The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has a central role in addressing the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Their Research and Development Enterprise [PDF] is especially wide-ranging, covering everything from protective gear, to predictive and decision-support algorithms, to ScanEagle UAV variants that can monitor WMD levels, to co-operative non-proliferation programs, to development of new weapons like the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. Some of this work has even led to commercial spinoffs, vid. Sanofi Pasteur’s acquisition of VaxDesign and its DARPA/DTRA-financed MIMC model: an in vitro tool capable of predicting human immune response to specific bio-threat agents.
Through the Co-operative Threat Reduction program, the Department of Defense provides equipment, services, and technical advice to Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to assist them in eliminating (or in the case of Russia, reducing) the weapons of mass destruction remaining from the Soviet era, and preventing proliferation. That means dismantling the associated infrastructure, or transforming portions of it to engage in peaceful civilian activities.
The U.S. objectives in the CTR program as established by Congress are to cooperate with the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union to:
The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has undertaken an R&D effort to provide an integrated approach to combating weapons of mass destruction (WMD) known as the Research and Development Enterprise [PDF]. Their efforts are aimed at improving situational awareness about the WMD threat, controlling WMD materials and systems worldwide, reducing the threat to US troops, protecting the homeland, transforming the US nuclear deterrent, and controlling the threat of loose nuclear weapons in the world.
As part of this effort, DTRA awarded a contract April 18/11 worth up to $600 million to TASC in Chantilly, VA to provide advisory services to the agency’s effort in this area…
Guest article by Ian P. Wilson, Grant Thornton UK LLP
Given unprecedented fiscal pressures inherited by the new UK Government, there is an increasing recognition that the UK will have to reassess how it seeks to assert itself militarily. Given the poor condition of the country’s public finances, it is a widely-held view that the UK simply cannot afford to buy and support military assets to simultaneously project air, sea and land force capabilities on a global scale; nor can it expect to address several major conflicts while maintaining effective security at home.
As it proceeds with its promised 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the new UK Government faces the dilemma of having to fund a fundamental realignment and upgrade of the country’s defence and security infrastructure, whilst seeking to reduce a record fiscal deficit. Inevitably, priorities will have to be determined and certain programmes will face cancellation or curtailment…
Sperry Marine, a Charlottesville, VA-based unit of Northrop Grumman, received a $20.9 million firm-fixed-price contract (N00024-09-C-5304) to supply AN/BPS-16(v)5 navigation radar systems for 8 US Navy Virginia-class Block III nuclear attack submarines.
The AN/BPS-16(v)5 is an X-band submarine navigation radar and electronic navigation system that provides navigation surface surveillance. The radar includes a naval electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS-N) which runs on Sperry Marine’s voyage management system (VMS) software.
The Virginia-class Block III submarines are being built by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.
BAE Systems received a contract worth up to $20 million to support the US Air Force global monitoring for nuclear treaty compliance. The company will provide engineering, research, and program management services for the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida.
AFTAC operates and maintains a global network of nuclear explosion detection sensors called the US Atomic Energy Detection System (USAEDS). Once the USAEDS senses a disturbance underground, underwater, in the atmosphere or in space, the event is analyzed for nuclear identification and findings are reported to national command authorities through USAF headquarters.
AFTAC monitors compliance with the following nuclear testing treaties:
“Il n’y a pas de liberte, il n’y a pas d’egalite, il n’y a pas de fraternite sans securite.”
— French President Nicolas Sarkozy
By mid 2007 it seemed that France’s President Sarkozy was softening on defense after an electoral stumble. In July 2007, Sarkozy put together a group that was tasked it with creating a White Paper to define France’s future defense policy. The last time an exercise of this type had been conducted was in 1994.
That group eventually returned with its report, and on June 17/08, President Sarkozy made a speech outlining the key elements of that future direction. The decisions made will change the shape of French defense spending, and will launch an attempt to implement an interlocking set of procurement, infrastructure, and political reforms and changes.
That plan has implications for NATO and the EU, while it received cabinet approval for a 6-year spending plan.
L-3 Services, Inc. in San Leandro, CA received a $7.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the design, development, integration and production of a form, fit and function, environmentally sealed, state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Pulser and its associated control system. Work will be performed in San Leandro, CA, and is expected to be complete in August 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $1.25 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under an electronic request for proposals, with 2 offers received by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD (N00421-08-C-0070).
EMP is a side-effect of intense radiation bursts, usually from a nuclear weapon. Its effect is to fry most semiconductor-based electronics within its effective range, which is to say most electronics these days. This gives EMP a potential offensive use via strategically placed nuclear airbursts. Rep Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD] has led the charge on this issue in Congress, working to establish an EMP Commission that has reported on the USA’s general vulnerability to such attacks.
The military’s interest in this issue is narrower and more specific. Military systems are checked for their ability to survive specific EMP levels – but to do that, one needs to generate an EMP. Since the exact fate of any one device depends on its resistance, the power of the original pulse, and its distance from the source, testing EMPs from devices like L-3’s pulser can be much smaller – and much closer – than the real thing.
How do you train militaries and public agencies for the challenges and scale of nuclear, chemical, or biological (NBC) attacks or outbreaks, without creating unacceptable levels of disruption in society’s daily workings during the exercise? The US military has similar scope and space problems for other military exercises. Its solution is a combination of live training, virtual simulators et. al., and “constructive” environments. That last piece of the puzzle integrates the live and virtual efforts in an imaginary world, and provides status reports to commanders.
Right now, the “live virtual constructive” training environment for NBC operations appears to be falling short of its goals. To fix this, Cubic Applications, Inc. in Lacey, WA received a not-to-exceed $16.3 million cost-plus-fix-fee contract. They will provide investigative research and analysis, explore emerging technologies, and develop proof-of-concept/ prototype solutions to the shortfalls in realistic Nuclear, Chemical and Biological training. The goal is to create “a single, more realistic operational and training environment for the Live Virtual Constructive.”
Work will be performed in Shalimar, FL and is expected to be complete in May 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via a Broad Agency Announcement, with 1 offer received by The Naval Air Warfare Center, Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61339-08-C-0024).