Rapid Fire, June 13, 2013: Transitions

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* The Pentagon sends out a memo [PDF] reminding DoD employees and DoD contractors that they’re not to look at any still-classified documents, even if they’re posted in the public domain, broadcast widely by media sources, and made available to the rest of the world. Wouldn’t want anyone knowing what all our friends and enemies already know, so we could plan appropriately. Of course, if you looked at home, or ordered the wrong books online, we can always have the NSA dredge up your private information and tell us, if we ever decide later that we want to punish you for something else. Uvidimsia! * With that advisory in mind, there have been a few headlines about a “Transition 2001” NSA memo that reportedly pushed to ‘rethink’ the 4th (search & seizure) Amendment to the US Constitution. George Washington University’s “The National Security Agency Declassified” has that report, and others besides. While calling the 4th Amendment “as applicable to eSIGINT as it is to the SIGINT of yesterday and today,” it also talked about “demand a powerful, permanent presence on the global telecommunications network that will host the “protected” communications of Americans as well as the targeted communications…” The quote […]

* The Pentagon sends out a memo [PDF] reminding DoD employees and DoD contractors that they’re not to look at any still-classified documents, even if they’re posted in the public domain, broadcast widely by media sources, and made available to the rest of the world. Wouldn’t want anyone knowing what all our friends and enemies already know, so we could plan appropriately. Of course, if you looked at home, or ordered the wrong books online, we can always have the NSA dredge up your private information and tell us, if we ever decide later that we want to punish you for something else. Uvidimsia!

* With that advisory in mind, there have been a few headlines about a “Transition 2001” NSA memo that reportedly pushed to ‘rethink’ the 4th (search & seizure) Amendment to the US Constitution. George Washington University’s “The National Security Agency Declassified” has that report, and others besides. While calling the 4th Amendment “as applicable to eSIGINT as it is to the SIGINT of yesterday and today,” it also talked about “demand a powerful, permanent presence on the global telecommunications network that will host the “protected” communications of Americans as well as the targeted communications…” The quote marks around ‘protected’ are in the original document.

* EADS Eurocopter’s X3 compound helicopter just set an unofficial speed record by hitting 255 knots in level flight, and 263 knots in a dive (472 / 487 kmh), while remaining stable and low-vibration. That’s just slightly faster than the Sikorsky X2’s 251 / 262 knot speeds in September 2010, but Sikorsky has moved past the X2 to develop its S-97 Raider scout/SpecOps design, and now their larger JMR-TD utility/attack helicopter.

* Helicopter blades can have good stability but transmit lots of vibration to the structure, or damp down vibration (“low load”) but have stability issues. The US Army is embedding carbon nanotubes in a composite structure to see if they can handle some of the dampening through internal friction, while maintaining strength & stability.

* Britain is recruiting skilled individuals for its Successor Class ballistic missile submarine program. It’s a secure job as long as Scotland doesn’t declare independence, which would totally screw up the entire program. The House of Commons Defence Committee has held a few hearings on that very subject.

* The US Congressional Research Service recently released the latest version of RL33153: “China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities – Background and Issues for Congress.” OpenCRS is still using the February 2012 version, so you may have to wait a bit for them to update.

* Instead of a video today, our final item is a photo. Raven Aerostar recently attached one of their tethered aerostats to the rear deck of the unfortunately-monikered HSV-2 catamaran, after US SOUTCOM recent issued an urgent request. The aerostat and charter vessel then deployed to the Caribbean, to serve as a very mobile base for as-long-as-you-like wide area surveillance. We expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing in the years to come:

Raven on HSV-2

Raven on HSV-2
(click to view full)

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