Thursday, February 28, 2013

Boeing Phantom Eye Completes Second Flight

Boeing Phantom Eye Completes Second Flight: Boeing's liquid hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system completed its second flight Feb. 25, demonstrating capabilities that will allow it to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions for up to four days without refueling.
During the flight, at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Phantom Eye climbed above an altitude of 8,000 feet and remained aloft for 66 minutes at a cruising speed of 62 knots before landing. The aircraft exceeded what it achieved last year during its first flight when it flew at an altitude of 4,080 feet and remained aloft for 28 minutes.

US 'can't dictate' to the world: Pentagon's new chief

US 'can't dictate' to the world: Pentagon's new chief

America cannot "dictate to the world" and must work with allies and build relationships with other nations, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said shortly after being sworn in Wednesday as the new Pentagon chief. On his first day at the job, Hagel reinforced his reputation as a reluctant warrior as he told an auditorium of civilian officials and military officers that America was a powerful country but could not accomplish its goals without forging strong alliances. "I've always believed that America's role in the world ... has been one that should engage the world. We can't dictate to the world. But we must engage in the world," Hagel said. "No nation, as great as America is, can do this on their own. We need to continue to build on the strong relationships that we have built."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

US military may take over part of CIA drone war

US military may take over part of CIA drone war: President Barack Obama's administration is looking at easing the secrecy around the drone war against Al-Qaeda by shifting control for some air strikes from the CIA to the US military, officials say.
But the move would likely not apply to drone attacks in Pakistan, where most of the bombing raids take place.
And even if the policy change is carried out, Obama has no intention of abandoning a tactic that his advisers say has decimated the Al-Qaeda network.

DOD Implements Secure Program for Mobile Devices

DOD Implements Secure Program for Mobile Devices

The Defense Department is rolling out a program that will allow users of a range of mobile devices -- working anywhere from remote battlefields to the Pentagon to rapidly share classified and protected data across all components.

More than 600,000 DOD employees, from soldiers on the front lines to Joint Staff planners, use government-issued mobile devices, mostly BlackBerry phones. Several thousand of the mobile devices in use in DOD are capable of handling classified data.

The goal of the implementation plan announced today is to ensure that mobile devices throughout the department -- as well as their apps, email and other functions, and the wireless networks supporting them -- can operate securely in often hostile and remote environments and can adapt to ever-changing technology, even as the number of users expands.

Teri Takai, DOD's chief information officer, told American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel that the challenge for the Defense Department has been to design a unified system capable of fully leveraging the potential of devices that often differ in capabilities and sophistication in a way that will allow users to communicate in a secure, wireless environment.

"We will be able to not only use multiple commercial devices, but we will have a better process for bringing new commercial devices onto the network," she added.

Takai, along with the Defense Information Systems Agency, is leading the effort, which will use commercial carrier networks capable of handling classified data.

"This new capability will actually allow us to use secure devices on [DOD's classified network] and give us more flexibility in terms of what those devices are," she said.

Takai added that the security of wireless communication amid increasingly frequent cyberattacks on government and corporate networks is chief among her concerns.

"The challenge for DOD is to balance the concern of cybersecurity with the need to have the capability of these devices," she said. But given both their ubiquity as well as their rapidly changing technology, Takai said, the Pentagon had to act quickly to develop a comprehensive program.

"The commercial mobile device market is moving so quickly, we can't wait," she said. "If we don't get something in place, we will have multiple solutions, just because the demand out there to be able to use these devices is so strong."

Officials are planning for a phased implementation involving vendor competition for development of a system that Takai suggests, given DOD's 3 million plus employees, could prove to be a model for large companies that also need to protect the transmission of both open and confidential data.

"We are paving the way for many aspects on both networks," she said.

Monitor: A Naval Shipbuilding First

Monitor: A Naval Shipbuilding First

It was a juggernaut; a Confederate 275-foot blackened structure of iron that would forever change the face of warfare.

