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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

UPI Intelligence Watch

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Atlanta, New York, Seattle and Washington will be fitted with a Department of Homeland Security enrollment and card production system over the next three months.

Washington Technology reported on July 26 that the systems will be installed by Oct. 20 as the first large scale test of DHS technology under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

The HSPD-12 system, which will be installed in all federal buildings in those cities, provides for using interoperable identity cards for government and contractor employees with enhanced security features.

The embedded card technology includes biometrics and digital certificates.

David Temoshok, General Services Administration's director of identity policy and management, said: "We are qualifying vendors based on their past experience with government or commercial biometric and identity management systems. We are not performing a system review."

Some industry experts are concerned that the GSA is not reviewing the proposed systems.

SmartCard Alliance Executive Director Randy Vanderhoof commented, "Vendors who will be able to get all the pieces put together and working deserve a lot of credit. There are a lot of pieces that haven't been put together in one system and operating under the new specification. This is going to be a challenge for anyone. There will be a significant amount of validation of a lot of assumptions. The timelines are tight, but vendors who did Registered Traveler (for the Transportation Security Administration) got the first airports up in a matter of weeks."

General Dynamics' IT technology solutions group Senior Vice President Scott Price is less concerned, noting, "Essentially, the government is saying to industry: Put your money where your mouth is. There is some risk involved, and it will take a good bit of collaboration between the vendor and agencies, but this is doable."

Office of Management and Budget HSPD-12 Executive Steering Committee Chairman Chris Niedermayer said, "The government estimate of savings by doing a large-scale shared service versus agencies doing it independently is three to one. The savings come from each agency not having to buy an identity management system, and the volume discounts when you buy a million public-key infrastructure certificates. We want to knock out a few feds across a bunch of agencies and, if all goes well, then we would look to expand it and make it a key model for shared-services providers. Non-mandatory shared services have a great cost and overhead benefits and we will prove it."


Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles are receiving upgraded ultra high frequency/very high frequency radios.

On July 27 Air Force Materiel Command News Service quoted George Spencer, director of the 912th Aeronautical Systems Group, which manages the F-15 program at the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Base in Ohio, as saying "when troops on the ground need assistance, time is critical. By linking ground forces with F-15E aircrews, the VHF radio shortens the time from request to response. We are proud to support the addition of this critical capability."

The new F-15E Strike Eagles' radios enhance the fighter's ability to communicate more effectively with ground troops and civilian aircraft.

The UHF/VHF radios allow F-15E Strike Eagle crews to provide critical, time-sensitive and encrypted information to ground forces or helicopters.

Lt. Col. James Janette, director of operations for the 336th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, said: "F-15E aircraft flying overhead can use airborne sensors to detect and track insurgents operating during the day or night, then communicate useful information to ground forces, other aircraft or commanders by using VHF radios. F-15E VHF capability shortens the coordination chain and accelerates a commander's ability to engage the enemy using assets from all services."

Alisa Miliner, 912th AES radio program manager, said: "I received an enthusiastic message from a pilot using the new VHF radio describing how it helped him guide ground forces to an enemy combatant hiding under a piece of plastic in a field. He was able to tell one of the troops that passed the guy and missed him by only about 10 feet to turn around and find him under the plastic."


The U.S. Joint Chief of Staff's director for strategic plans and policy is very positive on data supplied by unmanned aerial vehicles.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr. said in a Pentagon Channel interview that the real-time feedback of information supplied by UAVs were "value added" to U.S. military operations.

"UAVs have become such an important tool for our decision makers -- operational battlefield decision makers and strategic decision makers. They have become an accepted part of our inventory. We have for years used them to test missile defense systems and air defense systems. We've used them for a variety of single-mission approaches.

"The advantage of the near-real-time or real-time information is that you can produce essential decision-quality data for commanders on the spot. We're dealing in tenths of seconds, as opposed to minutes, hours or days in some cases.

"There has really been a growth in the understanding of what you can use a UAV for, both tactically on the battlefield and strategically. As we have seen the proliferation of miniaturization and the quality of the technology, you find battlefield commanders want more. We're beginning to collaborate much more on our integration and use of information that comes from these systems.

"A lot of forward-thinking engineers are looking at the problems we need to solve in the next 15 years and trying to decide the best way to meet those with an unmanned vehicle. There is a real need for an ability to monitor the volume of shipping that goes on around the world, to ensure that we don't have so-called rogue states moving potential weapons of mass destruction over sea into a port."

American Forces Press Service reported on July 26 that Predator and Global Hawk UAVs carry cameras, sensors and communications equipment. The Pentagon's use of UAVs grew rapidly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In 2005, the Department of Defense established the UAV Center of Excellence at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, to adapt technology and determine how to make systems more efficient and effective. The UAV Center of Excellence works to set uniform standards that meet needs defined by all branches of the military.
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