WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is not nimble. That’s more of a problem than ever in an era where even terrorist groups can increasingly download, buy, or steal sophisticated technology. So how can America’s bureaucratic military stay ahead? While Congress is wrestling with acquisition reform, some experts both inside the Pentagon and out argue that there’s more… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: “I believe, today, we could build a Mach 5 cruise missile [with] off-the-shelf materials,” said Charles Brink of the Air Force Research Laboratory. “We could go 500 nautical miles in 10 minutes.” Brink should know: He ran AFRL’s record-breaking X-51 program. Now AFRL and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are co-funding a… Keep reading →
PENTAGON: After 20 years of unsuccessful efforts to produce a wearable display to provide foot troops digital data without blocking their view of the real world around them, DARPA has invented one called ULTRA-Vis. “The prototype was completed within the past several months. The breakthrough [was] the holographic wave guide” program manager Yiftach Eisenberg told me as he… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Prompt Global Strike is a program to build a weapon that can destroy targets anywhere on earth within an hour of getting targeting data and permission to launch. Sandia Lab and the Army may have found the answer: the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon. So far, some aspects of PGS have attracted controversy. When the Pentagon wanted… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Imagine self-healing satellites built in space. One sensor breaks down and another sensor elsewhere on the satellite takes up the slack. And the satellites are launched in modular pieces, on a series of different rockets, then are assembled by a robot arm in orbit. Parts can be replaced. The satellite can be refueled to… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Special operations types — like those who found and killed Osama bin Laden –may stand tall and do amazing things sometimes, but they tend to be fairly plain spoken. You rarely hear them say something is “astounding,” especially a new weapon. For example, one special operator recently awarded the Silver Star said he… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: You didn’t hear much about them during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but DARPA, small businesses, and universities were the people who most impressed retired Gen. Hoss Cartwright when he was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he and the services scrambled to find weapons to give American troops a… Keep reading →
COMDEF: After decades without a significant new rotocraft technology, the head of Pentagon buying says he’s going to try and fund a new initiative to move helicopters and their brethren like the V-22 ahead. It won’t be easy. “Anything is going to be very hard to squeeze into the budget,” Kendall told reporters during a… Keep reading →
Anti-submarine warfare has given rise to some of the best war movies — “Run Silent, Run Deep;” “The Hunt For Red October” and “Das Boot” come to mind.
The romance of the terror of being hunted and of the human conflict inherent in submarine warfare offers great material for auteurs. But the sometimes unbearable tension of a boat maneuvering through different temperature bands of water (thermoclines), hiding in plain sight and using high-tech spoofing and quirky sonar experts to survive in an underwater battle with other subs or destroyers lurking above may become a thing of the past if a new program run by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) succeeds. Keep reading →
New technology creates new capabilities — and new vulnerabilities. “Moving to the cloud” is the trend du jour, even in the intelligence world, but the recent attacks on the nation’s banking system has raised uncomfortable questions about how to make cloud computing secure.
“The cloud” may seem amorphous, but in reality it consists of a host of modestly capable user terminals connected to a high-powered central server or server farm. The great advantage of the cloud is that individual users can borrow capacity — storage, processing power, even entire applications — from the central server when they need it. The great vulnerability is a successful attack on the central server can compromise everyone on the cloud. Keep reading →