Science and Technology News

Saturday, January 30, 2010

2010 National Security Science & Engineering Faculty Fellows

January 30, 2010 - The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced the selection of 11 distinguished university scientists and engineers for the 2010 class of its National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF). The NSSEFF program provides Fellows with a sizable chunk of change: up to $4,250,000 in long-term support to conduct unclassified research on topics of interest to DoD, including sensors, surveillance, information security, cyber and force protection, and power projection.

“These distinguished researchers have a demonstrated record of success in fields of strategic importance to the DoD. Their NSSEFF work will not only contribute to preparing DoD and the nation for an uncertain future, but will also develop the necessary high quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics talent that will be essential to the department’s continued success,” said Zachary J. Lemnios, director, Defense Research and Engineering.

Below, I’ve listed the 2010 class along with information about their research areas and links to their laboratory website, if available.

Meigan Aronson, Ph.D., Stony Brook University
Research area: High temperature superconductors

Alper Atamturk, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Research area: Resilient networks (nonlinear optimization)

Andrew Ellington, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Research area: Synthetic biology – develop biological software via genetically augmented proteins

Leslie Greengard, Ph.D., New York University
Research area: Computational electromagnetics

Lene Hau, Ph.D., Harvard University
Research area: Quantum information science

H. Jeff Kimble, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Research area: Quantum information science

Stephen Leone, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Research area: Attosecond electron processes in solids

Todd Martinez, Ph.D., Stanford University
Research area: Theoretical & computational design of light- and force-driven molecular materials

Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Ph.D., Northwestern University
Research area: Emergence of shape & patterns in biomolecular assemblies in ionic solutions

Leonid Ryzhik, Ph.D., Stanford University
Research area: Waves in random media

Guillermo Sapiro, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Research area: Image acquisition, analysis and integration

NSSEFF was established by the Office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering, as part of the National Defense Education Program, and it is currently managed by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Full details of application and submission information for the most recent National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship Competition can be found at http://www.grants.gov/.

Fairhope Woman Sentenced for Wire Fraud

January 30, 2010 - Theresa Canavan Lyda, of Fairhope, Alabama, was sentenced in federal court January 29, 2010, to a term of 10 months. Said term consists of two counts of wire fraud in violation of Title 18 United States Code, §1344. Defendant was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $81,481.15 to Paige and Pallette. The sentence was imposed by District Court Judge Kristi K. DuBose.

Lyda was employed at Paige and Pallette in Fairhope, Alabama as the company’s bookkeeper. In this position, from July 13, 2006 through December 2008, the defendant devised a scheme to defraud Paige and Pallette by using Paige and Palette checks, credit cards, and direct debits from the company’s bank account to pay personal expenses. The defendant falsely altered accounting software to hide the illegal payments to herself causing a loss to Paige and Pallette of approximately $106,481.15.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney, Gregory A Bordenkircher with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Platte County Man Sentenced for High-Tech Fencing Scheme

Merchandise Shoplifted, Auctioned on eBay

January 30, 2010 - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for organizing a scheme to shoplift merchandise then sell the stolen property on the Internet auction site eBay.

John Charles Chass, 42, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to 33 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Chass to pay $120,000 in restitution.

On June 4, 2009, Chass pleaded guilty to leading a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to transport stolen property across state lines from February 2005 through December 2007. Chass recruited a group of “boosters,” who would steal merchandise from retail stores and deliver it to Chass, who paid the boosters for the stolen merchandise based upon a percentage of its retail value. Chass then advertised the stolen merchandise on his eBay website known as “Stairway to the Stars.”

Six co-defendants also pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy and have been sentenced: Joshua L. Zimmerman, 23, of Kansas City; Stacie M. Emmerich, 34, of Independence, Mo.; Barbara J. Sharp, 54, and Michael Dale Ivester, Jr., 28, both of Gladstone, Mo.; and Tina Deann Cox, 39, and Daniel G. Moody, 31, both of Gower, Mo.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Cowles. It was investigated by the Career Criminal Section of the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, which also includes agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

New One-Stop Source for Scientific Information about U.S. Oceans and Waters

January 30, 2010 -A one-stop source for biogeographic information collected from U.S. waters and oceanic regions is now available from the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Program.

The OBIS-USA website offers a unique combination of tools, resources, and biodiversity information to aide scientists, resource managers and decision makers in the research and analyses critical to sustaining the nation’s valued marine ecosystems.

OBIS-USA was established in 2006 in cooperation with the U.S. National Committee for the Census of Marine Life a committee composed of renowned marine community leaders. OBIS-USA – a partnership of state, federal and scientific organizations -- is the United States’ contribution to the International Ocean Biogeographic Information System, an effort led by the Census of Marine Life to provide “open access” to global biodiversity data on the myriad of marine life that inhabits the ocean.

“The world’s ocean is critically important, not only because of how it influences the climate, but also because it provides the resources for commercial, recreational, cultural, scientific, conservation, and national security activities,”” said John Mosesso, OBIS-USA co-lead. “At the same time, the ocean is threatened by a variety of changes, including warming temperatures, increasing ocean acidity, invasion by non-native species, overharvesting, and loss of habitat for species of concern.”

OBIS-USA provides data and functional tools to address key questions and information needs related to scientific understanding of sustainable and resilient ecosystems, marine spatial planning, climate change, ocean acidification, invasive species, and managing the nation’s fisheries. To address these ocean threats requires access to critical information on marine biodiversity, Mosesso noted.

OBIS-USA data holdings comprise millions of individual records supplied by marine data sponsors from across the nation. The site provides a work space for visitors to search and manipulate that data. This is accomplished in collaboration with data providers to produce a compilation of data in a common format. Data are interoperable and can be consistently viewed and applied by researchers, decision makers and resource managers.

Users can search and download data and metadata describing when and where species were observed or collected. The site’s offerings are available through an atlas (where users can review and select specific data sets). Individual or composite data sets (user-created selections from the entire holdings) may be viewed through several functions, including:

• data dashboard - provides a pictorial view of data attributes that lets users assess their utility;

• data richness - assesses how well the data are populated for selected elements;

• data quality - provides key data collection information;

• duplication status - indicates if a data set may contain duplicate records;

• general metadata – displays the Federal Geographic Data Committee data record;

• geographic coverage – displays data collection sites spatially;

• participants - names OBIS-USA participants, with the option to connect back to the atlas, dashboard, and metadata functions; and

• taxonomic depth - table shows the levels of taxonomic hierarchy for each organism.

OBIS-USA goals this year include an increase to over 10 million total data records and expanded functionality to address needs such as integration with non-biological data and further capability regarding species distributions.

To learn more about OBIS-USA, including growing its list of data and exploring partnerships, contact the NBII’s Mark Fornwall or John Mosesso.

Coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey, the NBII is a broad, collaborative program to provide increased access to data and information on the nation's biological resources.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Technology Helps Wounded Warrior Lead Productive Life

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2010 - It took a few trips to the grocery store before Army Capt. Matthew Staton realized he needed help. "I'd go to the store and forget a five-item list my wife had given me," he said. "I'd just wander up and down the aisles."

Staton eventually sought help for what turned out to be mild traumatic brain injury, a result of exposure to multiple improvised explosive devices in Iraq and head trauma from a stateside car accident.

Staton, now medically retired, received not only medical care, but also technology-based care that has enabled him to embark on a successful post-military life. He described the help he received through the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program at the 2010 Military Health System Conference at the National Harbor here.

The program, known as CAP, falls under the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. It provides free assistive technology and services to people with disabilities throughout the Defense Department and other federal agencies.

"I'd heard of the program and reached out, asking for the services," he said during a Jan. 26 interview at the conference. "The memory was the biggest thing for me. I was the Post-it king -- write everything down. The problem was I couldn't keep it organized."

The program provided Staton with two personal digital assistants, a digital voice recorder, literacy software and scanner, and even a chair – all free of charge. "The PDA allowed me to pull everything together," he said.

Since its inception in 1990, the program has filled more than 81,000 customer accommodations, said Dinah Cohen, program director, who described the program's benefits at the conference Jan. 26.

"Our mission is to provide the assistive technology and accommodations to ensure our employees with disabilities and my newest customers, my wounded warriors, have equal access to the information environment and opportunities at Department of Defense and throughout the federal government," said Cohen, who has been with the program since it started.

These disabilities can range from carpal-tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow to vision impairment and hearing loss.

