
"We had the first confirmed use of an Army weaponized UAV," said Col. Don Hazelwood, project manager for Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
The Army is mounting precision-guided weapons on hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hazelwood said.
The MQ-5B Hunter will carry the laser-guided GBU-44/B Viper Strike, a 42-pound glide bomb with a one-yard wingspan that can strike within one meter of its aim point.
The Army intends to increase the number of Viper Strike bombs it intends to buy, but declined to give specific numbers, said Tim Owings, the Army’s deputy project manager for UAVs.
AGM-114 Hellfire missiles are going on the Warrior AlphaUAV, a prototype version of the MQ-1C Warrior Extended-Range Multi-purpose UAV to be ready by 2009. Eventually, the Warrior may also carry Viper Strikes.
Both UAV types will carry laser designators that can be used to guide munitions dropped from UAVs or manned aircraft, said Owings.
He said the Army has a human in the loop who decides when to fire a UAV’s weapons (cont..)

The warning behind the air raid drill

Sunday, Sep 16, 2007, Page 8
Yesterday, three closely related events occurred in three cities -- two in Taiwan and one in China. Major rallies were held in Taichung and Kaohsiung by tens of thousands of Taiwanese supporting the nation's bid to join the UN. Meanwhile, Shanghai held its largest air raid drill since 1949, with sirens ringing across the city for as long as 20 minutes. These events indicate that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will not back down over Taiwan's sovereignty. (Cont...)


"Exercise Himalayan Warrior"

Himalayan Warrior, a joint UK-India exercise comprising specialist high altitude training, will be held in the Ladakh region 17 September-11 October including a period of acclimatisation. This is a unique opportunity to share best practice between elite soldiers of both British and Indian Armed Forces. (Cont..)

DANEX 07 brings together 20 units from five European nations

HMS Albion has just taken part in a multi-national exercise in the Baltic, involving more than 20 units from 5 countries (Denmark, UK, Norway, Germany and Poland). The UK contribution also included a detachment of 2 Lynx Helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron. Staged and co-ordinated by the Danish Navy, DANEX 07 provided training in littoral operations, with a particular emphasis on Crisis Reaction Operations. The exercise included a Disaster Relief Operation and Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (or NEO). (cont..)

Operational Readiness Inspection

Barksdale exercises may increase noise

Financial records at the Pentagon and Homeland Security Department are so disorganized and inconsistent that they cannot be audited fully, making them subject to waste, fraud and abuse.
"OJ" Arrest: News Cycle Distraction/Military/intel sting psyop?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

USJFCOM: "Solid Curtain",MODSIM EXPO, FCS, Drill, "Stand Down" update..

"Solid Curtain 2007"

Exercise Solid Curtain 2007 Scheduled for Sept. 14 – 21: Base access to be limited Sept. 20,0,7429687.story

Exercise Solid Curtain 2007, a Navy force protection exercise, will be conducted on all naval installations in the continental United States Sept. 14 - 21, 2007.Exercise Solid Curtain 2007, conducted to enhance training and readiness of naval security personnel, is a regularly-scheduled exercise and is not in response to any specific threat.While disruptions to base operations will be limited, there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic or delays in base access.Area residents may also see increased military activity associated with the exercise.On Sept. 20, all continental United States naval installations will increase their Force Protection Condition, which will limit base access and impact local area traffic patterns. However, this exercise will not affect the homecoming of USS Peleliu (LHA 5), the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship returning home from a four-month humanitarian deployment to Southeast Asia and Oceania. A training time out will be in effect at Naval Base San Diego during Peleliu's homecoming.

Command profiles modeling and simulation usage at MODSIM World Conference and Expo 2007

U.S. Joint Forces Command helped lead a panel on homeland defense and modeling and simulation as the Virginia Beach Convention Center hosted the MODSIM World Conference and Expo 2007. The event features the latest in modeling and simulation technology and discussions about the future of modeling and simulation for use in homeland defense.

(VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.) – Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), founder and chairman of the Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus, speaks to attendees of the MODSIM World Conference and Expo being held at the Virginia Beach Conference Center Sept. 11-13, 2007. (Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Bryan D. Axtell)(Released)
(VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Sept. 12, 2007) - U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) and several of its partners were on hand as
modeling and simulation (M&S)
took center stage this week at the MODSIM World Conference and Expo 2007 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. (Cont..)

