Monday, January 04, 2010

DTN News: The Christmas Day Airliner Attack And The Intelligence Process

DTN News: The Christmas Day Airliner Attack And The Intelligence Process *Source: By George Friedman STRATFOR (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - January 05, 2010: As is well known, a Nigerian national named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to destroy a passenger aircraft traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009. Metal detectors cannot pinpoint the chemical in the device he sought to detonate, PETN. The PETN was strapped to his groin. Since a detonator could have been detected, the attacker chose — or had chosen for him — a syringe filled with acid for use as an improvised alternative means to initiate the detonation. In the event, the device failed to detonate, but it did cause a fire in a highly sensitive area of the attacker’s body. An alert passenger put out the fire. The plane landed safely. It later emerged that the attacker’s father, a prominent banker in Nigeria, had gone to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria to warn embassy officials of his concerns that his son might be involved with jihadists. The incident drove home a number of points. First, while al Qaeda prime — the organization that had planned and executed 9/11 — might be in shambles, other groups in other countries using the al Qaeda brand name and following al Qaeda prime’s ideology remain operational and capable of mounting attacks. Second, like other recent attacks, this attack was relatively feeble: It involved a single aircraft, and the explosive device was not well-conceived. Third, it remained and still remains possible for a terrorist to bring explosives on board an aircraft. Fourth, intelligence available in Nigeria, London and elsewhere had not moved through the system with sufficient speed to block the terrorist from boarding the flight. An Enduring Threat From this three things emerge. First, although the capabilities of jihadist terrorists have declined, their organizations remain functional, and there is no guarantee that these organizations won’t increase in sophistication and effectiveness. Second, the militants remain focused on the global air transport system. Third, the defensive mechanisms devised since 2001 remain ineffective to some degree. The purpose of terrorism in its purest form is to create a sense of insecurity among a public. It succeeds when fear moves a system to the point where it can no longer function. This magnifies the strength of the terrorist by causing the public to see the failure of the system as the result of the power of the terrorist. Terror networks are necessarily sparse. The greater the number of persons involved, the more likely a security breach becomes. Thus, there are necessarily few people in a terror network. An ideal terror network is global, able to strike anywhere and in multiple places at once. The extent of the terror network is unknown, partly because of its security systems and partly because it is so sparse that finding a terrorist is like finding a needle in a haystack. It is the fact that the size and intentions of the terror network are unknown that generates the sense of terror and empowers the terrorist. The global aspect is also important. That attacks can originate in many places and that attackers can belong to many ethnic groups increases the desired sense of insecurity. All Muslims are not members of al Qaeda, but all members of al Qaeda are Muslims, and any Muslim might be a member of al Qaeda. This logic is beneficial to radical Islamists, who want to increase the sense of confrontation between Islam and the rest of the world. This not only increases the sense of insecurity and vulnerability in the rest of the world, it also increases hostility toward Muslims, strengthening al Qaeda’s argument to Muslims that they are in an unavoidable state of war with the rest of the world. Equally important is the transmission of the idea that if al Qaeda is destroyed in one place, it will spring up elsewhere. This terror attack made another point, intended or not. U.S. President Barack Obama recently decided to increase forces in Afghanistan. A large part of his reasoning was that Afghanistan was the origin of 9/11, and the Taliban hosted al Qaeda. Therefore, he reasoned the United States should focus its military operations in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, since that was the origin of al Qaeda. But the Christmas Day terror attempt originated in Yemen, a place where the United States has been fighting a covert war with limited military resources. It therefore raises the question of why Obama is focusing on Afghanistan when the threat from al Qaeda spinoffs can originate anywhere. From the terrorist perspective, the Yemen attack was a low-cost, low-risk operation. If it succeeded in bringing down a U.S. airliner over Detroit, the psychological impact would be massive. If it failed to do so, it would certainly increase a sense of anxiety, cause the U.S. and other governments to institute new and expensive security measures, and potentially force the United States into expensive deployments of forces insufficient to dominate a given country but sufficient to generate an insurgency. If just some of these things happened, the attack would have been well worth the effort. The Strategic Challenge The West’s problem can be identified this way: There is no strategic solution to low-level terrorism, i.e., terrorism carried out by a sparse, global network at unpredictable times and places. Strategy involves identifying and destroying the center of gravity of an enemy force. By nature, jihadist terrorism fails to present a single center of gravity, or a strong point or enabler that if destroyed would destroy the organization. There is no organization properly understood, and the destruction of one organization does not preclude the generation of another organization. There are two possible solutions. The first is to accept that Islamist terrorism cannot be defeated permanently but can be kept below a certain threshold. As it operates now, it can inflict occasional painful blows on the United States and other countries — including Muslim countries — but it cannot threaten the survival of the nation (though it might force regime change in some Muslim countries). In this strategy, there are two goals. The first is preventing the creation of a jihadist regime in any part of the Muslim world. As we saw when the Taliban provided al Qaeda with sanctuary, access to a state apparatus increases the level of threat to the United States and other countries; displacing the Taliban government reduced the level of threat. The second goal is preventing terrorists from accessing weapons of mass destruction that, while they might not