Archive for the MILITARY CORNER Category

How New Military Medical Advancements Save Lives (Infographic)

Posted in MILITARY CORNER, World Military Corner with tags on February 4, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4211

How New Military Medical Advancements Save Lives (Infographic)

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​Is The Military Developing Banned Laser Tech To Blind Enemy Soldiers?

Posted in MILITARY CORNER with tags on September 16, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3733

Mark Strauss

http://io9.com/is-the-military-developing-banned-laser-tech-to-blind-1634978464

​Is The Military Developing Banned Laser Tech To Blind Enemy Soldiers?

​Is The Military Developing Banned Laser Tech To Blind Enemy Soldiers?

Until the mid-1990s, the U.S. Air Force funded research on how to destroy human eyeballs at a distance with lasers. There were at least 10 such programs with names like BOSS, Nighthawk and Y-Blue. An international treaty banned these weapons, but, according to one report, the research has continued.

Writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, veteran science writer and foreign correspondent Dan Drollette, Jr. says that, at the time, the Air Force’s justification was that causing permanent blindness is no worse than shooting or bombing soldiers. In fact, from a tactical perspective, it was deemed more advantageous: a dead soldier is just dead, but a blinded one needs the help of others, thus tying up several enemy soldiers at once — similar to the thinking behind the use of landmines to blow off legs and arms.

Drolette argues that, although the laser-blinding programs have been formally canceled,development of the technology is still ongoing:

Military-funded research in this area continues to be conducted by the Optical Radiation Bioeffects and Safety program—which sometimes contracts out the work to outside engineering firms. Research and development is also being conducted by firms such as B.E. Meyers Electro-Optics, makers of a laser device called the Glare Mout Plus, while the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate of the Defense Department leads the Pentagon’s end.

It is clear that lasers are being aimed at eyes in combat situations, but the militaries involved say the intent is not to blind, but to warn or protect against attack…..The Green Laser Optical Warner, or GLOW, is meant to temporarily stun, or “dazzle” the eye with glare. With an effective range of 300 meters, or nearly 1,000 feet, GLOW is intended to be used to stop suspicious characters from approaching a military checkpoint….U.S. forces used a similar device in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Green Laser Interdiction System [GLIS], which has an effective range of a few kilometers at night.

But something bright enough to dazzle at 300 meters can cause permanent eye damage at 50 meters, and these devices can be set to deliver a narrow (and more intense) beam. To get around the ban against blinding weapons, systems like the GLIS run off of a low-power source.

Some laser dazzlers—supposedly intended for dazzling alone—are powerful enough to cause serious eye damage… There is also a domestic version of the dazzler, meant for police use…..The question is whether it could—either accidentally or after some modest intentional modification—cause lasting harm.

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

Posted in MILITARY CORNER with tags on September 2, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3691

Vincze Miklós

http://io9.com/the-loyal-dogs-who-served-alongside-human-soldiers-in-w-1629221404

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

Both cats and dogs have served as mascots and pets during wartime, but while cats were useful for pest control, dogs had a rather different set of duties, including tracking, scouting, serving as sentries, and carrying messages into battle. Here are some of the animal soldiers who served as man’s best friend in war.

Jumbo, General Joffe’s Bulldog mascot, wounded by a piece of shrapnel during the battle of Arras, 1917

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by W. G. Philips/Philips/Getty Images)

Italian soldiers with their dog team during WWI, 1917

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Victory the Bulldog posing on a tank in Trafalgar Square during a campaign to sell War Loan certificates, November 1917

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Reporters at the front line with Spanish Republican troops. Ernest Hemingway (in glasses) can be seen in the background, c. 1937

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by London Express/Getty Images)

A Bulldog stands guard outside a block of flats in South London, September 1939

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A member of the British Expeditionary Force with his mascot smiles form the train window having been safely evacuated back home from France, May 1940

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Anti-aircraft gunners using binoculars to check for enemy aircraft watched by a dog, c. 1940

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by London Express/Getty Images)

Hoy, the dog mascot of the minesweeper HMS Bangor, being held by a member of the crew, May 1941

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Arthur Tanner/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Flight Lieutenant Eric Stanley Lock, carries a dog near his aircraft featuring 26 swastikas showing his 26 Nazi kills, July 1941

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

A despatch rider in a Quebec regiment gives a lift to the regimental mascot, a British bulldog, October 1941

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Payne/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

American troops and a pet dog, looking at a scrapbook, during training in Northern Ireland, March 1942

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Army aviation cadets meet Fala, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dog, who accompanied his Chief on Tour of Inspection of Southeast War Establishments, Maxwell Field, Alabama, April 1943

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by AP)

A well camouflaged Marine is giving silent instructions to a Marine Corps jungle-trained dog on the front lines of the beachhead in Bougainville, Solomon Islands, January 1944

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by AP)

A U.S. Marine chats with his scouting dog in Guam in August 1944. These dogs were used to track down Japanese soldiers hidden in caves or jungle strongholds, and for running messages.

