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    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

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lchic - 11:16am Mar 9, 2002 EST (#278 of 287)

Military palmtop to cut collateral damage
NewScientist 09 March 02

    In the Afghanistan and Kosovo conflicts, military mistakes led to air strikes against the wrong buildings, against civilians or on friendly forces. One cause of such tragedies is misinformation from the battlefield - perhaps because troops transmit the wrong target coordinates, or are simply misheard.
    To address the problem, the Pentagon has commissioned a new battlefield targeting system based on a raft of sensing and communications technologies, controlled by a hand-held Pocket PC. It will go into service with US Special Forces in 2003.
    The super-palmtop will combine laser rangefinding, GPS satellite positioning, a satellite phone and text messaging. Called JEDI, or Joint Expeditionary Digital Information, the system will be controlled by Microsoft's Windows-CE operating system.
    The Pentagon wants JEDI to help simplify the way soldiers send target coordinates and other vital information from the battlefield to control centres. "It has to be designed so it's easy to use," says Peter Batcheller of Booz Allen Hamilton, the technology development company based in McLean, Virginia, that created the system. "Troops can't call up an IT desk if it goes wrong."
    JEDI is used in conjunction with laser rangefinding binoculars. A soldier spotting a target vehicle will use the binoculars to get a reading on its position, speed and direction of travel. This data is then collected by the Pocket PC, while the soldier identifies the type of vehicle by pointing to simple icons on the screen.
    The palmtop codes the information into a short text message, which it sends via the Iridium satellite mobile phone system to a forward headquarters or to a waiting attack aircraft.
    This is both more accurate and quicker than the current way of working, which relies on soldiers calling in the coordinates by radio and describing targets verbally. Slow response speeds can cause problems.
    For example, fast-moving mobile rocket launchers can be missed by strike aircraft because they have gone by the time the attacker gets to the scene. "It can take as much as 30 seconds to a minute to get a message for a target with the current voice system," says Batcheller.
    12 second reboot
    In recent US Army tests, JEDI target messages were sent and received in as little as 3 seconds. Its simple, icon-based software also reduces the risk of inaccurate information being called in, cutting the chances of attacks on the wrong target.
    If the Windows-based machine crashes, says Batcheller, it can be rebooted within 12 seconds. But can a Pocket P - -more at home in a Starbucks coffee bar than on the battlefield - handle combat conditions?
    JEDI is a lot more robust, he says. To test quite how much the gadget can take, the Army had a game of football using a JEDI as the ball - and it worked just fine afterwards.

    Ian Sample

mazza9 - 12:10pm Mar 9, 2002 EST (#279 of 287)
Louis Mazza


Yes it is horrible that the Palestinian gentleman "lost his face". But don't all Palestinians loose face when they condone the bombing of pizza parlors, Bat Mitvahs, and schools. Mind you, this is not collateral damage but the targeting of men women and children which runs counter to the "rules" of war.

I don't know if you know this but shot guns are a banned weapon in warfare. The idea is if you take a 9mm you can be rushed to a MASH unit and maybe your life can be saved. A shotgun will blow your face off and therefore is "inhuman".

As we speak of missile defense and other military issues, just remember that defense is always preferred to offense. The posture suggests that a nation doesn't intend to establish its policy positions by the use of force.


almarst-2001 - 01:53pm Mar 9, 2002 EST (#280 of 287)

U.S. Works Up Plan for Using Nuclear Arms Military: Administration, in a secret report, calls for a strategy against at least seven nations: China, Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria. -

lchic - 03:16pm Mar 9, 2002 EST (#281 of 287)

mAzzA - Human Capital * war
Loss of Human Capital is sheer waste

In accounting terms a value could be placed on the 'lost' to his family, hospital, country 'Doctor'.

Assume a full natural life, then it would take into account:

    1. Salary to retirement
    2. value to each patient
    3. value to each daughter and son
    4. value to spouse
    5. value regarding assistance to elders of family
    6. value regarding input to community
    7. value of 'new and unique' inputs
    8. value to those trained under
    9. value of interactions

    War reflects a failure to appreciate the value of individuals within complex societies. Work out the cumulative costs above, then work out how these functions and activities are alternatively sourced, then look for gaps ... when a parent isn't there - it's human tragedy!

    It was interesting to note a President break down and cry with respect to the loss of Eight military guys ..... note those losses would have been far higher had the Aussie Diggers (SAS) on the spot not covered and saved the lives of three dozen others ... but the real reality is that in all unnecessary conflicts there is lost, irreplaceable, Human Capital.

    The secret of world success is to channel Human Capital to improve and grow our world!

almarst-2001 - 03:18pm Mar 9, 2002 EST (#282 of 287)

"The posture suggests that a nation doesn't intend to establish its policy positions by the use of force."

During the Cold War, the clearly recognized MAD could have prevented some mad decisions by any of the nuclear powers.

That may no longer be true. The mads are reviving their plans. In large part hoping for the protection by the Missile Defense. That, in my view, leaves the chance for the humanity, including the US, not more then 50/50 chance of surviving in this Century. One must be indeed an overly optimist or, may be, quintessential MAZZA, to think otherwise.

The way the US projects itself in the World leaves very little dought of its intentions and willingness to unnihilate all the rest. If it is a wrong impression, that may be even more sad.

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