Through the program, employees receive assistive technology and training, needs assessments and technology demonstrations, installation and integration of technology, and training on disability management and on creating an accessible environment, Cohen said.

In 2004, the program expanded to target the unique needs of wounded warriors, Cohen said.

"When CAP was established, the military audience was always a part of it, but requirements were low; the number of people with devastating injuries was relatively low," Cohen said in an interview today.

"Post-9/11, I saw more and more servicemembers coming home with devastating injuries," she continued. "They were coming back with injuries similar to disabling conditions I've been accommodating for many years," such as cognitive issues and hearing and vision impairments.

A new population was developing that wasn't as aware of the laws dealing with disability issues, she said, due to the youth and health of the force.

A CAP program called "Support, Equip and Empower" now provides wounded warriors with information about the available technology and then provides the right equipment for their needs. Since its inception in 2004, the program has filled more than 14,000 requests directly for servicemembers, Cohen said.

As an added benefit, once assistive technology is delivered to servicemembers through CAP, they can keep that equipment, whether they continue with federal employment or not. That equipment has become part of a wounded warrior's daily life, Cohen said, so it's only fitting it should remain so.

Staton, for instance, kept his CAP-provided assistance items from active-duty service through separation and into his current job as a staff assistant for the Office of the Secretary of the Army.

The goal for wounded warriors, Cohen said, is re-employment.

"Many of our men and women who have been injured are young; they have a whole life ahead of them," she said. "We don't want to say to them at the age of 21, 'You can't work any more.'"

To spread awareness and facilitate requests, CAP has local representatives at more than 56 activities throughout the country, Cohen said.

"If you are in charge of a [military treatment facility], a clinic, a program, that has servicemen and women who are wounded warriors, who are coming back and they need CAP, you need to let us know," Cohen told the conference attendees. "That is the liaison we need.

"Bottom line is that we do right by that man and that female who have worn the uniform to keep us safe," she continued. "That we get them the right technology, that we don't make mistakes, that we're helping them through their recovery and rehabilitation."

Sensor and Surveillance Technologies for Criminal Justice Applications

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to enhance the administration of justice and public safety. NIJ solicits applications to inform its search for the knowledge and tools to guide policy and practice.

NIJ is seeking applications for funding for research and development of sensor and surveillance technologies to address the following specific needs of State and local criminal justice agencies:

1. Detection of the “broad spectrum” of contraband, including metallic and nonmetallic weapons, at any controlled access point. The preferred solution would be a product that, once commercialized, would be commercially available for under $25,000. To prevent contraband from entering correctional facilities, the preferred technology will be a portal that can also detect contraband concealed within body cavities.

2. Noninvasive, continuous monitoring of a subject’s use of both illegal and prescription substances.

3. Detection of trace blood at crime scenes from a distance of 5 feet or greater.

4. Accurate detection of gunshot residue in the field in real time.

5. Ability to extract full streams of digital multimedia evidence (DME) from incompatible systems, while maintaining the integrity of the metadata.

More Information
http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/sl000930.pdf

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Operator of Massmodz.com for Selling Hacked Cable Modems

January 28, 2010 - PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOSEPH M. DEMAREST JR., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), announced that MATTHEW DELOREY was arrested today on wire fraud and conspiracy charges relating to his sale of hacked cable modems. The cable modems had been modified to permit a user to hide his or her identity and steal service from Internet service providers. DELOREY was arrested this morning at his New Bedford, Massachusetts residence by agents of the FBI.

According to the criminal Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

DELOREY operated a website called MASSMODZ.com, which among other things, sold cable modems which were hacked and reconfigured to allow them to be used for free, untraceable access to the Internet.

Cable modems are network adapters typically used to allow computers to access the Internet over cable television networks through an Internet service provider. Most network adapters have a Media Access Control ("MAC") address assigned by the manufacturer of the adapter that is designed to be a unique identifying number. Unlike a device's Internet Protocol ("IP") address that often changes each time a device connects to the Internet, a MAC address is fixed, which allows for proper routing of communications on a local area network and may be used for other purposes, such as identification and authentication of customers by some network service providers. Additionally, the fixed address can allow law enforcement to identify whether communications sent or received at different times are associated with the same adapter.

Modems can be reconfigured to allow the user to change the MAC address assigned to the modems to any value designated by the user (to "spoof" the MAC address). A cable modem with a "spoofed" MAC address may allow the modem's user to access the Internet using the identity of another modem or a fictitious modem, thus allowing the user to hide his or her identity from the Internet service provider and obtain Internet access for free. Such a "spoofed" MAC Address would also allow the user to hide from law enforcement, which could facilitate criminal conduct.

DELOREY, through MASSMODZ.com, sold such hacked modems to various customers, including a customer in Bronx, New York. He also sold two hacked modems to an undercover FBI agent posing as a customer. Subsequent forensic analysis of those modems showed that they had been reconfigured to allow them to "spoof" MAC addresses.

DELOREY marketed his hacked modems in a Craigslist post advertising "Massmodz Free Internet - Get free untraceable internet." DELOREY also appeared in instructional videos he placed on YouTube, including videos entitled "Massmodz.com How to Get Free Internet Free Cable Internet Comcast or any Cable ISP - 100% works"; "Massmodz.com How to bypass Comcast registration page with premod cable modem SB5100, SB 5101"; "Massmodz.com Cable Modem Hack Cable Modem Mod"; and "Massmodz.com How to get back online Comcast new secure area with cable modem premod, Comcast ready."

DELOREY, 26, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence on each count of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

DELOREY is expected to be presented today in Boston, Massachusetts federal court.

Mr. BHARARA praised the work of the New York Office of the FBI's Cyber Branch in this case, and said the investigation is continuing.

Assistant United States Attorney RYAN P. POSCABLO is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges in the criminal Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

MHS Portal to Help Patients Take Charge of Their Health

By Krista Holyak
Health.mil

January 28, 2010 - The Military Health System plans to help its patients engage more actively in their health care by way of the forthcoming online MHS Patient Portal. The portal will activate patient participation in his or her health care experience, support patient-health care team interaction, and provide efficiencies for the enterprise.

“The concept is to be able to empower and bring choice to the patients in ways they can actively engage in their health care,” said Army Col. Thomas Greig of DoD Health Affairs at the 2010 MHS Conference Jan. 27.

The MHS Patient Portal will provide health-care-related online applications that allow patients to interact and communicate with their providers and manage their own health activities. The portal will support the MHS information management/information technology (IM/IT) strategic plan’s mission of healthy and resilient individuals, families, and communities. “It’s one of the top 10 goals in the IM/IT strategy,” said Greig.

One key component of the MHS Patient Portal will be the DoD’s personal health record (PHR), MiCare. The PHR allows patients to take more responsibility for health care needs and make patients and providers interactive partners in the health care encounter. The PHR includes information such as allergies, medications, lab and radiology results and inpatient/outpatient records.

“MiCare is about choices. It is an enabler,” said Richard Barnhill, Madigan Army Medical Center, also at the conference. “PHRs give a lot of power to the patient.”

The MHS Patient Portal will be more than a PHR. It provides multiple ways for patients to obtain care within the MHS and aggregates data to one central location. It provides benefits to patients, providers, and military treatment facilities.

Barnhill said that the portal's capabilities will eventually include secure patient-provider messaging, self-appointing, family history, and health trackers. The MHS is also working to include electronic health record clinical data, patient-entered information and device-acquired data to the PHR.

Corrections Technology Center of Excellence

January 28, 2010 - The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to enhance the administration of justice and public safety. NIJ solicits applications to inform its search for the knowledge and tools to guide policy and practice. NIJ seeks qualified applicants to operate a Corrections Technology Center of Excellence (“the Center”) within the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System (“the NLECTC System”). The work that this new center will perform is currently being performed by the Weapons and Protective Systems Technology Center of Excellence (WPSTC). The WPSTC has been operated since 2007 by the Pennsylvania State University in collaboration with the University of Denver.

More Information
http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/sl000891.pdf

Solicitation: Solving Cold Cases With DNA

NIJ seeks applications from States and units of local government for funding to identify, review, and investigate “violent crime cold cases” that have the potential to be solved using DNA analysis and to locate and analyze biological evidence associated with these cases. Experience has shown that cold case programs can solve a substantial number of violent crime cold cases, including homicides and sexual assaults. Advances in DNA technologies have substantially increased the successful DNA analysis of aged, degraded, limited, or otherwise compromised biological evidence. As a result, crime scene samples once thought to be unsuitable for testing may now yield DNA profiles. Additionally, samples that previously generated inconclusive DNA results may now be successfully analyzed using newer methods.