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by AP)

A veterinarian bandages an injured paw of Thunders of the 38th dog platoon, 85th division, September 1946

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by AP)

Lt. Joseph Leroy holds the mascot of the 35th fighter interceptor wing, in a F-15 Mustang in Korea, January 1951. The dog was found in Japan by some Air Force men, who named him Admiration.

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by AP)

Two Air Force Men and Admiration, the mascot of their wing, on a wing of a fighter plane in January 1951

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Jim Pringle/AP)

U.S. paratrooper Sgt. James R. Cone, holds a puppy that nipped him as he groped about in a cave entrance on a river bank in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, July 1966

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Henri Huet/AP)

American marines with their pet dog in Vietnam, 1968

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

A soldier of the US Seventh Marines carrying a little puppy in his pocket after rescuing it during an operation southwest of Da Nang in Vietnam, January 1968

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

U.S. Army Sgt. John Cobb keeps his dog, J.C., warm inside his coat while waiting for the arrival of the U.S. command ship, the USS LaSalle, in Kuwait City, March 1991

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by AP/Greg Gibson)

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Reese and his dog Grek waiting at a safe house, April 2007

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall/U.S. Air Force)

A military working dog wears doggles to protect his eyes as a Chinook helicopter takes off in Afghanistan, May 2010

The Loyal Dogs Who Served Alongside Human Soldiers In War

(Photo by Sgt. Jason Brace/U.S. Army)

 

US Troops Beat the Heat with New Personal AC Units

Posted in MILITARY CORNER with tags on August 14, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3602

US Troops Beat the Heat with New Personal AC Units

Federal Employee Gets Fired After Writing An Article Criticizing Nukes

Posted in MILITARY CORNER with tags on August 2, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3557        Mark Strauss

Federal Employee Gets Fired After Writing An Article Criticizing Nukes

Federal Employee Gets Fired After Writing An Article Criticizing Nukes

For 17 years, James Doyle was a nuclear policy specialist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he wrote an article that made the case for getting rid of nuclear weapons. After that, his computer was seized, he was accused of releasing classified information, and then he was fired. What happened?

Top image: French Test, photo by James Vaughan

The article, “Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?,” appeared in the journal Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, which is published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the UK. It’s not exactly a household name, but the journal has been a publishing venue for prominent academics and policy wonks since it was founded in the Cold War (hence, its rather alarmist-sounding name).

Doyle’s piece wasn’t an anti-government rant, but a lengthy argument that nuclear weapons had lost their strategic utility and value as a deterrent, that getting rid of them would enhance international security, and that this was an ideal point in time to get serious about global disarmament. In fact, Doyle praised President Obama’s vision:

Obama said in Prague that the elimination of nuclear weapons might not be achieved in his lifetime, but 2045 – 34 years from now, when Obama will be 84 – will mark the 100th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan. Three-and-a-half decades is time enough for the world to transition away from the ideology of nuclear deterrence and to dismantle the system of nuclear forces deployed in the name of national defense. Each passing year will bring the need to support Obama’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons more sharply into focus. The international community has the opportunity to honor the memory of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by eliminating nuclear weapons from the arsenals of the world within a century after they were unleashed.

This ain’t radical stuff. There are plenty of people who disagree with Doyle, but bigger names than him—including Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara and Graham Allison—have called for working towards nuclear abolition now that the Cold War is over.

But, at the time, Doyle was working as a contractor at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which receives about $2 billion annually to support activities that include the research, design and development of nuclear weapons. Awkward.

Lab Rats

Federal Employee Gets Fired After Writing An Article Criticizing Nukes

The events leading up to Doyle’s dismissal are chronicled in a new report by the government watchdog group, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).