The ship was a black-iron beast reborn from the frigate Merrimack, a burnt husk raised and armor-clad, transformed into a ship with no purpose but war. Its formidable complement boasted more than 300 men and its iron-bound hull bristled with cannons. The renamed ironclad ram, CSS Virginia, seemed unstoppable given existing maritime technology. This was the monstrosity that was being built to wreak havoc in U.S. waters, with hopes of decimating the Union Navy. The time for action was slipping through Union hands, like fingers trying to grasp water.

Through intelligence reports, Union Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles learned of the refitting of the Merrimack, which began in July 11, 1861.

Welles published an announcement in August of 1861 calling on designers to submit plans for ironclad warships to the Navy Department. One of resulting plans was for that of the Monitor.

The Monitor was almost never built. John Ericson, a Swedish-born New York engineer and inventor submitted a steamship plan for what he called, "An impregnable steam battery of light draught, suitable to navigate the shallow rivers and harbors of Confederate States." But his plan was rejected, because the board of Naval officers questioned its stability. Ericson went to Washington and personally demonstrated the soundness of his design to the board. That fateful day, the board gave him permission to build what would be the Union's answer to the CSS Virginia - a 172-foot icon of Union justice that would mete out destruction wherever it went, armed with two menacing cannons.

The engineer's plan had some characteristics that helped convince the board that his design was the right one. It was small; larger ships would have taken longer to build, time they did not have with the work on the CSS Virginia. It was completely iron; no vessel of wood could stand up to the bombardment from the battery of the CSS Virginia. It featured a revolutionary turret; the rivers and inlets of the southern U.S. were too narrow and it would be impossible for ships to turn broadsides at all times to shoot their cannons. It featured a shallow draft; the shallow waters off the coast of the South called for a ship that could maneuver nimbly.

Ericson returned to New York to begin building his ship, splitting the workload between eight New York state companies and one Baltimore comapny in order to build faster. Continental Iron Works constructed the hull, Delamater and Company built the steam engines and Novelty Iron Works formed the 8-inch thick turret.

Contracts to begin building were signed Oct. 4, 1861 and 118 days later a new type of ship was born into the world of naval supremacy. Even by 2013's standards, 118 days to build any kind of working ship is a remarkable feat but at the time that speed would seem almost impossible.

"It's a complex ship," Calhoun said. "It was a far cry from the wooden warships that were being built. Any ship that has been built in the 20th century has flaws in it and not everything goes by the book when you take the ship out to commission it. The fact that they built this brand new ship that no one had ever attempted to build before in 118 days and not have many flaws in it is remarkable."

The Monitor was a small, dynamically-designed, low lying craft with only 10 feet of draft and 987 tons displacement and a crew of only 65 Sailors.

"You will perceive by the dimensions that she is not very large, but she carries a couple of guns that throw a shot weighing 170 pounds," wrote Alban C. Stimers, a Naval Officer inspector of the ironclads, of the Monitor, in a letter to his father. "When equipped and manned ready for sea she was only 20 inches out of the water. This gives her the most singular appearance. I could not for a time get over being impressed with the idea that she was sinking."

The new ship was launched Jan. 30, 1862, outfitted over the next month and placed in commission Feb. 25 under the command of Lt. John L. Worden. After trials and modifications, Monitor received orders March 4, 1862 to move to Hampton Roads. She left New York March 6 and encountered her first challenge: stormy weather, which abundantly demonstrated both the inherent seakeeping problems of the design and some more-easily correctable technical difficulties. But her most notable challenge was only two days off. Late March 8, just a few hours after CSS Virginia had spread terror among the Union fleet, the weather-beaten Monitor arrived off Hampton Roads, where her exhausted crew spent a long night urgently preparing their ship for a battle that made history.

