The All American Shoe

All American Shoe
Ok, so this is a very cool shoe.



I’m in Ft. Lauderdale, and I came across this shoe.



No straps, no buckles, no bows, no ties, no tassels, no sparkles.



Just this woven American flag–prominent and proud.Ā 



Thought this was pretty cool.Ā 



Maybe there is a time for pretty shoes on the runway, and boots on the ground to defend our nation. šŸ˜‰



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Bigger Smaller Navy

The Bigger Smaller Navy

So our Navy is shrinking for real, but growing on the books.

Steve Cohen writes in the Wall Street Journal how the “U.S. Navy is stretched too thin.”

And we are down to just 283 ships, but for reporting purposes it’s 293–that is–because we now include hospital ships, small coastal patrol vessels (“lightly armed [with machine guns]…and not true oceangoing”), and a high-speed transport in the calculus.

Moreover, “only 35% of the U.S. Navy’s entire fleet is deployed, fewer than 100 ships, including just 3 aircraft carriers.”

According to the Heritage Foundation, gone is the promise of a mighty U.S. with a formidable 600-ship navy, and instead “U.S. naval leaders are struggling to find ways to meet a new requirement of around 300 ships…with “predictions [that] show current funding levels would reduce the fleet to [just] 263 ships.”

Sure, today’s fleet is comprised of ships more capable than predecessors, but our enemies are also not resting on their laurels.

China is now building its 2nd aircraft carrier, and Russia has formally secured Crimea home to it’s Black Sea fleet.

The function for military readiness includes not only capability of each, but numbers available to fight.

There are times that less is more, but less can also be less. šŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jon Olav)

From Flat Tires To Wounded Warriors

Totally awesome new technology breakthrough for treating hemorraging patients from the battlefield to the obstetrics ward.

Popular Science reports how a pocket-size syringe filled with sponges can stop bleeding in seconds.

Instead of having to apply wads of gauze and apply pressure”that doesn’t always work…[and] medic must pull out all the gauze and start over again,” the injection of sponges into the wound “boosts survival and spares injured soldiers from additional pain.”

This same technology developed by RevMedx for the military is being adapted for postpartum hemmorages, and I would imagine could eventually be used in other serious bleeding cases whether caused by accident, trauma, in surgery, or other medical necessity.

The sponges are about 1-centimeter circles and are coated with a blood-clotting, antimicrobial substance.

Once injected, the sponges expand to about 20 times their size to fill the wound, apply enough pressure to stop the bleending, and clings to moist surfaces, so they aren’t forced out by gushing blood.

The sponges have X-shaped markers on each that are visible on an x-ray image to ensure none are left inside.

The solution is sterile, biocompatible and in the future may be biodegradable so they don’t have to be removed from the body.

And to think that the inspiration was Fix-a-Flat foam for emergency tire repair. šŸ˜‰

We’re Dead And We Don’t Even Know It

We're Dead And We Don't Even Know It

We all know the frightening threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) heading over the ice caps–from Russia, China, and even North Korea someday) and landing in our “backyards” destroying life as we know it.

But what The Washington Beacon reports about the arms race to new ultra-high speed missiles means we are probably dead already and don’t even know it.

These new missiles being developed by China, Russia, India, and the U.S. are designed to be so fast, so small, go so low (“ground-hugging), and be so maneuverable with precision guided systems that they may completely evade all our missile defenses (long-range interceptors, medium-range sea and land-based interceptors, and short-range, near target interceptors).

China tested one of these on Jan. 9–it would sit atop an ICBM and “then glide and maneuver at speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound from near space en route to its target.”

It “takes off towards its target from near space, or less than 62 miles from earth.”

Traveling at Mach 10 or 7,680 miles per hour, the warhead would hit accordingly to my calculation in under 30 seconds!

These hypersonic weapons can be loaded on the last stages of ICBMS, submarine missiles, aboard strategic bombers, on cruise missiles, and even on surveillance drones.

This is the “hypersonic arms race” and the winner has asymmetric warfare advantage and can take out their opponent before the other guy even knows what hit them.

The good news is that the U.S. is testing the Lockheed HTV-2, Hypersonic Technology Vehicle, capable of Mach 20 (13,000 mph), and within the next 10-15 years we expect “rapid kill” to be able to “attack any location on earth within an hour.”