More Information
http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/sl000933.pdf

Solicitation: Communications Technology Center of Excellence

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to enhance the administration of justice and public safety.

NIJ seeks qualified applicants to operate the Communications Technology Center of Excellence (”the Center”) within the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System (“the NLECTC System”). Within the areas of communications-related and position-location technologies, the Center provides scientific and technical support to NIJ’s research and development efforts; supports the demonstration, transfer, and adoption of appropriate technology into practice by criminal justice agencies; assists in the development and dissemination of technology guidelines and standards; and provides technology assistance, information, and support to criminal justice agencies.

More Information
http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/sl000897.pdf

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Electronic Health Record Meets 2009 Objectives

By Krista Holyak
Health.mil

January 28, 2010 - The DoD met six Congressionally outlined objectives that further progress of electronic health record interoperability with the Department of Veterans Affairs, said an official from the Military Health System’s Office of the Chief Information Officer at the 2010 MHS Conference Jan. 26.

Mary Ann Rockey, program executive officer for the MHS OCIO, said that the objectives were successfully met by the Sept. 30, 2009, deadline outlined in the National Defense Authorization Act, section 1635.

“2009 was a challenging yet very good year for the information technology community. The Military Health System made a lot of progress, putting us in a good position for 2010,” said Charles Campbell, MHS Chief Information Officer, also at the conference. “This year we are going to make tremendous, positive changes for the health care community.”

Among those changes will be further work to progress electronic health record capabilities, which Campbell says presents challenges that are unique to the military and veteran population it serves.

“One thing that makes DoD different from other large health care organizations is that we have a very mobile beneficiary and provider population,” he said. “No matter where they go, the information must be readily available.” Campbell said that the health data must be stored centrally and available globally in order to be successful.

In addition to discussing the “way ahead” strategy for the electronic health record, Campbell spoke about the MHS’s information management and information technology (IM/IT) 2010-2015 strategic plan, which is finalized and is the MHS’s first formally approved IM/IT plan since 1999.

Campbell said the IM/IT strategic plan was created in collaboration with the services.

“There are a tremendous amount of moving parts when it comes to IM/IT,” said Campbell, explaining why a strategic plan was needed. “Information is key in the health care business. We must ensure the right information is provided to the right people at the right time.”

One of the top priorities outlined in the plan is to aggregate data for every patient across providers, allowing an electronic health record to operate in all care settings.

“That is one of the top priorities of the plan – get the electronic health record fixed, modernized, and able to meet all needs,” said Campbell.

Rockey said that the MHS will continue significant progression in IM/IT systems, capabilities, infrastructures and processes based on lessons learned and user input. “We made significant steps in 2009, but there is still more work to be done in 2010 and beyond,” she said.

Meprolight Announces Global Availability of MEPRO MOR – a Multi-Purpose Reflex Sight with Laser Designators

Or Akiva, Israel, January 27, 2010. Meprolight, a provider of innovative weapon sights, today announced the global availability of MEPRO MOR – a multi-purpose, multi-activated “red dot” reflex sight with laser designators. Meprolight has started mass production of the innovative sight, and the product is already being used by a number of military forces around the world.

MEPRO MOR is the only sight that actually includes three possibilities in one sight: passive sight (operated without batteries), an active reflex sight for low light conditions, and dual laser pointers (red laser and/or infrared). . The possibility of using the sight without batteries offers cost and energy savings, and enables the soldier to stay in the field longer. Reserve units can store the sights for years and use it immediately when necessary.

The user can adjust the passive sight’s illumination intensity, according to the external illumination level, using a special switch. The sight has also a one-time zeroing procedure that enables the user to set only one aiming point, and the other sights are zeroed accordingly.

MEPRO MOR is designed and fabricated to the highest military standards, to assure years of reliable operation under all field conditions. The sight weighs only 450 grams and the laser intensity can be adjusted to 1-5MW, according to the client’s request.

The MEPRO MOR, which was developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is specially designed for quick and instinctive accurate shooting. The large field of view (30 mm diameter) assures effective use of the sight under extreme conditions, such as bad weather or firing after physical stress and under pressure. It also assures rapid target acquisition with one or both eyes open, and rapid transition between long range and close quarters engagements.

“MEPRO MOR enables quick action and instinctive, accurate shooting ability,” said Golan Kalimi, Meprolight’s Vice President of Marketing. “This all-in-one-sight boosts ability while lowering costs by eliminating the need to purchase a separate laser and\or IR designator.”

About Meprolight
Meprolight designs and manufactures a wide array of electro-optical and optical sights and devices, night vision devices, thermal sights, and a wide variety of night sights and other tritium- and LED-illuminated products and accessories for safety and security applications for the law enforcement, military and civilian communities. For more information about Meprolight visit http://www.meprolight.com/.

Nebraska Man Agrees to Plead Guilty in Attack of Scientology Websites Orchestrated by ‘Anonymous’

January 27, 2010 - A Nebraska man agreed today to plead guilty to participating in an attack on Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 that shut down the group’s websites. Brian Thomas Mettenbrink, 20, of Grand Island, Nebraska, was previously indicted by a federal grand jury, but in documents filed today he agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of unauthorized access of a protected computer and to serve a one-year prison sentence.

According to court documents, Mettenbrink participated in the attack on the Scientology websites that was orchestrated by a group that labeled itself “Anonymous.” That underground group has led protests against the Church of Scientology at various locations across the country, and in January 2008 announced a new offensive against Scientology. In the court documents, Mettenbrink admits that he downloaded computer software from an “Anonymous” message board and used that software to bombard Scientology websites to the point that it impaired the integrity and availability of those websites in a variation of a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) attack. A DDOS attack occurs where a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at a website or a set of websites. The target websites are unable to handle the high volume of Internet traffic and therefore become unavailable to legitimate users trying to reach the sites.

Mettenbrink, who was scheduled to go to trial on the charges in the grand jury indictment on February 9, is expected to plead guilty in federal court in Los Angeles next week.

Previously in the investigation into the “Anonymous” computer attack, Dmitriy Guzner, of Verona, New Jersey, was sentenced last year to one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to participating in the “Anonymous” attack against the Scientology websites.

The cases against Mettenbrink and Guzner are part of an ongoing investigation by the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles. The agencies involved in the investigation are the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office Bureau of Investigation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MHS Educates and Informs Via Social Media

By Rob Anastasio
FHP&R Staff Writer

January 26, 2010 - Social media has been a powerful tool for the Military Health System in delivering key messages and information to its constituents and beneficiaries, said the head of the MHS strategic communications office at the 2010 MHS Conference Jan. 25.

Dr. Michael E. Kilpatrick, director of MHS Strategic Communications, said that his office’s goal is to link the providers and the users within the MHS through a variety of media, which includes the burgeoning social media.

“The strategy is to inform and educate the audience and personalize the MHS for that audience,” said Kilpatrick. Social media has been at the forefront of that communication effort, which is focused on bringing leaders, service members and their families, health care providers, and planners together on truly patient-centered health care.

Kilpatrick said that social media is the choice communication medium because it provides its users information “where they want it, how they want it, and when they want it.” To do just that, the MHS strategic communications office has leveraged social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, podcasting, YouTube, and an MHS blog to allow people to receive or provide information.

The challenge lies in the fact that the virtual social interactions it enables come more so from the bottom up than from the top down –certainly a change of pace for a military organization to adjust to, but it’s one that is well worth adapting for.

“We are so anchored in the way we used to do things that we lose sight of how we could do things.” said Capt. Kevin Berry, MC, USN, Special Studies, JTF CAPMED, who spoke alongside Kilpatrick at the conference. “The information has always been there, but it’s the quality of the experience that has changed.”

“We must think and act differently in order to embrace this change,” Berry said. He described how social media blurs the line between an experience and a service, saying that an experience is “staged and memorable” while a service is “delivered, intangible and customized.” The MHS has been taking advantage of social media opportunities to reach its audiences, and people are adapting quickly. Continued acceptance of social within the entire MHS will allow the MHS to more successfully and efficiently inform and educate all of the players in the overall partnership for health.

Military Families Gain Access to Free, Online Tutoring

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 26, 2010 - The Defense Department has launched a free, online tutoring service for servicemembers and their families.

