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Archive for November, 2008

Monday — Fire for Effect

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Coalition offs gender confused Taliban commander
The dime bio on Lashkar-e-Taiba
Israeli radar sees through walls
Memphis Belle restored
New Xmas gift hotness: the “wifle”

Sounds practical: The navy’s supersonic mine layer

–John Noonan

Cyber Attacks & Warfare — Rules of Engagement

Friday, November 28th, 2008


The rapid advancement of cyber attacks and the emergence of cyber warfare have caught government and military leaders around the world off guard. Decision making in time requiring defensive measures or military crisis is guided by doctrine and rules of engagement, but in the case of cyber attacks and cyber warfare they do not currently exist. The complexities and unique characteristics of cyber warfare mandate establishing Cyber Attack and Warfare Rules of Engagement (CAWRoE).

Cyber warfare is different than the conventional war in many ways. It is this difference that will challenge the minds of experts around the world when they attempt to create cyber warfare doctrine and ROE. To frame this discussion, below you will find two definitions that put this challenge in context.

Definition — Cyber Warfare & Terrorism — “The premeditated use of disruptive activities, or the threat thereof, against computers and/or networks, with the intention to cause harm or further social, ideological, religious, political or similar objectives. Or to intimidate any person in furtherance of such objectives.” Source: This definition was published in the U.S. Army Cyber Operations and Cyber Terrorism Handbook 1.02. This definition was written by Kevin Coleman back in 2004 for an online article.

Definition — Rules of Engagement — Rules of engagement date at least to the Middle Ages in Europe. In military terms this refers to a directive issued by a military authority controlling the use and degree of force, esp. specifying circumstances and limitations for engaging in combat. The directive delineates the limitations and circumstances under which forces will initiate and prosecute combat engagement with other forces encountered. Source: This definition is based on multiple authorities’ sources and combined to clearly articulate ROE.

NOTE– After months of research, we will soon publish a paper that addresses the question: “What constitutes an act of cyber war?“

History has shown that ROE are often over controlled and regulated by politicians and military leaders. It is anticipated that this will also be the case as it relates to cyber attacks and warfare. In addition, commanders and government leaders at all levels must understand the situation, complexities and uncertainty they face.


Our Commando Brothers From Across the Pond

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

A cool vid for a pre-Thanksgiving (for our U.S. readers) day…

(Gouge: militaryphotos​.net)

– Christian

You Had to Have Seen it Coming

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Obama might have made his decision, but did he consult Defense Tech readers first?

ABC: It’s Gates (UPDATED)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Robert Gates.jpgJake Tapper: Gates a “Done Deal“

Sources tell ABC News that Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be staying on in the top Pentagon job, for at least the first year of the Obama administration. “It is a done deal,” a source close to the process tells ABC News.

Update from Colin: Two sources told me they believe Richard Danzig will be named Deputy Defense Secretary. He will choose the new faces to man the Pentagon, ensuring the Obama people get folks who are loyal to them and reflect their policy inclinations. Apparently, Danzig will hold that slot for up to a year. Then, if all goes well, he will replace Gates.

ALSO:President-elect Obama will introduce his national security team to the public early next week, a seasoned team that will include: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), as Secretary of State; retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones as National Security Adviser; retired Adm. Dennis Blair as Director of National Intelligence; and Susan Rice as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Gates, while a registered independent, has served numerous Republican administrations. President George W. Bush nominated Gates to replace the Donald Rumsfeld after the 2006 midterm elections, when the war in Iraq was spiraling out of control.

The former Eagle Scout is expected to be rolled out immediately after the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend as part of a larger national security team expected to include Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, as Secretary of State; Marine Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.) as National Security Adviser; Admiral Dennis Blair (Ret.) as Director of National Intelligence; and Dr. Susan Rice as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

[EDITOR: Okay, I swear, this is the last time a make a political prediction. I dismissed the rumor of Gates’ being retained as ridiculous for weeks. Man am I eating crow now. I still say Danzig will eventually be SecDef…but, wait, there I go again! –Christian]

–John Noonan

The “Buzz” on F-22

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008


For a jauntier and updated version of some of my F-22 coverage, you can tune into my latest podcast. I did the interview with Addison Schonland, president and founder of Innovation Analysis Group, a consulting firm based in San Diego.

We spoke about the Pentagons out-maneuvering Congress on the F-22 funding and John Youngs subsequent comments slamming the Raptors availability, maintenance and costs.

– Colin Clark

Sweet New Armor Pouches

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008


BAE Mobility & Protection Systems Advanced Design Group has been pumping out some innovative load carrying solutions. In addition to recently capturing USSOCOMs armor carrier contract with the RBAV, the ECLiPSE line is beginning to hit the market. So whats next for BAE?

Poised to become a true leader in the Soldier Systems market, BAE has been working with new materials and there will be a few surprises in store at SHOT show. But for now, we can show you two products designed by Matt Campbell and Mike Walker. Both products are mounted on velcro backs and can be fitted directly to a low-viz armor carrier or to a MOLLE adapter panel.