threaten the survival of a country, would certainly raise the pain level to an unacceptable point. In other words, the United States and other countries should focus on reducing the level of terrorist capabilities, not on trying to eliminate the terrorist threat as a whole. To a great extent, this is the American strategy. The United States has created a system for screening airline passengers. No one expects it to block a serious attempt to commit terrorism on an airliner, nor does this effort have any effect on other forms of terrorism. Instead, it is there to reassure the public that something is being done, to catch some careless attackers and to deter others. But in general, it is a system whose inconvenience is meant to reassure. The Challenge of Identifying Potential Terrorists To the extent to which there is a center of gravity to the problem, it is in identifying potential terrorists. In both the Fort Hood attack and the Detroit incident, information was in the system that could have allowed authorities to identify and stop the attackers, but in both cases, this information didn’t flow to the places where action could have been taken. There is thus a chasm between the acquisition of information and the person who has the authority to do something about it. The system “knew” about both attackers, but systems don’t actually think or know anything. The person with authority to stop a Nigerian from boarding the plane or who could relieve the Fort Hood killer from duty lacked one or more of the following: intelligence, real authority and motivation. The information gathered in Nigeria had to be widely distributed to be useful. It was unknown where Abdulmutallab was going to go or what he was going to do. The number of people who needed to know about him was enormous, from British security to Amsterdam ticket agents checking passports. Without distributing the intelligence widely, it became useless. A net can’t have holes that are too big, and the failure to distribute intelligence to all points creates holes. Of course, the number of pieces of intelligence that come into U.S. intelligence collection is enormous. How does the person interviewing the father know whether the father has other reasons to put his son on a list? Novels have been written about father-son relations. The collector must decide whether the report is both reliable and significant, and the vast majority of information coming into the system is neither. The intelligence community has been searching for a deus ex machina in the form of computers able not only to distribute intelligence to the necessary places but also to distinguish reliable from unreliable, significant from insignificant. Forgetting the interagency rivalries and the tendency to give contracts to corporate behemoths with last-generation technology, no matter how widely and efficiently intelligence is distributed, at each step in the process someone must be given real authority to make decisions. When Janet Napolitano or George Tenet say that the system worked after an incident, they mean not that the outcome was satisfactory, but that the process operated as the process was intended to operate. Of course, being faithful to a process is not the same as being successful, but the U.S. intelligence community’s obsession with process frequently elevates process above success. Certainly, process is needed to operate a vast system, but process also is being used to deny people authority to do what is necessary outside the process, or, just as bad, it allows people to evade responsibility by adhering to the process. Not only does the process relieve individuals in the system from real authority; it also strips them of motivation. In a system driven by process, the individual motivated to abort the process and improvise is weeded out early. There is no room for “cowboys,” the intelligence community term for people who hope to be successful at the mission rather than faithful to the process. Obviously, we are overstating matters somewhat, but not by as much as one might think. Within the U.S. intelligence and security process, one daily sees good people struggling to do their jobs in the face of processes that can’t possibly anticipate all circumstances. The distribution of intelligence to the people who need to see it is, of course, indispensable, along with whatever other decision supports can be contrived. But, in the end, unless individuals are expected and motivated to make good decisions, the process is merely the preface to failure. No system can operate without process. At the same time, no process can replace authority, motivation and, ultimately, common sense. The fear of violating procedures cripples Western efforts to shut down low-level terrorism. But the procedures are themselves flawed. A process that says that in a war against radical Islamists, an elderly visitor from Iceland is as big of a potential threat as a twentysomething from Yemen might satisfy some ideological imperative, but it violates the principle of common sense and blocks the authority and the motivation to act decisively. It is significant that this is one of the things the Obama administration has changed in response to the attempted bombing. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Jan. 4 that anyone traveling from or through nations regarded as state sponsors of terrorism as well as “other countries of interest” will be required to go through enhanced screening. The TSA said those techniques would include full-body pat downs, carry-on luggage searches, full-body scanning and explosive detection technology. The U.S. State Department lists Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism. The other countries whose passengers will face enhanced screening include Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen. A rational system of profiling thus appears to be developing. In all likelihood, no system can eliminate events such as what happened on Christmas, and in all likelihood, the republic would survive an intermittent pattern of such events — even successful ones. Focusing on the strategic level makes sense. But given the level of effort and cost involved in terrorist protection throughout the world, successful systems for distributing intelligence and helping identify potentially significant threats are long overdue. The U.S. government has been tackling this since 2001, and it still isn’t working. But, in the end, creating a process that precludes initiative by penalizing those who do not follow procedures under all circumstances and intimidating those responsible for making quick decisions from risking a mistake is bound to fail.
This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to
Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: India Defense Procurement, Year-End Review 2009

