Archive for January, 2011

“The proper role of the military”

31 January 2011 7 comments

While we’re all watching the excitement in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen, this came across in my morning brief from the Wall St. Journal. Emphasis added:

While U.S. officials cautiously distanced themselves from Mr. Mubarak and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for transition to a “real democracy,” the Egyptian military still came in for praise. “They are acting professionally,” said Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman for Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “They are supporting the institutions of government and that is the proper role of the military.”

That would be this guy. Anyone with a warm fuzzy right now, please stand up to receive your appropriately delivered ridicule.

Hope you’re taking notes on all this, because there’s every reason to believe the government will decide to act against us, and plenty of material out there to study.

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I don’t link to David Codrea often, but I should. His latest effort with Mike Vanderboegh is genuine reporting, the kind Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow used to do.

BREAKING NEWS: Grassley Writes Melson on Project Gunwalker

Consider the implications of the charges: federal officers, acting with authority from and the knowledge of their supervisors, knowingly sold firearms to people the government has declared to be our enemies, who then used those weapons in an attack on other federal officers, resulting in the death of Brian Terry. A coverup is alleged to have occurred when investigations were made of the facts of the matter.

That seems like a clear-cut example of “adhering to their Enemies,” if you ask me. I’m not a fan of the drug war, but selling weapons to those who would use them against you and your fellow citizens…

Didn’t they want to hang Benedict Arnold?

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Gas Mask Request

30 January 2011 8 comments

Does anyone have any good recommendations for gas masks? I’m looking for something that would be cheap, easy to maintain, have abundant cartridges available on the surplus market, and sufficient to repel CS gas. Email me or comment below.

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Homemade Whirlygigs

29 January 2011 1 comment

Obviously, you can put a camera on one of these things, but I think it would be better as a recon platform than as an assault tricopter:

Hell of a visual signature, don’t you think?

More details here. HT: The Firearm Blog.

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OPFOR Analysis: Attack Trees and UAV Drones

An attack tree
There was a discussion over at Sipsey Street yesterday about methods to take down various Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Various thoughts were put forth, but there wasn’t a real organization to it – not that there needs to be one, given the open source nature of our infant insurgency.

However, a little organization goes a long way, and here is a case where organizing thoughts can be very fruitful for achieving the stated goal. So let’s take this tool from the world of Computer Security and run with it: Attack trees.

To construct one, set the end goal as the root of a tree. Send out branches to other nodes, with each child node being a condition necessary to accomplish the parent node. Repeat until you arrive at a set of nodes that represent actions that you can take. As a practical exercise, let’s apply this to the UAV question.

Goal: Prevent a UAV from operating (for the exercise we’ll assume a UAV similar to the Honeywell T-Hawk)
First level nodes: shoot it down, prevent it from taking off, prevent it from collecting data, prevent it from reporting the data it collects

Note that the goal is sufficiently ambiguous as to allow several first level nodes, depending on how you define “operate”. Also note that not all child nodes are necessary to achieve the root condition – the UAV fails to operate if you prevent it from collecting data, OR if you prevent it from reporting data (In computer-ese, this is an or statement, as opposed to an and statement).

Second level, shoot it down node: rifle, shotgun, potato cannon loaded with ribbons (tangles the vertically mounted engines)
Third level, shotgun node: identify the target and engage with shotgun
Fourth level: Have one or more shotguns ready
Fifth level: Detect the UAV
Sixth level: See it, hear it, detect it with radar

Iterate as necessary.

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OAKOC – a method of terrain analysis

27 January 2011 2 comments

OAKOC is an acronym used in terrain analysis. It is used for describing the military aspects of a piece of land in a way that clearly identifies the locations necessary to defend or seize a particular area.

O = Observations and Fields of Fire – Where would you place your troops to gain the maximum visibility and fire cover? How would you overlap them?
A = Avenues of Approach – Where would troops normally come from when approaching the position? Where would they expect resistance?
K = Key Terrain – What must be held and what can be given up?
O = Obstacles – What natural or artificial barriers to movement exist, and what can be constructed?
C = Cover and Concealment – What can be used for cover, and what for concealment? What caliber would be necessary to defeat each? If no natural cover exists, what can be improvised?

When using the OAKOC method, you analyze a piece of land in terms of each aspect for both sides – what are your observation posts, what are your enemy’s observation posts, etc. etc. These points of analysis will have an effect on each side, which can be used to determine what action and counter-action to take.

This week’s homework: from the map you developed in the past two weeks, pick a point near one of the military crests/reverse slopes and examine it, evaluating the OAKOC aspects of the position.

See also: FM 3-21.91, Tactical Employment Of Antiarmor Platoons And Companies

More on the USAF Super-Recon Programs

Last Friday I told you about the Air Force’s Eye of Sauron blimp program (my name for it), and the problems it is having. Well, they’ve already tried putting a subset of that sensor platform (called the Gorgon Stare project) on the MQ-9 Reaper, and they’re having problems with that too – lots of problems.

  • The system is “not operationally effective” or “suitable”, according to the AF evaluators.
  • The video feed resembles something like a modern day YouTube HD video piped across a 56k modem – jerky, missing data, and nowhere near effectively real-time. The cause of this is that the data downlink pipe is not big enough to handle a real-time feed, so the feed is cut down to something the pipe can handle, resulting in a less than effective system.
  • The plane’s targeting laser can inadvertently target the system’s cameras, rendering them at least temporarily useless, if the operator is not careful.
  • The two platforms (Reaper and Gorgon Stare) are not a natural fit; the airframe must be modified and strengthened in order to support the recon package.

Please note, for planning purposes, that weapons contractors are nothing if not persistent. They will redesign the systems so that they work together, or move to a different test platform.

This has the potential to be a very effective recon platform for government forces, but it has significant development hurdles to overcome. It is not likely that they will be overcome in the immediate future (that is, by the end of the year), but such a timeline could be influenced by factors unknown at this time.

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