Note: the diameter of the earth is only 7,926 miles so if we can achieve Mach 20, it will actually only take us about 36 minutes!

So conventional missile defense is a bust, which leaves kinetic weapons and lasers (high-speed hit-to-kill capabilities) as our last defensive hope, as Ian Easton of the Project 2049 Institute said, “If there is a great power war in this century, it will not begin with the sound of explosions on the ground and in the sky, but rather with the bursting of kinetic energy and the flashing of laser light in the silence of outer space.”

What follows though is anything that gets through these defenses rings will destroy everything down here before you would even have enough time to read this post.

In a sense, we’re all dead already, and this is a very small foreshadowing testament.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jonathan McIntosh)

Halo Arrives To Our Warfighters

So excited about the Army’s experimental Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS).

This is really our fast, strong, and agile fighting force of the future.

The integration of technologies for the individual warfighter, including sensors, exoskeleton body armor, weapon systems, communications, and monitoring of health and power makes this an unbelievable advance.

I think the MIT research on magnetorheological fluids–which convert from liquid to solid body armor in milliseconds (sort of like Terminator 2) with a magnetic field or electric current (controlled, so the enemy doesn’t bog down the forces) is a true game changer for balancing agility and force protection.

In the future, I believe these suits will even incorporate capabilities to drive, dive, and fly.

This will complement unmanned swarms of dumb drones with intelligent human fighters that will take the battlefield on Earth and beyond. šŸ˜‰

Warrior Augmentation

Warrior Augmentation

I love the direction DARPA is going in with robotic exoskeletons for our warfighters.

Helping soldiers perform their jobs easier, more capably, and with less injury using human augmentation is good sense.

Military men and women often carry weight in excess of 100 pounds for long distances and perform other tasks that challenge human physical endurance.

Creating a durable “soft, lightweight under[or over]suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve soldiers ability to efficiently perform their missions” is an smart and achievable goal, and one that would give us great advantage in the battlefield.

The timeframe of 2012-2016 is an aggressive deadline to form the mix of core technologies, integrate them, and develop a wearable prototype.

I think the goal of having this be “potentially wearable by 90% of the U.S. Army population” is notable as not something that is for just special forces or unique missions, but rather something that can medically protect and make for a superior fighting force for all of our men and women.

This is really only the beginning of human augmentation with sensors, storage, processors, and robotics to make our warriors fight with the best that both man and machine has to offer. It’s not a fight of man versus machine, but of man and machine.

Seeing and hearing farther and with more clarity, connecting and communicating timely and under all conditions, processing loads of data into actionable information, fighting and performing mission with superior skills (strength, speed, dexterity, and endurance) and integrated weapon systems, guiding warriors to their targets and home safely–these are goals that man-machine augmentation can bring to reality.

And of course, the sheer medical and rehabilitative benefits of these technologies in caring for the sick and disabled in society is enough to “pedal to metal” drive these efforts alone.

Like on the prescient show from the 70’s, The Six Million Dollar Man, “We can rebuild him. We have the technology…Better than he was before. Better…stronger…faster.”

And I would add healthier and more deadly! šŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: here with attribution to DARPA and Boston Dynamics)

Turnkey Cyberwar

Turnkey Cyberwar

Interesting article by Noah Shachtman in Wired about how the Pentagon is gearing up for cyberwar.

It’s called Plan X and it’s being pursued by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The idea is for cyber warfare to be conducted like traditional kinetic warfare–where “munitions made of 1s and 0s [are] to be as a simple to launch as ones made of metal and explosives.”

Cyberspace is considered a domain of warfare similar to land, sea, air, and space, and it is necessary to be able to craft offensive capabilities where “a military operator can design and deploy a cyber effect, know what it’s going to accomplish…and take the appropriate level of action.”

We can’t fly by the seat of our pants in cyberspace any longer; we’ve got to have turnkey solutions ready to launch in order to defend our people and interests.

To accomplish this, we need:

1) Surveillance: A good map of cyberspace detailing enemy cyber outposts and threats akin to the geographical maps we have identifying physical targets and dangerous movements.

2) Weapons: Reliable cyber weapons ready to take on and take out enemy networks similar to kinetic weapons ready to destroy their military hardware and infrastructure.

