Delivering Death In 30 Minutes Or Less

Unlike the disastrous HTV-2 program, it looks like DoD got this one right.

US tests hypersonic weapon which can hit any target on earth in 30 mins

The US military successfully conducted the first test flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept.

In a statement issued by the US Department of Defence, the AHW is a first-of-its-kind glide vehicle, designed to fly long range within the earth’s atmosphere at hypersonic speed.

The hypersonic flying missile travels five times the speed of sound and is rumoured to gain up to mach 20 speeds. More impressively, it can strike a target in any location on Earth in just 30 minutes.

See also:
U.S. Army tests hypersonic weapon that travels five times the speed of sound… and can hit ANY target on earth in 30mins
America tests new hypersonic missile
Hypersonic bomb: One-hour delivery?
U.S. missile hits its target 2,300 miles away at 5 times the speed of sound
Hypersonic weapon flies 2,400 miles at Mach 8 without crashing
US army test flies advanced hypersonic weapon
Space and Missile Defense Command tests hypersonic glider for possible use as conventional weapon
Army Successfully Tests Hypersonic Missile
Hypersonic weapon tested by US Army
When you absolutely have to get there fast (and bomb something)
Matt Gurney: Even when broke, America can find cool ways to kill you
Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW)

The problem with a lot of high value targets (HVTs) is the time gap between pinpointing their location and the ability to bring ordinance to bear. Hypersonic, kinetic kill vehicles would narrow that gap considerably, minimizing the chances that the target could move and escape before it can be hit.

/fewer lost opportunities, more dead evil doers

Red Dragon Rising

Five months late, the Pentagon’s annual report on China’s military is finally released, and it’s not good news for the good guys.

China’s Modernizing Military Threatens Regional Peace, Pentagon Report Says

The swift advancement of the Chinese military, which is on course to grow into a modern fighting force by 2020, threatens to disrupt the politics of the Asia-Pacific region due to its opaque intentions, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a report released Wednesday.

In the briefing to Congress, the Pentagon said that “uncertainty about how China will use its growing capabilities,” especially in its development of power- projection platforms such as aircraft carriers, submarines, fighter jets, and long-range surface-to-air missiles, is worrying.

Read the report:

Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2011

See also:
US Says China’s Military Expanding Rapidly
China rises: US warns Beijing is expanding its military power
Pentagon cautions on China military might
China military ‘closing key gaps’, says Pentagon
China could build a modern military by 2020, says Pentagon
Pentagon releases report on China’s military
Assessing Concern Over China
China Has ‘Workable’ Anti-Ship Missile Design, Pentagon Says
China military has Taiwan in its sights
China’s military ‘catching up’ with US
China Slams Pentagon Over Critical Military Report
Xinhua ‘baffled’ by new Pentagon report on China
China denounces Pentagon report, defends military modernization
Despite some positive signs, Pentagon report on China still makes much ado about nothing

This just in, China is not our friend. We’re cutting our military, while China is building up their forces. And, to add insult to injury, we owe them over a trillion dollars.

/every day the Chinese spend dollars fleeced from America on weapons, their military gets stronger, and every day Obama squats in the White House, the United States gets weaker

Feeding The Hand That Bites Us

I think you can safely say that the war’s not going well when you have to pay the enemy to protect your supply lines. That’s just seriously [expletive deleted] up.

U.S. indirectly paying Afghan warlords as part of security contract

The U.S. military is funding a massive protection racket in Afghanistan, indirectly paying tens of millions of dollars to warlords, corrupt public officials and the Taliban to ensure safe passage of its supply convoys throughout the country, according to congressional investigators.

The security arrangements, part of a $2.16 billion transport contract, violate laws on the use of private contractors, as well as Defense Department regulations, and “dramatically undermine” larger U.S. objectives of curtailing corruption and strengthening effective governance in Afghanistan, a report released late Monday said.

