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Current Topic: Military Technology

SOCOM wants Bibles
Topic: Military Technology 3:31 pm EST, Dec 18, 2004

The items being purchased are 10,000 New International Version (NIV) Bibles with a custom-designed cover. The Bibles include Army-designed color photographs and text inserts.

War may be hell, but infowar is making a bid for heaven.

SOCOM wants Bibles

Network-Centric Military Communications | IEEE Communications Magazine
Topic: Military Technology 12:31 am EST, Nov 22, 2004

I'm famous! (Or not.)

Okay ... I'm acknowledged! (Well, that is true. Even if it is only on page 116.)

The recent decision by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to migrate from IPv4 to IPv6 in military networks underscores how policy can have a profound effect on network performance and even unintended consequences.

While to some IPv6 holds a promise of "increased security" and "support for wireless applications," these are very arguable points from an engineering perspective and, even if true, need to be seriously weighed against performance in environments with the unique link characteristics of military networks.

In "Internet Protocol Header Compression, Robust Header Compression, and Their Applicability in the Global Information Grid," E. Ertekin et al. show that moving from IPv4 to IPv6 increases the overhead due to packet headers by 50 percent. This will have serious performance impacts on capacity-constrained links, especially tactical radio links that need to keep the payload size small, resulting in a large percentage of the total payload dedicated to the header.

The authors present an excellent summary and comparison of current header compression schemes that can be used to mitigate this problem and present a good overview of the application of these techniques to the global information grid. Specifically, the article examines the use of two compression schemes developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and their applicability for military applications: Internet Protocol Header Compression (IPHC) and Robust Header Compression (ROHC). It is interesting to note that the DoD directive, while intending to standardize on IPv6 supposedly for increased robustness and interoperability, also trades that robustness for decreased link utilization and shifts the point of interoperability to the type of header compression a given system engineer chooses to implement.

Follow the first link ("Network-Centric Military Communications") to read the guest editorial. A subscription is required for access to the full text of the article.

Network-Centric Military Communications | IEEE Communications Magazine

Stretching the Network
Topic: Military Technology 1:08 am EDT, Jun  9, 2004

Can networking solve common operational challenges in nonpermissive contingencies short of war?

The authors describe the capabilities of networked forces and examine their utility for meeting the challenges of these lesser contingencies.

They conclude that the ability to gather, fuse, and share information is important for overcoming nearly all operational problems associated with such contingencies.

MemeStreams is a weapons system.

Stretching the Network

Dream-Filled Missile Silos
Topic: Military Technology 11:50 am EDT, Apr  4, 2004

Making a show of rushing missile shield components into place before they are required, to complete a system that may not work anyway, is a Potemkin defense. It invites more of the cost overruns and test failures that have bedeviled the program. The Pentagon had to tell Congress last week of another round of setbacks in developing one piece of the Star Wars puzzle: an infrared satellite system crucial to the project. This will mean more lost time and higher costs for an oft-revamped plan that even Pentagon analysts have called a "case study" for how not to build a complex space project. Voters paying for this buy-now, fly-later dream deserve realistic planning and candor, not another slice of political pie in the sky.

Missiles, or databases. What will it be?

Dream-Filled Missile Silos

Robot Race Is Giant Step for Unmanned Kind
Topic: Military Technology 9:20 am EST, Mar 10, 2004

Police cars swarmed them.

"They had never seen anything like it. They thought we were terrorists."

No, officers, we're computer scientists and engineers.

This begs for a Weird Al parody of Jazzy Jeff's "Parents Just Don't Understand."

Robot Race Is Giant Step for Unmanned Kind

Robot Vehicle Successfully Navigates Test Course
Topic: Military Technology 9:17 am EST, Mar 10, 2004

A robotic vehicle designed by a team from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on Tuesday became the first driverless contestant to navigate a 1.36 mile test course in preparation for the Pentagon's $1 million robot race this weekend.

The Carnegie Mellon vehicle, named Sandstorm and representing an investment of more than $3 million, has generally been considered the favored entrant in the race, which is scheduled for Saturday between Barstow and Las Vegas.

To win the $1 million prize, a vehicle must complete the desert course, expected to be as long as 200 miles, in less than 10 hours.

Robot Vehicle Successfully Navigates Test Course

Investigating Optimal Replacement of Aging Air Force Systems
Topic: Military Technology 3:28 pm EST, Jan 17, 2004

As part of a continuing project on aging aircraft and the replacement-or-repair decision, the authors develop a parsimonious model of the decision and apply it to the US Air Force's C-21A transport and KC-135 tanker aircraft.

They find that, for the C-21A, it probably would be appropriate to undertake a 20,000 flight hour system and component replacement schedule-prescribed renovation in the 2012 timeframe, but the aircraft should be retired around 2020.

For the KC-135 tanker, it would be optimal to replace the KC-135 before the end of the decade.

Investigating Optimal Replacement of Aging Air Force Systems

In Iraq's Murky Battle, a Precision Weapon
Topic: Military Technology 11:17 am EST, Jan  2, 2004

"I shot one guy in the head, and his head exploded."

"You don't think about it."

"I went ahead and engaged him ... and I saw a little blood come out of his chest. It was a good hit."

The rigorous five-week sniper training course fails more than half of its students. The demand is great enough that the Army has sent a team of trainers to Iraq to keep churning out new ones.

Cowboy up.

In Iraq's Murky Battle, a Precision Weapon

Inspector General Audit of Terrorism Information Awareness Program
Topic: Military Technology 10:45 am EST, Dec 31, 2003

Anyone interested in using sophisticated information technology that collects, stores, and analyzes information should read this report.

A review showed that DARPA could have better addressed the sensitivity of the technology. DoD should appoint a Privacy Ombudsman. The Director, Defense Research and Engineering, concurred.

You can download the full text of the report in PDF. Appendix D provides a brief description of each of the TIA subsystems, including FutureMAP, the futures market that was canceled by DARPA but subsequently resumed by a private firm. The privately run market is scheduled to open in 2004.

Inspector General Audit of Terrorism Information Awareness Program

Work starts on hypersonic vehicles
Topic: Military Technology 6:06 pm EST, Dec 23, 2003

DARPA and the Air Force announced today that nine contractors have started work on FALCON, a hypersonic vehicle for attacking targets thousands of miles from the US.

The Marines are working on SUSTAIN, a similar manned vehicle system, which is meant to deploy Marines anywhere around the globe in two hours without violating the airspace of countries along the way.

Coming soon: precision guided munitions, delivered to the destination of your choice in thirty minutes or less, guaranteed! We offer a wide variety of "packages" to suit every occasion. Stop by our showroom today, or sign up online for a free trial delivery. On the road? Just press *PGM on your PCS mobile phone to speak with a delivery specialist.

In this increasingly virtual world of ours, it's important to take the time to reach out and "touch" someone.

Work starts on hypersonic vehicles

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