The Navy will honor Monitor Sailors March 8 with a graveside interment ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony for the remains of two unknown Sailors recovered from the USS Monitor shipwreck. The unknown Sailors were lost along with 14 of their shipmates when Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C. Dec. 31, 1862. All 16 Sailors will be memorialized on a group marker in section 46 of the cemetery, which is between the amphitheater and the USS Maine Mast memorial.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Army researchers develop better remote sensors | Article | The United States Army

Army researchers develop better remote sensors | Article | The United States Army

Robert Pazda says his team within the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center is accustomed to having to fit 10 pounds of equipment into a five-pound bag. But his team's latest project -- the Global Strike Near Real Time Battle Data Assessment System -- could change all that.

"The Army always wants everything smaller, lighter," said Pazda, the branch chief for Electronic Design Integration within the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Division of the center's Engineering Directorate. His team focuses on integrating electronic parts that comprise state-of-the-art devices.

The Global Strike NRT-BDA System incorporates unattended sensors and a remote warfighter interface to provide timely reporting of conditions during reconnaissance operations.

One sensor includes a chemical agent detector similar in shape and size two a two-pound soda can. The sensors are intended to be air deployed and have been tested from a P-3 Orion aircraft at 1,000 feet. The sensor is equipped with an accelerometer, which triggers the release of the cap and small parachute (ballute). Once it lands, spring-loaded legs pop open, allowing it to sit upright.

The detector is also equipped with a GPS tracking device. Once the detector has landed and the position remains the same, the device initiates the start sequence of the detector so it can detect chemical agents and other threats, in addition to seismic activity.

This detector, which was a redesign of the Joint Chemical Agent Detector, can feed information to a satellite and then to Soldiers manning a warfighter interface as far as a few thousand miles away.

One of the earlier challenges with the Global Strike NRT-BDA was fitting all three antennas onto a circuit board that was two and-one-quarter-inch in diameter. It contained a GPS antenna for location purposes, an iridium antenna that sends information up to a satellite, and a short-range communications antenna.

In a later design the short-range communication antenna was no longer required. "It's a pre or post assessment tool," Pazda said. "You could drop it and know something is there and strike, or you know something's there and avoid the area."

ECBC has collaborated with other organizations to design sensors and other parts that the Electronic Design and Integration Branch incorporated into the device. They worked with ECBC's Engineering Design and Analysis Branch, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Air Force Research Laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, Kansas State University and Smith's Detection.

There are still challenges to overcome for extended operational time. Currently, the device will last four to six hours, but the goal is to have it monitor its surroundings for several days. The Global Strike NRT-BDA has displayed survivability with plans for improvement.

Pazda said the biggest challenge his team faces is rapidly changing technology.

"My world is challenging. We do so much with electronic wizardry, but people don't realize the tens of millions of dollars that were invested in things like cell phones that took decades to perfect what we have today. That's the challenge in this electronic age, to keep up with technology since things happen at a very quick pace," Pazda said.

He noted that the first transistor was invented in 1948, and the first integrated circuit was created in 1951. In 15 years, the world has gone from cell phones to smart phones with internet functionality, to cameras and applications that can do just about anything. With the increasing pace of advances in technology, there is a greater push to keep up with the latest generation of technological changes that go along with those advances.

"We have to investigate those products and integrate the newest capabilities to support the warfighter," Pazda said.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Women at the Helm: Celebrating 2013 Women's History Month

Women at the Helm: Celebrating 2013 Women's History Month

The Navy joins the nation in celebrating Women's History Month during the month of March, as announced in Naval Administrative message 039/13, released Feb. 22.

Commands are strongly encouraged to increase their knowledge and awareness of the contributions of women to our Navy and nation by celebrating the national Women's History Month theme, "Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)" through programs, exhibits, publications, and participation in military and community events.

One Navy STEM pioneer includes Grace Murray Hopper, who wanted to put her Ph.D. in Mathematics to use for her nation in the midst of World War II. In 1943, she joined the Naval Reserves and was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1944. During World War II she worked at the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University and at the end of the war joined the Harvard faculty. Retiring as a rear admiral, Hopper, was recognized as a pioneer computer programmer, the co-inventor of Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL), and for coining the term "bug" for computer malfunctions. Hopper was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. USS Hopper (DDG 70) was commissioned as her namesake in 1997; this was only the second Navy warship to be named after a woman.