The site – http://www.tutor.com/military -- offers round-the-clock professional tutors who can assist with homework, studying, test preparation, resume writing and more.

Marine Corps and Army families have had access to the program for more than a year. Seeing the value, Defense Department officials decided to expand the service to encompass all servicemembers and their families, officials said.

"Providing 24/7 academic and career support for military families during a time when so many parents have a deployed spouse has been an important and well-received benefit for Marine Corps and Army families," said Tommy T. Thomas, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.

"We are pleased to expand this program to all U.S. military families and provide peace of mind that their children are never alone when it comes to learning – there is always a certified, professional tutor available to help," he said.

Active-duty servicemembers, National Guard and reserve personnel on active duty in a deployed status, Defense Department civilians in a deployed status and their dependents are eligible to participate, officials said. Along with test preparation, the site is open to students of any age – from kindergartners to high school seniors – for one-on-one help in math, science, social studies and English.

Many of these students, officials said, are making the most of the live, one-on-one help. "Thanks for having this service when our family is separated at this time due to deployments and training," a 6th grader of a Marine commented. "My father is unable to help one-on-one."

"I really appreciate this," another program participant, a 9th grader, said. "It really helps me understand my schoolwork. It's going to really help me ace my exams coming up! I am definitely going to use this very often."

Tutor.com's network includes more than 1,800 professional tutors and career specialists who have delivered more than 5 million one-on-one tutoring sessions since 2001, officials said. Each tutor is certified through the site, and all sessions are recorded for quality control.

Monday, January 25, 2010

DoD and VA Continue to Work Toward Interoperability

By Krista Holyak
Health.mil

January 25, 2010 - “The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs currently share significant and unprecedented amounts of health care data,” said Katharine Murray, MHS Chief of Interagency Coordination, at the 2010 MHS Conference on Monday, Jan. 25, 2010. Murray spoke at a conference session titled “DoD/VA Data Sharing – Successes to Date” that provided an overview of and discussion about what kinds of shared patient health data is available, how it may be accessed, and what changes are coming in terms of interoperability.

Lois Kellett, director of External Relationship Management (Office of the Chief Information Officer) and Peyton Issac, senior analyst for the Veterans Health Administration, also participated in the session.

The panelists made clear that DoD and VA must work together to provide the highest standard of care to those who serve the nation.

“Our first priority [is to] provide quality care for service members and veterans,” said Issac. “It’s the right thing to do.”

The session covered basic knowledge of DoD and VA health sharing initiatives, provided an understanding of how providers currently access health data through the departments’ electronic health records, and explained the factors influencing data sharing with private sector providers.

“As care patterns evolve, it’s becoming increasingly clear that DoD and VA not only be able to share information, [but] in the future they must be able to share information with community-based, private sector providers who deliver substantial amounts of care to veterans and DoD beneficiaries,” said Murray.

The MHS supports more than 9.5 million beneficiaries, and there are more than 7.7 million enrollees in the VHA. The ability for the two departments to share health information about their shared patients is critical to the patients’ continuity of care.

Working together toward a common goal, DoD and VA plan to increase inpatient documentation sharing, will continue to expand document scanning and image sharing capabilities, and improve usability and other enhancements as defined by functional users.

“DoD and VA will continue to enhance data sharing initiatives,” said Murray. “We will keep supporting these initiatives until full interoperability is accomplished.”

A "Snapshot" from Science and Technology



Government brainiacs rethink the brain scanner so you can fly with all your liquids, gels, sprays, spreads…and so on.

January 25, 2010 - Remember 2005, when you could still board a plane with shampoo in your bag, toothpaste in your purse, a can of soda in your hand? Do those fluid memories hurt right down to your denture cream?

Washington feels your pain. As Snapshots reported in 2008, researchers at the Energy Department’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have been fine-tuning magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. By detecting ultralow magnetic fields, the lab’s creation—the Magnetic Vision Innovative Prototype (or MagViz)—can peer through whatever container you’re carrying, divine what’s in it, and let you pass with your bottled water or—during flu season—your hand sanitizer.

The first MagViz was an overachiever. It was programmed to be extremely sensitive, but like the palace sentinel who mistook the princess for a witch, it came off a bit paranoid. It “saw” danger in certain off-brand shampoos and sport drinks. Since then, with funding and guidance from the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the LANL team has fine-tuned the technology. MagViz’s spidey sense now casts a narrower net.

Last year, to test the new model’s selectivity, Department program evaluators planted a minefield of surprise liquids at Albuquerque International Airport. Their faith proved well-placed: Nothing nasty slipped past LANL’s brainchild; MagViz correctly flagged all liquid-bomb ingredients.

At the same time, MagViz gave the green light to all but one friendly fluid. And it withstood everyday mishaps—an outsize bag; a refrigerator magnet from the airport gift shop; a stuck-open door; a false loading, wherein an edgy passenger snatched back her half-inserted purse. (Yup.) On the operator’s display, threats were circled and lit up like Vegas, to the delight of screeners from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

And yet, MagViz’s precision does come with some challenges. In Albuquerque, the prototype had to be shielded from electromagnetic interference radiating from fluorescent ballasts, Wi-Fi laptops—even smartphones. That shielding came in the form of a hulking exoframe that would be too bulky for a real operational setting. To engineer a shielded MagViz in a compact enclosure, the Department will look to the private sector, where ingenuity spells profit.

Envisioning far-reaching applications for the new invention, R&D Magazine recognized the LANL team with a coveted 2009 R&D 100 Award. Such laurels are welcome validators, says MagViz program manager Stephen Surko of S&T’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA). But if MagViz is to earn its place behind thousands of X-ray stations, it must catch dangerous liquids reliably, affordably, and swiftly, while flagging few types of liquors as evil spirits.

To this end, Surko is evaluating a variety of concepts of operation. In most, MagViz would be placed immediately behind the X-ray machine, giving each carry-on a second scan. In smaller airports, where the screening area may be too short for a tandem arrangement, MagViz would sit off to the side. “You’d have to wait in a separate line,” concedes Surko, “but at least you could bring along that large bottle of H20.”

MagViz would be a tremendous improvement, but don’t expect miracles. Unlike a fingerprint, nuclear magnetic resonance signatures can vary. If, for example, a liquid is slightly warmer or cooler than expected, or its pH a bit more acidic or basic, the reading can change. “MagViz can see all these differences easily,” says Surko. “We need to learn how well we can predict them and account for them.”

The challenges—accounting for each such variance and shielding MagViz while keeping it trim—may prove a bridge too far. But if the departments of Homeland Security and Energy and the free market can cross each bridge, then traveling with toiletries, snow globes, and drinks may be a thing of the future, rather than the past.

DOD Names 2010 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows

January 25, 2010 - The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today the selection of 11 distinguished university faculty scientists and engineers forming the 2010 class of its National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF) program. NSSEFF provides grants to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct unclassified, basic research that may transform DoD's capabilities in the long term.

"These distinguished researchers have a demonstrated record of success in fields of strategic importance to the DoD. Their NSSEFF work will not only contribute to preparing DoD and the nation for an uncertain future, but will also develop the necessary high quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics talent that will be essential to the department's continued success," said Zachary J. Lemnios, director, Defense Research and Engineering.

The fellows conduct basic research in core science and engineering disciplines that are expected to underpin future DoD technology development. For this competition, the research proposals are in the areas of high temperature superconductors; resilient networks; synthetic biology; computational electromagnetics; quantum information science; waves in random media; image acquisition, analysis and integration; attosecond electron processes in solids; theoretical and computational design of light and force-driven molecular materials; and emergency of shape and patterns in biomolecular assemblies in ionic solutions.

Lemnios noted that "the NSSEFF Program ensures these research leaders and their students are actively engaged with DoD, in addition to conducting this unclassified research". Students of NSSEFF Fellows will also be afforded opportunities to present to DoD audiences and to further develop and broaden their research experiences through internships at DoD laboratories.

In response to the NSSEFF Broad Agency Announcement issued by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, 800 nomination letters from academic institutions resulted in the technical review of 670 white papers. Twenty-one semifinalists were selected from the authors of these white papers, and invited to submit full proposals outlining their research plans. Upon successful completion of negotiations between their home academic institutions and DoD, grant awards will be made to the faculty members' universities for support of their research.

For more information about this program, go to http://www.ndep.us/ProgNSSEFF.aspx.

