Science and Technology News

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Apollo 1 Memorial Ceremony: A night to reflect and remember

by 2nd Lt. Alicia Wallace
45th Space Wing Public Affairs


1/30/2013 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 45th Space Wing hosted the 46th annual Apollo 1 Memorial Ceremony, Jan. 27 held at Launch Complex 34 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The event honored three former space pioneers, Apollo 1 crew members, Command Pilot Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee, who were killed by a flash fire during a launch pad test of their Saturn 1B rocket, Jan. 27, 1967.

Grissom's wife, Betty Grissom, was in attendance at the event. During the ceremony, she was recognized for the sacrifices she made during Gus Grissom's career. She has attended the ceremony every year since the tragedy.

"You have given more than anyone could have asked," said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander. "And we are grateful to you for the sacrifices that you have made."

Also in attendance were family members and descendents of the spaceflight heroes. Grissom's grandson, Cody, lit three symbolic candles to pay tribute to the astronauts.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, exactly 6:31 p.m., a bugler from the Naval Ordnance Test Unit played taps. This is the exact moment the flash fire occurred, killing all three astronauts.
General Cotton closed the evening's ceremonies with a tribute to the space heroes and a message of gratitude from the members of the wing.

"On behalf of the men and women of the 45th Space Wing, thank you for letting us be a part of this solemn anniversary," he said. "We thank and salute each and every one of you for the great things you have done for our nation."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

45th Space Wing Supports NASA's TDRS-K Launch

Release Number: 010213

1/30/2013 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing provided Eastern Range support for the successful launch of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellites at 8:48 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 41 here.

The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System connects mission control with the International Space Station and other orbiting satellites.

A combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provided support to the TDRS-K mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security, safety and public affairs.

The wing also provided its vast network of radar, telemetry, optical and communications instrumentation to facilitate a safe launch on the Eastern Range.

Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander, 45th Space Wing, served as the Launch Decision Authority for this mission.

"What a great way to kick off the New Year, with another successful launch from the Easter Range," he said. "Our manifest is full and strong for the coming year," he added.
Gen. Cotton also thanked all those who - once again - made this mission a success.

45th Space Wing recognizes CivMil Person of the Year at annual banquet

by By Staff Sgt. Erin Smith
45th Space Wing Public Affairs


1/30/2013 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Leaders from the 45th Space Wing hosted local community leaders at the annual commander's Civilian Military Community Relations Council Banquet, Saturday at the Tides.

During the banquet, Dave Spain was named CivMil Person of the Year.

Mr. Spain was recognized for his continued support of CivMil and the military community since 1979.

"Anytime he has the opportunity to help people, he does everything in his power to help," said Don Beck, CivMil administrator. "His support for the military community hasn't wavered at all, and he continuously goes above and beyond. This year was no different."

Mr. Spain has been a part of CivMil since 1979, and over the years, he has represented Brevard County at Air Force Space Command as part of the Space Command Civilian Advisory Board. He has also done significant work with the Defense Intelligence Agency, and earned the Office of the Secretary of Defense's highest civilian award, The Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award for his work with the agency.

For Mr. Spain, the decision to give back is easy.

"The base is good for the community," he said. "Base members spend thousands of hours volunteering in the local community. It's important that we give back to the base as they give back to the local community."

The strong working relationship between the 45th Space Wing and the local community is what allows Airmen from the 45th Space Wing to successfully deliver assured space launch, range and combat capabilities for the nation.

"People like Dave allow us sharks to do great things and accomplish the mission," Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander said, "His top-notch efforts, as well as the efforts of the entire CivMil, are just another example of how so many people give so much to the uniformed men and women of the Space Coast Community."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hill engineer, AFMC team develop winning detection system

by Bill Orndorff
Ogden Air Logistics Complex Public Affairs


1/25/2013 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Collaborative work by a team based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to detect small aircraft, has won them the top award in the 7th annual Air Force Research Laboratory Commander's Challenge.

