31 December 2008

USAF: Thunderbirds release 2009 schedule

12/30/2008 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, "Thunderbirds," has announced its 2009 air show schedule. In their 56th season, the Thunderbirds are scheduled to perform more than 73 shows in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Far East.

Entering his second season, Lt. Col. Greg Thomas, the team's commander and leader, welcomes the opportunity to again represent the nearly 700,000 active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and civilian Airmen, serving in the United States and overseas.

The 2009 schedule is as follows:

21-22 Luke AFB, AZ
28-29 MacDill AFB, FL
4-5 Keesler AFB, MS
18-19 Ceiba, Puerto Rico
25-26 Langley AFB, VA
2-3 Robins AFB, GA
9-10 Branson, MO
15-17 Andrews AFB, MD
23-24 Wantagh, NY (Jones Beach)
27 USAF Academy, CO
30-31 Ellsworth AFB, SD
6-7 Hill AFB, UT
13-14 Ocean City, MD
20-21 Dover AFB, DE
27-28 Helena, MT
4-5 Battle Creek, MI
11-12 Peoria, IL
18-19 Dayton, OH
22 Cheyenne, WY
25-26 Milwaukee, WI
8-9 Vienna, OH (Youngstown ARB)
15-16 Chicago, IL
19 Atlantic City, NJ
22-23 Selfridge ANGB, MI
29-30 Hillsboro, OR
5-7 Cleveland, OH
12-13 Sacramento, CA
19-20 Hickam AFB, HI
7-8 Homestead ARB, FL
14-15 Nellis AFB, NV

Aerospace: The Rare of the Rare

For some real rare and interesting aircraft photos, GO HERE!

COMM: World wide cell phone usage booming

Tom Barnett
(International Policy & Resilience, Strategic Briefer) suggests the below read;

As predicted, it's not one-laptop-per-child that triggers the online growth
TECHNOLOGY & HEALTH: "Poorer Nations Go Online on Cellphones," by Tom Wright, Wall Street Journal, 5 December 2008.
Long predicted by smart observers.
Heck, I do almost half my web surfing on my phone now.

NewsMax Magazine offers the following;
More Than 1/6 of Households Have Only Cell Phones

WASHINGTON -- The portion of homes with cell phones but no landlines has grown to 18 percent, led by adults living with unrelated roommates, renters and young people, according to federal figures released Wednesday.
An additional 13 percent of households have landlines but get all or nearly all calls on their cells, the survey showed. Taken together, that means about three in 10 households are essentially reachable only on their wireless phones.
The figures, covering the first half of 2008, underscore how consumers have been steadily abandoning traditional landline phones in favor of cells. The 18 percent in cell-only households compares with 16 percent in the second half of 2007, and just 7 percent in the first half of 2005.

SAFETY: Lessons learned from Columbia tragedy

Hard lessons indeed.

WASHINGTON — When the first of many loud alarms sounded on the space shuttle Columbia, the seven astronauts had about a minute to live, though they didn't know it.

The pilot, William McCool, pushed several buttons trying to right the ship as it tumbled out of control. He didn't know it was futile.

Most of the crew were following NASA procedures, spending more time preparing the shuttle than themselves for the return to Earth.

Some weren't wearing their bulky protective gloves and still had their helmet visors open. Some weren't fully strapped in. One was barely seated.

In seconds, the darkened module holding the crew lost pressure. The astronauts blacked out. If the loss of pressure didn't kill them immediately, they would be dead from violent gyrations that knocked them about the ship.

In short, Columbia's astronauts were quickly doomed.

A new NASA report released Tuesday details the chaotic final minutes of Columbia, which disintegrated over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003.

The point of the 400-page analysis is to figure out how to make NASA's next spaceship more survivable. The report targeted problems with the spacesuits, restraints and helmets of the Columbia crew.

More here....

EDITORS WARNING, the FoxNews article includes graphic details.

Aerospace: New for 2009 the ICON

On the shore of Lake Isabella, about 150 miles north of Los Angeles, a crowd of flight techs, most of them either pierced or tattooed, swarms around a small white airplane. It's called an Icon A5. It's a collaboration between an F-16 pilot and a skateboard designer, and it looks like an odd, rakish sea monster.

Today is the plane's first flight. Aeronautical calculations, computer simulations, and wind tunnel tests have been performed, of course. And yet ... every maiden flight is a dance with death. If all that math was foolproof, after all, no one would need test pilots...

More here...

30 December 2008

CTWG: Holiday message from the Commander

To All CTWG Officers

Commanders and CAC Reps - Please Also Share With Your Cadets

The past year has brought both unprecedented challenges and new opportunities to the officers and cadets of the Connecticut Wing. At year's end, our nation is in the grip of the most severe economic downturn of the past seventy years. This has spelled financial hardship for a number of our members and their families. It has also necessitated budget cuts at both the federal and state level. Despite this harsh reality, the Connecticut Wing has secured state funding for two key missions – the Long Island Sound Patrol and the ETHOS (Eyes of the Home Skies) missions focusing on critical infrastructure. We have made similarly impressive strides in widening our Counter Drug program.

Once again, our wing has performed enviably well in hours flown per aircraft - and we have done this safely. We have brought many new talented pilots aboard, and we have trained many personnel to become mission pilots and mission observers. We continue to lead the nation in the narrowband communications transition.

The success of a wing is due in large part to the success of its squadrons. I have told my Command Staff, "I often think about the 103rd, but I never worry about them." Royal Charter and Thames River have remained our solid anchors in ES response, and both have grown even stronger. Concerted efforts to turn the 399th into our third hard-flying unit have succeeded, and New Haven and Stratford are following suit. Northwest Hills contributes impressively to our ground search and rescue capability.

CK Hamilton is under dynamic new management, and is now moving to the Southington Armory. In true CTWG tradition, they will assume the name of the hosting Guard unit, and will become the 186th Composite Squadron. Silver City will soon move to Meriden Markham Airport. Danielson (famous for their bivouacs) has shown that small squadrons can make a big difference. The 169th has been making the difference in Manchester... for over fifty years now. Planning is already under way to charter a new senior unit in the Greenwich-Stamford area in early 2009.

The 143rd scored triple honors with the Wing's Squadron of Merit, the Region's Squadron of Distinction, and a Unit Citation. Their own C/Col Everett Hill (our latest Spaatz Cadet) became the Region's Cadet of the Year. Stratford captured the Cadet Competition, and with it, the Col. Charles B. Shutter Award. Thames River cadets captured the Commander's Cup for Model Rocketry.

Wing Headquarters turned in a fine performance at the quadrennial Command Inspection. According to CAP/USAF, our Guided Training Exercise was a big success. The Wreaths Across America program went very well for the third year running, and we will widen our participation in 2009. We are already ramping up for Encampment at Niantic next July, and for a revamped and expanded Wing Conference at the University of Connecticut next October.

I extend my congratulations to the officers and cadets of the Connecticut Wing in making the past year a success. Let us continue to work together to build upon our accomplishments, and to make 2009 even better.

Semper Vigilans... Semper Volans

Pete Jensen, Col, CAP
Connecticut Wing

29 December 2008

SAR: New federal laws impact search and rescue groups

Report from New Mexico; As a result of a congressional mandate, support of search and rescue volunteer groups must be approached differently in the future.

Lincoln County Manager Tom Stewart notified county commissioners last week that Congress passed a revision to a program called Title III, dealing with national forest "which appears to no longer permit equipment purchases or general support for search and rescue, but does fund actual operational costs of searches and rescues."