Also during World War II, the Navy launched the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) program. Along with Hopper, more than 85,000 WAVES worked in STEM fields as air traffic controllers, cryptologists, draftsmen, meteorologists, and translators during World War II.

In December 2012, history was made in the Navy's nuclear community when Lieutenant Junior Grade Marquette Leveque, assigned to the gold crew of USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), and Lieutenants Junior Grade Amber Cowan and Jennifer Noonan of USS Maine (SSBN 741) blue crew became the first female unrestricted line officers to qualify in submarines and receive their Submarine Warfare Insignia, also known as "dolphins."

Today in the Navy, female officers fill 10 percent of STEM positions, including engineering duty officers and information warfare professionals. Female enlisted Sailors make up 22 percent of the cryptology and intelligence community and 21 percent of operational ratings, including aviation warfare systems operators and sonar technicians. Female Sailors continue to excel both ashore and afloat, serving in various STEM related fields. More than 54,000 active duty women and more than 10,000 female Reservists are serving in the Navy. They make up 17.3 percent of the force and make indispensable contributions to our mission and operations. Nearly 59,000 women serve in a wide range of specialties as Navy civilians. The current Navy Total Force includes 33 active and Reserve female flag officers, 67 female senior executive service members, 56 female command master chiefs, and 6 female command senior chiefs leading from the front.

Currently, the top three highest-ranking female officers in the Navy are Vice Adm. Carol Pottenger, Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, and Vice Adm. Robin Braun. Pottenger, a surface warfare officer, was one of the first women selected for sea duty and went on to become the third commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. Howard also a surface warfare officer, was the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy when she took command of USS Rushmore (LSD 47), and in 2012 she became the first African-American woman to receive a third star in flag rank within the Department of Defense when she was promoted Aug. 24. Braun, a career naval aviator and former commanding officer of VR-48, has more than 5,800 flight hours in Navy aircraft.

The top three highest-ranking female enlisted leaders in the Navy are Fleet Master Chief Joann Ortloff, Fleet Master Chief April Beldo, and Force Master Chief Nancy Hollingsworth. Force Master Chief April Beldo, currently the Naval Education and Training Command Force Master Chief, will make history as the Navy's first female African American Fleet Master Chief when she assumes her position as the Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education (MPT&E) fleet master chief later this month.

The Navy's 67-strong Senior Executive Service also has a strong STEM presence amongst its seniormost women. Carla Lucchino, Department of Navy Assistant for Administration is the top female civilian SES. Steffanie Easter, executive director for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and master's degree in engineering management. Easter is currently leading the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program, the Department of Defense's initiative for defining affordable and sustainable fifth-generation strike aircraft.

First Littoral Combat Ship to Deploy in March

First Littoral Combat Ship to Deploy in March

During a media availability Feb. 21, Navy officials announced the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is on track to begin its first deployment March 1.

This milestone was announced by the LCS Council, a group established by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert Aug. 22, to oversee continued fleet testing and the introduction of the LCS.

"Addressing challenges identified by these studies, on the timeline we require, necessitates the establishment of an empowered council to drive the action across acquisition, requirements and fleet enterprises of the Navy," said Greenert.

The output of the council is intended to assist in maximizing the expansive potential capabilities of LCS and its associated mission packages in global fleet operations for the joint warfighter.

"I am confident we are on a path of success for LCS," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "This council will continue to unify our efforts to implement operational lessons learned from our research and development ships to further ensure successful fleet integration."

LCS ships are designed to employ mission packages that address capability gaps in the areas of surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. Due to its modular design, each LCS ship can be reconfigured to perform one of those three distinct missions in a short period of time.

Freedom's deployment will demonstrate her operational capabilities, and allow the LCS Council to evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans.