Joann Luu, a Human Engineering Development System Software Engineer for F-16 simulators with the 519th Software Maintenance Squadron at Hill AFB, was part of the six-member team.

The challenge: develop technological solutions aimed at thwarting potential threats in urban environments posed by small, unmanned aerial vehicles. The scenario is based on a failed plot by a Massachusetts man to fly a large remote-controlled model airplane, filled with C-4 plastic explosive, into the Pentagon in 2011.

"The judges were looking for a different and innovative way to do this," Luu said. "We spent two months understanding the problem, brainstorming and researching concepts before we ran with any one solution. We wanted to be sure we weren't going to re-invent the wheel and that it was going to be worthwhile for the program."

She was selected to be the team's software expert, based on an application and resume, and a panel telephone interview that assessed her communication skills as well as her background and qualifications. Luu applied in mid-March 2012, and was asked to report to Wright-Patterson for the project by April 1.

Luu and the other team members -- 1st Lt. Joshua Thomas, team leader, and Adam Tuxbury, concept of operations lead, Hanscom AFB, Mass.; James Brewer, hardware and network lead, Tinker AFB, Okla.; Daniel Gallagher, acoustics lead, Wright-Patterson; and Robert Merrill, visual lead, Arnold AFB, Tenn. -- were given six months, guidance from a mentor and a $75,000 budget to prepare their challenge entry.

The two competing teams were made up of junior force members with less than five years of professional experience. Luu had worked for Lockheed Martin for two years before coming to work for the Air Force more than two years ago.

"The idea behind the Commander's Challenge is to try and spark the innovation of the young people within the DoD," said Lt. Col. David Shahady, lead judge, in an AFRL video posted on You Tube. "What we're looking for is taking a very big complex problem and giving the team a very limited budget and lots of stress and pressure and then the spirit of competition to try and come up with a really innovative concept to solve a really big real-world warfighter problem."

The team's solution included "smart" phones running an Android Application to help automate the tracking of small aircraft once a user has detected it.

"People will see something of interest in the sky, and if they see it as a threat, they could take out their phone, turn on the app and aim it at the target," Luu said. "The app puts a cross-hair on the camera screen to center on the target, and the phone's location as well as compass data is sent to a command-and-control station. The station will also send out a text message to anyone else on the network with a cell phone, alerting them of the threat."

The team also integrated a set of acoustic nodes and visual tracking systems for automated detecting and tracking.

"We took the extra step of fusing the data, which is a difficult process," she said. "Using a mathematical approach, we took the data from the cameras, cell phones and acoustic nodes and did intelligent calculations to isolate the target. The other team simply overlayed their data without any true integration."

The competition against the other team, based at Eglin AFB, Fla., would be in September at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

"The competition is held in a set up of artificial buildings that are designed for military training," Luu said. "We did our pre-testing in local parks for RC hobbyists and parking lots. One team member is an RC hobbyist who brought his own plane. We also paid others to fly their planes for us."

The team was also allowed to contact experts and companies familiar with detection and surveillance for advice. She said much of the testing involved taking the detection equipment outside.

"In the lab everything worked fine because it was all wired in and the wireless network was working well. When you take it outside, there is interference from telephone and electrical wires," Luu said. "We also had issues we couldn't control like weather conditions and traffic."

And those factors were introduced during the competition at Twentynine Palms as the judges had people making noise, driving cars around the model town or operating lawn equipment to see how robust the team's set-up was. The judges launched RC aircraft in varying sizes and made from different materials at different levels in the model town. In addition, the team had only one day to set up and test its system on site before competing the next day.

"The judges shadowed us to see our setup and listen in on our conversations to see how we interacted with one another," Luu said. "They looked at what we did when things went wrong and how we handled the situation.

"There was a lot of pressure, but we were calm. When things broke down, we had a Plan A and a Plan B. We helped each other fix things rather than try to blame someone for a problem. We got along extremely well as a team and that was a huge factor."

Maj. Aaron Almendinger, AFRL Challenge Program manager, agreed.

