04 November 2009

My ADD Post

While mired in the mythical world of HIC fights against Krasnovians and Drakovians, I’ve come across a couple of articles worth sharing. This post may seem slightly disjointed, which it is, and is purely a reflection of my current Career Course workload and a bad episode of ADD.

Sensor Technology.

This article was pulled off the LA Times website two days ago. I’m not 100% sure of the specs since the bulk of the project is undoubtedly TS. Currently, Preds and Reapers are outfitted with one EO/IR FMV sensor. This update to the MQ -1 & MQ-9 sensors is likely a (huge) step forward in L-3 Communications’ Broad Area Persistent Surveillance System, which is outfitted on the Constant Hawk platform. Full motion video is 30 frames per second (FpS). The new MQ-1/9 sensor’s 12 feeds will record and transmit at 2 FpS, which is likely the max rate usable under current bandwidth. Sensor operators and analysts will “quilt” the feeds into a mosaic that covers the 1.5 square mile figure noted below. This provides a major step forward from Constant Hawk in that it eliminates the lag time associated with having to pull hard drives off the plane and the subsequent image “quilting”. I have a sinking suspicion that the word “quilting” will quickly make its way into the intelligence communities’ common vernacular. If you’re not already familiar with the Constant Hawk platform, the initial concept of its role in the counter-IED & VBIED fight is easily expandable into other areas of targeting. A “fused” Predator or Reaper would have been a tremendous asset to my battalion last year in Mosul. As with most cool new targeting toys, I don’t expect to see this platform supporting conventional forces for at least 2-3 years.

Iran Arms Shipments.

Hundreds of tons of weapons were confiscated on an Antigua-flagged cargo vessel by the Israeli Navy today, Israel’s largest-ever interception. Israeli government officials say the cargo was headed for Hezbollah via Syria, and although Iranian and Syrian officials argue otherwise, this is likely the case. Israeli military officials said it was roughly a month’s worth of weapons, including short-range variant Katyusha rockets. Another Iranian arms shipment was confiscated at the end of October in the Red Sea, that time headed for Zaidi rebels in Sa’dah province. Sa’dah province is the epicenter of the Shia insurgency in Yemen. Two confiscated shipments in a few weeks probably does not reflect any significant increase in arms shipments by Iran. More likely is that it was a stroke of good intelligence and fortune by the governments of Israel and Yemen. As noted by William Hannah in his 31 October post, the US Government’s current Iranian strategy simply is not working. It is time for a completely new strategy to in regards to Iran.

Chemical Jihad.

While not completely convinced of a full-blown connection between British street gangs and Al Qaeda, this article was nevertheless extremely interesting. If this article is true however, it reflects a dramatic (and extremely long-term) new front for waging jihad against the west. Further, it’s quite brilliant in that it does weaken western society and tie up government resources, it strengthens Muj coffers, and provides yet another rallying cry to Muslims that western society is morally decaying (feeds into the primary Al Qaeda line of effort: propaganda). However, what really stuck out in this article to me was the fact that the UK has arguably the largest extremist population in the world, one that provides recruits to both domestic (7/7 bombings) and overseas jihad operations. That statement probably will not make a lot of friends, but when your capital is frequently referred to as “Londonistan” there’s probably some truth to the previous statement. Another article worth reading is a Times article from 2006 about British extremism, primarily Abu Hamza and the Finsbury Park mosque. The article quotes the following, According to a YouGov poll taken last year (2005), 24% of British Muslims expressed some sympathy with the motives of the London bombers who killed 52 people and injured hundreds more. Most disturbingly, 32% agreed that: “Western society is decadent and immoral and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end”. These are shocking numbers when you consider Britain has over a million and a half Muslims.

As always, comments are welcome.


  1. Apologize for the re-posting of last night's article, I had a Google brain fart this morning and deleted the post when I went to edit the format. Starbuck, if you happen to read this, yes I am in the CCC. Try not to hold it against me when you're reading my posts!

  2. You do realise that "Londonistan" was coined by French intelligence agents who were infuriated by our unwillingness to let Algerian refugees be returned there for torture during the civil war?