In the past, equipment and support requests from White Mountain Search and Rescue, the local rescue organization, were funded primarily and intermittently by a distribution from the federal government to the county through Title III, he said.

To keep envisioned support constant, he advised Sue Townsend with the rescue group that the 2008-2009 request from the county for $4,140 will come from the general fund instead of from Title III.
"What concerns me in the future is your organization's ability to document costs of actual searches and to submit them in some form for reimbursement by the county," he wrote Townsend.

"I envision an eventual change in our contract to capture this potential reimbursement and am interested in learning of how your organization would propose to capture such costs of actual searches."

More here….

SAFETY: Plane accidentally starts moving with 6-year-old inside

PALESTINE, Texas — Federal investigators are looking into an accident involving a small plane at an eastern Texas airfield that injured a 6-year-old girl.

Palestine fire officials said the girl was alone in the Cessna 150 when her 81-year-old grandfather, Virgil Fielden of Fairfield, manually started the engine of the two-seat plane Sunday afternoon.
Fire Capt.

Kyle Betterton says the plane began rolling unexpectedly and crashed into nearby woods. He says it never left the grounds of Palestine Municipal Airport.

More here…

SAFETY: Harrier crashes in NC

HAVELOCK, N.C. — A Marine jet has crashed near a base in eastern North Carolina, killing the pilot.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point spokesman Mike Barton said the single-seat AV-8B Harrier crashed about 12:15 p.m. in woods near one of the base's two runways. Local authorities say the crash did not affect any of the few homes in the area.

Officials said the crash occurred about 12:15 p.m. in woods off N.C. Highway 101, not far from a terminal for a state Department of Transportation ferry that crosses the Neuse River.

Another Harrier crashed in February near the base, but the pilot wasn't injured.

More here…

28 December 2008

OSINT: History, F4-U pilot finally coming home

Marine Pilot Missing In Action From WWII Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Maj. Marion R. McCown Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, of Charleston, S.C. He will be buried on Jan. 18 in Charleston.

Welcome home, Marine.

More here...

AEROSPACE: The S-3 Viking retires

After a final deployment in Iraq supplying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, the Checkmates have re-deployed stateside. The last War Hoover squadron will disestablish in January.

More here...

OSINT: Weekly Current Affairs Sitrep

This post inaugurates the weekly Current Affairs Sitrep. We will cover international news of interest and any other hot topics from anywhere in the world - presented to the reader without opinion (well, without out ours at least). Readers, feel free to suggest any country or professionally related topic of interest and we will try to include background for your query in future postings.

28 December 2008

Israel: Covered in a previous post today.
Iran: Iran orders Muslims to defend the Palestinians
Syria: Syria condemns 'barbaric crime' in Gaza
Bahrain: Terrorists trained in Syria caught before acting (Home of US 5th Fleet).
Russia: Russia braced for unrest
Kazakhstan: Bans foreign visitors from Russian leased space center and other territories
Iraq: Civilian deaths fall in Iraq
Afghanistan: Senator (the only active member of the services, a US Army Reserves Col) trades suit for uniform
China: Chinese navy to join anti-piracy efforts
Indonesia: Marking 4 years since the Tsunami disaster
Australia: May take Gitmo detainees
Venezuela: Seizes more private assets, gold mines this time
Mexico: Presidential guard detained in drug case
Great Britian: British PM Brown, calls for a new relationship with the US
Germany: Daily neo-nazi attacks up 30%

Editors note: Interestingly, it was real tough to get important news for Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Greece and the rest of Europe as most of the front page news revolved around hockey, skiing and in France's case - sailing...

OSINT: Current Affairs - Israel - Palestine conflict heats up

The ceasefire is over. News on the Gaza attacks below and more on air and ground war preparations in Lebanon after the jump.

"Israel launched its massive air attack Saturday eight days after Hamas terminated the agreed six-month Gaza ceasefire by showering missiles and mortar rounds on 250,000 Israeli civilians day after day. They kept on falling even as Israel opened the crossings to allow 90 trucks of food and medicines to cross into the Gaza Strip. A further 30 trucks of assistance required by international aid agencies went through from Israel Sunday."

"The Israeli cabinet Sunday, Dec. 28, approved call-up orders for 6,500 reservists the day after Israel's devastating assault on hundreds of Hamas military sites in Gaza, in which 282 Palestinians, 90 percent in uniform, were killed. Two thousand were recruited Saturday. Hamas activated its Iran-made improved Grad Katyusha unit, sending rockets winging as far as Moshav Bnei Ayish near Yavne to the northeast and the big port city of Ashdod to the north, both nearly 40 km from the Gaza Strip..."

More here and here...

27 December 2008

CAP: Reputation & Recruiting

The Arlington Wreath Project, including footage of CAP Cadets, has now been viewed by over 200,000 YouTube viewers.

26 December 2008

CADET: Kit up!

SOCOM Back pack competition:

While there still is no official announcement, Granite Gear and their partner Montgomery Marketing Inc have announced that they have captured at least some of the SOCOM Pack program. Two packs were out for competition and they have won the Patrol Pack category with their 2400 cubic inch Raid pack and they will begin manufacturing within 60 days.

Mystery Ranch, long thought to be the leader in the large Recce Ruck category has won and will be offering a custom design based on their internal frame technology.

More here...

OSINT: Farewell From the Commander & Chief

USAF interview with President Bush pending his retirement.

AEROSPACE: New Russian missile liquidated

“After its firing from the submarine Dmitry Donskoy, the Bulava missile self-liquidated and exploded into the air” - Russian MoD spokesman to Interfax 23 Dec 08.

Analysis from the US Naval Institute blog here...

OSINT: Current Affairs, Pakistan moves troops to border of India

Intelligence Officials: Pakistan Moving Troops Toward Indian Border
Friday, December 26, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, intelligence officials said.

The move represents a sharp escalation in the standoff between the nuclear-armed neighbors and will hurt Pakistan's U.S.-backed campaign against Al Qaeda and Taliban taking place near Afghanistan's border.

Two intelligence officials said the army's 14th Division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled.

More here...

DHS: Homeland Security 5 Year Threat Assesment

Analysts look at the DHS 5 Year Threat Assesment:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The terrorism threat to the United States over the next five years will be driven by instability in the Middle East and Africa, persistent challenges to border security and increasing Internet savvy, says a new intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press.

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks are considered the most dangerous threats that could be carried out against the U.S. But those threats are also the most unlikely because it is so difficult for al-Qaida and similar groups to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots, according to the internal Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013.

More here... and Here...

25 December 2008

Aeropace: Titan II

From the National Review Online (NRO):

"The Titan II missile was the largest nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile ever in the U.S. fleet. Just over 100 feet long, powered by two liquid-fuel rocket engines, it was the same vehicle used to launch the Gemini manned space missions in the mid-1960s. The warhead was also the biggest ever on an American missile, the nine-megaton load dwarfing anything in the U.S. arsenal today."

More here...

24 December 2008

Morale: The sheepdogs are on guard tonight

The anniversary of Bastogne caused me to think about a great many things. A parent and two uncles all of whom are gone now. All of whom served in WWII but seldom spoke of it. I think of my own family and I won't ever forget the men and women serving overseas.

Many will remember the HBO series “Band of Brothers”. Some say it is the greatest war film of all time. Regardless of opinion, the movie is a unique depiction of world history and a phenomenally moving piece of cinematography.

Above is the only rendition of “Requiem for a Soldier”, the movies theme song, that I have ever heard with words.

Today, my family is very happy to have adopted a solder serving overseas through the Soldiers Angels organization. Our first adoptee a few years earlier, did not make the trip home from Iraq. A coward killed him with an IED. We all sting from that.

