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Current Topic: Military Technology

Billions for guns, and one won't kill
Topic: Military Technology 1:47 pm EDT, Apr 14, 2007

Many of the concepts on the drawing board suffer from fundamental flaws that become readily apparent once one looks beyond the technology to how such weapons would actually be used.

So the military ought not to focus on stun guns, rail guns or other exotica. Instead, the crucial choice should be whether to impose a temporary moratorium on development of such weapons and instead shift our focus to identifying better tactics and more efficient organizational structures.

The silver bullet is MemeStreams.

Billions for guns, and one won't kill

Working at the highest level
Topic: Military Technology 1:02 pm EDT, Apr 14, 2007

"There are a lot of names you can remember from the last 50 years or so in history, but few individuals have had more impact on American security and technology prowess than Ramo. He's really one of the giants."

Ramo asked the architect to lay out the buildings to offer every engineer a window with views of gardens and sculptures so they could "think up big things." Spacecraft manufacturing or laboratory work would take place in the center of the buildings, with offices facing out.

Do you see gardens and sculptures outside your office?

That vision stood in stark contrast to the rest of the aerospace industry, which typically seated engineers side by side at drafting tables in cavernous, windowless hangars.

"I wanted it to be like a campus because that's where all the best minds were," Ramo said as he toured the facility recently. "I wanted them to look forward to coming to work."


Operating in secrecy, Ramo and Wooldridge moved the ICBM operations to a former Catholic church in Inglewood, where the pair had to pull out the pews and the urinals in the bathrooms to make room for their research.

Now that's old school.

Working at the highest level

China Could Use Anti-Access Strategies to Counter US Military Superiority
Topic: Military Technology 10:55 pm EDT, Apr  2, 2007

This research brief addresses the possibility that potential adversaries might attempt to gain the upper hand against the United States by denying it access to technical and strategic assets.

China Could Use Anti-Access Strategies to Counter US Military Superiority

Mapping the Human Terrain (MAP-HT) | Roundup
Topic: Military Technology 8:03 pm EDT, Apr  2, 2007

I figured I'd pull together a few links about this JCTD and related efforts.

In 2006, the DSB summer study on 21st Century Strategic Technology Vectors cited "human terrain preparation" as the first of four critical capabilities to be acquired. An excerpt:

In the Cold War, significant intellectual effort was directed at understanding and developing strategies to counter the Soviet Union. The nation now faces a much more complex set of adversaries, both state and non-state actors, about whom a comparable understanding has not been developed. The terrorist threat, in particular, with its amorphous, loosely networked characteristics makes this an especially challenging problem. Since much of the action against both terrorists and insurgents will be conducted by small units, either special or conventional forces in situations other than major combat operations, decisions made at lower levels of command will have the potential for broad-reaching, even strategic consequences. Consequently, preparing the human terrain—both ours and theirs—is rapidly becoming a critical capability. The operational capabilities relevant to this critical capability affecting most of the five missions include: cultural and language understanding; modeling societal dynamics, stability, and influencers; strategic communication; and strategic shaping. While traditional technologies will contribute to many of these capabilities, there is also a significant opportunity to better leverage the social and neurosciences, particularly those analytic elements that create models to assist in understanding individual and collective group behavior.

The Human Terrain System: A CORDS for the 21st Century

[The Army] is overseeing the creation of the human terrain system (HTS). This system is being specifically designed to address cultural awareness shortcomings at the operational and tactical levels by giving brigade commanders an organic capability to help understand and deal with "human terrain"-the social, ethnographic, cultural, economic, and political elements of the people among whom a force is operating. So that U.S. forces can operate more effectively in the human terrain in which insurgents live and function, HTS will provide deployed brigade commanders and their staffs direct social-science support in the form of ethnographic and social research, cultural information research, and social data analysis that can be employed as part of the military decisionmaking process.