Lynn: New Threats Require New Capabilities

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 25, 2010 - Developing new capabilities to deal with new and future threats requires defense cooperation and collaboration, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said here today. Speaking before the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Transatlantic and International Security at the House of Commons, Lynn said his goal is to strengthen collaboration between the U.S. and United Kingdom militaries and defense industries.

The need for new capabilities is evidenced by today's threats, he said. Insurgents use roadside bombs that penetrate heavy armor. Rogue states seek nuclear weapons. Terrorists relentlessly attempt attacks using unconventional means. Criminals launch cyber attacks.

"Even our computers, as Google discovered this month, are no longer safe from attack," the deputy defense secretary told the members of Parliament and invited guests from think tanks, the media and the academic community.

"We now face hybrid conflicts where even weak states and terrorists have access to the most sophisticated and deadly weapons," Lynn said. As a result of this new age of asymmetric warfare, defense officials on both sides of the Atlantic are confronting questions about the future of defense.

U.S. and British defense leaders are conducting strategic reviews and working to ease restrictions that prevent sharing certain technologies. Like their European counterparts, Lynn said, U.S. military leaders are struggling to equip forces in a time of fiscal austerity.

"Since spending defense dollars wisely is a common challenge, the Obama administration wants to ease the cost of developing new weapon systems for us both," he said.

This type of defense cooperation has been done before, he noted. During World War II, for example, the British Merlin engine powered the American-made P-51 Mustang fighter -- the best fighter aircraft of the war. But export controls developed during the Cold War, and still in force today, make collaboration difficult. Because of the bureaucratic system, he said, "the most technologically advanced nation in the world is the least able to use its technology to aid its allies."

The U.S.-U.K. Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty now in the Senate for ratification is an important step in improving this system. "When ratified," Lynn said, "it will streamline export procedures, helping strengthen our ability to develop and acquire battlefield systems jointly."

The treaty will allow greater exchange of defense goods, services and information. Companies in the United States and the United Kingdom will be able to collaborate more easily. "Our governments can focus on developing critical technologies instead of pushing licenses through bureaucratic labyrinths," Lynn said.

"Legally enforceable safeguards will ensure the integrity of sensitive materials transferred under the treaty, and each country will retain the right to unilaterally exempt technologies from its provisions," he added. "Ratifying the treaty, as we say in American English, is a 'no-brainer.'

"In an era where research and development is global," he continued, "we believe in building higher walls, but around fewer items. A system of export control that protects only truly unique capabilities is better for our national security, our economy, and our allies."

Countering new threats also requires new strategy, Lynn said. "We believe that the new challenges we face require significant shifts in how we train, equip and structure our force," he told the group, and he highlighted three steps the United States is taking to align military capabilities with the new range of threats.

First, he said, U.S. defense officials are institutionalizing the armed forces' ability to wage irregular war by upgrading special operations forces and strengthening the battlefield enablers for irregular operations, including helicopter lift, mine-resistant vehicles and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.

Second, defense officials are restructuring forces to prepare for a range of potential conflicts, including those of longer duration, such as the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"In the two wars we are fighting, it is not the intensity or scale of the initial combat phase that proved the most challenging," Lynn explained. "Rather, after eight years in Afghanistan and Iraq, we're finding that it is the duration of these conflicts that places tremendous stress on our military. These wars have now lasted longer than the U.S. participation in World War I and II combined."

As a result, he said, U.S. defense leaders have halted reductions in the Navy and Air Force and accelerated a planned increase of Army and Marine Corps ground forces.

Third, Lynn said, U.S. defense officials are broadening military capabilities to counter unconventional weapons -- everything from weapons of mass destruction and anti-satellite technologies to roadside bombs and guerilla warfare.

"Battlegrounds used to be a meeting place of like-on-like forces -- cavalry on cavalry, armor on armor. In the Cold War, it was nuclear versus nuclear," Lynn explained. But the superior conventional strength of U.S. forces, he added, has led potential adversaries to seek new means of attack.

U.S. and British officials also must prepare to counter attacks on the cyber domain, Lynn said, noting that the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks have increased exponentially in the past few years. More than 100 foreign intelligence organizations are trying to hack into U.S. systems, along with criminals with world-class cyber capabilities. "Our networks are now under threat every hour of every day," he said.

"Your military and your economy are as dependent upon information technology as ours -- and therefore just as vulnerable to the cyber threat," Lynn warned the group.

To deal with the cyber threat, the U.S. military is establishing a Cyber Command, and U.S. officials plan to work with allied nations to confront this type of warfare.

"The reality is that we cannot defend our networks by ourselves," Lynn acknowledged. "International cooperation is imperative for establishing the chain of events in an intrusion and quickly and decisively fighting back."

The United States and the United Kingdom are stalwart allies facing the same security challenges, and both must make hard choices on defense investment, Lynn concluded. "And soon, our defense industries will partner in the acquisition of new weapons to keep us safe."

Could Your Team Win the "Innovations in DoD" Gaming Competition

January 25, 2010 - Here’s an opportunity that serious game developers will not want to miss! Team Orlando is sponsoring a high-profile gaming competition in conjunction with the Defense GameTech Users’ Conference, GameTech 2010. The competition will publicize and reward the innovative use of game technology to accomplish realistic and effective military training.

Winner(s) will receive recognition at GameTech 2010 in Orlando, FL, March 29-31, 2010. Winner(s) will also have the opportunity to present and/or demonstrate their winning product at ADL’s ImplementationFest 2010 in Orlando, August 10-12, 2010. In addition to conference recognition, winner(s) will not have to pay the GameTech 2010 registration fee, but travel expenses to the event remain the responsibility of the winner.

All DoD organizations and/or their industry partners who have developed creative game technologies may submit entries. Papers detailing innovative creation and use of products in the DoD environment will be accepted until February 1, 2010. Winners will be notified no later than February 15, 2010.

A group of Team Orlando personnel will evaluate and score the entries based on how well the innovative use of the game:

• Addresses and improves the training objective.

• Shows evidence that the users explored methods or ideas that broke free from traditional concepts, resulting in innovation and creativity.

• Promotes or contributes to the replay value of the game or the overall training value of the game.

Scoring will be on a 1-to-5 scale: (5) Exceeds expectations; (4) Very Good; (3) Satisfactory; (2) Less than satisfactory; or (1) Fails to meet criteria.

The entry form includes directions for completing and submitting the application. Entries should not exceed four pages. If you have questions about the competition, send email to jadl@adlnet.gov May the best game win!

About Team Orlando
Team Orlando is a collaborative alliance of US military simulation commands plus academic and industry leaders in modeling and simulation, human performance, and training domains that work to achieve a specific goal: To improve human performance through simulation. The Joint ADL Co-Lab is a member of Team Orlando.

Harnessing New and Social Media to Prevent Suicide

January 25, 2010 - Another breakout session featured at the 2010 Suicide Prevention Conference was a lively and informative session centered on New and Social Media titled Harnessing New and Social Media to Prevent Suicide. The goal of the conversation was to understand how social media can serve as a powerful means to prevent suicide and the discussion began with a simple question:

What is Social Media?
Social Media is defined as an online set of tools that allows anyone with basic computer skills to tell their stories using the internet to create a shared community experience both online and in-person. Online social media forums can be found such as:

• Blogs Example: DCoE Blog
• Networking sites Example: DCoE Facebook Page
• Videos Example: You Tube
• Photo Sharing Example: Flickr
• Wikis Example: Wikipedia

Shared online communities contain a group of people with common interests who connect online to: learn, play, work, organize and socialize. Online communities like those connected with suicide prevention can galvanize large or small groups of survivors, friends, families, researchers and educators locally or around the globe into a unified conversation to share important information and create supportive relationships.

Statistically, social media is proving to be a relevant tool, not a passing fad, which is used to provide health information to support suicide prevention efforts.

• Over 8 million online users seek health information daily and half of those people are searching for information for a friend or family member
• 23% of Internet users are searching for mental health information
• 35% of adults have profiles on social networking sites

Recent examples of online suicide prevention conversations were highlighted. The most prominent example of suicide prevention was the case of a British teenager who was saved by a friend on Facebook when he threatened suicide. Other examples supported how social media creates a community where users take care of each other.

Panel speakers Eileen Zeller, MPH, SAMHSA; Kenneth Norton, LICSW, National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire; and LTC Ashleah Bechtel, Army National Guard moved the conversation to showcase online prevention efforts.

