February 10, 2012
By Paul Joseph Watson
The Department of Homeland Security plans to spend up to $50 million dollars on a spy system that has been used to hunt insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan for the purposes of “emergency and non-emergency incidents” within the United States.
The DHS is seeking four contractors to provide “aerial remote sensing” services, using LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology fitted to drones or manned aircraft that will provide surveillance capability for “homeland security missions,” as well as “management of emergency incidents by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regional offices, joint field offices and by state and local government.”
“DHS believes these airborne images are essential for homeland defense missions, such as planning for National Special Security Events (Super Bowls or a national political conventions come to mind); enhancing border, port and airport security; as well as performing critical infrastructure inventories and assessments,” reports Government Security News, adding that the technology will be used for “emergency and non-emergency incidents nationwide.”
The DHS expects successful contractors to “ensure imagery can be acquired, processed and delivered in 48 hours or less and the ability to support simultaneous missions in multiple geographic locations.”
LIDAR spy technology, which uses ultraviolet, visible, or near infrared light to track objects or people from the sky, has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan to track insurgents. The US military has praised the technology for its proficiency in providing “battlefield surveillance” and being able to easily locate enemy combatants due to it being “especially useful at seeing through foliage.” LIDAR can be deployed using both manned and unmanned aircraft.
The U.S. Air Force “has already deployed an unknown number of LIDAR aircraft to map all of Afghanistan,” reports MSNBC, with the 3-D laser mapping technology also being adapted to work aboard U.S. Special Forces helicopters such as the Blackhawk or Chinook to help hunt insurgents.
According to Raytheon, one of the companies that develops LIDAR, the technology is adept at tracking “people in crowded environments for safety and security,” because unlike traditional surveillance methods, LIDAR is honed to measure characteristics of individuals and keep them tracked within a “grid cell” so they cannot evade detection.
Under the terms of the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, the whole of America has been defined as a battlefield, with the government reserving the power to have “belligerents,” including American citizens, arrested and detained indefinitely without trial.
July 21, 2010
CBS News Tec
By: Charles Cooper
The U.S. Navy has used a a laser weapon to shoot down four unmanned aerial vehicles in a test that rings up memories of Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense shield in the 1980s. The successful test of the Laser Weapon System off the coast of California was announced during the Farnborough International Air Show, which is taking place this week in England.
The technology, jointly developed with Raytheon, used industrial strength lasers, is more than just your run-of-the-mill PR exercise. In its write-up of the technology, Scientific American correctly notes that the shoot-down of the drones over water constitutes an advance over previous Raytheon tests which focused on static targets. Mike Booen of Raytheon gave USA Today the money quote for the day: “The targets came in over the ocean, and it was a good day for lasers, bad day for drones.”
Still, don’t expect deployment any time soon. Even if the follow-up tests come through with flying colors, the technology is likely going to take several more years before it’s ready for combat situation. (Coincidentally, the breakthrough made the rounds on the anniversary of the day that U.S. astronauts walked on the moon in 1969.
April 6, 2010
By: Betsy Schiffman
When President Barack Obama releases his nuclear strategy on Tuesday, he’s expected to outline his broad goal of making nuclear weapons obsolete. More specifically, he wants to reduce the importance of nuclear weapons by vowing not to use them on nonnuclear states, according to The New York Times.
“We are going to make sure that we can continue to move toward less emphasis on nuclear weapons . . . and to make sure that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances,” he told the paper. The White House is expected to release the document, called the Nuclear Posture Review, for review on Tuesday.
The president is also likely to remove some of the more aggressive language in the document, first written by President George W. Bush.
However, two countries are exempt from Obama’s softer, kinder nuclear policy: Iran and North Korea. Both of which, he says, have violated or renounced the treaty to halt nuclear proliferation. The president also says he wants new sanctions against Iran that “have bite.” An Iranian official responded on Tuesday morning by calling sanctions threats a “joke” and said the country had no plans to abandon its nuclear activities under the threat of sanctions.
No Help for Some Defense Contractors
The release of Obama’s nuclear strategy comes on the heels of a recently agreed upon U.S.-Russia arms accord, which is expected to be signed on April 8. Under that agreement, both the U.S. and Russia will cut their nuclear arsenals by nearly one-third.
Regardless of one’s position on nuclear defense, one thing is certain: The president’s distaste for it isn’t going to line the pockets of defense manufacturers. Companies like ATK Technologies (ATK) and Raytheon (RTN) may not be squirming just yet, but it seems clear that a national policy calling for a reduction in nuclear weapons doesn’t bode well for them.
Obama’s revised policy on nuclear weapons won’t have any impact on his previous vow to provide loan guarantees on the first two nuclear power-generating reactors to be built in the U.S. since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.
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