"The Wright-Patterson team did a great job working together and developing solutions to the small UAV detection problem," he said. "From my perspective, they were very easy-going, and effective. When things didn't go as planned -- nothing ever does -- they stayed cool, calm and professional and worked through to a solution. I think these traits helped them be very effective."

The team received the traveling trophy, which is now displayed at Wright-Patterson, and individual trophies.

"I did this because I thought it was a cool project," Luu said. "It's one of the highlights of my career -- definitely very memorable. I appreciate the support from Tony Henderson (519 SMXS director) and Karl Rogers (309 SMXG director) to let me be part of this." She has since briefed the project's concept to Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, and Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, commander of Air Force Materiel Command.

"One thing I can take back to SXMG from this experience is that one does not have to be an expert to make a difference," she said. "It's encouraging to know that upper leadership has faith in their junior workforce to solve an urgent real-world problem by fostering innovation."

Keesler-developed program AIMS at increased efficiency

by Senior Airman Heather Heiney
81st Training Wing Public Affairs


1/29/2013 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- A new military training leader workflow program developed at Keesler begins Air Education and Training Command-wide implementation Feb. 1.

The Airman Interactive Management System was inspired by and developed for MTLs as a multi-faceted tool to track every aspect of an Airman's time in technical training.

Main components of the Tech Training Management System-integrated program include processing, student data, dormitories, reports and management.

Tech. Sgt. Shaun Wilke, 81st Training Group MTL, has been involved with the development of AIMS since the first meeting in 2010 in which MTLs from various bases and developers gathered to discuss ideas and goals for the project. He said before AIMS was developed, each base with technical training students had to develop its own databases to fulfill their student management needs.

For example, a need unique to Keesler is hurricane season accountability. Although this function isn't needed at all bases, it is included in the system. This way, all MTLs only have to learn one system, no matter where they are stationed.

Before Airmen even leave basic military training, they are processed into the system.

Wilke said that most administrative tasks, such as assigning Airmen dorm rooms and MTLs, are done automatically. Those that aren't are essentially completed with the push of a button.

"It's going to impact training in a great way," he said. "It'll get MTLs away from their computers and in front of Airmen."

Michael Esposito, TTMS integration sustainment team, said that the development of AIMS took three full-time developers and one person to write the "help" system. Three people were also assigned to the quality assurance of the contract, one full-time and two part-time.

Esposito said it's a complex system that includes aspects similar to hotel management and personal training. He also said that one goal of the system is to process Airmen into the system once and have their information follows them throughout the lifecycle of their training.

"We've been trying to do something for MTLs for a long time," Esposito said. "They have a hard job and there are a lot of things to keep track of."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dempsey Discusses Cyberattacks, Other Issues in NBC Interview

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 – The worrisome nature of cyberattacks, the threat of global terrorism and the military’s need to emphasize character as well as competence were among topics the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed in an interview with correspondent Ted Koppel broadcast last night on NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”


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Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meets with Ted Koppel, special correspondent for NBC's "Rock Center," for an interview at the Pentagon, Jan. 14, 2013. The interview aired Jan. 24. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bradley C. Church
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Governments, individuals and organizations are engaged in trying to take advantage of vulnerabilities in the cyber domain, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said, citing disruptive “denial-of-service” attacks as an example. Such attacks overwhelm websites, rendering them inaccessible to users.

“What I worry about is that [a cyberattack] could be used to implant a destructive device that could cause significant harm to the industrial base, whether it’s critical infrastructure or the financial network,” Dempsey said.

There are reports that destructive cyber tools have been used against Iran, the chairman said. “I’m neither confirming nor denying any part in that, but what it should tell you is that capability exists,” he added. “And if it exists, whoever’s using those [capabilities] can’t assume that they’re the only smart people in the world.”

When Koppel asked Dempsey which part of the world he worries about most, the general noted that the threat of global terrorism complicates matters.

“There’s kind of a near-term, long-term aspect to that,” he explained. “I think near-term continues to be the threat of global terrorism. We track a global terrorist network that is not uniquely al-Qaida, but is affiliated at some level with al-Qaida.”