Resource highlights included:
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
• Army OneSource
• Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

As Social Media continues to move mainstream so can the conversation on suicide prevention in order to educate, inform and create understanding.

Leica Geosystems Reveals Next Generation Technology at WOC 2010 Booth # C-6059

7 site positioning solutions designed for construction contractors each with power and speed to improve productivity and profits.

25 January 2010 - Leica Geosystems' will offer construction professionals the unique opportunity to experience the company's broadest range-ever of site positioning systems and machine control for concrete and general construction applications.

For non-technical construction professionals, Leica Geosystems will be introducing its new Leica Builder Series Total Stations designed to perform positioning, layout, or dozens of other daily construction-site tasks. To facilitate data transfer, some models feature a USB port and Bluetooth functionality - an industry first.

For construction professionals seeking an entry point for GPS technology, Leica Geosystems will be introducing the Leica GSO9. The GS09 is intended to be a simple and easy-to-use GPS positioning tool for site stakeout and positioning.

Also on display, the world-famous Leica RedLine family of Total Stations and GPS designed for experienced users to easily and cost-effectively improve site stakeout accuracy and productivity. Plus seamless interface with Leica Geosystems machine control solutions.

This year's event will be marked by the breath of Leica Geosystems' unmatched solutions for concrete pavers. Leica PaveSmart 3D "stringless" control system is now compatible with the widest range of paving machinery on the market. Solutions for mainline concrete slipform curb & gutter, barrier and fine-grade trimming applications will be displayed on all the major manufacturer's machines at their booth locations in the Central Hall. Improve accuracy, concrete yields, quality and profitability while completely eliminating the need to set stringline on jobsites.

From entry-level upgradeable PowerBlade systems for formation and subgrade leveling applications, to PowerGrade and PowerDigger 2D and 3D GPS systems for bulldozers, motorgraders, scrapers and excavator guidance systems, Leica Geosystems will showcase a complete product portfolio aimed at maximizing the return from your investment in heavy equipment automation.

For more information about:
Leica Builder Total Stations - www.leica-geosystems.com/en/Leica-Builder-Series_79388.htm
Leica GS09 -- www.leica-geosystems.com/en/Leica-GS09-GNSS_79623.htm
Paving Solutions -www.leica-geosystems.com/en/Paving-Solutions_63803.htm
Machine Control - www.leica-geosystems.us/en/Machine-Control-Leica-RedLine_67770.htm
Leica Geosystems - when it has to be right

With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information.

Those who use Leica Geosystems products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3,500 employees in 28 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.

For further information please contact:
Andre Ribeiro
Director of Marketing
Atlanta, GA 30092
Phone: +1 (770) 326-9557
Fax: +1 (770) 447-0710
Andre.ribeiro@leicaus.com
www.leica-geosystems.us

Researchers Examine Video Gaming's Benefits

By Bob Freeman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 25, 2010 - Think interactive video games are a waste of time or more suited for children? Think again. Research under way by the Office of Naval Research indicates that video games can help adults process information much faster and improve their fundamental abilities to reason and solve problems in novel contexts. "We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players," said Ray Perez, a program officer at the ONR's warfighter performance department in a Jan. 20 interview on Pentagon Web Radio's audio webcast "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military."

"Our concern is developing training technologies and training methods to improve performance on the battlefield," said Perez, who holds a doctorate in educational psychology.

Perez described the war against terrorists as presenting significant challenges to warfighters on the ground because they must be able to adapt their operations to innovative and deadly adversaries who constantly change their tactics.

"We have to train people to be quick on their feet - agile problem solvers, agile thinkers - to be able to counteract and develop counter tactics to terrorists on the battlefield," Perez said. "It's really about human inventiveness and creativeness and being able to match wits with the enemy."

It's also about adaptability. Perez said this means "being able to work outside your present mindset, to think beyond what you have been taught, to go beyond your experience to solve problems in new and different ways."

Perez used the term "fluid intelligence" to describe the ability to change, to meet new problems and to develop new tactics and counter-tactics. Fluid intelligence, he explained, allows us to solve problems without prior knowledge or experience.

This raises the question of whether fluid intelligence is innate or can be developed and improved.

"For the last 50 years, fluid intelligence was felt to be immutable," Perez said, "meaning it couldn't be changed, no matter what kinds of experiences you have."

This, he added, is related to the idea of brain plasticity. "The presumption was that the structure of the brain and the organization of the brain are pretty much set in concrete by the time you are out of your teens," he explained.

It once was widely believed that after the age of 20, Perez said, that most humans had achieved their brain cell capacity, and that new brain cells were acquired at the expense of existing ones. But conventional beliefs about brain plasticity and aging are changing. The video game-like training programs at the Office of Naval Research, he noted, are producing surprising results.

"We know that video games can increase perceptual abilities and short-term memory," he said. They allow the player to focus longer and expand the player's field of vision compared to people who don't play video games, he added.

While there is empirical evidence of increased brain plasticity in video gamers, Perez said, the process behind it is not well understood. His belief, he said, is that the neural networks involved in video gaming become more pronounced, have increased blood flow, and become more synchronized with other neural networks in the brain.

"We're now looking for the underlying neural mechanisms that are responsible for these changes in behavior and in abilities," Perez said. "We're using various kinds of neural imaging techniques like [functional magnetic resonance imaging] that identify different areas of the brain that show activity when you're performing certain tasks, and we can begin to look at what area of the brain is active during the processing of video information.

"We think that these games increase your executive control, or your ability to focus and attend to stimuli in the outside world," he added.

Early indications suggest that cognitive improvements from video games can last up to two and half years, Perez said, but he admitted that so far the results have been relegated to observations and measurements in a controlled laboratory environment.

"The major question is that once you've increased these perceptual abilities and cognitive abilities, do they transfer to everyday tasks," he said, "and how long do they continue to influence the person working on these everyday tasks?"

In the meantime, the researchers are looking at ways to integrate video game technology into learning tools. Perez said that they are looking at everything from small-screen training on personal digital assistants and laptops to simulators and virtual environments.

One virtual environment, used to develop adaptability within team dynamics, looks very much like a cave.

"You walk into a cave and you're bombarded by this totally different, artificial world where there may be intelligent avatars that you interact with to perform a mission," Perez said. "These avatars will act as teammates, so you, as an individual, will have to interact with these avatars as a unit."

Perez said the ultimate goal is to blur the distinction between training and operations.

"I think we're at the beginning of a new science of learning," he said, "that will be the integration of neuroscience with developmental psychology, with cognitive science, and with artificial intelligence."

The Office of Naval Research is sponsoring research in new game theory and solvable games. Those interested in more information on funding opportunities can visit the Human-Machine Adversarial Network topic (#16) in the office's 2010 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative.

(Bob Freeman works in the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Social Media and Law Enforcement

On February 18, 2010, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion with Lauri Stevens on Social Media and Law Enforcement.

Program Date: February 18, 2010
Program Time: 1700 hours, Pacific
Topic: Social Media and Law Enforcement
Listen Live: http://www.americanheroesradio.com/social_media_law_enforcement.html
About the Guest
Lauri Stevens “is an interactive media professional with over 25 years of media experience. She is the Department Chair of Web Design & Interactive Media at The New England Institute of Art (NEiA) in Boston, a position she's held for over ten years. During her tenure at NEiA she has written several bachelors’ programs, served on NEASC accreditation review committees and visiting teams, and chaired several groups to further the college's mission.

Lauri is passionate about the Internet, the web, social media and helping law enforcement leverage these tools to help them do their jobs, connect with their communities, and promote their departments. Having used the net since the mid-80s, before the web existed, makes her one of the first fraction of a 1% of people in the world on the net.

She holds an MBA in eBusiness from Bentley University, an MS in Mass Communication/Communication Technology from Boston University, and a BA in Political Science from Clemson University.”

About LAwS Communications
LAwS Communications has been providing web design and interactive media advice to law enforcement since 2005. They “offer media expertise at all levels, traditional and interactive. LAwS Communications specialize in offering consultative services in the world of web 2.0 (and beyond) to law enforcement agencies. Web 2.0 and Open Source communication technologies available today allow organizations to efficiently gather and distribute information like never before. Many law enforcement agencies are catching on to and using the new social media technologies. LAwS Communications can help make sense of the tools available, help your agency craft a plan and social media policy as well as provide the training needed to get your organization running. LAwS Communications can help law enforcement organizations not only understand why your organization should take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies, but also how to leverage these vast resources.