Doyle had written the article at home, in his spare time, so Los Alamos rules didn’t require him to submit the article for classification review. But, “in the spirit of following best practice,” he did so anyway. According to the CPI investigative report:

Another laboratory employee familiar with the controversy, who spoke without approval and so asked not to be named, said that Doyle’s views upset management, but not the scientists and others who worked with him and who expect the labs to respect academic traditions of open inquiry.

“It’s a well-argued opinion piece by a subject matter expert,” the employee said. “A scientist can respect that. Los Alamos National Labs should not be political.”

Doyle’s article was published online February 1, 2013. Then, things got weird.

Five days later, his supervisor told him that senior managers wanted copies of all his publications—more than 100 articles he had written since joining the lab in 1997. The request had been made by someone at the House Armed Services Committee.

Nobody told Doyle who at the Committee had requested the information. But, as CPI notes:

It was a sensitive moment for an anti-nuclear message to emerge from within the lab. During this period, Los Alamos officials and their Republican supporters on the House Armed Services committee were trying to find the funds for a new $6.5 billion factory at Los Alamos for plutonium “pits,” the baseball-sized spheres that form the core of most nuclear weapons.

Although the Obama administration had sought to defer the project’s start, Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, who in 2012 chaired a strategic forces subcommittee, sponsored a successful amendment that year requiring construction of the factory by 2024 and authorizing $160 million to keep design work going. Obama signed the bill on Jan. 2, 2013, that included Turner’s amendment, but it still lacked support from appropriators.

Later that day, Doyle was confronted by two members of a Security Inquiries Team who told him that his article contained classified information.

Then, on February 7, Doyle attended a meeting at the office of Daniel Gerth, the lab’s chief classification officer. There, three “derivative” classifiers — experts who review documents for classified material — told Gerth that they had not found any secret information in the article. But Gerth overruled them and declared that the article was classified and tried to get it withdrawn from publication.

Federal Employee Gets Fired After Writing An Article Criticizing Nukes

Image via James Vaughn.

From there, things kept getting worse. Doyle had to surrender his home computer so that all traces of his work on the article could be expunged. He lost his high-level security clearance and was denied permission for any work-related travel.

Doyle spent the next several months protesting the retroactive classification of his article and his treatment by Los Alamos. He lodged several complaints with ethics officers at the lab and the Energy Department, without any success.

System Failure

Doyle was fired on July 8, 2014. Los Alamos said that he was being let go as part of a program of layoffs. Unsurprisingly, Doyle and others are skeptical:

Los Alamos officials did not respond to several requests for an interview with an official who could discuss the case. Derrick Robinson, a spokesman for the Energy agency’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees Los Alamos, said he was seeking official comment. But none was received by press time.

Doyle’s treatment has nonetheless already attracted criticism from former Obama appointees and from his editor at Survival….”It sure looks like he’s being fired for supporting the President’s policy,” said Jon Wolfsthal, a special adviser on nuclear matters to Vice President Joseph Biden from 2009 to 2012 who knows Doyle.

“Nobody would go after this article on classification grounds unless they were pursuing a political agenda, and it is amazing to attack someone politically for writing an article in support of a policy of the president of the United States,” said Matthew Bunn, a former White House official under President Clinton and now a nonproliferation expert at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“The classification system, of course, is not supposed to be used for political purposes,” Bunn said. “It is only to prohibit the release of information if it would damage the security of the U.S. And there’s nothing in this article that could in any way damage the security of the United States.”

Dana Allin, the editor of Survival, said in an interview he had heard that there was a reaction to Doyle’s article at Los Alamos but not that any disciplinary measures were taken. “This was a think piece,” Allin said. “This was driven by a keen understanding of concerns about nuclear deterrence. It’s the kind of thing we publish all the time.”

Doyle is now looking for work. “I pursued a career in national security with the motivation of improving the national security policy of my country,” he said. “And there’s nothing conflicting in advocating the elimination of nuclear weapons and maintaining the security of the United States.”

US Military Developing Brain Implants to Restore Memory

Posted in MILITARY CORNER with tags on July 14, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3477        Donate Button 1

US Military Developing Brain Implants to Restore Memory

 

New Evidence: Climate Change Is Disrupting U.S. Military Operations

Posted in MILITARY CORNER with tags on July 2, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3424                       Mark Strauss                  http://io9.com/new-evidence-climate-change-is-disrupting-u-s-militar-1598038924

New Evidence: Climate Change Is Disrupting U.S. Military Operations

New Evidence: Climate Change Is Disrupting U.S. Military Operations

Extreme weather conditions associated with climate change could pose a major threat to military installations. Now, a new government report says that the damage has already begun, and is having an impact on the military’s readiness for combat.

