S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Assessing the threat of terrorism via overhead spycraft -

39 Squadron Reaper Pilot at Creech Air Force BaseImage by Defence Images via Flickr
Spying on adversaries from above is one way the U.S. assesses the level of danger from terrorists.  There are many times when those assigned the role of providing protection from the sky go about it in a very big way.  Here's an interesting story about a craft destined for eventual surveillance use in Afghanistan.  It is from today's Wired Danger Room and describes a giant spy blimp that dwarfs an 18-wheeler.

In stark contrast, drones are also getting smaller.  Portability, cost containment, and minimum use of personnel also seem to be attractive to the military.  The DIY-Drone of the Future Is … a Flying Pogo Stick comes again from Wired Danger Room (10/6/11).  To quote:
Darpa is holding a contest to design the military’s next spy mini-drone. So far, the entrants include a flying pogo stick, a sail that lands on mosques, and an unmanned laser shooter.

Those are some of concept videos submitted to UAV Forge, a Pentagon experiment to crowdsource the development of unmanned aerial vehicles. DIY-drone hobbyists are encouraged to work together to create the flying spy-bot of the future. It has to fit in a rucksack and be operated by just one person without any help, guidelines say.
Remotely operated combat drones are not problem free, as it turns out.  Recently it was revealed that a Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet.  To quote from another Wired Danger Room article:
[10/7/11] A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.
The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.
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For my readers who follow the subject of national security, I am recommending "Behind the Lines" listed under Free Alerts / CQ Roll Call free newsletters.  To quote briefly from today's newsletter (always so well-done by David C. Morrison):
Holy Wars: Following last week’s CIA hit on U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, “the last terrorist left chatting in an American accent is a chubby former metalhead named Adam Gadahn,” Danger Room follows up. “It is possible that Awlaki was assassinated because he was an effective critic of the U.S. government,” Paul Craig Roberts wildly reaches in A new e-book, “The Just Scale — On the Permissibility of Killing the Infidels’ Children and Women,” published by a jihadi forum, attempts to refute mainstream arguments against killing certain types of civilians, IPT News notes. If proven to have been carried out by right-wing extremists, Sunday’s attack against a mosque in the Galilee “will be just the latest sign that Jewish terrorism is gaining steam,” The Jerusalem Post reports. A new online journalism course on Islam appears to downplay the threat posed by global jihadism, suggesting reporters keep the death toll from Islamic terrorism in “context,” FOX News relates.
Given the recent killing of the terrorist al-Awlaki and others in Yemen, predator drone warfare will continue to be the subject of debate among concerned Americans.  Stay tuned.

[Post date: 10/7/11]

My Other Blogs: Check out my Amplify blog for synopses of current news stories. My creative website is Making Good Mondays. Follow me at Twitter. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the home page for all my websites.

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