The agencies that are effectively using these tools are shrinking their communities, improving communication with citizens and enhancing their reputations through the transparency provided. Other agencies are developing sophisticated methods for investigation, crime solving and prevention. Police departments, in particular, have an opportunity to better educate their communities about who they are and what they do and to therefore increase and improve communication with the public they serve.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
http://www.americanheroesradio.com/social_media_law_enforcement.html
Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2010 AIR FORCE/INDUSTRY SPACE TECHNOLOGY INTERCHANGE

WORKSHOP FOR INDEPENDENT RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION RESEARCH TRANSITION SUPPORT

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), in concert with the Space & Missile Systems Center (SMC), plans to conduct the 2010 Air Force/Industry Space Technology Interchange Workshop for Independent Research & Development (IR&D) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Transition Support in the month of April 2010 in Long Beach, California. The specific dates and venue for this workshop are to be determined (TBD) at a later time.

On the first day of the workshop, AFRL and SMC will conduct a joint plenary session, followed by simultaneous, separate one-on-one sessions for IR&D and SBIR Transition Support on the second day. These two parallel activities have different objectives -- one focuses on IR&D dialogue between government and industry while the other focuses on the SBIR dialogue between major defense contractors and small businesses. These are briefly explained in Section 1 (IR&D) and Section 2 (SBIR) below.

This announcement is an expression of interest only and does not obligate the government in any way. Response to this request is voluntary and will not impact any future acquisitions. The official announcement is made through Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOps) Announcement. Please respond to the appropriate point of contact within 15 business days of the FedBizOps publication with your intent to attend each respective section of this workshop. Note that there are specific major contractor attendance criteria for both of the IR&D and SBIR interchanges. Attendance by small businesses to the SBIR one-on-one sessions is by invitation only. This will be further explained in Section 2 below.

There is a conference registration fee associated with this event. The conference fee helps to defray conference costs and will be determined at a later date.

Restrictions: These meetings are unclassified and only open to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contractors. To participate as an attendee, you must be a DoD employee or DoD contractor with a valid DD Form 2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement.

Limitations: Due to resource constraints, and our expectations for responses to this announcement, we anticipate having to select a more limited group of companies to participate in these sessions. Our selection process will be explained below.

At the onset of the workshop, the plenary overview for the qualifying contractors sets the stage of the subsequent technology interchange meetings. With an integrated voice, AFRL and SMC are presenting the Air Force near- and mid-term space technology needs. Moreover, the plenary session provides the context of the government/industry IR&D dialogue and the SBIR One-on-One sessions that follow the next day. Other details of the workshop and the criteria for industry participation are explained in Section 1 (IR&D) and Section 2 (SBIR CPP) below:

More Information
http://www.wpafb.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=16004

Friday, January 22, 2010

Venezuela Holds One of the Largest Oil Accumulations

New Research on How Much is Currently Recoverable

January 22, 2010 - An estimated 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil are in Venezuela’s Orinoco Oil Belt. This area contains one of the world's largest recoverable oil accumulations, and this assessment is the first to identify how much is technically recoverable (producible using currently available technology and industry practices).

Worldwide consumption of petroleum was 85.4 million barrels per day in 2008. The three largest consuming countries were United States with 19.5 million barrels per day, China with 7.9 million barrels per day, and Japan with 4.8 million barrels per day.

“Knowing the potential for extractable resources from this tremendous oil accumulation, and others like it, is critical to our understanding of the global petroleum potential and informing policy and decision makers,” said USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator Brenda Pierce. “Accumulations like this one were previously very difficult to produce, but advances in technology and new understandings in geology allow us to assess how much is now technically recoverable."

“Heavy oil is a type of oil that is very thick and therefore does not flow very easily,” said USGS scientist Christopher Schenk. “As a result, specialized production and refining processes are needed to generate petroleum products, but it is still oil and can generate many of the same products as other types of oil.”

This is the largest accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. The estimated petroleum resources in the Orinoco Oil Belt range from 380 to 652 billion barrels of oil (at a 95 and 5 percent chance of occurrence, respectively). The Orinoco Oil Belt is located in the East Venezuela Basin Province.

The USGS conducted this assessment as part of a program directed at estimating the technically recoverable oil and gas resources of priority petroleum basins worldwide. To learn more about this assessment, read the fact sheet, "An Estimate of Recoverable Heavy Oil Resources of the Orinoco Oil Belt, Venezuela" and visit the USGS Energy Resources Program web site.

Saugerties Man Sentenced on Child Pornography Charge

January 22, 2010 - United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and John F. Pikus, Special Agent-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Albany Division, today announced that ALAN MASKELL, age 62, of Saugerties, New York, was sentenced on January 15, 2010 by the Honorable Thomas J. McAvoy in Federal District Court in Albany on his guilty plea to count one of an indictment charging him with the possession of child pornography. MASKELL was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment and supervised release for a term of 10 years. He was also ordered to: (1) have no unsupervised contact with minors; and (2) register with the New York State Sex Offender Registry Program. The Court also ordered that a computer be forfeited to the United States.

MASKELL pled guilty on September 8, 2009. In connection with his plea, MASKELL admitted the following in a written plea agreement and during his plea proceeding:

a. At all times relevant herein, ALAN MASKELL resided in Saugerties, New York, which is located in the Northern District of New York.

b. Between about December, 2007 and February 14, 2008, MASKELL, while in his residence, used his Gateway laptop computer, serial no. T2373H1013301 to access the Internet wherein he utilized Yahoo! Messenger; “Ringo” file sharing software; and various websites to view and obtain electronic files/still images that contained child pornography. MASKELL then downloaded some of these child pornography images to the aforementioned laptop computer and saved them in electronic subfolders.

c. Forensic examination of MASKELL’s laptop computer was subsequently conducted. Twelve (12) still images depicting a minor posed in a lewd and lascivious manner, as those terms and phrases are defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 2256(2), were recovered from said computer. All of the images recovered depict actual, as opposed to computer generated, images of minors engaged in such conduct.

d. MASKELL knowingly and willfully possessed the aforesaid images found on said computer. In addition, he possessed the images knowing that they depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. MASKELL obtained such images from, among other places, individuals and websites located outside the State of New York. Moreover, such images, and the actual computer used to obtain and download these depictions, were transported in interstate and foreign commerce and were produced using materials that had been mailed, or shipped or transported in interstate and foreign commerce.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Capital Region Cyber Predator Task Force.

Defense Department Official Sentenced to 36 Months for Espionage, False Statement Charges

January 22, 2010 - James Wilbur Fondren Jr. was sentenced today to 36 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for charges involving espionage and making false statements to the FBI. David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and John Perren, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.

Fondren, 62, worked at the Pentagon and, from August 2001 through Feb. 11, 2008, was the Deputy Director, Washington Liaison Office, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). He held a top secret security clearance, worked in a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) and had a classified and unclassified computer at his cubicle.

On Sept. 25, 2009, Fondren was convicted by a jury of unlawful communication of classified information by a government employee and two counts of making false statements. According to court documents and evidence at trial, Fondren provided certain classified Defense Department documents and other information to Tai Shen Kuo, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Taiwan from approximately November 2004, to Feb. 11, 2008. Fondren was aware that Kuo had maintained a close relationship with an official of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to whom Kuo introduced Fondren during a trip the two took to the PRC in March 1999. As Kuo well knew, this individual was an official of the PRC government. Fondren and the PRC official exchanged more than 40 e-mail messages between March 1999 and November 2000.

Fondren was found to have provided classified information through Kuo, under the guise of consulting services, using a business that had Kuo as its sole customer. Fondren would incorporate this information into "opinion papers" that he sold to Kuo. He would also provide Kuo with sensitive, but unclassified Defense Department publications.

The jury also found Fondren guilty of falsely representing to the FBI that everything he wrote to Kuo in his opinion papers was based on information from press and media reports and from his experience and that he had not given Kuo a draft copy of an unclassified document on military strategy.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) provided substantial assistance and cooperation throughout the course of the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil Hammerstrom and James P. Gillis from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Ryan Fayhee from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Computers Crunch Numbers in Their Sleep

January 22, 2010 - The FBI's Grid Computing Initiative uses the processing resources of sleeping FBI computers in our offices around the country to sift through huge amounts of data for leads in cases. A space management specialist in one of our field offices on the East Coast set off on vacation last February. Before leaving, she made sure to leave her networked computer turned on.