Our “new” adopted soldier Brandon, served in Iraq two years ago where he was awarded the Purple Heart after another, similar IED attack. He re-enlisted shortly thereafter and was promoted to Sgt. He serves in Easy-Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne - the fully reconstituted “Band of Brothers”. Before they shipped out to Iraq they enjoyed the rare opportunity to meet the still living members of that same unit, the ones that fought in WWII, the ones whose horrors and successes were depicted in the movie. To say their history, the sheer weight of it, affects everything the unit does today is an understatement.

Tonight, they sit on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan watching, waiting, knowingly being watched by the Taliban at the same time. Sometimes their life is astoundingly quiet, even boring. Sometimes, the forward operating base takes incoming mortars every hour, all day and night. But our soldier, the one who is always smiling in his photos with his brothers in arms and especially with his lovely wife and child leads us to believe that he, no... that they, are all committed and that they will be victorious. This Christmas Eve we are pleased to know, somewhere there are those who accept the life of the sheepdog and its responsibilities. They do what has to be done to protect the helpless and those they love.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

2nd Lt Rob Johnson
CTWG Public Affairs

AEROSPACE: History Apollo 8, 40 years ago today

Frank Borman:
“From the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you - all of you on the good Earth.”

More here from Steeljaw Scribe...

SAR: Colorado fatal crash found and one aircraft is still missing

Northwestern Colorado Plane Crash Kills 2

A single-engine airplane crashed near the small northwestern Colorado town of Hayden on Monday, killing both people on board, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The Piper PA-46 plane was headed to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport from Hutchinson, Kan., when it lost radio contact early Monday afternoon about 10 miles southeast of Hayden, FAA regional spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

Heavy snow was falling at the time.

Search and rescue crews were dispatched after the fixed-wing aircraft failed to arrive at the airport. Routt County search and rescue crews found the wreckage at about 4:40 p.m. Monday just west of Hayden.

The Moffat County sheriff's office identified the victims as Joseph and Suzette Brumleve of Steamboat Springs. FAA records show the plane was registered to Joseph Brumleve.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are scheduled to arrive at the scene sometime Tuesday, the sheriff's office said.

Also Monday, Costilla County sheriff's Sgt. James Chavez said bad weather continued to prevent crews from reaching the wreckage of a small plane that crashed over the weekend in mountains in the southern Colorado.

The Beechcraft Baron, registered to a party in Canada, landed in Pueblo around 6:15 p.m. Saturday to refuel before heading to Santa Fe, N.M. The FAA alerted sheriff's officials after losing contact with the plane that night.

More here...

DHS: Homeland Security, The TV Series

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ratings champion "American Idol" will face serious competition when it returns next month: the Department of Homeland Security.

"Homeland Security USA," an ABC reality series debuting Jan. 6, tracks the daily efforts of the federal workers responsible for safeguarding the nation's airports, borders, waters and anyplace else threats might arise.

While viewers see the mechanics of agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration, absent is discussion of such hot-button issues as post-Sept. 11 security programs or immigration policies. That's by design, said series executive producer Arnold Shapiro, whose credits include "Rescue 911" and "Big Brother."

"It doesn't have a political point of view," Shapiro said. "It's not meant to show the (department) higher-ups .... just the average men and women on the front lines protecting our country from various things illegal and dangerous."

"Homeland Security USA" has a week to win viewers before it has to face Fox's hit singing contest, back Jan. 13.

The ABC series, filmed with the department's cooperation, is a virtual travelogue in the first episode as it skips from border crossings at Blaine, Wash., and San Ysidro, Calif., to Los Angeles International Airport to a mail processing plant...more at the above link...

CTWG: Wet Rate Adjustments

To All CTWG Pilots
On December 15, Wing announced the transition to a wet rate, and the fact that we would catch up (and stay caught up) on our pilot billings.

Our recently-announced C-172 wet rate ($90) is higher than the estimated cost to pilots that we announced in October ($76). The reason for the increase was to accommodate oil, maintenance outside of National's central program, engine pre-heats, bad debts, etc. National has advised wings and regions to factor that into wet rates.

This has led to a minor injustice (Wing quoting one rate, and then charging another, albeit both very low). We will now correct this.

The C-172 wet rate of $90 will be effective January 1 2009. For 2008 flights, we will use the estimate of $76 that we announced in October. If you have already paid your bill, we will credit you for the difference ($14/hr), and we will tell you how much that difference is. You can be refunded, or better yet... you can fly it off! If you haven't paid your bill yet, we will issue updated invoices early next month.

The C-182 wet rate of $110 will be effective January 1, 2009. Since we estimated $114back in October, we will use the lower of these two rates. Therefore, the $110 wet rate will also apply for 2008 flights.

Peter Jensen, Col, CAP
CTWG, Commanding

23 December 2008

OSINT: History, Bastonge

Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, Division Artillery Commander of the 101st Airborne Division

"The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands. There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note. If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours' term. All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well known American humanity.

The German Commander. "

To the German Commander:


The American Commander.

CAP: Down Aircraft Spotted

Wreckage Of Missing Plane Found

Unknown If Anyone Survived Crash

POSTED: 11:31 am MST December 21, 2008
UPDATED: 1:50 pm MST December 21, 2008

DENVER -- A Civil Air Patrol aircraft spotted the wreckage of a small plane that went missing Saturday near the Colorado-New Mexico border.

The wreckage was spotted about 18 miles due south of Whiskey Pass shortly after noon, said Incident Cmdr. Lt. Col. Earl Sherwin.

It is not known how many people were on board or their condition.

An El Paso County Sheriff Search and Rescue team has been dispatched to the crash site.

Sherwin said the crash is at 11,800 feet and will be considerably difficult to get to.

Whiskey Pass is west of the town of Trinidad.

The Baron was headed to Santa Fe from Canada and was on a flight plan when it disappeared.

A Beechcraft Baron is a light twin-engine plane and can hold up to six people including the pilot.

Aerospace: F15 Afghanistan

Too beautiful to ignore. Hat tip to BlackFive.net.

AEROSPACE: Careers in USAF Aviation


22 December 2008

MORALE: Movie, Pearl Harbor

“There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.”

AEROSPACE: 1969-1981 to today...

Too cool not to post. A design that had its maiden flight in 1981 on top of a design that had its maiden flight in 1969.

OSINT: Calls for force cuts start

The NY Times starts the drum beat for military spending cuts. The USAF (besides the F22)is tagged below... What this means for CAP is unknown, more or less work?

"Trim the active-duty Navy and Air Force. The United States enjoys total dominance of the world’s seas and skies and will for many years to come. The Army and the Marines have proved too small for the demands of simultaneous ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are the forces most likely to be called on in future interventions against terrorist groups or to rescue failing states. Reducing the Navy by one carrier group and the Air Force by two air wings would save about $5 billion a year."

"Making these cuts will not be politically easy. The services are already talking up remote future threats (most involving a hostile China armed to the teeth with submarines and space-age weapons). Military contractors invoke a different kind of threat: hundreds of thousands of layoffs in a recession-weakened economy. We are all for saving and creating jobs, but not at the cost of diverting finite defense dollars from real and pressing needs — or new programs that will create new jobs."

"The cuts above could save $20 billion to $25 billion a year..."

However, rather than just cutting - the writer suggests moving the savings to 1) Ground forces, 2) Build more Navy Littoral combat ships (supporting ground operations) and 3) Resupply and repair for the National Guard and Reserves.

The rest of the story here...