The ship will operate forward from Singapore and spend eight months in theater conducting maritime security operations, participate in international exhibitions and exercises to highlight U.S. strategic intent in the region, and reassure U.S. partners through bilateral and multilateral interoperability.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Raytheon Integrates Miniature Air Launched Decoy With UAV Platform

Raytheon Integrates Miniature Air Launched Decoy With UAV Platform: Raytheon and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. are working together to develop a highly autonomous, unmanned electronic warfare capability based on equipping GA-ASI's Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) with Raytheon's Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD).
With the Ground Verification Test phase completed November 2012 at GA-ASI's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., integration of MALD on the aircraft is estimated to conclude in 2013.
"This new offering provides unprecedented electronic warfare capability enabling remote, unmanned suppression of enemy air defenses," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems.
"Integrating MALD weaponry on remotely piloted aircraft systems is integral to maintaining air superiority in today's and tomorrow's conflicts."
When employed, MALD confuses the target integrated air defense system (IADS), and then kinetic weaponry is selectively employed to permanently disable IADS nodes, dramatically increasing electronic attack persistence in the battlespace.

Bolstering the Front Line of Biological Warfare Response

Bolstering the Front Line of Biological Warfare Response: Biological warfare agents pose more than a hypothetical threat to U.S. military servicemembers. Troops operate in hostile areas where they could come under attack from adversaries wielding bio-agents like anthrax and toxins. The first step in reacting to any such attack is knowing that it occurred. Quickly and accurately identifying the presence of airborne antigens can be difficult given their complexity, the presence of numerous similar microorganisms in the environment, and the fact that even minute quantities of a threat agent can cause infection.
The Department of Defense (DoD) employs antibody-based biosensors as its immediate tool for quickly detecting antigens-antibodies bind to antigens-but these sensors have functional limitations that can leave warfighters at risk. The two biggest liabilities involve stability and affinity. Stability refers to a sensor's ability to continue functioning as required over time and despite environmental conditions.
Affinity refers to the tightness of the bond between an antibody and an antigen; the higher the affinity, the more sensitive a biosensor is over a wider range of threats. Existing DoD biosensors, while effective, have restricted shelf lives, are quickly rendered inoperable by high temperatures and offer limited affinity.
DARPA launched the Antibody Technology Program (ATP) in 2009 to address the technological limitations of current antibody-based biosensors. The program set out with two primary goals: achieve revolutionary improvements in the stability of antibodies over time, even in extreme conditions; and control affinity in biosensors to enable detection of numerous antigens by a single unit.

Bolstering the Front Line of Biological Warfare Response

Bolstering the Front Line of Biological Warfare Response: Biological warfare agents pose more than a hypothetical threat to U.S. military servicemembers. Troops operate in hostile areas where they could come under attack from adversaries wielding bio-agents like anthrax and toxins. The first step in reacting to any such attack is knowing that it occurred. Quickly and accurately identifying the presence of airborne antigens can be difficult given their complexity, the presence of numerous similar microorganisms in the environment, and the fact that even minute quantities of a threat agent can cause infection.
The Department of Defense (DoD) employs antibody-based biosensors as its immediate tool for quickly detecting antigens-antibodies bind to antigens-but these sensors have functional limitations that can leave warfighters at risk. The two biggest liabilities involve stability and affinity. Stability refers to a sensor's ability to continue functioning as required over time and despite environmental conditions.
Affinity refers to the tightness of the bond between an antibody and an antigen; the higher the affinity, the more sensitive a biosensor is over a wider range of threats. Existing DoD biosensors, while effective, have restricted shelf lives, are quickly rendered inoperable by high temperatures and offer limited affinity.
DARPA launched the Antibody Technology Program (ATP) in 2009 to address the technological limitations of current antibody-based biosensors. The program set out with two primary goals: achieve revolutionary improvements in the stability of antibodies over time, even in extreme conditions; and control affinity in biosensors to enable detection of numerous antigens by a single unit.