A month earlier, computer scientists at the FBI’s Operational Technology Division (OTD) powered up a new program that enlisted every resting Bureau computer to help run calculations tied to criminal and terrorism investigations. By the time she returned from vacation her machine had processed a key bit of data that provided a big break in a case.

“We couldn’t have planned that better,” said Special Agent Jason Jarnagin, a unit chief in the Digital Evidence Section of OTD. “She was on vacation and her computer was crunching calculations."

Te specific case is still classified because it’s ongoing. But the technology, called grid computing, is increasingly common. Large universities and high-tech companies have employed this type of distributed computing for years. The idea is to harness the processing power of many individual computer work stations (the grid) rather than buying, building, and maintaining a single supercomputer. When a computer isn’t being used by a person, it’s silently running mathematical calculations on behalf of a central server to solve a problem.

In the FBI’s case, the grid is made up of thousands of desktop workstations at Headquarters and in field offices and resident agencies across the country. The computers are classified “secret” and are separate from the unclassified computers assigned to Bureau staff. Computers in the grid might be called upon to solve large computational problems or sort through massive indexes of data that might otherwise take years—or even decades—to sift and process.

“A lot of FBI elements can certainly make use of it, cases in which intense computational resources may be necessary,” Jarnagin said.

“Sixteen hours out of a day, on average, nobody’s at a computer. There’s so much processing power, it would be a waste for us not to use it.”

The idea behind the Grid Computing Initiative, as we call it, was hatched in 2004 when the Bureau was in the midst of overhauling technology to better serve investigators and analysts. Jarnagin said the mathematicians and computer scientists in his unit thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use FBI computers in a distributed fashion?”

Because the secret-classified computers are central to our casework, it took time to iron out processes and ensure the integrity of the FBI’s network. As new, more powerful computers came online, the grid’s computational abilities grew exponentially—a dual-core processor can manage twice the work of a single-core machine, and so on. Economically it made sense too—the amount of energy that would be required just to cool a supercomputer with the grid’s capabilities could power a small city, Jarnagin said.

The most well-known grid computing efforts enlist the public’s computer horsepower. In 1999, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley launched a program that enlisted the public to help find extraterrestrial life. The program, downloaded onto more than five million home computers, analyzes radio signals from space when the computers are not in use. Similar programs are seeking cures for diseases or solutions to mathematical dilemmas.

OTD Assistant Director Marcus Thomas calls the FBI’s effort, which is not open to the public, “the largest supercomputer dedicated solely to law enforcement.”

There have been breaks in other cases since the first one last February. And as more, stronger computers replace earlier models, the grid’s capacity only grows.

“Sixteen hours out of a day, on average, nobody’s at a computer,” Jarnagin said. “There’s so much processing power, it would be a waste for us not to use it, especially when it can help protect the American people.”

Chief of Staff Notes Keys to Air Force's Future



By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chyenne A. Adams
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 22, 2010 - The Air Force must be able to operate across a spectrum of conflicts, using a myriad of warfare tools and tactics, while keeping up with advancing technologies and the ways the nation's adversaries use them, the service's top officer said here this week. "This demands that the United States Air Force set a clear vision of how it will move to meet emerging threats and fulfill evolving requirements," Gen. Norton A. Schwartz said Jan. 20 at the 38th Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis-Fletcher Conference on National Security, Strategy and Policy. "We must establish clear priorities for investment and yes, divestment, all while corresponding to strategic and fiscal realities."

Schwartz stated his intent for the Air Force to remain agile and able to act in response to current affairs while being ready and able to respond to any number of potential contingencies. Flexibility, he added, is essential to the Air Force's ability to contribute to the joint team and ensure its success.

"While this is a conference on air, space and cyber power, we must remember that national defense is a total team effort," he said. "Further joint integration and interservice cooperation toward enhanced air-land and air-sea interoperability remains a top strategic imperative."

Rapidly advancing adversary capabilities and threats that aren't confined to any single domain pose significant challenges, and only a coordinated response from all of the military services will deliver what is required for national security, the general told the group.

"As we further integrate, the benefits are not limited to a single domain," he said. "Air power makes surface warfare better, and land and sea power enhance the effectiveness of air forces."

Schwartz noted current projects in which the Air Force and the Navy are working on ways to better integrate maritime interdiction operations, anti-submarine warfare and missile defense.

"These types of advances represent new territory into which we will venture to provide battlefield commanders with even greater capabilities, especially in irregular warfare environments," Schwartz said. "In this ever-increasing complex landscape, we must leverage every bit of capability that we have and that we will develop."

The general cautioned that this capability cannot be taken for granted, as peers and potential rivals also continue to advance their capabilities. "We must consider that our advantages will not be unmatched or asymmetric for an indefinite period," he said. "And our systems must be more agile and responsive to combatant commander's needs."

To ensure the continued viability of air and space operations, the general discussed options for operating from distributed bases around the globe and for delivering balanced capabilities through smaller, tailored forces.

While forward locations have operated under relative security over the last 20 years, the general said, the nation's adversaries actively seek weaponry to threaten that advantage.

"As we move forward, the Air Force must actively protect itself against emerging vulnerabilities," he said. "Our operations cannot grind to a halt for want of a degraded or denied system, or a scarce resource."

For example, Schwartz said, the Air Force's reliance on information technologies enhanced the service's ability to maintain unprecedented situational awareness, but also created vulnerabilities officials must mitigate. In addition, he said, Air Force Research Laboratory physicists also are exploring new technologies to move the Air Force toward achieving accurate navigation systems that aren't as dependent on GPS technologies as today's systems.

The service's dependence on petroleum is another issue the Air Force must continue to address, Schwartz said.

"The Air Force consumes more petroleum each year than any other agency in the U.S. government, and thus is the most susceptible to energy-price volatility and disruption of logistics lines," he said. "Each $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil equates to a $600 million increase in fuel costs to the Air Force."

Air Force engineers have made significant headway and continue to field innovative technologies to provide energy to bases, reduce the logistical footprint and research new propulsion systems for future platforms, the general said.

The Air Force is working hard to meet the growing demand for near-real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from remotely piloted systems and the continued requirement for timely airlift and air refueling, Schwartz said.

"Approximately 75 percent of our Predator-class unmanned aircraft are currently deployed," he said, "and we continue to surge more into Afghanistan and Iraq. ... We're adding another 300,000 flying hours to the 600,000 we have already accumulated."

The general used the current example of rapid air mobility response to humanitarian operations in Haiti in his remarks on air mobility.

"I am extremely proud of our airmen who immediately lent their substantial expertise to help the Haitians regain air traffic control and manage airfield operations in Port-au-Prince, enabling U.S. [C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules transports] and aircraft from a host of other nations to rapidly deliver vital lifesaving and life-sustaining emergency supplies," he said. "Yet again, in critical moments, American air power has made, and will continue to make, a significant difference."

Schwartz identified the key elements in the Air Force's path to the future.

"Our Air Force has the following overriding imperatives: to increase our capabilities, decrease our vulnerabilities and enhance our integration with our joint and coalition partners," he said.

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chyenne A. Adams serves in the 11th Wing public affairs office.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

USDA, Navy Sign Agreement To Encourage The Development And Use Of Renewable Energy

January 21, 2010 - The Department of the Navy (DoN) today announced it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to encourage the development of advanced bio-fuels and other renewable energy systems. "This agreement is part of President Obama's vision of a coordinated federal effort to build a clean energy economy, create new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA looks forward to working with the Navy and other public and private partners to advance the production of renewable energy by sharing technical, program management and financial expertise."

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus emphasized how partnering with USDA supports his vision for energy reform. Mabus' overarching goal is to increase warfighting capability. "In order to secure the strategic energy future of the United States, create a more nimble and effective fighting force, and protect our planet from destabilizing climate changes, I have committed the Navy and Marine Corps to meet aggressive energy targets that go far beyond previous measures."

The MOU complements USDA and the Navy and Marine Corps' existing renewable energy programs and efforts. USDA has a variety of programs and services that support renewable energy development, the establishment and production of crops for conversion to bio-energy, and a bio-energy research program focused on developing new varieties and hybrids of bio-energy feed stocks. The parties will work together to support President Obama's initiative to make the United States a global leader in developing a renewable energy economy, reducing energy consumption derived from fossil fuels, and increasing energy production from renewable energy sources.

The United States has abundant natural resources including land for biomass energy crops that can be refined into bio-fuels to meet commercial, military transportation and other energy needs.