  3. also, the Daily Star is...not a newspaper. for the record, the PDC has been a combined record label and rehab project for the last five years or so.

  4. User81: Thanks for sharing the articles. I'm especially interesed in the development and applications of the BAPSS and your discussion of "quilting." My company is currently working on a pretty cool project with SOCOM to leverage these new capabilities on the PED (processing, exploitation, dissemination) and analysis side. Ultimately, I think in the future we'll move towards collection and archiving systems that will enable us to capture "near-FMV" level quality feeds over huge swaths of territory, creating the possibility to conduct an "IMINT soak" over multiple NAIs at once - huge implications for targeting! Ther real challenge, though, will be in developing tools and software with a sophisticated back-end that will allow analysts to make sense out of these massive volumes of data. There is a huge potential to vastly improve the ISR process as it currently exists! Imagine being able to then take archived FMV for an area and put that against computer models that would allow for advanced predictive analysis of IED emplacement locations and trigger sites as well as to predict enemy target pattern of life.

  5. Yorksranter, I appreciate your comments about the origin of the term 'Londonistan'. I was not aware that the French originally coined the term. I am, however, not exactly following your logic on the second comment.

    Pat, I think an area where we have a lot to improve upon is archiving. Here's where I'd like to see this go in the future:

    A keyword format has potential and would be helpful for known targets, or known areas of interest for a target. This has a moderate to high level of risk involved due to things like analyst spelling errors, or mislabeled town names, etc.

    Perhaps a better method for data extraction would be through the locational data provided by the platform. I think it would be ideal to somehow pull the loc data onto some kind of overlay or second screen that allows for a quick search of archived data by 10-digit grid, or even an advanced search of footage by 6 or 8 digit grid. As far as I know, being able to pull loc data out of archived footage is not currently possible. I'd likely be able to articulate my ideas more clearly if I were more computer savvy, so hopefully this all makes sense. Maybe your company could design something like that to sift through the vast amounts of data already logged? Think of the time we'd have saved ourselves and the FSE by not having them watch countless hours of FMV footage for some small IMINT nugget that may or may not have ever existed!

  6. @User81
    Yorksranter was referencing the Chemical Jihad article which used the Daily Star as a source. The Daily Star is not a paper of great repute. Hence anything they report is suspect.

  7. I mean, you're probably aware that British tabloids are pretty rambunctious, highly partisan, and print nudie pictures. But the Star is the sort of cheap-arse, third rate knock off version of this; more T&A, fewer words per page, bigger point size headlines, more gambling, and absolutely no journalistic value, owned by a professional pornographer who abandoned his business interests in the United States after his finance director was beaten up by Mafia goons in Brooklyn.

  8. I am quite familiar with British newspapers and tabloids. I lived there as a kid, and have visited quite a few times since. I believe the author of Chemical Jihad, Gretchen Peters, is originally from the UK, and took into account the fact that the Daily Star is not the pinnacle of journalism by calling it a tabloid in the original piece. I do not think, however, that the integrity of the entire article should be called into question by this one link to the Star. Mrs. Peters has extensive knowledge of the region, having reported on AfPak for around a decade now.

  9. To add: Gretchen Peters is a well-respected journalist and author of the recent book "Seeds of Terror." Here's a brief bio excerpted from her website at http://www.gretchenpeters.org:

    Gretchen Peters has covered Pakistan and Afghanistan for more than a decade, first for The Associated Press and later as a reporter for ABC News. Peters was nominated for an Emmy for her coverage of the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto and won the SAJA Journalism Award for a Nightline segment on the former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. She has worked with leading media outlets including The National Geographic Society, The Christian Science Monitor and The New Republic, and she has been a commentator on NPR and CNN. She now lives in the US with her husband, Robert Capa Gold Medal winning photographer John Moore and their two children. In fall 2009, she will enter the Josef Korbel School of International Studies to pursue a master’s degree in Homeland Securities and Criminal Justice. Contact her on gretchen@gretchenpeters.org

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