DTN News: India Defense Procurement, Year-End Review 2009 *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - January 05, 2010:The country’s march towards indigenization and strengthening of the Armed Forces through modernization and state-of-the-art weapons acquisitions were the highlights of the Ministry of Defence during the year 2009. The Navy took a giant leap with the launching of the first indigenously built nuclear propelled strategic submarine named ‘Arihant’ in July. The Indian Navy is well on its way to acquire a lethal punch in the years ahead when it gets the first indigenous aircraft carrier. The keel for the carrier was laid in Kochi in February. The Navy also received the first batch of three MiG-29K fighter jets.
The Air Force got a big boost when the first of the three AWACS, the IAF’s eye in the sky, joined its fleet in May.
The Army’s focus during the year was on indigenization with the induction of locally built MBT Arjun and T-90 Bhishma tanks.
To facilitate the indigenous defence industry and fast track acquisitions by transfer of technology from foreign vendors, the Ministry of Defence issued an updated Defence Procurement Procedure-2009 in October. The year also fulfilled a longstanding aspiration of the Armed Forces personnel when the President inaugurated the Armed Forces Tribunal in August. The other significant events during the year include Rescue and Relief during cyclone Aila that hit West Bengal and humanitarian aid to war-ravaged Sri Lanka and the participation by a 400-member tri-service contingent in the French National Day Parade for the first time.
Nuclear Powered Submarine ‘Arihant’ Launched
India’s first indigenously built nuclear propelled strategic submarine named ‘Arihant’, meaning ‘Destroyer of the Enemies’, was launched on July 26 at the Ship Building Center, Visakhapatnam. India thus joined a select group of nations which have the technological capability to build and operate nuclear propelled submarines.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, while congratulating the Director General of the ATV (Advanced Technology Vehicle) Programme, Vice Admiral (Retd) DSP Verma and all personnel associated with it for achieving this historic milestone in the country’s defence preparedness, noted that they overcame several hurdles and barriers to enable the country to acquire self-reliance in the most advanced areas of defence technology. The Prime Minister made a special mention of the cooperation extended by Russia.
The 6,000 ton ‘Arihant’ is undergoing trials for two years before its commissioning.
Keel Laying Ceremony Of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier
In February the keel was laid in Kochi for the first indigenous aircraft carrier, making India the fourth nation to join a select club of designers and builders of over 40,000 tonne Aircraft Carriers. The ship that will carry 30 aircraft including Mig-29Klub, LCA Tejas and Kamov Ka-31 helicopters and include a complement of 1,600 crew, is expected to add punch to the Navy’s capability when it joins the fleet in 2014. The carrier is the largest vessel for which construction has been undertaken at any Indian shipyard.
Commissioning of Landing Ship Tank INS Airavat etc.
INS Airavat, the third Landing Ship Tank (Large) of the Shardul class was commissioned in May. As a platform designed for amphibious operations the ship can carry 10 Main Battle Tanks, 11 Combat Trucks and 500 Troops and has a considerable range and endurance at sea.
With its weapon package, control systems and habitability conditions significantly enhanced from the earlier Magar class, Airavat delivers considerable punch and amphibious capabilities to the fighting prowess of the Indian Navy.
Four Fast Attack Craft namely INS Cora Divh, Cheriyam, Carnicobar and Chetlat were also commissioned over the year.
MiG-29K Arrival
The first batch of three MiG-29K aircraft were received on December 04, 2009 at INS Hansa Goa. A total of 16 aircraft have been contracted from MiG RAC. These aircraft will be flown intensively after their acceptance.
Contract for Navy’s Patrol Aircraft
A contract was signed in January with Boeing Industries for eight P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft worth $2.137 Billion. Delivery of aircraft is scheduled between 2013 and 2015. First of IAF Awacs Arrives In India
The first of the three Indian Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) platform arrived in India from Israel in May. Three Mig-29 and Jaguar aircraft escorted the giant IL-76 configured in its new avatar, each that took off from an advanced fighter airbase of South Western Air Command (SWAC). Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, SWAC, Air Marshal KD Singh, Air Defence Commander Air Vice Marshal P Singh and the AOC Jamnagar, Air Commodore C Hari Kumar and air warriors of the airbase welcomed the crew of the AWACS aircraft that included the Commanding Officer of the first AWACS squadron, Group Captain B Saju. Their maiden touchdown on Indian soil also marked the first landing of the AWACS in an IAF airbase.
MMRCA Flight Trials Begin
The Indian Air Force began flight evaluation tests for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in August. US' Boeing and Lockheed Martin, French Dassault, Swedish SAAB, European consortium EADS and Russian MiG are vying for the deal worth around Rs. 48,000 crore ($10.2 billion).
The IAF hopes to complete the tests by April, 2010.
Army Raises First Armoured Regiment of MBT Arjun
History of sorts was made on May 25 when the Indian Army proudly equipped itself with the first Armoured Regiment of the indigenously built Main Battle Tank, Arjun. The development marked the fruition of 35 years of research in self-reliance by dedicated Indian scientists against all odds. 16 tanks (cumulative 45 Arjun tanks) were handed over to Lt.Gen.D.Bhardwaj, DGMF, towards formation of the 1st Arjun regiment at a function in Avadi, Tamil Nadu.
MBT Arjun is the state-of-art main battle tank designed and developed by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi along with other DRDO and industrial partners. MBT Arjun is provided with excellent mobility, superior firepower and protection and its features are comparable to contemporary tanks operated by cavalries around the world.
Indigenously Built T-90 ‘Bhishma’ Tanks Roll Out
India rolled out its first batch of the indigenous, Russian-designed T-90 tanks in August, which will be the country’s main battle tank over the next three decades.
The successor to the T-72 tanks, the T-90 - renamed Bhishma after the Mahabharat stalwart - is the one of the most advanced tanks in the world. It has night-fighting capability and can fire guided missiles from its turret. It is also designed to ensure protection of crew from radioactivity in the event of a nuclear attack.
The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi in Tamil Nadu will make 100 T-90 tanks annually over the next 10 years. The tank will be the spearhead of India's armoured corps and the mainstay of its offensive operations.
Third Successful Test of Ballistic Missile Interceptor
India inched closer towards its endeavour to put in place its own home-grown Ballistic Missile Defence System by successfully carrying out the third Interceptor test on March 06, 2009 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island in Orissa. The two-stage Interceptor Missile fitted with advanced systems hit the target enemy missile at 75 kms altitude. This third consecutive interception of Ballistic Missiles once again demonstrated the robustness of the Indian Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system.
Defence Procurement Procedure 2009 Released
An updated and revised Defence Procurement Procedure-2009 was released in October 29, and it came into effect in November. It promotes indigenous defence industry, ensure transparency and accountability in all procurement cases and liberalizes Offset provisions to enable vendors to fulfil their obligations. The amended DDP-2009 introduced a new category named ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ which enables indigenous private and public industry to enter into joint ventures with foreign suppliers by Transfer of Technology and not by Research and Development.