SM-3 takes out medium-range ballistic missile target

SM-3 takes out medium-range ballistic missile target: A Raytheon Standard Missile-3 Block IA fired from the USS Lake Erie destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target using tracking data from a remote Raytheon sensor payload on the Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrator (STSS-D) satellites.
"This test further expands our confidence in the SM-3's ability to engage targets using remote, netted sensor targeting," said Wes Kremer, Raytheon Missile Systems' vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems.
"Launching on remote is important because it extends the engagement range of the missile, allowing ships with the SM-3 to expand the battlespace and eliminate threats sooner."
The MRBM target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility. As it rose above the horizon, the target was acquired and tracked by STSS-D. Threat data was then relayed through the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system to the ship. The ship's crew fired the SM-3 based on STSS track data and before the ship's radar acquired the target.

Walker's World: A declining West?

Walker's World: A declining West?: Europeans, seeing the keystone economy of Germany drifting back into recession, are pinning more and more of their hopes on U.S. President Barack Obama's proposal for a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to kick-start growth.
But on the evidence of this year's German conference at Harvard, Europeans are equally keen on the idea as a way to symbolize the enduring strength of the Atlantic alliance and to reassure allies made nervous by the Obama administration's talk of a strategic pivot toward the Pacific.
"Some may be concerned by the pivot but we should be more worried if the United States ignored these historic shifts under way in Asia," Frank-Walter Steinmeier, former foreign minister and current leader of the Social Democrat opposition in the German Parliament, told the conference.

China takes over Pakistan port from Singapore

China takes over Pakistan port from Singapore: China took control Monday of a strategic Pakistani port on the Arabian Sea, as part of a drive to secure energy and maritime routes that also gives it a potential naval base, sparking Indian concern.
The Pakistani cabinet approved the transfer of Gwadar, currently a commercial failure cut off from the national road network, from Singapore's PSA International to the state-owned China company on January 30.
It had not been clear when the actual handover would take place, but Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari presided over the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Monday that was broadcast live by local television.

China’s Army Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S. -

China’s Army Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S. - On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a 12-story white office tower, sits a People’s Liberation Army base for China’s growing corps of cyberwarriors.

The building off Datong Road, surrounded by restaurants, massage parlors and a wine importer, is the headquarters of P.L.A. Unit 61398. A growing body of digital forensic evidence — confirmed by American intelligence officials who say they have tapped into the activity of the army unit for years — leaves little doubt that an overwhelming percentage of the attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies originate in and around the white tower.
An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group” — to the doorstep of the military unit’s headquarters. The firm was not able to place the hackers inside the 12-story building, but makes a case there is no other plausible explanation for why so many attacks come out of one comparatively small area.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Next Phase of Modernizing B-2 Defensive Systems Starts

Next Phase of Modernizing B-2 Defensive Systems Starts: Northrop Grumman will help drive down costs and speed the availability of new hardware and software upgrades for the B-2 stealth bomber under a recently awarded contract from the U.S. Air Force.
The contract covers Technology Development (TD) Phase 2 of a multiyear effort by Northrop Grumman to modernize the B-2's defensive management system (DMS). TD Phase 2 is expected to last approximately three years.
DMS is an electronic warfare system that includes various antennas and display processors. Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's prime contractor for the B-2, the flagship of the nation's long-range strike arsenal.

Aegis Intercepts Target Using Satellite Assist

Aegis Intercepts Target Using Satellite Assist: Lockheed Martin's second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system achieved its first intercept using tracking information from the space tracking and surveillance system demonstration satellites during a Missile Defense Agency (MDA) test.
The system successfully launched and guided a Standard Missile-3 Block IA guided missile to engage a medium range unitary ballistic missile target using remote tracking information from the satellites that was integrated through the Command and Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) system.
U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS Lake Erie (CG-70) received tracking information from space tracking and surveillance satellites and launched the missile before the shipboard SPY-1 radar detected the target. The Aegis BMD Weapon System then guided the missile using tracking information from the space-based assets until the target was detected and tracked by the SPY-1 radar. The shipboard radar transmitted guidance commands to the SM-3 guided missile that intercepted the target.