FCS (update)

Tracking Trends In Military-Electronics Technologies

Some of the largest of military programs are pushing for troop and fleet modernization, making use of advanced technologies as well as practical manufacturing approaches
Military-electronics technology has long trended toward achieving more functionality and performance in smaller packages. The ways in which electronic technologies are applied may change, but that trend for smaller and lighter electronic devices and systems remains. For companies faced with supplying electronic components and equipment for military applications, most innovations focus on saving size, power, weight, and, of course, cost.
At the highest levels, military-electronics technology is driven by large programs, and each of the branches of the United States military has invested in major, "pet" programs aimed at modernization and/or future capabilities. The US Army's appropriately named Future Combat Systems (FCS) program (, for example, represents one of the most ambitious developmental programs in US military history. Often referred to as a "system of systems," FCS is based on a vision of a robotic battlefield, using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and robot soldiers, and a sophisiticated wireless communications network for communications and control among humans with remote controls and their robotic counterparts. Under the stewardship of prime contractor, The Boeing Co. (, and partner Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), acting as Lead Systems Integrator (LSI), the FCS program has so far met all major milestones in developing this next-generation electronic army.
The FCS System of Systems Functional Review, for example, conducted about two years ago, lasted for five days and involved more than 35 briefings and dozens of demonstrations to attendees who included members of the US Army, Department of Defense (DoD), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The review included more than 11,000 system-of-systems engineering requirements derived and allocated through a rigorous systems engineering process. The review, conducted more than two years into the FCS program, was part of the FCS Systems Development and Demonstration Contact, valued at $20.9 billion. Since the review, the FCS program has undergone several successful field experiments and demonstrations, to the great satisfaction of US Army attendees and participants involved with various aspects of FCS electronic systems. The spinout of FCS capabilities is expected to begin in 2008, including networking, unattended munitions, sensors, and robotic systems, with the first FCS Unit of Action (larger-scale system) scheduled for release in 2014. The Unit of Action includes 18 manned and unmanned ground and air platforms, tied together by wireless network.
Most recently, Boeing and SAIC ( have selected Elgin, OK as a principal site for FCS Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) integration and assembly work. Partner BAE Systems ( will construct and manage a 150,000-sq.-ft. facilityat the Ft. Sill Industrial Park in Elgin. The facility will initially house production integration and assembly activities for the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) initial production platform, the first of eight FCS vehicle variants. Completion of the new facility is anticipated in 2009. The FCS MGVs are being developed in partnership with BAE Systems and General Dynamics ( with the intent of dramatically enhancing soldier survivability. The MGVs feature an integrated hybrid-electric propulsion system, the first use of such technology in operational Army ground combat vehicles. The first use of the hybrid electric drive technology will be in the NLOS-C.
Looking forward, Boeing and the US Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) have signed a three-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to analyze current, emerging, and future joint warfighting concepts and capabilities. The analysis is in concert with the USJFCOM's Joint Innovation and Experimentation Directorate (Suffolk, VA), and will employ computer modeling, simulation, and analysis with virtual and live experiments to evaluate the US DoD's joint concepts and enabling capabilities. Boeing Advanced Systems' AMSE division will lead the company's efforts under the CRADA.
In addition to its sophisticated networking capabilities, the FCS relies on advanced robotics technologies to keep human soldiers out of harm's way. Boeing recently signed a teaming agreement with robotics specialist iRobot Corp. ( to develop and deliver a next-generation Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) for military, civil, and commercial applications. The SUGV is designed to be less than 30 lbs. and enable users to remotely conduct reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering operations. The agreement calls for the use of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to the greatest extent possible in the development of the SUGV, which is expected to be in production by 2008.
The developmental SUGV Early will be a smaller, lighter version of iRobot's PackBot® robot, which is battle tested in Iraq and Afghanistan for safely disarming improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as well as searching buildings, tunnels, and caves for hostile forces. According to Vice Admiral Joe Dyer (U.S. Navy, Ret.), president of iRobot Government & Industrial Robots, "By teaming with Boeing, we can leverage their system-of-system capabilities and global marketing strength to quickly get these life-saving robots into the hands of our troops, first responders and allies worldwide."
Boeing and iRobot will jointly market the new SUGV Early robot. Boeing will also contribute expertise in systems integration, large-volume production, and global marketing, while iRobot will design, develop, and manufacture the robot using its proven experience with the iRobot PackBot and its development work on the FCS program. Dennis Muilenburg, vice president and general manager for Boeing Combat Systems, says "We see ground robots as a major new growth market and iRobot, as the industry leader in this field, is our partner of choice to bring new robot technology to market." More than 900 iRobot PackBot robots have been delivered to a broad range of military and civilian customers worldwide, for operations that have included life-saving missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. iRobot recently announced a delivery order from the US Navy to build additional bomb-disposal robots for shipment to the US forces overseas. The $14 million award from the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) calls for 101 iRobot PackBot® Man Transportable Robotic System (MTRS) robots, plus spare parts to repair robots in the field. iRobot shipped the initial lot of PackBot robots for this order in late March 2007, and the company expects to deliver the remaining robots pursuant to this delivery order before the end of this year. Under the terms of the previously existing Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract, the military could order up to the full $264 million value in robots, spare parts, training, and repair services. The US military's MTRS program has requirements for as many as 1200 robots through 2012. (Cont..)