The Department of Defense has identified five climate change phenomena that could affect its operations: (1) rising temperatures; (2) changes in precipitation patterns; (3) increasing storm frequency and intensity (coastal and inland); (4) rising sea levels and associated storm surge; and (5) changes in ocean temperature, circulation, salinity, and acidity.

The Government Accountability Office was asked to assess the Pentagon’s progress in taking action to adapt its infrastructure to the challenges of climate change. In doing so, GAO researchers met with military officials and visited installations. “Officials at several locations told us that they observed multiple types of what the Department of Defense has identified as potential climate change phenomena, potential impacts, or potential vulnerabilities,” the GAO notes.

The report, publicly released today, offers a sobering look at how extreme variations in weather and temperature are already taking a toll on defense facilities. It’s worth reading in full, but here are some noteworthy excerpts:

Rising Temperatures

The combination of thawing permafrost, decreasing sea ice, and rising sea level on the Alaskan coast have led to an increase in coastal erosion at several Air Force radar early warning and communication installations. According to installation officials, this erosion has damaged roads, utility infrastructure, seawalls, and runways…..As a result, only small planes or helicopters are able to land in this location, as opposed to larger planes that could land on the runway when it is fully functional.

Daily operations at these types of remote radar installations are at risk due to potential loss of runways, and such installations located close to the coastline could be at risk of radar failure if erosion of the coastline continues. Air Force headquarters officials noted that if one or more of these sites is not operational, there is a risk that the Department of Defense early warning system will operate with diminished functionality.

 

Changes in Precipitation Patterns

Officials at an installation in the Pacific told us that in 2008 they experienced 43 straight days of rain that resulted in mud slides and flooding that damaged base infrastructure, including base housing.

By contrast, [other] officials provided examples of impacts from reduced precipitation—such as drought and wildfire risk….For instance, officials also told us that for the last 3 to 4 years, there has been a continuous drought at another nearby installation, which has led to an increased number of wildfires in the area. As a result of a 2012 wildfire, officials were unable to access or move ammunition at that installation for 4 days. At a third installation in the same area, officials explained that these drought conditions—and the threat of wildfire—have limited the types of ammunition that can be used on certain training ranges. As a result, units have had to spend extra time and money to travel to other installations to complete their required training.

 

Increased Storm Frequency and Intensity

New Evidence: Climate Change Is Disrupting U.S. Military Operations

Officials stated that they had observed increasing storm frequency and intensity and associated potential impacts such as flooding…. For example, officials at an installation located in the desert Southwest explained that flash flooding due to an intense rain event had made one of their emergency runways unusable. According to these officials, it took about 8 months for the flooding to subside. During that time, aircraft performing training and testing missions could not use the emergency runway. Although intense rain events such as the one mentioned above occur periodically in the desert Southwest, the Department of Defense recognizes in its Roadmap that increases in heavy downpours are projected to increase as a result of climate change.

 

Rising Sea Levels and Associated Storm Surge

Officials on a Navy installation told us that sea level rise and resulting storm surge are the two largest threats to their waterfront infrastructure. For example, they explained that they were planning to lengthen a Los Angeles–class submarine to convert it to a training platform and that this will entail cutting the submarine in half. During this process, the submarine will sit in a dry dock with its interior open. Officials explained that they were concerned about possible storms and associated storm surge, noting that if salt water was allowed to flood the submarine’s systems, it could result in severe damage. Such damage would delay completion of the submarine’s lengthening by 3 to 4 months.

Although the GAO gave the Pentagon high marks for its efforts to date, the agency has encouraged the Department of Defense to development a more systematic assessment plan if it hopes to finish collecting data on 7,591 installations worldwide “in a timely and complete manner.”

Unfortunately, for the time being, the Pentagon is prohibited from initiating any long-term projects to fortify or restructure its facilities to prepare for more severe weather conditions.

Last month, the House of Representatives stuck an amendment onto the National Defense Authorization Act, which stipulates that:

None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.

The amendment, which was approved by the Republican-controlled House in a 231-192 vote, was introduced by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), who said:

Our climate is obviously changing; it has always been changing. With all the unrest around the global [sic], why should Congress divert funds from the mission of our military and national security to support a political ideology. This amendment will ensure we maximize our military might without diverting funds for a politically motivated agenda.

The Pentagon and the GAO beg to differ.