Space-Based Sensors A Ballistic Missile's Worst Nightmare

Space-Based Sensors A Ballistic Missile's Worst Nightmare: Space-based sensors can expand the range and effectiveness of the U.S. Navy's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) capabilities, a recent missile defense test has shown.
Conducted Feb. 13 by the Navy and U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), an Aegis "launch on remote" test used tracking data from the Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrators satellites to form a fire control solution for the missile interceptor.
The quality and accuracy of STSS-D tracking data were sufficient for a Navy Aegis guided missile cruiser to launch a Standard Missile-3 Block 1A interceptor "on remote" before the on-board radar's track could be used to launch the interceptor.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fiscal Impacts Could Immediately Erode the Readiness of the Force

Fiscal Impacts Could Immediately Erode the Readiness of the Force

Defense leaders appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb. 12 to discuss the impacts the respective services are facing as a result of a potential sequestration and operating under a continuing resolution throughout fiscal year 2013.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mark Ferguson, testified on behalf of the Navy and pointed out how the combined effects of a yearlong CR and sequestration will reduce the Navy's ability to carry out its day-to-day mission around the globe.

"Simply stated, the combined effect of a yearlong continuing resolution and sequestration will reduce our Navy's overseas presence andadversely impact the material readiness and proficiency of our force-thus limiting the President's options in time of crisis."

Because the Navy is currently operating under a continuing resolution for this fiscal year, leaders do not have the authority to initiate new programs or adjust funding for ongoing programs.

"We will be compelled to delay the start of construction of John F. Kennedy, CVN 79, the completion of America, LHA 6, as well as cancel procurement of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and hundreds of weapons. Without congressional authority the carrier Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) must remain moored at Naval Station Norfolk rather than start her overall, and we will not be able to complete the current overhaul of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)," said Ferguson.

Ferguson went on to explain how these "debilitating effects will be compounded by the devastation of sequestration should it execute in its present form on March 1."

Other service leaders testifying included Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter, Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert F. Hale, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Mark A. Welsh, III, and Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank J. Grass.

Carter explained that while military personnel are exempt from Sequestration cuts, there is a significant impact on the civilian force. DoD civilians are mostly people at depots and shipyards fixing the Navy's equipment, and 44 percent are veterans, according to Carter. Many of them could be furloughed as much as 22 days or a fifth of their paychecks would be gone.

"The immediate impact will be to our fleet operations and depot maintenance," Ferguson said. "We anticipate reducing flight operations and underway days for our deployed forces, cancelling deployments...suspending most non-deployed operations such as training and certifications, along with other cost-cutting measures.

"We will immediately erode the readiness of the force. Over the long term the discretionary budget caps under sequestration will fundamentally change our Navy. We will be compelled to reduce our force structure - our end strength," explained Ferguson.

The military leaders were mixed on the desire to postpone a potential sequestration.

Ferguson pointed out that the fiscal impacts are not limited to operational concerns today.

"Like many Americans our Sailors, civilians and their families are experiencing increased anxiety as a result of this fiscal uncertainty - such as the Truman Strike Group. We must be mindful of the corrosive effect of this uncertainty on the morale of our people and be vigilant regarding the potential effects of Sequestration on the propensity of our force to stay with us and of new recruits to join. Accordingly, we will make every effort to sustain family and Sailor support programs," Ferguson added.

Each of the military leaders echoed the real and immediate concerns of the DoD's ability to provide America's defense at current readiness levels if the combined sequestration and a yearlong continuing resolution become reality.

Obama vows to get tough with North Korea

Obama vows to get tough with North Korea: President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday to take "firm action" with US allies against North Korea and South Korea accelerated a planned upgrade to its offensive missiles after Pyongyang's third nuclear test.
China, North Korea's trade and financial lifeline, signed up to a UN Security Council declaration accusing the communist state of standing in "grave violation" of UN resolutions amid global condemnation of Tuesday's blast.
The Council highlighted its threat made last month -- after North Korea breached UN resolutions by firing a long-range rocket -- to take "significant action" if Pyongyang went ahead with the nuclear test.