21 December 2008

MORALE: Santa cleared for Mil airspace

by Senior Airman Andrew Polvino
316th Wing Public Affairs,USAF

12/19/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The secretary of Transportation and Santa Claus signed a flight certificate Dec. 18 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., that authorizes Santa to fly through military airspace in order for him to successfully deliver all his gifts to children across the nation.

The certificate, also signed by Col. Steve Shepro, 316th Wing commander, explains how the military is opening up airspace called "Santa Skylanes" so Santa can deliver gifts to good boys and girls in time for Christmas.

"We know Santa Claus must adhere to a really tight schedule to get to every house on his list," Secretary Mary E. Peters said. "Allowing him to use military airspace will ensure that the crowded sky won't mean empty stocking on Christmas morning. It just wouldn't do to have the 'Gridlock Grinch' stealing Christmas."

Secretary Peters said the temporary use of military airspace for civilian flights, made available by the Air Force significantly reduced travel times during last year's holiday period. Last year's "Holiday Express Lanes" allowed some East Coast flights to trim more than 100 miles off their trips, while 4,800 flights used California military airspace saving 96,000 miles.

More here...

SAFETY: CAP Pilot dies in crash

A veteran flyer was the only person aboard a deadly plane crash near Goodland, Florida.

"When the 74-year-old Naples Civil Air Patrol member wasn’t flying, there was a good chance he was chatting someone’s ear off about flying."

“He loved to fly and he loved to talk about it,” said Richard Gentil, owner of the Naples Air Center. “He would come in even if he wasn’t flying. He would stop by to say hello.”

So it was no surprise that on Wednesday night Simpson, a recent widower, was in the air piloting the single-engine Cessna 172 he rented from the center, where he was a regular.

Authorities say that around 7:40 p.m., while flying south in the pitch black sky towards Goodland, Simpson crashed in a mud flat just off of Coon Key. He was killed in the wreck.

Goodland residents who live near the crash site reported hearing a loud whining noise followed by an explosion on Wednesday night. Daylight revealed the twisted and mangled remains of the Cessna near a forest of mangroves.

On Thursday, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration descended on Collier County in an attempt to solve the mystery of why Simpon’s plane crashed.

More here...

CAP: Gerogia Squadron Named CAP Squadron of Distinction 2008

The Peachtree City-Falcon Field Composite Squadron has been named the nation’s premier Civil Air Patrol (CAP) squadron.

The unit has won the 2008 National Squadron of Distinction Award for outstanding accomplishments in the cadet program.

Southeast Region Commander Col James Rushing; Georgia Wing Commander
Col James Hughes; and Group III Commander Lt Col Joe Knight Jr. were on hand at a recent meeting to present the squadron with this prestigious award.

Also in attendance were U.S. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland and Georgia State Senator Ronnie Chance. The Congressman and Senator presented squadron member Cadet Captain Aaron Pendleton with the Amelia Earhart Award. The Earhart Award is the third highest award a cadet may earn in CAP. Cadets must meet stringent leadership, academic, and physical fitness requirements, and also pass an arduous 100 question comprehensive exam to merit this award.

More here...

18 December 2008

AEROSPACE: NAVY's new unmaned bomber - but wait one, wasnt this in a movie?

Unmanned carrier bomber jet unveiled

PALMDALE, Calif. — The Navy’s plan for its future carrier air wing took a leap into autonomous flight on Tuesday with the unveiling here of a stealthy, bat wing-like unmanned jet.

Dubbed Air Vehicle 1, the X-47B aircraft is the first of what will be two demonstration aircraft built by Northrop Grumman Corp. It was designed to test the idea of an autonomous airplane that would launch and recover on Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and conduct strike and other missions — without the hands-on controls of an onboard pilot.

More here...

AEROSPACE: Proper preflight planning prevents...

Balanced Field Length

Hat Tip to NeptunusLex

December 18th, 2008 · Flying
The pilots of single-engine aircraft are required to compute expected take-off distance using aircraft gross weight, temperature, pressure altitude, forecast winds and runway gradient, taking into account obstacle clearance at the departure end. It’s good to know that the runway you intend to use is long enough for the use you intend.

In the A-4 Skyhawk, students were additionally expected to calculate a “line speed” check to ensure that the engine was operating at the minimum acceptable thrust after having traveled a thousand feet down the runway. Because if you lose your only engine at any speed prior to rotation, getting the aircraft airborne for any length of appreciable time becomes very difficult, and knowing that the engine is in fact operating within tolerances early in the take-off roll avoids all of the high-speed drama attendant to max braking on a full fuel load with the boundary fence looming ever larger in your field of view. Departure end arresting gear gives a pilot other options in the short hairs, but the availability of such equipment forms no part of the calculation - tailhooks have been known to skip wires.

In multi-engine aircraft, things can get a little more complicated. Based on the same factors above plus runway length, there can come a time when a critical emergency on the roll forces a pilot to decide whether to reject the take-off or continue with the remaining engine. At the computed airspeed of V1(decision speed), the pilot has two options available to him should an engine fail: 1) Reject the take-off, and stop the aircraft in the distance remaining, or 2) accelerate towards V2, take-off speed.

On runways of 8000 feet or less on a hot day, the F-5E had a narrow speed band between Vno-go and V1 that we referred to jokingly as Vscrewed, meaning that insufficient runway remained either to abort or continue for take-off. In that case, the drag chute and the tailhook were the only options remaining (apart from the ejection seat) and the hook itself a mere, slender reed of a thing, placed there mainly to assuage the wounded egos of tailhooker wannabes.

The bias inn most multi-engine aircraft I flew after reaching V1 was to continue the take-off and deal with whatever emergency you had airborne, so long as the aircraft was flyable. Airplanes are made to fly and basically want to, but making them stop on a rapidly diminishing runway at NASCAR speeds and max gross weight requires more than the usual amount of finesse and associated stress.

The concept of V1 has an associated metric known as “Balanced Field Length”, which is the minimum length of runway required for an aircraft to accelerate towards V1, lose the critical engine and either abort or continue to the take-off, meeting all applicable take-off performance criteria such as obstacle clearance and rate-of-climb.

USAF: New Teminology

New terminology recognizes contributions of Airmen

by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

12/17/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force is adopting new terminology to better reflect participation in today's joint fight, the Air Force chief of staff advised in a letter to the field.

Airmen who were previously categorized as filling non-standard or "in lieu of" taskings now will be referred to as filling a joint expeditionary tasking, or JET.

"When it comes to being part of the joint fight, the Air Force is all in," Gen. Norton Schwartz said. "The term JET reinforces our commitment to the joint fight as an equal member of the joint team. The amazing contributions Airmen make around the world every day are not in lieu of anything."

The Air Force change comes on the heels of a larger shift within the entire Department of Defense. As of Oct. 1, DOD terminology for "in Lieu of" taskings was refined and broken out into three separate sourcing categories to more narrowly and accurately define the nature of the tasks military members perform.

The DOD categories for non-standard taskings previously referred to as ILO are now:

-- Joint Force/Capability Solution: military members from one Service who perform their core mission in place of military members from another Service

-- AD-HOC: military members from one Service combined with military members and equipment from another Service into a single deployable unit

-- ILO: military members performing mission capabilities outside of their normal competencies

An Air Force RED HORSE team filling an Army engineering battalion requirement would be an example of a joint force/capability solution task. An example of an ad-hoc task would be a provincial reconstruction team, a capability which is built when needed and not contained in any Service. Currently the Air Force does not have any taskings which meet the new DOD definition for ILO.

Regardless, General Schwartz stressed the term JET would be used for all non-standard taskings to help capture the magnitude of Airmen's service. While DOD terminology will still be used in joint planning, Airmen will use the term JET internally to encompass all of these terms to "emphasize our contribution to the fight with a single term that reflects our esprit and mission," the general said.

