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Archive for the ‘military’ category

Mar 29, 2020

Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Troubles Remain Unaddressed Amid a Global Pandemic

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, geopolitics, health, military, treaties

It is vital that would-be bombmakers be disabused of any notion that they could evade tough international sanctions. We need a country-neutral, reasonably predictable, more-or-less automatic sanction regime that puts all countries on notice, even friends of the powerful.

By Victor Gilinsky Henry Sokolski

Just as we’ve had to discard business-as-usual thinking to deal with the current worldwide health emergency; it’s time to get serious about the spread of nuclear weapons. It doesn’t have the immediacy of the coronavirus, but it will last a lot longer and is no less threatening. In particular, we need to fortify the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which is fifty years old this year and badly needs fixing. The April 2020 Review Conference will likely be postponed, which provides time to develop something more than the usual charade of incremental proposals that nibble at the problem.

Continue reading “Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Troubles Remain Unaddressed Amid a Global Pandemic” »

Mar 29, 2020

Study uses AI to estimate unexploded bombs from Vietnam War

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Researchers have used artificial intelligence to detect Vietnam War-era bomb craters in Cambodia from satellite images—with the hope that it can help find unexploded bombs.

The new method increased true bomb crater detection by more than 160 percent over standard methods.

The model, combined with declassified U.S. military records, suggests that 44 to 50 percent of the bombs in the area studied may remain unexploded.

Mar 28, 2020

More US Military Power Needed in Antarctic to Deter Malign Activity, General Says

Posted by in categories: climatology, military

If the U.S. is going to do more work in cold weather climates to deter malign activity from Russia and China, one Air Force general says it will need more equipment to operate full-time in the South Pole.

Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Charles Q. Brown said Tuesday he’d like to see a boost in “some of the capability we have, but don’t have a lot of.”

“Icebreakers, for example. L C-130s? There’s not a lot of those,” Brown said during a speech at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in Arlington, Virginia.

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Mar 28, 2020

Run for the hills! Pentagon sends teams into MOUNTAIN BUNKERS as pandemic preparations go into full swing

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military

The US’ Northern Command has sent teams of essential staff deep underground to wait out the Covid-19 pandemic. On the surface, more than a million grunts won’t be quite as cocooned.

Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy heads up the US’ Northern Command, as well as the North American Aerospace Defense Command – a joint US/Canadian operation that monitors the skies over North America for missile and airborne threats. Earlier this week, O’Shaughnessy told reporters via Facebook that some of his watch teams would be moved from their usual command center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado to a number of hardened underground bunkers.

One of these facilities is the Cheyenne Mountain bunker complex, a warren of tunnels buried under 2,000 feet (610m) of granite, and sealed behind blast doors designed to withstand a 30 megaton nuclear explosion.

Mar 28, 2020

U.S. military command teams are being isolated in infamous Cheyenne mountain bunker

Posted by in category: military

Strange, very strange.


Military teams that monitor foreign missile and warplane threats to the United States are isolated at a number of military sites, including Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado.

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Mar 27, 2020

Army Asks Retired Soldiers in Health Care Fields to Come Back for COVID-19 Fight

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, health, military

The Army has a message for its retirees: Uncle Sam wants you to help fight the novel coronavirus.

A message sent by Defense Finance and Accounting Services, which processes and dispenses retiree pay, asked troops who had previously served in specific health care specialties to consider “re-joining the team” to address the current pandemic crisis. It’s signed by Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Army Personnel, G-1.

“We need to hear from you STAT!” reads the message, obtained by Military.com.

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Mar 27, 2020

How the Fantasy of Invisibility Becomes Reality in the Sky

Posted by in categories: materials, military

When asked, “What kind of superpower would you like to have,” most of us say “invisibility.” Even Derek Jeter. Invisibility, like the ability to fly, is the stuff of childhood dreams. And for decades, cloaking devices have been a favorite plot device of science-fiction and fantasy classics like “Star Trek,” “Harry Potter” and “Doctor Who.”

Today, the F-35 strike fighter jet makes this fantasy a reality, as it navigates airspace with the most advanced powers of hide and seek. Its multiple stealth devices – radar-absorbing materials and internal infrared sensors – comprise the ultimate invisibility cloak. In the F-35 and elsewhere, stealth and cloaking technologies have become more comprehensive and durable, with applications for military and other industries. This is what happens when science meets imagination.