This requires a network to defeat a network, Dempsey said.

“What it means is you’re not going to see these broad, sweeping movements across the desert of eastern Iraq -- ‘Hail Mary,’ ‘right-hand cross,’ [or] whatever it was called in 1991,” he explained. “You’re going to see smaller groups of military formations confronting these distributed enemies across a much wider scope.”
Although U.S. combat forces will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Dempsey said, it would be a mistake to give the American people the sense that al-Qaida is defeated.

“I think that it’s fair to say there will be a part of the al-Qaida threat emanating from northwestern Pakistan, and potentially, Afghanistan, for the foreseeable future,” he added.

In the final portion of the segment, Koppel asked Dempsey about recent missteps by senior military leaders. The chairman said the value placed on competence over more than 10 years of war might have been a factor.

“Not that we’ve neglected the character side of this equation,” he added, “but we probably are at a point where we ought to re-emphasize it.”

And perhaps senior leaders need the view from “those that are at the bottom looking up,” Dempsey said.
“I’m actually more interested in, ‘What are the lieutenant colonels saying about the colonels? What are the colonels saying about the [brigadier generals]?’” Dempsey said.

But although character is important, he added, the bottom line for the military is to protect the nation.
“Competence will always be the most important thing, and you can’t have a man or woman of incredible character who can’t deliver on the battlefield,” the chairman said. “At the end of the day, that’s what we’re accountable for. But character counts, and it counts mightily.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

KC-135 tankers get a boost from innovative, fuel-saving engines

by Maj. Mark Blumke
Air Mobility Command Directorate of Logistics


1/23/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Some decades-old KC-135 tanker aircraft are getting to drink from the fountain of youth.

Or at least the engines are.

The first of 1,440 new upgraded engines for the venerable Stratotanker aircraft was installed at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., on Jan. 15. Upgrading 1970s engine parts with modern technology, the engines will burn less fuel and run for longer without repairs, officials say.

"We expect the engine to stay on wing for 20-plus years and take the KC-135 into retirement," said Senior Master Sgt. Dong Kim, Air Mobility Command's propulsion branch chief.

Mounting the CFM Propulsion Upgrade Program, or C-PUP, on an airplane culminates almost three years of work between Air Mobility Command, Air Force Material Command, the Navy and the original equipment manufacturer, CFM International.

The engine upgrade will allow the KC-135 and the Navy's E-6B aircraft to fly longer and at less cost by improving fuel efficiency and increasing engine time-on-wing.

The C-PUP engine delivered to MacDill is the first of 15 that will be delivered by General Electric Aviation under an F108 engine augmentation contract.

The refurbished engines upgrade the high pressure compressor and turbine sections of the KC-135's F108 engine, a military variant of the CFM56-2 engine.

A reliable producer for many years, more than half of the engines on the KC-135 have not seen depot rework since they were initially installed; some dating back to 1984.

The engine depot at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex expects to deliver the first organically produced C-PUP engine later this year and is planning to produce 120 annually. Affecting 1,440 Air Force engines, the upgrade effort is projected to take 12 years to complete, according to officials.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New 'AIM2' saves fuel, time, money at 49th LRS

by Airman 1st Class Leah Murray
49th Wing Public Affairs


1/22/2013 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.  -- The 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron recently installed new automotive informational modules (version 2.4), better known as "AIM2," at both fueling stations and in 519 government vehicles at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

AIM2 is a fossil fuel savings initiative that supports Energy Independence and Security Act 2007 and Presidential Executive Order 13423.

These modules work through the use of radio frequency technology to track fuel consumption data and process data for vehicles pertaining to maintenance repairs, which will save both money and manpower - about 1.5 million man hours per year across the Air Force, according to 49th LRS vehicle management superintendent Senior Master Sgt. Dan Keen.

"This will also prevent human error when refueling vehicles," said Staff Sgt. Mario Garcia, a 49th LRS vehicle maintainer. The human error factor will be eliminated because Vehicle Identification Link keys, which have been the standard method of refueling vehicles. VIL keys are not attached to specific vehicles the way AIM2 is.