"When our nation needs us, we answer the call," he said.

17 December 2008

CADET: Kit up! Boot Lace Trick

This lacing pattern is virtually guaranteed to get rid of lace bite. It's called the 2-1-3 pattern. Try it!

Remember, lacing up outboard over inboard is the Marine way, and God, we all do love the Marines!

OSINT: More on maturity operations

Army's New Manual: Peacekeeper Training

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 5:30 AM

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- The Army has released its first new training field manual in six years, highlighting the need for units to be ready to conduct stability operations after traditional combat has ended.

The manual, titled "Training for Full Spectrum Operations" and written at Fort Leavenworth, explains what soldiers can expect when in combat.

It replaces a 2002 edition and comes on the heels of the Army's release earlier this year of its latest operations doctrine, which emphasized that soldiers must be prepared and proficient in offense, defense and stability skills. The Army says it is the first time it has synchronized the manuals for operations and training.

Army officials say the latest manual released Tuesday is a reflection of the past seven years of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq and a reality that units will be in a period of "persistent conflict" for years to come.

More here...

OSINT: Maturity Counts - Big Time!

The SysAdmin grows
POST: On the Hunt in Baghdad, by Michael J. Totten, December 15, 2008

This exchange occured just after the end of a search for a wanted terrorist in Iraq.

"One night I asked Captain Looney which he prefers: kinetic fighting or nation-building?

"I vastly prefer this," he said. He meant nation-building. Killing people does not make the would-be pacifist happy.

"Some soldiers tell me they prefer fighting," I said.

"They're immature," he said"

Per Dr. Tom Barnett, past professor at the Naval War College and current strategic briefer;

"Perfect example of why I always describe the Leviathan work as a young man's game and SysAdmin [building the peace] as requiring the more experienced hands.

But it's also an example of why I am always bemused by the expectation of some readers that unless the SysAdmin is declared extant one day in some hoopla, then the idea hasn't reached some fruition.

As I have told people from the start, I make the argument to both cite ongoing and long-term (already) change and to give voice to that evolution.

So when people say, "Has Washington decided to create your SysAdmin force?" I am a bit puzzled.

The community has been building this force for a couple of decades now. It simply emerges in people, tactics, doctrine, regulations, etc., slowly over time in response to the build-up of operational experience.

In short, it's not my proposal. It's a description of an evolving and emerging reality.

Captain Looney is an example of that evolution. I've met and interacted with thousands just like him over the course of the last two decades."

In a large way, CAP-USAF fall into this category of service and peace building. So, seniors rejoyce you not only still "have it", you always will!

16 December 2008

OSINT: HISTORY; December 16, The day the Battle of the Bulge began

It began at dawn on Dec. 16, 1944,
64 years ago today, with rapid assaults through the Ardennes forest, as the Germans blitzed one last time, hoping to split the Allied armies and take Antwerp. As Guderian reportedly liked to say, “Man schlägt jemanden mit der Faust und nicht mit gespreizten Fingern.” You punch with the fist and not with the fingers spread.

More and photos here...

MORALE: Gary Sinise Awarded Presidential Citizens Medal

An update on the Lt Dan Band Video down below.

Sinise: A Man for All Services
By Andrew Breitbart

Since war became a geographically distant but very real way of life after Sept. 11, 2001, no Hollywood star has stepped up to support active duty U.S. military personnel and wounded veterans like Gary Sinise. There is no close second. And quietly, as is his nature, he is becoming something akin to this generation´s Bob Hope.

One step in conferring this worthy title on the award-winning actor, director and producer occurred last week when President Bush bestowed on him the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. Previous recipients include Henry "Hank" Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Colin L. Powell and Bob Dole.

While the White House ceremony flew under the radar of most of the media, most notably the entertainment press, word has trickled out to many of his countless admirers in and out of the military. And on the occasion of him receiving the award, they want America to take in their words of praise for, as Sharon Tyk in the USO of Illinois put it, this "gallant American patriot."

Michael Yon, a Special Forces vet and the pre-eminent war journalist of our time, communicated his admiration in a dispatch from Bahrain: "Gary is a true friend of the American soldier. He does not hesitate to travel into war zones to express his admiration and personal support for those who defend us. He visits wounded soldiers, some of whom I personally know. All love him."

More here...

14 December 2008

CAP: Wreaths Across America on Fox News today

Wreaths Across America on Fox News this morning...

Quite a few cadets on film.

Video here...

13 December 2008

CAP: Changes to CAP Basic Officer Course

SUBJECT: Call for Volunteers

"A great many heads nod in agreement when I announce at meetings and conferences that it’s time for a total overhaul of “The CAP Senior Officer Course,” most often referred to as “ECI-13.” The present course is 12 years old, has a high attrition rate, and has become an impediment to many of our senior members in completing Level II of the Senior Member Professional Development Program. More importantly, even when completed, the course contributes less than we need for the present-day professional development of our senior members."

“The CAP Officer Basic Course (COBC).” This course was approved for development and implementation by the National Executive Committee. The course content is divided into 3 major modules with a total of 41 subordinate topic areas. Average time for students to complete each topic is anticipated to be 30 minutes. Total contact time for the course is targeted at 20 hours. The course will be implemented via the “Blackboard” learning management system recently acquired by CAP. When completed, CAP will host the course online and make it available 24/7."

"As your National Commander, I intend to keep my promise to you that the professional development of our senior members is a top priority. With your help, I can fulfill that promise. Please volunteer to assist in this very worthwhile project to enhance the professional development of the finest corps of humanitarian volunteers in America. THANK YOU!"

Major General, CAP

More here...

SAR: Polish Mountain Rescue Training

Polish mountain SAR training.

AEROSPACE: Pentagon Eyes Orbiting Power Station

This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.

Military planners responsible for finding space resources to support troops on the ground think the time may be ripe to advance the 40-year-old space solar power concept to help reduce the logistics train behind forward-deployed forces.

The concept of collecting solar energy above the atmosphere and beaming it to the ground as microwaves or lasers has long been seen among military freethinkers as a way to get electricity to remote airfields, fire bases or other distant outposts without having to haul fuel for diesel generators.

But that out-of-the-box concept may be gaining new life as the incoming administration looks for "green-energy" technologies to reduce reliance on foreign oil, and technologists home in on the hardware that would be needed to orbit deployable sunlight collectors measuring kilometers across and get power down from them to troops on the ground. Engineers studying space solar power (SSP) believe a pilot plant could be orbited fairly soon.

More here...


Thank you Lt Col Stidsen for pointing out this almost lost piece of history.

"Superb footage . It's from "Strategic Air Command" (1954) - my all time fav-o-rite movie. That sequence - and others in the flick - is why the 36 is my favorite aircraft of all time. Interestingly, "SAC" has never been released in DVD, only in VHS (many moons ago) ."

Video here...

CTWG: National Reports Due

Check your report schedule!

As part of our jobs at CTWG HQ, some areas have reports that are due to National. Please check your reporting schedule. We did well on our CI but need to keep rolling along to keep Wing running smoothly. Part of that is the reports due to National.

The command staff is always available if you need a little help in deciding what report is due and how to accomplish it.

Thank you.
Lt Col Cassandra Huchko

CTWG: Rack Review

Ribbon rack check please...

It's time to review your ribbon rack. National Headquarters has recently issued an Interim Change Letter detailing forthcoming amendments to CAPR 39-3. One part of this letter concerns the wearing of the Unit Citation ribbon. The text reads, "The Unit Citation ribbon may only be worn by members assigned to the unit during any portion of the period of time shown in the National Headquarters Personnel Action announcing the award. Individuals who join the unit at a later date are not authorized to wear the Unit Citation Ribbon."