Obama moves to defend infrastructure from cyberattacks

Obama moves to defend infrastructure from cyberattacks: Warning that cyberattacks pose a danger to US security, President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Tuesday designed to better protect critical infrastructure from computer hackers.
Obama, in his annual State of the Union speech to a joint session of the US Congress, said the United States is facing a "rapidly growing threat from cyberattacks."
Obama said his executive order would "strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy." The president also urged Congress to pass legislation "to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks." The executive order calls for voluntary reporting of threats to US infrastructure, such as power grids, pipelines and water systems. The directive, which follows two failed attempts in Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation, allows the government to lead an information-sharing network but stops short of making mandatory the reporting of cyber threats.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Javelin Demonstrates Extended Range Capability in Recent Tests

Javelin Demonstrates Extended Range Capability in Recent Tests: The Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture recently demonstrated the ability of the Javelin missile to engage targets beyond its current maximum range requirements during a series of tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
During the U.S. Army tests, the Javelin system acquired and engaged targets up to 4,750 meters.
Demonstrating Javelin's extended range performance will further enhance survivability of the dismounted Javelin gunner in combat.

"Most vehicle requirements are for a missile that can engage a target at 4,000-plus meters," said Barry James, Javelin Joint Venture vice president and Javelin program director in Lockheed Martin's Missiles and Fire Control business. "The results of these tests indicate the fire-and-forget Javelin missile can potentially be used in both vehicle and dismounted roles."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

US may use preemptive cyber strikes: report

US may use preemptive cyber strikes: report: A secret legal review has concluded the US president has the power to order preemptive cyber strikes if credible evidence suggests a major digital attack is imminent from abroad, a report said Monday.
The New York Times, citing unnamed officials, said the finding will shape new rules on how military and intelligence agencies can defend US network infrastructure and mine foreign computer systems to detect attacks.
The report comes amid new concern about the power of cyberwarfare, and its potential to take out defense networks, major technological infrastructure, and facilities like power plants or financial systems.
One senior US official quoted by the Times said those behind the review had determined that cyberweapons were so powerful that -- like nuclear weapons -- they should be unleashed only on the direct orders of the commander-in-chief.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Airmen gear up for largest B-1 modification

Airmen gear up for largest B-1 modification: Sustainment-Block 16, or SB-16, includes significant upgrades to the B-1, including the Fully Integrated Data Link and Central Integrated Test System in the aft station and the Vertical Situation Display Upgrade in the front station. Included under the umbrella of SB-16, the B-1 will also receive navigation, radar and diagnostic upgrades.

The VSDU upgrades the B-1's forward cockpit by replacing two unsupportable, monochrome pilot and co-pilot displays with four multifunctional color displays, giving the pilots more situational awareness data in a user-friendly format.

The B-1 FIDL will give the aft cockpit new digital avionics including a Link 16 data link that adds line-of-sight capability to the B-1's existing beyond line-of-sight Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol data link and integrates the JREAP, data onto new, full-color displays with intuitive symbols and moving maps.

The CITS upgrade adds a new color display in the aft cockpit and replaces an obsolete computer that continuously monitors the aircraft's performance. It is used by flight and ground support personnel to identify and troubleshoot B-1 system anomalies.

These three modifications fall under the Integrated Battle Station initiative, which is slated to be installed concurrently through 2019.

No new bases in Asia: US commander

No new bases in Asia: US commander: The United States' pivot to Asia will not mean any new bases in the region, but existing alliances will be strengthened and modernised, the chief of US Pacific Command (PACOM) told reporters Friday.
"The US has no intention of establishing more bases" in Asia, Admiral Samuel Locklear told reporters in a telephone news conference from PACOM headquarters in Hawaii.
"What we hope to do with our partners... is to continue to operate closely," he said, adding "this part of the world has been pretty safe" in the past 60 years.