Wednesday, October 3, 2007

TOPOFF Questions, Russia/Space War, DARPA + PMC/DHS News

Questions Raised Over Terror Exercise (TOPOFF )

Participants perform their roles during a terrorism response exercise 04 April 2005 in New London, CT. The comprehensive drill, dubbed "TOPOFF 3" (short for Top Official), is part of a five-day exercise simulating chemical and biological terrorist attacks in the eastern US states of Connecticut and New Jersey. (Don Emmert, AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation is preparing for its biggest terrorism exercise ever next week when three fictional "dirty bombs" go off and cripple transportation arteries in two major U.S. cities and Guam, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
Yet even as this drill begins, details from the previous national exercise held in 2005 have yet to be publicly released - information that's supposed to help officials prepare for the next real attack.
House lawmakers were expected to demand answers Wednesday, including why the "after-action" report from 2005 hasn't been made public. Congress has required the exercise since 2000, but has done little in the way of oversight beyond attending the actual events.
Next week will be the fourth Top Officials exercise - dubbed TOPOFF. The program costs about $25 million a year and involves the federal government's highest officials, such as top people from the Defense and Homeland Security departments.
"The challenge with TOPOFF is not the exercise itself. It's to move as quickly as possible to remedy what perceives to be the problems that are uncovered," former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in an interview with AP this week.
Ridge, who launched his own security consulting company on Monday, said he's a big fan of the TOPOFF exercises. But he said "it's not acceptable" that the review from the 2005 exercise is still not released publicly.
The House Homeland Security emergency communications, preparedness and response subcommittee was holding a hearing Wednesday on the terrorism exercise program.
This year's TOPOFF will build on lessons learned from previous exercises, according to the Homeland Security Department, which runs the program. The agency said the Oct. 15-19 exercise would be "the largest and most comprehensive" to date.
According to an internal department briefing of next week's exercise obtained by AP, a dirty bomb will go off at a Cabras power plant in Guam; another dirty bomb will explode on the Steel Bridge in Portland, Ore., impacting major transportation systems, and a third dirty bomb will explode at the intersection of busy routes 101 and 202 near Phoenix.
Local hospitals and law enforcement agencies will be involved in the "attacks" by the dirty bombs, which are conventional explosives that include some radioactive material that would cause contamination over a limited area but not create actual nuclear explosions.

Missile defense system is up and running, military says

WASHINGTON: After a successful test last week, the tracking radars and interceptor rockets of a new American missile defense system can be turned on at any time to respond to an emerging crisis in Asia, senior military officers said Tuesday.
General Victor Renuart Jr., the senior commander for defense of United States territory, said that the antimissile system could guard against the risk of ballistic missile attack from North Korea even while development continues on a series of radars in California and the Pacific Ocean and on interceptor missiles in Alaska and California. (Cont..)

Counter-measures to be added to US missile defense tests: general

NORAD general urges Russia to file a flight plan before sending out bombers

Russia warns of arms war in space: report

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's military space commander vowed to retaliate with an arms race if any country started putting weapon systems into orbit, he said in remarks published on Wednesday.
"We need to have strong rules about space, to avoid its militarization and if any country will place a weapon in space, then our response will be the same," Space Forces Commander Colonel-General Vladimir Popovkin told the newspaper Trud.
Popovkin's remarks were the latest in a series of increasingly assertive statements from the Russian military, which is alarmed at what it sees as a growing hardware imbalance with the West (cont..)

Darpa hatches plan for insect cyborgs to fly reconnaissance

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Cyborg insects with embedded microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) will run remotely controlled reconnaissance missions for the military, if its '"HI-MEMS" program succeeds. Hybrid-Insect MEMS--a program hatched earlier this year at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa)--aims to harness insects the way horses were harnessed by the cavalry. (Cont..)

GE, NRL, SAIC Nab DNDO Awards To Develop Stand-Off Rad Detectors

Oct 03, 2007 (Defense Daily/Access Intelligence via COMTEX) --
charts news PowerRating -- The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) this week awarded contracts to General Electric's [GE] Global Research Center, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and SAIC [SAI] worth a combined $33 million to develop Stand-Off Radiation Detection Systems (SORDS) that can automatically determine the type and location of radiation sources at distances much greater than current technology.
"The SORDS approach, if validated, could be used in a wide range of monitoring applications including border crossings, sea lanes and air surveillance," Vayl Oxford, DNDO director, said in a statement. "This program could create a significant increase in capability for monitoring the illicit movement or radiation sources." (Cont..)

Merger opens U.S. defense to China ("Red Storm Rising" Psyop)

Senate ends debate on authorization bill, but not on Iraq

Excerpt: "The House's measure slices $867 million from the Army's Future Combat Systems, about 25 percent of the Pentagon's fiscal 2008 request for the $160 billion program that forms the centerpiece of the service's technology transformation efforts. But the Senate, where lawmakers have largely supported FCS over the years, added $115 million to the program."

Homeland security drill planned at Georgia Highlands Bartow campus

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