Pete Jensen, Col, CAP
Connecticut Wing

MORALE: Some applause please!

One more for the younger audience: Citizen Reign's tribute to the troops.

Warning: Tissue alert...

MORALE: The Lt Dan Band

If you have ever seen the movie Forest Gump then you know who Lt Dan is. Gary Sinise played the character of Lt Dan. He is also the star of CSI NY. But, unkown to just about anyone out of uniform he is also the founder of The Lt Dan Band. He tirelessly tours US and overseas bases entertaining the troops. Here is a sample...

MORALE: USCG Admiral says it straight out

Mission objective - there is really only one regardless of the branch of service you choose to work for...

We are all here to save lives.

"That's it. That's all. The primary reason that anyone in the Coast Guard has a job is to save lives. All jobs (ALL OF THEM) are in support of that mission. When I mention this fact to people, I get a lot of complaints. I have heard every logical explanation of missions that don't save lives or support the saving of lives. They have all been wrong and I can prove it. Take away saving lives as a motivation and watch the missions that disappear. SAR Definitely, but what about the others?.Marine Safety? Why do we want it to be safe? To save lives. What about EMSST? Saving lives, no question. How about drug interdiction! Aha! ...no...wait...that saves lives too...

From the web journal: iCommandant
Admiral Thad Allen, USCG

ES: USAF PJs Train in Africa

Crazy cool! Here...

AEROSPACE: Bug size flying spies

Bug-Sized Spies: US Develops Tiny Flying Robots

Photo credit to the Washington Post

DAYTON, Ohio -- If only we could be a fly on the wall when our enemies are plotting to attack us. Better yet, what if that fly could record voices, transmit video and even fire tiny weapons?

That kind of James Bond-style fantasy is actually on the drawing board. U.S. military engineers are trying to design flying robots disguised as insects that could one day spy on enemies and conduct dangerous missions without risking lives.

"The way we envision it is, there would be a bunch of these sent out in a swarm," said Greg Parker, who helps lead the research project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. "If we know there's a possibility of bad guys in a certain building, how do we find out? We think this would fill that void."

In essence, the research seeks to miniaturize the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle drones used in Iraq and Afghanistan for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The next generation of drones, called Micro Aerial Vehicles, or MAVs, could be as tiny as bumblebees and capable of flying undetected into buildings, where they could photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists.

By identifying and assaulting adversaries more precisely, the robots would also help reduce or avoid civilian casualties, the military says.

Parker and his colleagues plan to start by developing a bird-sized robot as soon as 2015, followed by the insect-sized models by 2030.

AEROSPACE: NASA WB-57 over Afghanistan

Hat Tip to Michael Yon who got the below shot in Afghanistan just a few days ago.

"Here is a rare and curious thing: an antique British [WB-57] bomber flying over Afghan skies. These planes flew in the 1950s and 60s, performing top of the atmosphere reconnaissance. The U.S. Air Force retired the WB-57 decades ago. But NASA owns two, which it uses for an odd group of missions, including collecting cosmic dust from extremely high altitudes. It seems doubtful that NASA came all the way to Afghanistan to collect cosmic dust, but this would be an interesting region in which to search for traces of nuclear debris, drifting upwards from Iran, Pakistan, various Central Asian states, China, or India."

More here: Brochure on NASA missions with the WB-57

12 December 2008

DHS: Civil Defense 2009

The question is; What can or will CAP do to help? Analysis below.

U.S. Cities Brace for Mumbai-Style Attack
By: David A. Patten

“U.S. cities are racing to fix security vulnerabilities revealed by the devastating terror attacks in Mumbai,” experts tell Newsmax.”
“Security personnel around the country are intensively reviewing what happened to Mumbai to learn more about terrorists’ shifting tactics, according to Fred Burton, vice president of counter-terrorism at Stratfor, a private intelligence firm located in Austin, Texas.”

“The study has already begun,” Burton tells Newsmax. “I’m seeing that from a lot of our channels, and I am answering a lot of questions myself in that regard.”

“We look at these new kinds of tactics and the way they orchestrated this, and modify our approach,” Michael Downing, the head of the Los Angeles Police Department’s counter-terrorism unit, told the media. “We’re looking at it very closely.”

“On Friday, New York City police conducted the first U.S. training exercise based on the Mumbai experience. “Our goal,” New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told security officials, “is to find out as much as we can about terrorists worldwide, to understand who’s behind them, what motivates them, and what tactics they use.”

“Homeland security expert Dr. James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation tells Newsmax : “It’s something to worry about because most police forces would be really overwhelmed. SWAT teams don’t really train for this.”

“Burton agrees, telling Newsmax: “Think about the D.C. sniper case and the chaos that was caused, due to one two-person team,” Burton says. “Magnify that by say six to eight teams, and place them on the loose in any city in America. Most cities in America have only one SWAT team, so think about how much damage could be caused. It’s a fairly frightening scenario.”

“It is believed that extensive planning and surveillance preceded the Mumbai attack. New York City police are asking all security forces, both public and private, to report any idle visitors or suspicious vehicles.”

“Other cities are responding to the Mumbai threat as well:

• In Boston, police have stepped up surveillance and are keeping an especially close eye on hotels.
• The Department of Homeland Security has warned hotels throughout the country to beef up security.
• Authorities at port cities are particularly concerned, given that the terrorists traveled to Mumbai by boat. “Our great vulnerability is the water,” Miami Police Chief John Timoney told USA Today.
• InterContinental Hotels says it has taken additional, unspecified security precautions in “high-risk markets” nationwide.”

“The nationwide security review triggered by Mumbai includes the U.S. Coast Guard, which would play a vital role in repelling terrorists before they could attack the soft underbelly of America’s cities.”

“Rear Admiral Thomas F. Atkin, who leads the Coast Guard unit responsible for stopping ship-borne terrorists, continually asks himself: “Can we do the mission with our current equipment? We need to evaluate it to determine what the right equipment is. Then we can train appropriately.”

“Atkin tells Newsmax, “We don’t want to give the perception that everything is fine, that we don’t need to change. The Coast Guard is always changing to improve its mission capabilities.”

“Stopping terrorists before they get loose in American cities is the right idea. “The best way to combat this is to make sure attacks like this don’t happen in the first place.”

More here….

11 December 2008

MORALE: NORAD Tracks Santa 2008

NORAD, North American Aerospace Command has activated its Track Santa Mission!

Ongoing surveilance and telemetry here...

All the preparations for this year are in place! Return on Christmas Eve to track St. Nick on his magical flight around the world!

Until then, come back each day to receive updates from the North Pole and to discover new surprises in the Kids' Countdown.

Morale: Operation Christmas Drop

Operation Christmas Drop box-build complete

Senior Airman Nichelle Griffiths
36th Wing Public Affairs

12/9/2008 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- After 55 years running, Operation Christmas Drop is the Air Force's longest running humanitarian airlift mission. This year marks the 56th annual Operation Christmas Drop.

With only days left until boxes are delivered to the small islands of Micronesia, last-minute donations are still pouring in, and Operation Christmas Drop volunteers are working nearly non-stop to complete the box-build.

Airmen here participated in the final box-build Dec. 7. The volunteers made sure each box contained non-perishable food items, clothing, first-aid kits, fishing supplies, tools and much more.

In all, more than 186 boxes were built, just 14 boxes shy of the 200-box goal set for 2008.