“With improvements, tanks or planes can be cloaked from human observation, car trunks can be made see-through, blind spots can be cloaked to be seen easily or cloaking can even be used as art or included for architectural effects,” said Joseph Choi, a researcher with the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics.

Mar 27, 2020

Immunization against Potential Biological Warfare Agents

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, law enforcement, military, terrorism

Circa 2000


The intentional release of biological agents by belligerents or terrorists is a possibility that has recently attracted increased attention. Law enforcement agencies, military planners, public health officials, and clinicians are gaining an increasing awareness of this potential threat. From a military perspective, an important component of the protective pre-exposure armamentarium against this threat is immunization. In addition, certain vaccines are an accepted component of postexposure prophylaxis against potential bioterrorist threat agents. These vaccines might, therefore, be used to respond to a terrorist attack against civilians. We review the development of vaccines against 10 of the most credible biological threats.

Mar 27, 2020

Genome Editing and the Future of Biowarfare: A Conversation with Dr. Piers Millett

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, genetics, military

Most simply, the phrase “genome editing” represents tools and techniques that biotechnologists use to edit the genome — that is, the DNA or RNA of plants, animals, and bacteria. Though the earliest versions of genome editing technology have existed for decades, the introduction of CRISPR in 2013 “brought major improvements to the speed, cost, accuracy, and efficiency of genome editing.”

CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspersed Short Palindromic Repeats, is actually an ancient mechanism used by bacteria to remove viruses from their DNA. In the lab, researchers have discovered they can replicate this process by creating a synthetic RNA strand that matches a target DNA sequence in an organism’s genome. The RNA strand, known as a “guide RNA,” is attached to an enzyme that can cut DNA. After the guide RNA locates the targeted DNA sequence, the enzyme cuts the genome at this location. DNA can then be removed, and new DNA can be added. CRISPR has quickly become a powerful tool for editing genomes, with research taking place in a broad range of plants and animals, including humans.

A significant percentage of genome editing research focuses on eliminating genetic diseases. However, with tools like CRISPR, it also becomes possible to alter a pathogen’s DNA to make it more virulent and more contagious. Other potential uses include the creation of “‘killer mosquitos,’ plagues that wipe out staple crops, or even a virus that snips at people’s DNA.”

Continue reading “Genome Editing and the Future of Biowarfare: A Conversation with Dr. Piers Millett” »

Mar 27, 2020

Passive Antibody as Defense Against Biological Weapons

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military, surveillance, terrorism

The potential threat of biological warfare with a specific agent is proportional to the susceptibility of the population to that agent. Preventing disease after exposure to a biological agent is partially a function of the immunity of the exposed individual. The only available countermeasure that can provide immediate immunity against a biological agent is passive antibody. Unlike vaccines, which require time to induce protective immunity and depend on the host’s ability to mount an immune response, passive antibody can theoretically confer protection regardless of the immune status of the host. Passive antibody therapy has substantial advantages over antimicrobial agents and other measures for postexposure prophylaxis, including low toxicity and high specific activity. Specific antibodies are active against the major agents of bioterrorism, including anthrax, smallpox, botulinum toxin, tularemia, and plague. This article proposes a biological defense initiative based on developing, producing, and stockpiling specific antibody reagents that can be used to protect the population against biological warfare threats.

Defense strategies against biological weapons include such measures as enhanced epidemiologic surveillance, vaccination, and use of antimicrobial agents, with the important caveat that the final line of defense is the immune system of the exposed individual. The potential threat of biological warfare and bioterrorism is inversely proportional to the number of immune persons in the targeted population. Thus, biological agents are potential weapons only against populations with a substantial proportion of susceptible persons. For example, smallpox virus would not be considered a useful biological weapon against a population universally immunized with vaccinia.

Vaccination can reduce the susceptibility of a population against specific threats provided that a safe vaccine exists that can induce a protective response. Unfortunately, inducing a protective response by vaccination may take longer than the time between exposure and onset of disease. Moreover, many vaccines require multiple doses to achieve a protective immune response, which would limit their usefulness in an emergency vaccination program to provide rapid prophylaxis after an attack. In fact, not all vaccine recipients mount a protective response, even after receiving the recommended immunization schedule. Persons with impaired immunity are often unable to generate effective response to vaccination, and certain vaccines may be contraindicated for them.

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