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $9.8 Million For Standoff Land-Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) By U.S. Navy

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $9.8 Million For Standoff Land-Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) By U.S. Navy
*Source: U.S. Department of Defense dated January 04, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) - January 05, 2010: General Dynamics, Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Anniston, Ala., is being awarded a $9,840,219 firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of up to 222 Standoff Land-Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) titanium warhead housings for the U.S. Navy and various Foreign Military Sales customers.
The SLAM-ER (Expanded Response) Block 1F, a major upgrade to the SLAM missile that is currently in production, provides over twice the missile range, target penetration capability, and control range of SLAM. SLAM-ER has a greater range (150+ miles), a titanium warhead for increased penetration, and software improvements which allow the pilot to retarget the impact point of the missile during the terminal phase of attack (about the last five miles). In addition, many expansions are being made to improve performance, survivability, mission planning, and pilot (man-in-the-loop) interface. The SLAM-ER development contract was awarded to McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (Now BOEING) in February of 1995. SLAM-ER achieved its first flight in March of 1997. All Navy SLAM missiles are currently planned to be retrofitted to SLAM-ER configuration. About 500 SLAM missiles will be converted to the SLAM-ER configuration between FY 1997 and FY 2001.
Work will be performed in Anniston, Ala., and is expected to be completed in January 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $568,976 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-D-0008).