The core building block of the system will be a five-person Human Terrain Team (HTT) that will be embedded in each forward-deployed brigade or regimental staff. The HTT will provide the commander with experienced officers, NCOs, and civilian... [ Read More (1.2k in body) ]

Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations Announced
Topic: Military Technology 7:33 pm EDT, Apr  2, 2007

The Department of Defense announced the selection of seven Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) projects for Fiscal 2007 and three JCTD projects that started at the end of Fiscal 2006.

Fiscal 2007 New Starts:

Tactical Service Provider (TSP)

Mobile, wireless high-throughput broadband connections over long distances

Mapping the Human Terrain (MAP-HT)

Seeks to demonstrate an integrated, open-source, spatially/relationally/temporally referenced human terrain data collection and visualization toolkit that helps combat teams understand the cultural context in which they must operate. Such understanding will help reduce explosive device incidents by optimizing the commander’s operational decision-making process in a way that best harmonizes unit actions with the local culture.

Joint Multi-Mission Electro-Optical System (JMMES)

Counter camouflage, concealment, and deception

Smart Threads Integrated Radiation Sensors (STIRS)

Radiation sensors for state-of-the-art maritime interdiction and battlefield radiation detection

Maritime Automated Supertrack Enhanced Reporting (MASTER)

Enhanced maritime tracking

Internet Protocol Router In Space (IRIS)

Satellite internet resource allocation capabilities

Coalition Mobility System (CMS)

Rapid access to and coordination of coalition movements

There were also three later Fiscal 2006 New Starts:

Coalition Joint Spectrum Management Planning Tool (CJSMPT)

Radio frequency coordination

Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC)

Collaborative surface vessel location and tracking for ungoverned maritime environments

Focused Lethal Munition (FLM)

Collateral damage minimization using precision-guided weapon

Brief project summaries are available.

Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations Announced

DoD Unveils the Next Generation Common Access Card
Topic: Military Technology 7:22 pm EST, Oct 31, 2006

Trick or treat !?!

It's smart cards for everyone!

David S. Chu, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness will brief at 10:30 a.m. EST, on Nov. 1 in the DoD Briefing Studio, Pentagon 2E579, to provide a brief on the Next Generation Common Access Card.

Woo hoo!

At the Air Force Times, they say:

The Pentagon will begin issuing millions of “next generation” common access cards to every service member starting in late October in an effort to heighten the effectiveness and security of the cards, make them more interoperable and allow them to be more useful in more places.

The cards will come in different colors for different populations of people, including green and red. They’ll contain bar codes, computer chips and magnetic strips — all very high-tech.

You'll like this next part:

it is what’s under the hood that really distinguishes this card from the existing CAC, Dixon said. The new cards have been re-engineered with a “contactless” capability that will allow them to be used like a subway card in that people can wave them over card readers at a distance of up to about four inches, Dixon said.

That capability could raise concern that personal data could be removed from the card, but Dixon said the chip within the card and the card’s magnetic strip are encrypted, making the data almost impossible to remove.

Oh, okay!

If you're looking for product info, check your trusty PR News Wire:

ActivIdentity Corp., a global leader in digital identity assurance, today announced major contract wins by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. The company's smart card desktop client software ActivIdentity ActivClient 6.0 was selected to enable their move to next-generation HSPD-12 certified Common Access Cards due to be put in place by October 27, 2006.

It goes on:

The rapidly approaching October 27, 2006 deadline for HSPD-12 mandates government agencies to deploy FIPS 201-certified Personal Identity Verification (PIV) smart identification cards, which incorporate identity assurance and strong authentication practices utilizing PKI and biometric fingerprint credentials on a single cryptographic smart card for increased security of both facility and network access.

Soon you'll be able to check your voice mail and email at the turnstile.

Some of the data to be placed on the cards include an individual’s name, gender, card expiration date, blood type, government agency and branch of service, duty status, pay grade, date of birth and other information.

The chip also will include two encrypted fingerprints. The magnetic strip will include an individual’s Social Security number and "physical security information."

DoD Unveils the Next Generation Common Access Card

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