The report describes a Defense Department that is well aware that some of the money paid to contractors winds up in the hands of warlords and insurgents. Military logisticians on the ground are focused on getting supplies where they are needed and have “virtually no understanding of how security is actually provided” for the local truck convoys that transport more than 70 percent of all goods and materials used by U.S. troops. Alarms raised by prime trucking contractors were met by the military “with indifference and inaction,” the report said.

“The findings of this report range from sobering to shocking,” Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass.) wrote in an introduction to the 79-page report, titled “Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan.”

The transport contract “has fueled warlordism, extortion, corruption, and maybe even funded the enemy,” Tierney said Tuesday in a House subcommittee hearing on the issue. “U.S. taxpayer dollars are feeding a protection racket in Afghanistan that would make Tony Soprano proud.”

See also:
Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan
Afghanistan haulage contract helping to fund Taliban, says US report
‘US money in Afghanistan lands up in the hands of Taliban’
US military faulted over truck security in Afghanistan
U.S. funds protection racket in Afghanistan, report says
U.S. Military Supply Chain Relies on Afghan Warlord Payoffs, Report Says
US Funds Used to Pay Afghan Warlords
US security contract ‘fuels Afghan warlords’
U.S. Said to Fund Afghan Warlords to Protect Convoys
‘Shocking’ Report: U.S. Funding Afghan Warlords
US money going to warlords in Afghanistan: Report
Lawmakers: Pentagon ignored payments to warlords

/pay your enemy for protection, hell of a way to run a military supply chain in the middle of a war

Outsourcing Gone Mad

Russian Firm to Bid on Air Force Tanker Program

In another twist to the ongoing saga to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, United Aircraft Corp. of Russia is planning to bid on the $40 billion contract, according to a person familiar with its plans.

United Aircraft, an aerospace consortium owned by the Russian government, will seek to offer a tanker version of its Ilyushin Il-96 wide-body jetliner, dubbed the Il-98, this person said. The planes would be largely built in Russia, and assembled in the U.S., this person says. United Aircraft will partner with a “small U.S. defense contractor,” which will be renamed United Aircraft Corp. America Inc., this person said, declining to name that contractor.

“UAC will publicly announce by Monday morning the signing of the joint venture agreement for the first of what is hoped to be many opportunities in the U.S.,” says John Kirkland, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing UAC.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said, “the Department of Defense remains committed to a fair and open competition and welcomes proposals from all qualified offerors.”

The Air Force’s aerial tanker replacement program has been tangled in controversy since 2002, when the Pentagon planned to lease a fleet of new tankers from Boeing Co. That plan was revoked and in 2008, Northrop Grumman Corp. and its European partner, the European Aerospace Defence & Space Co., were awarded a contract to build the fleet using the Airbus A330 jetliner. Boeing successfully protested that award and the Pentagon restarted the process yet again last year.

See also:
Russian firm, EADS may give Boeing competition for Air Force tanker
Russian company expected to bid on Air Force refueling tanker
‘Bizarre’ tanker twist: Russians will bid against Boeing for Air Force contract
Russians to bid on U.S. air-tanker contract: WSJ
Russians to bid for U.S. air tanker work
Russian Company Interested in $40 Billion Tanker Contract
EADS says it may rejoin tanker competition
Pentagon says it may extend deadline for air tanker bids
UPDATE 4-Pentagon says EADS may yet pursue tanker deal
EADS Says 60 Days Insufficient for New Tanker Bid (Update2)
Ilyushin Il-96

What a great idea. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Besides ridiculously high labor costs, is there something wrong with Boeing?

/my head hurts

His Own Private CIA?

What the hell is up with this?

Adviser linked to Afghan deaths, St. Pete firm ran Socom unit

When Mike Furlong was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, he headed up a unit charged with breaking the will of enemies, not by dropping bombs or firing missiles but by messing with their minds.

Now he is the center of a controversy about misusing information gathered for educational purposes. The New York Times reported Monday that Furlong set up a network of private contractors to hunt down and kill militants.