The Elastic Ammo Pouch carries three M16-style magazines and wont lose its elasticity over time. Additionally, the fabric is durable and will resist abrasion.

The modular holster (not shown) is designed to carry a different pistol than the M9 but it will accommodate several models and specialized cuts will be available in the near future. Due to the velcro backing the holster can be carried vertically or turned 90 degrees for a horizontal carry. Additionally, the magazine can be inserted in either direction to the holsters orientation.

– Christian

Pookie Power!

Monday, November 24th, 2008

When the US military began taking massive casaulties to IEDs in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, the ever-and-always technologically minded DoD looked to procure the latest hot-topic (and expensive) anti-mine toys. The Air Force insisted that their sleek fighter jets could be used in a mine-detection role, while the Army and Marines ordered thousands of new MRAPs for mine detection, convoy duty, and road clearing.
pookie2.jpgSometimes it helps to look backwards instead of forwards. Enter the Rhodesian Pookie, an ugly little contraption that helped clear roads and highways during the Rhodesian Bush War of the 1970s. The Pookie was invented as a response to the influx of Soviet mines, by way of ZANU and ZIPRA black liberation movements, into the Rhodesian theater. With it’s light weight evenly distributed over wide Formula-1 racing tires, the Pookie carried nothing more than a slanted, v-shaped armored cab for a driver and a large mine-detector centered beneath the vehicle’s undercarriage. Only five were ever constructed, but despite small numbers, Rhodesian Pookies cleared thousands of miles of deadly mines, saving untold civilian lives.
Of course the Pookie would have been decimated in modern Iraq or Afghanistan, where radio controlled IEDS –not mines– ruled the roads. But that’s not the point. The Pookie, though inadequate for today’s fight, was a fine example of an easy military solution to a complex military problem.
Such is the lesson inherent in its design and deployment, best illustrated by DaVinci’s an old maxim: simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
–John Noonan

Insectobots Coming

Monday, November 24th, 2008


From the headlines at Military​.com:

If only we could be a fly on the wall when our enemies are plotting to attack us. Better yet, what if that fly could record voices, transmit video and even fire tiny weapons?

That kind of James Bond-style fantasy is actually on the drawing board. U.S. military engineers are trying to design flying robots disguised as insects that could one day spy on enemies and conduct dangerous missions without risking lives.

“The way we envision it is, there would be a bunch of these sent out in a swarm,” said Greg Parker, who helps lead the research project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. “If we know there’s a possibility of bad guys in a certain building, how do we find out? We think this would fill that void.“

In essence, the research seeks to miniaturize the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle drones used in Iraq and Afghanistan for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The next generation of drones, called Micro Aerial Vehicles, or MAVs, could be as tiny as bumblebees and capable of flying undetected into buildings, where they could photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists.

By identifying and assaulting adversaries more precisely, the robots would also help reduce or avoid civilian casualties, the military says.

Parker and his colleagues plan to start by developing a bird-sized robot as soon as 2015, followed by the insect-sized models by 2030.


Blackwater Shuts Down Vehicle Manufacturing (UPDATED)

Monday, November 24th, 2008


Blackwater USA, the private security and training company, has shut down a large part of its manufacturing subdivision after losing the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program and facing dwindling demand for its “Grizzly” Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle.

Reports had previously indicated that Blackwater would lay off its JLTV workers, some of whom were lured to the Moyock, N.C.-based company from Ford and Volvo. But according to sources the company is shutting down all vehicle manufacturing.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell declined to specify how many employees were laid off by the cut, but sources close to the company say about 50 workers will lose their jobs.

“Any time a specific business venture doesn’t go as planned it is disappointing,” Blackwater president Gary Jackson told Defense Tech. “After a detailed review of our vehicle manufacturing operation, we made the difficult decision to discontinue this particular business line.”

The cuts do not affect Blackwater’s manufacturing capability for firearms range systems, Tyrrell added.

Company sources also admit that the military’s shift from purchasing new MRAP II vehicles to keeping current MRAPs and outfitting them with stronger armor contributed to Blackwater’s business losses since demand for the Grizzly shrank with requirements. And industry watchers say the military will likely skip over the MRAP II design entirely and take a closer look at the MRAP Light, such as Navistar’s Maxpro vehicle.

The Army recently released a solicitation that called for nearly 10,000 so-called MRAP-All Terrain Vehicles to add to their fleet of 12,000 heavy MRAPs.

Tyrrell said the vast hanger spaces previously used to build Grizzly’s and to design their JLTV prototype will be converted into an aviation maintenance and repair center to build on the company’s already expanding contract aviation support business.

Blackwater will also soon launch a new MRAP vehicle driver’s training course at their sprawling North Carolina compound, using unsold Grizzlies to prepare troops for navigating the topheavy vehicles in tortuous terrain.


– Christian