Things That Make You Go Hmmm

Colonel: US Army has working electropulse grenades

Contradicting previous reports, a US Army electronic-warfare colonel has apparently confirmed the existence of working non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) ordnance – apparently so portable that it is even available in hand-grenade size.

The revelation came at a blogger roundtable (press conference) held in order to introduce the US Army’s new electronic-warfare specialist career field. The briefing was reported by the war-hacks at Military.com:

“EMP grenade technology is out there, but I’ve never had my hands on one,” said Col Laurie Buckhout, chief of the newly formed Electronic Warfare Division, Army Operations, Readiness and Mobilization…

The target may be a small building or a village, she said, and so a small jammer could be used, or EMP grenades.

Iraq Hones Army Electronic Warfare

It was barely a year ago that the Army stood up an EW division under the G-3 in the Army staff. This placed it in an operational environment where it could have significant influence on many Army disciplines, including kinetic activities such as fires. So, soldiers and field artillery officers can be the chief bearers of EW in the Army’s transformational brigade combat team configuration. Fires personnel will be responsible for the integration of EW effects.

Col. Laurie Moe Buckhout, USA, chief of the Army EW division, points out that this makes EW a weapon system of choice over which the field artillery officer has command and control. The other services integrate EW systems under the EW Coordination Center, or EWCC. This ensures a joint doctrine, and the Army’s adoption of a similar approach will help interoperability.

The Army’s new approach to EW represents a bit of a turnaround. Whereas the service had little to do with EW for many years, it now is emphasizing its importance both tactically and organizationally. Col. Buckhout explains that the Army has dedicated EW as a core competency, so every soldier must have an understanding of EW. The Army also is building a core of EW experts in the enlisted, warrant and commissioned ranks.

Army EW will be an aspect of the service’s modularity in that these experts will be embedded throughout the Army in all echelons. Some organizations will include EW teams, the colonel adds.

The colonel allows that the Army’s new emphasis on EW emerged from the fight against IEDs in Iraq. But, important as that fight is, EW’s importance has spread beyond it. Col. Buckhout cites the Army’s pursuit of the core elements of EW.

Electronic attack entails offensive action against an adversary. This could range from suppressing air defenses to employing radio traffic countermeasures. Electronic protect defends Army assets against enemy electronic attacks, which could include direct methods such as jamming or indirect kinetic methods such as setting IEDs. And, signals intelligence must be integrated into EW to increase the efficiency of both disciplines.

Staying ahead of the enemy is the chief tactical challenge facing Army EW, Col. Buckhout states. The enemy in Iraq is well suited to technology adaptation, and it repeatedly has changed its tactics to combat Army IED countermeasures. “However you make them unsuccessful, they’re going to try something new,” she says.

But recently the Army has been able to turn the tide in EW. It has been able to use EW for targeting and for surgically interdicting specific operators without interfering with other users of the local electromagnetic spectrum.

These successes emerged from earlier efforts that achieved mixed results. Those efforts mainly involved brute-force EW against the IED spectrum instead of actions targeted against specific threats. Electronic countermeasures systems pressed into action against IEDs were not designed for crowded urban environments rife with various radio frequency systems. Many of these early counter-IED efforts interfered with friendly spectrum, both military and civilian.

Satellite, FM and cell phone systems all suffered from some of these jamming measures. The military found that its vital global positioning system (GPS) and communications systems, including Blue Force Tracking, were disabled when these IED jammers were operating. Iraqi emergency responders, such as Red Crescent ambulance staff, could not use their communications systems. Civilians who relied on cell phone connectivity for their day-to-day existence were cut off, and even helicopters and aircraft could be affected locally.

But a key tactical success in the EW counter-IED effort was the refinement of materiel, techniques and operations, Col. Buckhout states. Those interference issues have been largely resolved, so the Army now can counter enemy IEDs more effectively while maintaining vital communications and radio frequency systems. “We have come a long way in technologies and capabilities to address the threat while enabling our own friendly use of the spectrum,” she states. “We have had great successes countering certain types of IEDs by denying the enemy use of the spectrum.

“Because of electronic warfare, we are able to more surgically affect hostile operations,” the colonel declares. “We can go directly after a threat while impacting less of the spectrum writ large. So you’re having less collateral damage on overall systems that are friendly or have the potential to be friendly, and a more surgical effect going directly after enemy systems.”

See also:
The Electromagnetic Bomb – a Weapon of Electrical Mass Destruction
ElectroMagnetic Pulse Bomb
Electronic warfare (EW)
The Electronic Warfare (EW) Working Group
Electronic Warfare Offers New Jobs for Tech-savvy Professionals

/I wonder how good Iran is at sheilding their military electronics?

Judd Gregg Will Not Be An Obama Token

Gregg Withdraws as Commerce Nominee

New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg has withdrawn his name from consideration as President Barack Obama’s Commerce Secretary, a major blow to an Administration seeking to put a series of Cabinet problems behind it.

“It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the census there are irresolvable conflicts for me,” Gregg said in a statement to be released by his office. “Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns.”

See also:
Gregg withdraws as commerce secretary nominee
Gregg withdraws as US commerce secretary nominee
Statement from Gregg on withdrawal of nomination
GOP leaders criticize White House role in census

That’s one more vote against Porkapalooza.

/we’d still need to flip two out of the three renegades to stop it

This Is Not The Pork You Seek

Are you feeling stimulated yet?

AP: About Obama’s “no pork” assertion…

Barack Obama made the claim at least twice yesterday that the stimulus bill had no pork in it. In his prime-time press conference, Obama almost angrily rejected the notion that the Generational Theft Act contained pork:

But what I — what I’ve been concerned about is some of the language that’s been used suggesting that this is full of pork and this is wasteful government spending, so on and so forth. …

But when they start characterizing this as pork without acknowledging that there are no earmarks in this package — something, again, that was pretty rare over the last eight years — then you get a feeling that maybe we’re playing politics instead of actually trying to solve problems for the American people.

And earlier in the day, during his Elkhart town-hall meeting:

And, listen, I know that there are a lot of folks out there who’ve been saying, “Oh, this is pork, and this is money that’s going to be wasted,” and et cetera, et cetera. Understand, this bill does not have a single earmark in it, which is unprecedented for a bill of this size, does not have a single earmark in it.

In a literal sense, that’s true — but only because the stimulus bill is essentially an Omnibus Earmark Package. It consists entirely of local and state projects that would normally only get funded as earmarks on other appropriations. Even the Associated Press calls shenanigans on this claim:

THE FACTS: There are no “earmarks,” as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork – tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects.

For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other “priority procurements” by the Coast Guard.

Could this obscene Porkapalooza get any more ridiculous? Why yes, yes it could.

Stimulus has $30M to save Pelosi’s harvest mouse

House Republicans are challenging Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the massive stimulus spending bill contains no pet projects after uncovering in the bill more than $30 million for wetlands conservation in her San Francisco Bay area district, including work she previously championed to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse.

“This sounds like spending projects that have been supported by a certain powerful Democrat in the past,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

“It certainly doesn’t sound like it will create or save American jobs,” he said. “So can Speaker Pelosi explain exactly how we will improve the American economy by helping the adorable little” critter?

See also:
Stimulus bill just pork in new disguise
Obama Claims Stimulus Pork-Free, AP Disagrees
Pork & Pet Projects
History Says Obama’s Stimulus Won’t Work
How to Wreck the American Economy
Government overreach isn’t stimulating

/as Rear Admiral Joshua Painter said in The Hunt for Red October, “This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”