Between August 2005 and February 2008, Furlong was deputy director of the Joint Military Information Support Command at MacDill. As head of the unit, which used to be known as the Joint Psychological Operations Support Element, Furlong was responsible for “military and civilian personnel whose mission is to plan, coordinate, integrate and execute transregional psychological operations to promote U.S. goals and objectives for overseas operations,” according to Maj. Wes Ticer, spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command headquartered at MacDill.

At the time, Furlong was a much-lauded military veteran. He served as an arms control negotiator at the Pentagon. He served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was an operations officer with the 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He commanded the 6th Psyops Battalion and Joint Psyop Task Force in Bosnia. He won a Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and a number of other medals and commendations.

After retiring from the military, Furlong became a vice president and director of the Strategic Communications and Information Operations Division of Science Applications International Corp., a key government and military contractor. He served in a similar capacity at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Then he came to MacDill, where Furlong’s command served “as a key contributor” in the Defense Department’s “ongoing efforts to erode adversary power, will and influence,” according to the U.S. Special Operations Command fact book.

What happened after Furlong left MacDill, particularly in the areas of power, will and influence, was the subject of a front-page story Monday in the New York Times.

In February 2008, Furlong became a strategic planner and technology integration adviser at the Joint Information Operations Warfare Command at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

The Times wrote that in mid-2008, “the military put Mr. Furlong in charge of a program to use private companies to gather information about the political and tribal culture of Afghanistan.”

The paper said that under this “benign government information-gathering program” Furlong hired contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill militants. Those activities “seemed to accelerate” in the summer of 2009. According to one contractor the Times interviewed, Furlong referred to his contractors as “my Jason Bournes,” a reference to the fictional American assassin created by novelist Robert Ludlum and played in the movies by Matt Damon.

Furlong did not return an e-mail seeking comment.

His network ultimately ran afoul of military brass. It was dismantled, and he is under investigation, the Times reported.

See also:
Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants
Outsourcing intelligence
Pentagon probes alleged ad hoc spy ring
Senior US official Michael Furlong questioned over private security contractors
Official: Pentagon probing alleged spy operation
Contract killers
Afghanistan Spy Contract Goes Sour for Pentagon – Part 1
US official estalished private spy network: report
Booz Allen Hamilton: A Strategy and Technology Consulting Firm
SAIC: From Science to Solutions

Mike Furlong is obviously an extremely skilled operator and an American patriot, well qualified to be running the type of operation he’s alleged to have been running. That it’s possibly illegal is certainly poking around in a gray area of U.S. law. By definition, the CIA breaks foreign law all over the world, every day, that’s what they do. In today’s reality of global conflict, the official line between military, civilian contractor, government agent is blurry almost to the point of imperceptibility.

/anyway, Furlong tried to do the right thing, perhaps in the wrong way (or maybe with tacit, plausibly deniable permission), I hope he doesn’t get in any trouble over this

Caught Pants Down With All Our Eggs In One Basket

Remember less than a year ago when Obama and Robert Gates cancelled the F-22 Raptor progam, the world’s premier air dominance fighter, which was already in service, because it was a “waste [of] billions of taxpayers dollars”? In their infinite wisdom, the dynamic defense duo decided to gamble almost America’s entire air combat future on a single, unproven design, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, that has yet to be put into production and won’t enter service in the foreseeable future.

Well, guess what?

GAO analyst says cost overruns, delays continue to plague F-35 program

A congressional auditor said Thursday that the Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, “continues to struggle with increased costs and slowed progress,” leading to “substantial risk” that the defense contractor will not be able to build the jet on time or deliver as many aircraft as expected.

Michael Sullivan, the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s top analyst on Lockheed Martin’s jet fighter, also known as the F-35 Lightning II, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a hearing that the cost of the program has increased substantially and that development is 2 1/2 years behind schedule.

The United States plans to buy about 2,400 of the fighter jets for the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy. The projected cost for the program appears to have increased to $323 billion from $231 billion in 2001, when Bethesda-based Lockheed won the deal, according to Sullivan. Eight other countries — Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway — also plan to buy the jets.