Through military and local community support, the Operation Christmas Drop organization has collected tens of thousands of donated items and raised more than $2,000 through fundraising since August.

"Sponsors have contributed more than $30,500, including an $8,500 donation by Andersen's chapel and $5,000 from the Andersen Officers Spouses Club," said Capt. Adam Rector, the vice president of the organization.

The Push Ceremony, where representatives from the local community and the base load the boxes onto the airlift aircraft is scheduled for Dec. 12. The air drops are scheduled to begin Dec. 17 and run through Dec. 21.

Operation Christmas Drop is a non-profit organization powered by volunteers from Andersen AFB and the 36th Airlift Squadron from Yokota Air Base, Japan. Every year as part of a training exercise, the two join forces to drop supplies over the Micronesian Islands.

More than 800,000 pounds of humanitarian supplies donated by local businesses, citizens and servicemembers have been dropped throughout the Micronesian Islands.

AEROSPACE: F-22 in the crosshairs

A Fighter Jet’s Fate Poses a Quandary for Obama

New York Times
December 9, 2008

Two of President-elect Barack Obama’s stated goals — cutting wasteful spending and saving or creating millions of jobs — are on a collision course in a looming decision over whether to keep building the F-22 fighter jet.

The F-22 fighter jet has been criticized as expensive, but cutting back on it would cost jobs.

Air Force officials have told Congress that they are hoping to win a $9 billion commitment to produce at least 60 F-22s over a three-year period, which would expand the fleet to 243.

More here...

DHS: New Homeland Security Secretary is official

Gov. Janet Napolitano is homeland security secretary
Wednesday, December 3, 2008 8:02 AM CST
Thelma Grimes/San Pedro Valley News-Sun

President-elect Barack Obama made it official Monday, naming Gov. Janet Napolitano homeland security secretary. Napolitano was among some big names selected to Obama's cabinet in a press conference.

Others named were Senator Hillary Clinton, who will take over as secretary of state in January when Obama is sworn in. Susan Rice was named ambassador to the United Nations and Robert Gates will stay on as defense secretary.

"I am confident that this team is what we need to make a new beginning for American national security," Obama said.

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said Obama could not have picked a better secretary of homeland security.

"As governor over the past six years, she has had to deal with some of the most difficult issues confronting the second-fastest growing state in the nation," Giffords said. "First and foremost among these has been border security and illegal immigration. She knows the seriousness of this problem. She has a keen, first-had understanding of the tremendous toll it is taking on our communities, our schools and our hospitals. Her experience will certainly serve the American people well.

More here...

10 December 2008

OSINT: The kids are alright

Book Review from Dr. Tom Barnett, Strategic Planner and past Professor at the United States Naval War College. WWW.Thomaspmbarnett.com

BOOKS AND ARTS: "The net generation: The kids are alright; Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World, by Don Tapscott (McGraw-Hill)

“Young people today are "accused of being unread, bad at communicating, socially inept, shameless, dishonest, workshy, narcissistic and indifferent to the needs of others."

I have a lot of complaints about my kids, especially my two teenagers, but most of those don't apply, I will say.

Tapscott says this generation is "smarter, quicker and more tolerant of diversity" as well. They "care strongly about justice, and are actively trying to improve society."

Gladwell, in his new book, Outliers, says 10,000 hours, or roughly ten years of effort, is required to become a true master of something. Based on my growth as a writer and public speaker, I would say that sounds absolutely correct: it's a solid decade of constant practice to get good. There are no shortcuts.

Well, the Net Gens have put in roughly 20k hours on the Internet and 10k on videogames.

I will attest to both with my kids, who rarely watch broadcast TV--except Fox on Sunday nights.

The eight norms identified:
1) value freedom and choice in everything
2) love to customize and personalize
3) scrutinize everything
4) demand integrity and openness, especially in purchases and life decisions
5) want entertainment in their work and education and social life
6) love to collaborate
7) expect everything to happen fast
8) expect constant innovation

Hmm. I think America will do fine with that oddly ambitious bunch.
Just give them their Facebook at work and augment their lack of reference-capable education (weak on facts) and accept their nice focus and optimism regarding families.”

09 December 2008

AEROSPACE: Gaming Technology and Training

This screenshot shows flight simulation software created by Air Force researchers who leveraged existing commercial gaming software to demonstrate an alternative way to quickly deliver a low-cost, realistic simulation program with genuine training effectiveness. Researchers integrated the graphics-rich commercial package with high-fidelity real-world aircraft models.

Gaming R&D
by John Schutte
711th Human Performance Wing

12/8/2008 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- Air Force Research Laboratory's researchers at Mesa, Ariz., unveiled the technological potential of its gaming research and development project publicly Dec. 1 during the 2008 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Members of the 711th Human Performance Wing's Warfighter Readiness Research Division blended commercial gaming technology with military-specific databases that demonstrated quicker, less expensive ways to develop the next generation of tools for interactive military training.

More here...

2009 CSAF Reading List Released

General Schwartz releases 2009 CSAF Reading List

Continued education is a crucial part of being a professional warrior. The books selected for the 2009 reading list offer a perspective to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

12/8/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The chief of staff of the Air Force announced the 2009 CSAF Reading List Dec. 8.

"Today's Air Force is the product of the pioneers who preceded us, and our Airmen are proudly carrying the torch," said Gen. Norton Schwartz, the service's 19th chief of staff. "In our professional development, we must remain mindful of the lessons of the past, while we continue to prevail everywhere our enemies choose to engage.

"Continued education is a crucial part of being a professional warrior reinforcing our core values of integrity, service and excellence," he said. "The books we have selected for our 2009 reading list capture a rich history, both intense and compelling, that offer a perspective to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow."

The reading list is divided into three areas: Military History; Mission, Doctrine and Profession; and Our Nation and World.

The books include:

Military History

American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day - by Robert Coram

Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers: Innovation in the U.S. Army, 1917-1945 - by David E. Johnson

One Day Too Long: Top Secret Site 85 and the Bombing of North Vietnam - by Timothy Castle

The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power - by Max Boot

Mission, Doctrine, Profession

Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice - by David Galula

Making Twenty-First-Century Strategy: An Introduction to the Modern National Security Processes and Problems - by Dennis M. Drew and Donald M. Snow

Modern Strategy - by Colin S. Gray

Thinking about America's Defense: An Analytical Memoir - by Glenn A. Kent

Our Nation and World

Afghanistan: A Short History of its People and Politics - by Martin Ewans

Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win - by Jeffrey Record

Contemporary Nuclear Debates: Missile Defense, Arms Control, and Arms Races in the Twenty-First Century - by Alexander Lennon

Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda - by Sean Naylor

OSINT: Protecting us from WMDs

Hat tip, Threats Watch

On or around 12/7, an internal report to the incoming Vice President (Joseph Biden) contained analysis related to possible WMD attacks in the United States. Some are specific to domestic security and surveillance missions.

RECOMMENDATION 9: Congress should reform its oversight both structurally and substantively to better address intelligence, homeland security, and crosscutting 21st-century national security missions such as the prevention of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorism.

RECOMMENDATION 10: Accelerate integration of effort among the counterproliferation, counter-terrorism, and law enforcement communities to address WMD proliferation and terrorism issues; strengthen expertise in the nuclear and biological fields; prioritize pre-service and in-service training and retention of people with critical scientific, language, and foreign area skills; and ensure that the threat posed by biological weapons remains among the highest national intelligence priorities for collection and analysis.

RECOMMENDATION 11: The United States must build a national security workforce for the 21st century.

More here...