Nanotechnology Weaponry

Any danger in ‘nano’ bits?

NYC (Staten Island)

Island-wide emergency preparedness drill scheduled

The Port Richmond Community Emergency Response team will conduct a borough-wide emergency preparedness drill on Staten Island on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.
Residents can make contact with members of the team by tuning in to channel 1 on the two-way radio FRS (Family Radio Service).
The purpose of the drill is to practice using auxiliary methods of communications which could be useful during times of emergency when primary communications methods like telephones and cell phones break down. Using the radio during emergencies, Staten Islanders can stay in touch with friends and neighbors and solicit help in times of need.
The drill will last for about one hour

Air Force ordered to stand-down tomorrow: NORAD, NORTHCOM on alert for U.N. meetings (update)

Contrary to rumors surrounding the Air Combat Command's stand-down of all 100,000 active-duty airmen ordered for tomorrow, the U.S. will not be devoid of fighter aircraft to protect the nation.
Michael Kucharek, spokesman for NORAD and USNORTHCOM, told WND the stand-down does not include the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves assigned to NORAD.
About 70 percent of the aircraft involved in NORAD alerts are Air National Guard or Air Force Reserves aircraft, according to Kucharek.
Meanwhile, NORAD and USNORTHCOM will be on alert status Monday when the U.N. convenes a high level meeting on climate change and also Tuesday when the General Assembly begins its 62nd Session in New York City.
The stand-down Friday was ordered by Gen. Ronald Keys to conduct a command-wide review of operations, safety procedures and checklists after the Aug. 30 incident at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, according to the Air Force Times.

"Cooperative Marlin 2007"

Computer simulation command post NATO exercise "Cooperative Marlin 2007" underway in Sevastopol, Crimea

The exercise drew together participants from the navies of 15 countries: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates (cont..)

"Operation Steel Hammer"

HAMMER DOWN Here's a schedule of simulated emergencies and training exercises for Operation Steel Hammer:Friday, Sept. 148 a.m. to noon - Beaver County Airport, Chippewa Township, a plane lands with some type of biological or chemical agent aboard.8 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Bradys Run Park, Brighton Township, mass casualty incident in the ice arena parking lot.9 a.m. to noon - Beaver County Courthouse, Beaver, terrorist attack at the courthouse.9 a.m. to noon - The Medical Center, Beaver, in Brighton Township, surge of patients into the hospital's emergency room.9 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Beaver Valley Power Station, Shippingport, internal security exercise.6 p.m. to 10 p.m. - Propane tank farm along Route 68 in Industry, at the border with Midland, propane tank explosion and fire.8 p.m. to midnight - Northern Lights Shopping Center, Economy, military civil support team training.Saturday, Sept. 153 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Beaver County Courthouse parking garage, collapse of the parking garage, with people trapped inside.5 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Ohio River, near Rochester, military exercise involving a barge.6 a.m. to 3 p.m. - South Beaver Township, along Georgetown Road, search for a possible biological or chemical agent.9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Community College of Beaver County, Center Township, mass casualty incident in parking lot by student union building.9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Conway Yards in Conway, tanker car leaking chemicals.11 p.m. to 1 a.m. - Beaver Valley Mall, Center Township, discovery of possible chemical or biological agent.Sunday, Sept. 163 a.m. to 10 a.m. - South Side High School, Greene Township, investigation of possible biological or chemical agent.6 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Freedom Area High School, New Sewickley Township, mass casualty incident.9 a.m. to noon - Beaver Area High School, Beaver, hostage situation.9 a.m. to noon - Rochester, borough power outage (cont..)

Computerised voices could unleash "vocal terrorism"

Computerised speech capable of mimicking any human voice is in danger of unleashing a form of "vocal terrorism", where disinformation is spread by hacking into telephone networks, British scientists warned today. (cont..)

Taiwan holds unprecedented naval drill
(Link expired)
Kyodo News, Japan - 15 hours ago... a submarine, and other vessels and aircraft -- cruised 54 kilometers west of Taiwan toward China to stage a live-fire drill and antisubmarine maneuvers