"There is no conventional or chemical or biological threat out there that we cannot counter with our overwhelming conventional forces." ~ US President Barack Obama>
The US 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) has been announced. (pdf) For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons except in "extreme circumstances", pledging not to develop new ones and limiting the use of those in storage -- even for self defense. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even in response to a hypothetical biological or chemical weapons attack, or a crippling cyberattack. The new focus will be deterrence. [more inside]
As armed UAVs (don't call them drones!) proliferate, the Pentagon is working on how to shoot down UAVs in an exercise called Black Dart (YouTube)
"The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people." - Scahill and Greenwald @ The Intercept [more inside]
The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
In 1973, a small think-tank with the mandate of anticipating and preparing for future threats was formed inside the DoD, called the Office of Net Assessment. A RAND corp strategist named Andrew Marshall was placed at its head. Forty years later, he's still at it and has survived the latest round of budget cuts - for now. [more inside]
The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure [PDF, there is a Word file direct from the DoD] is 167 pages of stories of elaborate frauds, scams, and abuses of power in the US government. Interestingly, the sarcasm-filled document is also published by the US government, to help illustrate how government workers get in trouble. Freakonomics radio has a amusing and interesting discussion with the Encyclopedia's editor and founding editor [link goes to transcript]. [more inside]
Your Favorite Army General Actually Sucks. Tom Rick's new book The Generals focuses on professional shortcomings of high-ranking Army officers, and offers a new (old) solution: fire them. "But as far as I can tell, no general has been fired for incompetence in combat since Maj. Gen. James Baldwin was fired as commander of the Americal Division in 1971." [more inside]
DARPA has developed a 1800 megapixel sensor array for use on UAVs. It is capable of spotting something as small as 6-inches while covering an area half the size of Manhattan. [more inside]
The U.S. Senate has declined to promote Captain Timothy W. Dorsey to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Dorsey, currently serving as Navy Reserve inspector general, was involved in one of the more bizarre friendly fire incidents in U.S. Military History, intentionally shooting down a U.S. Air Force jet during military exercises some 25 years ago. [more inside]
Last year, Wired reported that 'The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”' (previously) The FBI pledged reform, but the materials appeared to be deeply embedded. After the President ordered a review, the FBI 'purged' the documents from training materials. Earlier this year Wired reported that 'U.S. Military Taught Officers: Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics for ‘Total War’ on Islam.' [more inside]
The United States Department of Defense has generously "decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope." They apparently had some antiquated spy satellite hardware sitting around unused and unwanted. NASA still needs to find money to outfit them with recording instruments and pay a team to manage them, which may take 8 years
Don’t Come to the Dark Side: Acquisition Lessons from a Galaxy Far, Far Away [PDF] would seem like ordinary Star Wars fanfic, if it wasn't published in the military's usually sober journal for defense aquisitions. The lessons for the Department of Defense seem quite real, however, especially given the $31 septillion cost of the Death Star, compared to the much cheaper x-wing.
In accordance with Executive Order 10865 of 1960 & DoD Directive 5220.6 of 1992 (original PDF), the Department of Defense has published the reasons for granting or turning down applications for Clearance by 444 Defense contractor personnel in 2010 (so far).
The Pentagon's $1 Trillion Problem. Even as the Defense Department prepares to send Congress its $481.4B FY2008 budget request, it also prepares to admit -- for the 18th year in a row -- that its finances are in such poor shape that it is effectively impossible to audit or account for over a trillion dollars in past expenses. [more inside]
Then: Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq? Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question. And now: The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money? Also see here.
Pentagon bribery scandal -- Iraqi journalists bought out. Officials in Washington have admitted that the US military has bribed Iraqi journalists with under-the-table payoffs of up to $200 a month -- twice the average Iraqi monthly income -- for producing upbeat newspaper, radio and television reports about the war in Iraq. This follows a similar report yesterday that the military secretly paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of pro-American articles written by the US Information Operations Task Force in Baghdad. A Pentagon spokesman described the report as "troubling". "This article raises some questions as to whether or not some of the practices that are described in there are consistent with the principles of this department."
"What's the matter sweetie? Can't sleep?"
"No, no. I was just going over my answers to the polygraph test your dad just gave me."
"No, no. I was just going over my answers to the polygraph test your dad just gave me."
From Marine Doom to America's Army to...Starcraft? A community of military games and game developers. Eerie or excellent?
The Coalition's lack of preparation left 380 tons of high explosives unprotected in Iraq. Now it looks like the DoD tried to cover it up. Where is your surprise now? (first one is NYT)
We have some questions for you The DoD, with the help of some friendly legislatures, is getting an exemption to restrictions put in place after the scandals of the early '70s against intelligence operations inside US borders. PATRIOT Act III?
Iraq and Al-Queda Linked? The WeeklyStandard claims to have received a letter sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy to the chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee, outlining the connections between Iraq and Bin Laden. Shortly thereafter, the DOD criticizes the WeeklyStandard for mischaracterizing the memo. Story still developing...
GAO: Pentagon sold biolab gear "The Defense Department sold equipment to the public that can be used for making biological warfare agents, according to a draft report by the General Accounting Office. " Next: Anthrax on EBay?
Surprise! The Pentagon's internal problems are worse than we thought... And in other news, we still find ourselves fit to order the rest of the world around. That the Pentagon's internal management is a shambles is an understatement. Frank Spinney's testimony in June of this year demonstrates not only the complete failure of the Pentagon to manage itself, but also how the political system acts as a dangerous reinforcement, and vice versa. More important for the soldiers in the field, he also demonstrates how/why some of the tools being used are wholly inadequate and inappropriate. On a related note, does anyone else find it strange that our military planners feel a $350 billion/year budget is not sufficient to handle two "medieval countries" (Afghanistan/Iraq) simultaneously? Makes me glad we never had to take on the Soviets full bore...
US Army Introduces "America's Army" PC Game Developed by the U.S. Army and Department of Defense experts in simulations and virtual environments, America's Army blends two simulations: Soldiers, a role-playing portion, and a first-person action game, called Operations. The Army will distribute America’s Army for free through distribution partners that include leading computer game magazines, Army events, recruiting stations, and through internet download.
In 1999, India and Pakistan were closer to nuclear war than was commonly known, according to Clinton's former chief adviser on South Asia. On Monday, the Defense Department's policy chief said that "there is a risk of war" that is "very large." On Tuesday, militants attacked an army camp in Indian Kashmir and killed 30 people, including 11 women and 10 children. All this makes me very nervous. Is it just me? And adding a touch of the bizarre, India is officially researching arcane, 2300 year-old military technology that it believes will give its military a greater advantage.
Ozzy Gets His Dog Back Pipi The Pomeranian, who wandered out of the Osbournes’ Beverly Hills mansion over a month ago, changed hands several times before reaching the Nettles. Woof!
Danny pearl, did the wall street journal endanger their own reporter. The handing over of a laptop to the C.I.A and the department of Defense may hve led to the singling out of a Journal employee.
Solve Terrorism Quick in one to twelve pages. The Department of Defense wants quick solutions. Where are my crayons?
Defense Department's Anthrax Site. Wierd. Wierd. Wierd. Click on FLASH version.
FLASH: Iridium Saved. I don't get to write too many two word flashes... The DoD, specifically DISA, signed an 11th inning 2 year $72 million contract with Iridium LLC, saving them from splashing the constellation. [more...]