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Pentagon trains tech for war
From: William Knowles <wk () c4i org>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 15:18:26 -0500 (CDT)
June 26, 2001 8:09 AM PT
WASHINGTON--The Defense Department said on Tuesday it was pouring
research dollars into high-energy lasers, microwave systems and a host
of other advanced gizmos designed to win 21st-century wars more
quickly and decisively than ever.
Development of such things as unmanned systems for land, air, space,
sea and underwater was to counter the spread of "asymmetric" threats
to U.S. forces in the past decade, Pentagon officials told Congress.
Among these they cited ballistic missiles, possibly tipped with
nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; keyboard-launched
"information operations," for instance against U.S. military
satellites, and "terrorism."
"Future adversaries will increasingly rely on unconventional
strategies and tactics to offset the superiority of U.S. forces,"
Edward Aldridge, the Pentagon's new chief weapons buyer, said in
testimony prepared for the House Armed Services Research and
Development Subcommittee. "We must be conscious of these threats as we
foster technology breakthroughs ... to cope with that environment."
Aldridge did not spell out precisely how much was being spent in his
joint statement with Delores Etter, deputy director of defense
research and engineering. But they said basic defense science and
technology research accounts for about 40 percent of federal support
for all engineering research in universities.
Revolutionary war-fighting concepts
All told, the Defense Department employs 28,500 scientists and
engineers in its 84 labs and research and development centers, down 42
percent from 43,800 at the end of 1990, they said.
Aldridge divided U.S. needs into three categories: "hard problems," or
significant technical challenges that, if solved, would check a
significant threat; "revolutionary war-fighting concepts," and
militarily significant research areas.
"Hard problems" include developing a remote capability to detect and
identify potentially toxic chemical and biological agents and to
forecast their dispersion through a battlefield. Another such
challenge is coming up with munitions capable of knocking out deeply
For "revolutionary war-fighting concepts," new technologies are being
worked on for "fuller dominance of space." Key areas include
affordable space transportation including advanced propulsion and
long-lasting power systems; sensing technologies for enhanced space
surveillance, and protection of U.S. assets in space.
Also needed are network systems that communicate seamlessly among
themselves, operationally responsive and reliable networks and tools
for boiling down vast amounts of information and helping decision
makers, the officials said.
In militarily significant research, the third category, a priority is
the "generation, storage, use and projection of electrical and other
forms of power throughout the battle-space," Aldridge and Etter said.
He said "directed-energy" weapons--lasers and high-powered microwave
systems--had the potential to shoot down ballistic missiles as they
were lifting off, to defeat high-speed anti-ship and anti-aircraft
missiles and to zero in on targets in urban centers without harming
Breakthroughs were needed in "advanced power," including new battery
systems and fuel cells, to enhance the U.S. capability to focus power
and energy in a way that could be supported logistically, added
Aldridge, the department's third-ranking civilian as under secretary
for acquisition, technology and logistics.
"Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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- Pentagon trains tech for war William Knowles (Jun 27)