The cost to build the plane is now expected to be $112 million per aircraft, according to a GAO auditor.

Sullivan said the program’s “negative outcomes” were “foreseeable as events have unfolded over several years.” He said that the cost increases are largely because Lockheed and the Pentagon are “trying to invent things and build them at the same time,” leading to costly changes in how the plane is being developed, built and tested. That continues to take “more time, money and effort than budgeted.”

He criticized the Defense Department, saying it “does not have a full, comprehensive cost estimate for completing the program,” and noted that it has “fallen short” of its expectations year after year. He said, “Constant program changes and turbulence have made it difficult to accurately and confidently measure progress and maturity of the aircraft system.”

See also:
Pentagon: F-35 fighter jet cost doubles
UPDATE 2-Price of Lockheed’s F-35 fighter soars
F-35 Fighters Now Double the Cost
Cost of F-35 Has Risen 60% to 90%, Military Says
Pentagon tells Senate panel that F-35 is more than 50 percent over cost
DoD: F-35 costs rise at least 50 percent
Joint Fighter Faces Critical Period
Donley: No JSF Alternatives Exist
Air Force: F-35 jet delayed by 2 years
Air Force: F-35 will be delayed, to cost significantly more
Joint Strike Fighter
F-35 Lightning II | Lockheed Martin
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II
Joint Strike Fighter Program

It continues to amaze me as to how they fit all those government clowns into such a tiny car.

/as far as birds go, it’s quite clear now that one F-22 Raptor, already in the hand, is worth way more than two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, still in the bush

Hacking Back At The Chinese And Russians, The White Hat Cavalry

Gates Creates Cyber-Defense Command

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued an order yesterday establishing a command that will defend military networks against computer attacks and develop offensive cyber-weapons, but he also directed that the structure be ready to help safeguard civilian systems.

In a memo to senior military leaders, Gates said he will recommend that President Obama designate that the new command be led by the director of the National Security Agency, the world’s largest electronic intelligence-gathering agency. The current NSA director, Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, is expected to be awarded a fourth star and to lead the cyber-command.

Gates or his deputy had been expected to announce the command in a speech a week ago. Analysts said making the announcement by memo is in keeping with the Pentagon’s effort to tamp down concerns that the Defense Department and the NSA will dominate efforts to protect the nation’s computer networks.

“Is it going to be the dominant player by default because the Department of Homeland Security is weak and this new unit will be strong?” said James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “That’s a legitimate question, and I think DoD will resist having that happen. But there are issues of authorities that haven’t been cleared up. What authorities does DoD have to do things outside the dot-mil space?”

The command will be set up as part of the U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for commanding operations in nuclear and computer warfare. Gates directed that the command be launched by this October and be fully operational by October 2010.

In a speech last week, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn stressed that the command’s mission would be to defend military networks. However, he said, “it would be inefficient — indeed, irresponsible — to not somehow leverage the unrivaled technical expertise and talent that resides at the National Security Agency” to protect the federal civilian networks, as long as it is done in a way that protects civil liberties.

See also:
Military Command Is Created for Cyber Security
Pentagon approves creation of cyber command
Defense Secretary Orders Cyberspace Command
Gates approves creation of new cyber command
US Creates Military Cyber Command to Defend Computer Networks
Pentagon: New cyber command focuses on military network
US sets up anti-computer-hacking unit
Cyberspace: The New Battlefield
Welcome to the National Security Agency – NSA/CSS
National Security Agency
National Security Agency
U.S. Strategic Command
Strategic Command
United States Strategic Command
Air Force Cyber Command
Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional)
Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC)
Welcome to Fort George G. Meade
Fort George G. Meade
Center for Strategic and International Studies ( CSIS )
Center for Strategic and International Studies

/since you insist on [expletive deleted] with our networks, we’ll [expletive deleted] with yours, and we’re better at it