LATVIAN EMBASSY, WASHINGTON: “We are neighbors of Russia and we have always been realists,” Ambassador Andris Razans told me. “Sometimes we might be characterized as alarmists, troublemakers, etc., but I think we are realists.” Even as President Obama exchanges tense words with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of today’s D-Day anniversary ceremony, many Americans and… Keep reading →
PENTAGON CITY: Hungry for answers on how to make more effective use of the tens of thousands of hours of video gathered by Predators, Global Hawks and other military eyes in the sky, Air Force officials recently visited NASCAR, the car racing people, to learn better and faster ways of mining video data.
“We have a lot of ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) information. We have too much ISR information,” Frank Konieczny, the service’s Chief Technology Officer, told a Monday lunch organized by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA). “We can tag the data, what latitude and longitude it has… but unless someone can quickly go through it on the spot we can’t correlate the data.” Most data is tagged by intelligence analysts or airmen days or weeks after a flight so it can be used for change detection analysis, to build more accurate maps or to add data to existing maps. Keep reading →
The U.S. defense industry, being reshaped by declining post-war budgets, globalization, and the increased pace of technological change, must work with the Pentagon and take proactive steps to maintain our historic preeminence on the battlefield. Our industry does not easily embrace change. In fact, history demonstrates that shifts in the defense industry have largely been… Keep reading →
China unveils a new “stealth” jet, but we don’t know how stealthy it is or when it might fly actual missions. China unveils a new aircraft carrier. Its leaders boast about extending China’s reach, but the carrier doesn’t have any planes and we aren’t sure when they might build them. Monitoring a rapidly developing China, whose language is unknown to most Americans and whose government is obsessed with secrecy, requires a degree of speculation. Perhaps by design, China makes it hard to separate fact from fiction and intent from aspiration.
Estimations of Chinese capabilities and interpretations of Chinese intent based on single-source or dated information will not yield useful analysis. Distinctions must be made between official Chinese policy and the opinions of individual Chinese researchers. This is especially true when discussing China’s space programs. Given the dual-use nature of the overwhelming amount of space technology, as well as the competitive character of U.S.-China relations, technical information can easily be misinterpreted through a prism of assumed ill intent. While the military must consider worst-case scenarios, recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have clearly demonstrated the dangers of basing policy decisions and consequent military strategies on poor technical assessments. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Despite the tremendous impact unmanned systems are having on the battlefield, military leaders still struggle to get intelligence gathered from these systems into the hands of those who need it.
The systems designed to stream raw data collected by the diverse fleet of unmanned systems in the field continued to hamstring combatant commanders and Pentagon leaders alike, Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, the Navy’s program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, said today. These systems are designed to handle the back-end of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Keep reading →
CORRECTED: We Inflated The Value of Digital Globe’s Most Recent Government Contract
San Antonio: You can smell the fear and worry here at the annual Geoint conference. The budget cuts that Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper outlined yesterday may be as deep as $40 billion over the next 10 years, sources here say. The consensus number is closer to $25 billion, but more than three sources cited $40 billion. Keep reading →