3) Launch protocols: The rules of engagement for attack and counterattack and the ability to intuitively and securely unleash those even faster then the turnkey capabilities with which we can respond with traditional military might.

Whether, the cyber weapon looks like Angry Birds or some other point (at the target) and swipe (to launch at them) interface is almost beside the point–what is key is that we are ready to fight like hell in cyberspace, win uncontested, and keep the peace again. šŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Great Beyond)

Tiptoeing Or Delivering A Knockout Punch

Russia (and many others countries) develop some really kick-a*s weapons–especially, when they are so simple, yet so devastatingly effective.

Like this TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system–it is a multi-rocket launcher mounted on a T-72 main battle tank chassis.

The TOS-1A carries 30 (newer version 24) 220-mm incendiary or thermobaric unguided rockets that it can shoot up to 3 km (newer version 6 km), and it destroys everything within 300 square meters using high-pressure and temperature.

What is cool is that the technology seems boiled down to the basics–shoot and eliminate. And when multiple TOS-1As roll unto the battlefield–they unleash what looks like a ruthless barrage of destructive fire.

Of course, precision targeting weapons have the added benefit of mitigating civilian casualties–but from the looks of things, that is not what this weapon is all about.

The question is do you go half way or finish the job–do you hit below the belt or keep it a clean fight?

In war, if you leave the enemy intact or with fighting capabilities, then you may just have to fight them another day.

While the rules of war protect people from the cruelties of all out hostilities, we need to make sure that in the end, it keeps them safe over the long-term, and does not just prolong the inevitable cat-fight.

Good, kind, and just people often don’t feel comfortable delivering a knockout punch, but sometimes (not all the time) that is just what is needed to restore the peace. šŸ˜‰

Searching For Cybersecurity Warriors

Searching For Cybersecurity Warriors

For those interested in the field of cybersecurity, I wanted to share some useful websites that I’ve come across:

1) Cybersecurity Training and Competitions

Cyber Aces–provides cyber training and competitions for high school and college students, including:

–Ā Cyber Foundations: For high school students, you can visit the online Cyber Centers and learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity, including modules in networking, operating systems, and systems administration and then take cyber quizzes to compete for honors, awards, scholarships, and even corporate internships.

–Ā Cyber Quests: For college students, you can take “cyber quests” or online competitions associated with the U.S. Cyber Challenge, to demonstrate knowledge of infrastructure security, digital forensics, vulnerability analysis, packet capture analysis, and more. Winners can get an invitation to Cyber Camps for specialized advanced training.

2) Information Assurance Scholarships

The Department of Defense has a generous Information Assurance scholarship program where recipients generally work as a full-time DoD employee for one year for each year of scholarship received.

Similarly, the National Science Foundation offers scholarship where recipients work for a federal agency in the Federal Cyber Service (Cyber Corps) upon graduation.

These are some amazing training and scholarship opportunities to ready the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

In a 2012 movie that I was watching recently called “Abducted,” the main character tells the others with whom she is being held hostage that they need to fight their way out, and she exhorts them to have “No fear, no excuses, just results”–this is what we need in cybersecurity today! šŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cyberweapons Power Up

In you haven’t heard of Project Aurora, this is a wonderful segment from 60 Minutes on this cyberwar project.

Faced with some of the worst case scenarios for cybergeddon, Idaho National Labs set out in 2007 to test what would happen to a 27-ton power generator if the researchers hacked into it from a mere laptop.

The turbine was sent instructions that would essentially tear itself apart–and in the video you can see what happened–it shudders, shakes, smokes, and ultimately destroys itself.

The test was a grand success demonstrating our capabilities to conduct cyberwar operations against an adversary.

Interestingly, Reuters reported the Symantec researchers “uncovered a version of Stuxnet from the end of 2007 that was used to destroy two years later about 1,000 Iranian centrifuges used in their Natanz nuclear uranium enrichment facility for alleged development of weapons of mass destruction.

The flip side of this cyberwar test is the realization of the potential blowback risk of cyberweapons–where adversaries can use similar technology over the Internet against our critical infrastructure–such as SCADA industrial control systems for the power grid, water treatment, manufacturing, and more–and cause potentially catastrophic events.

As stated toward the end of the video, this is a type of “pre 9/11 moment” where we identify a serious threat and our vulnerability and we need to act to prevent it–the question is will we?