OSINT: F-18 Crash in San Diego

F-18 Crash Kills 3 in San Diego Neighborhood

Monday, December 8, 2008 8:30 PM

SAN DIEGO — A Marine Corps pilot safely ejected before his fighter jet crashed into a neighborhood Monday in a fiery explosion that killed three people on the ground and destroyed two homes.

The F/A-18D Hornet went down just before noon as it prepared to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, best known as the setting for the movie "Top Gun." Explosions rocked a neighborhood of half-million-dollar homes and flames and plumes of smoke streaked skyward.

"The house shook, the ground shook. It was like I was frozen in my place," said Steve Krasner, who lives a few blocks from the crash. "It was bigger than any earthquake I ever felt."

Three people were killed in a house where two children, a mother and a grandmother were believed to be inside at the time of the crash, but fire officials did not immediately know who died. Another person remained missing.

More here...

OSINT: There is no such thing as a false alarm - until proven

Powder Threat Letters Sent to at Least 6 Governors
Tuesday, December 09, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Suspicious letters containing powdery substances addressed to governors were intercepted in at least six states, but tests indicated the powder in five of them was not harmful.

The letters were reported Monday in Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana and Rhode Island. Though no injuries were immediately reported, the mailings disrupted state governments in a few of the states, forcing some evacuations and testing for workers who might have been exposed.

Preliminary tests found the powders sent to Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana and Rhode Island were not harmful. The Missouri letter never made it to state offices, and test results on it were expected Tuesday.

Alabama officials said the FBI was working with police agencies in each state to investigate the letters. An FBI spokeswoman in Washington referred questions about the investigation to the bureau's offices in each state.

Alabama's public safety director, Christopher Murphy, said "my gut is there may be more" letters still moving through the mail system.

More here...

08 December 2008

OSINT: Cyber Attack and AF Cyber Command

A cyber-attack alarms the Pentagon
The Economist print edition

BATTLEFIELD bandwidth is low at best, making networks sticky and e-mails tricky. American soldiers often rely on memory sticks to cart vital data between computers. Off-duty, they use the same devices to move around music and photos. The dangers of that have just become apparent with the news that the Pentagon has banned the use of all portable memory devices because of the spread of a bit of malicious software called agent.btz.
This is a “worm”, meaning that it replicates itself. If you have it on, say, the memory card of a digital camera it will infect any computer to which you upload photos. It will then infect any other portable memory plugged into that computer (the cyber-equivalent, one might say, of a sexually transmitted disease). On any computer hooked up to the internet, this variant tries to download more nasty stuff: in this case two programs that access the hard-drive. Was it a humdrum crime of trying to steal banking details? Or something more serious? The trail has gone cold.
In any case, the malicious software (malware in the jargon) penetrated at least one classified computer network. The problem was severe enough for Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, to brief George Bush on it. Officials are saying little more than that.
Kimberly Zenz, an expert on cyberwarfare at VeriSign iDefense, a computer security company that is investigating the attack, notes that it is not clear that agent.btz was designed specifically to target military networks, or indeed that it comes from either Russia or China (two countries known to have state-sponsored cyberwarfare programmes that regularly target American government computer networks).
Indeed, she says, by the standards of cyberwarfare, agent.btz is pretty basic; it is a variant of a well-known bit of malware called the SillyFDC worm, which has been around for at least three years. By contrast, a government commission warned Congress last month that “since China’s current cyber operations capability is so advanced, it can engage in forms of cyberwarfare so sophisticated that the United States may be unable to counteract or even detect the efforts.”
The most remarkable feature of the episode may not be the breach of security, but the cost of dealing with it. In the civilian world, at least one bank has dealt with agent.btz by blocking all its computers’ USB ports with glue. Every bit of portable memory in the sprawling American military establishment now needs to be scrubbed clean before it can be used again. In the meantime, soldiers will find it hard or outright impossible to share, say, vital digital maps, let alone synch their iPods or exchange pictures with their families.

FOLLOWUP: Air Force Cyber Command (child of it’s parent Air Force Space Command) is located at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

Aerospace: Drones fly US border security

Drone lands in ND in preparation for border patrol

Dec 7 08:45 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer 24 Comments

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - After two failed tries, an unmanned aircraft expected to be the first to patrol the northern U.S. border completed a flight from Arizona to North Dakota.
U.S Customs and Border Protection officials said the Predator B drone touched down Saturday at the Grand Forks Air Force Base after a six-hour flight from Libby Army Airfield in Sierra Vista, Ariz.

"The aviators all brag about the perfect landing," said Michael Corcoran, deputy director for air operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine office in Grand Forks. "I guess we'll brag about this one, as well," he said.

The drone is scheduled to begin patrolling the northern U.S. border in January. Its flights will originate from the Grand Forks base.

Officials were waiting for clearance on air space before deciding on a schedule, Corcoran said.

An earlier flight on Thursday was canceled because of maintenance problems, and a flight Friday was aborted because of poor weather.

The Predator weighs 5 tons, has a 66-foot wingspan and can fly undetected as high as 50,000 feet. It can fly for 28 hours at a time and will be equipped with sensors and radar.

The drone has been in use along the southern border with Mexico since 2005.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the state's congressional delegation had been working for four years to get the unmanned aircraft to North Dakota.

"It is vital to America's security that we protect our borders, particularly the northern border," Conrad said. "The Grand Forks Air Branch plays an essential role in helping shut the door on terrorists who want to sneak across remote border points to strike on U.S. soil."

07 December 2008

History: Pearl Harbor

CAP: Hawk Mountain

A Hawk mountain slideshow for those who dont know..

AEROSPACE: Safer skies; MKV completes hover test

Hat tip to SteelJaw Scribe.

MULTIPLE KILL VEHICLE COMPLETES HOVER TEST, Dec. 3, 2008. Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly announced that a test of the Multiple Kill Vehicle-L (MKV-L) was conducted Tuesday, Dec. 2 at the National Hover Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Preliminary indications are that planned test objectives were achieved. Objectives of the test included having the MKV-L hover under its own power and prove its capability to recognize and track a surrogate target in a flight environment. During the test, the MKV-L’s propulsion system demonstrated maneuverability while tracking a target. The MKV-L transmitted video and flight telemetry to the ground. The MKV-L mission is to destroy medium through intercontinental-range ballistic missiles equipped with multiple warheads or countermeasures by using a single interceptor missile…

More, including animation here...

OSINT: New SEC VA choosen

By HOPE YEN | Associated Press Writer
Hartford Courant
4:20 AM EST, December 7, 2008

"WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama has chosen retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, turning to a former Army chief of staff once vilified by the Bush administration for questioning its Iraq war strategy."

"Obama will announce the selection of Shinseki, the first Army four-star general of Japanese-American ancestry, at a news conference Sunday in Chicago. He will be the first Asian-American to hold the post of Veterans Affairs secretary, adding to the growing diversity of Obama's Cabinet."

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OSINT: SEC DEF works on a balanced strategy

A Balanced Strategy
Reprogramming the Pentagon for a New Age
Robert M. Gates

From Foreign Affairs, January/February 2009

"The defining principle of the Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy is balance. The United States cannot expect to eliminate national security risks through higher defense budgets, to do everything and buy everything. The Department of Defense must set priorities and consider inescapable tradeoffs and opportunity costs."

"The strategy strives for balance in three areas: between trying to prevail in current conflicts and preparing for other contingencies, between institutionalizing capabilities such as counterinsurgency and foreign military assistance and maintaining the United States' existing conventional and strategic technological edge against other military forces, and between retaining those cultural traits that have made the U.S. armed forces successful and shedding those that hamper their ability to do what needs to be done."

More here...