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract For Technical Support Service Of Taiwan Air Force E-2C Aircraft

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract For Technical Support Service Of Taiwan Air Force E-2C Aircraft *Source: U.S. Department of Defense dated January 04, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) - January 05, 2010: Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $6,084,429 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to provided engineering, technical and sustaining services in support of Taiwan Air Force E-2C aircraft. Work will be performed in Bethpage, N.Y. (75 percent), and at Pingtung Air Force Base, Taiwan (25 percent). Work is expected to be completed in January 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00421-05-G-0001).

DTN News: General Atomics Wins $266 Million Contract For Predator/Reaper UAV

DTN News: General Atomics Wins $266 Million Contract For Predator/Reaper UAV *Source: U.S. Department of Defense dated December 31, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) - January 05, 2010: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc, Poway, Calif., was awarded a $266,055,622 contract for program management; urgent repairs and services; logistics support; configuration management; technical manual and software maintenance; engineering technical services; contract engineering technical specialists; contractor inventory control point and spares management; depot repair; flight; operations support; reliability/maintenance enhancements; and CAMS/REMIS/CEMS data collection entry for the Predator/Reaper MQ-1 and MQ-9 unmanned aircraft system program. At this time, $53,211,124.4 has been obligated. 703rd Aeronautical Systems Squadron, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028).

DTN News: The Pentagon TV Report

DTN News: The Pentagon TV Report *Source: DownRange Pentagon (NSI News Source Info) - January 04, 2010: U.S. troops teach Iraqi soldiers how to handle an emergency in a humvee. Other stories on Afghanistan and Iraq. Recon: Game On

DTN News: May The Angels Watch Over Them

DTN News: May The Angels Watch Over Them *Source: DTN News (NSI News Source Info) - January 04, 2010: For all of the soldiers fighting far from home... May He who blesses us as well over its soldiers and grant them a successful peace and protection ... May the Angels watch over them ... God bless!

DTN News: Iran To Hold 'Large-Scale Military Exercise' Next Month

DTN News: Iran To Hold 'Large-Scale Military Exercise' Next Month *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran- January 04, 2010: Iran will hold a "large-scale military exercise" next month in order to prepare its forces to repel an offensive by the nation's enemies, government-funded Press TV reported, citing a top military official. Brig. Gen. Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan, commander of Iran's ground forces, told a meeting of servicemen in Tehran Saturday the joint drill will be conducted by ground forces and some units of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and aimed at improving "the force's defensive capabilities," Press TV said. The exercise will also "boost the region's security," he said. "Both the United States and its close ally Israel have refused to rule out the possibility of a military attack" against Iran, Press TV reported. "Iran has not initiated a war with any country for more than a century." The report did not provide specifics on when the military exercise would take place. U.S. officials have said that time is running out for Iran to address international concerns regarding its nuclear program. And Israel has called Iran's nuclear program the major threat facing its nation. Iran has said its uranium enrichment program is aimed at producing fuel for civilian power plants. But the United States and other countries have accused Tehran of working toward nuclear weapons. Iran says it has a right to produce nuclear fuel under the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bars member states from pursuing nuclear weapons and requires international inspectors to have access to nuclear facilities. On Saturday, Iran's foreign minister issued an ultimatum to the West: Either renegotiate the United Nations-backed deal on Iran's nuclear program, or the Islamic republic will enrich nuclear fuel on its own. Foreign Minister Manounchehr Mottaki said the West has until the end of January to accept the counter-deal proposed by Iran, though he didn't give details on Iran's offer, according to state media. Mottaki's comments came two days after Iran failed to meet a year-end deadline to accept a deal offered in October by the "P5 plus one" -- permanent United Nations Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany. The six nations offered Iran a deal to send most of its low-enriched uranium abroad for conversion into fuel for a medical reactor in Tehran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, had proposed that Iran send low-enriched uranium to Russia and then France for processing