Garcia and a fellow vehicle maintainer, Senior Airman Matthew Aucutt, have been dedicated to the project along with two visiting contractors since November 2012, and have now installed the system in more than 90 percent of the fleet. The project is scheduled to be complete by the end of January 2013, according to Keene.

"Every vehicle has some version of 'OBDs,' or onboard diagnostics," said Keene, a 21-year veteran of the Air Force. Normally, if someone's dashboard light goes on, they have to bring it to a maintenance facility and have a computer plugged into the car in order to read the error codes and determine what is wrong with the vehicle. AIM2, however, wirelessly downloads all the necessary data about each vehicle to the system at the unit any time a vehicle drives within 1,000 feet of the building.

"This bypasses that whole system," he said. "Instead of exclusively relying on the user to bring it in, we can see that it has a problem and we can request that the user bring it in."

Bottom line, AIM2 eliminates the need to find the vehicle and record the odometer readings, eliminates the need to process VIL key paperwork, eliminates the need to input odometer readings when refueling, and provides more concise vehicle fuel consumption data so leadership can accurately depict vehicle fuel consumption, according to the senior master sergeant.

The vehicles affected by AIM2 at Holloman AFB use approximately 187,200 gallons of gasoline and 86,400 gallons of diesel each year.

Despite Smaller Budget, Air Force Seeks to Protect Satellites

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2013 – Despite tremendous budget uncertainty and a shrinking bottom line, the commander of the Air Force Space Command said that he will do his best to protect all of the Air Force’s satellite constellations.


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An Air Force tactical air control party candidate studies his GPS device before a call-for-fire exercise on the range at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Oct. 20, 2011. Candidates used a GPS system to target the exact location of a threat. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Speaking with reporters at a recent meeting of the Defense Writers Group, Air Force Gen. William L. Shelton called the range of U.S. satellites a “foundational” capability.

“It doesn’t matter what size the United States military becomes, we count on space and cyber capabilities to underpin the force, to enable the way we fight today, to give us the capabilities we need globally,” the general said.

“You can’t say, ‘Well, I’ll just have one less GPS satellite or one less advanced [extremely high frequency] satellite or one less [space-based radar] satellite,’” he added. “You can’t create holes in the constellation and still have global capability.”

Shelton said that despite fiscal uncertainty, Air Force Space Command seeks to answer growing threats from nations such as North Korea and China in the space domain and modify its satellite architecture in concert with emerging threats.

The North Koreans have tried several times to reach orbit and succeeded Dec. 11, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command officials, and Shelton said that tells the United States two things.
“One is that they can get to orbit now, but if they can get to orbit, they can also launch an [intercontinental ballistic missile]. … That gives us lots of concerns for lots of reasons,” the general said.

“What they would do in space is not as concerning right now, because they are very immature in their space program. … [But] others around the world are very mature and have developed things that we know would be deleterious to our efforts in space,” Shelton added, including China in that equation.

In January 2007, China launched with a multistage solid-fuel missile from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China to destroy one of its own Fengyun-series weather satellites.

“Without talking about intelligence matters, I think it’s safe to say that the Chinese didn’t conduct the 2007 test and just quit,” Shelton said. “They conducted another test in 2009 that, even though it was called an antiballistic missile test, certainly had [anti-satellite]-like ramifications. So I think it’s safe to say that they continue in their efforts.”

To examine its satellite architecture, Shelton said Air Force Space Command is conducting studies to “look at different ideas.”

The advanced extremely high-frequency system, or AEHF, is the next-generation military strategic and tactical relay system for delivering protected communications to U.S. forces and several allies worldwide.
When it’s fully operational, the system will consist of four crosslinked satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit, a ground mission-control center and user terminals. AEHF-1 was launched in August 2010 and AEHF-2 last May. AEHF-3 is expected to launch this fall and AEHF-4 sometime in 2017.

AEHF will provide connectivity for land, air and naval warfare, special operations, strategic nuclear operations, strategic defense, theater missile defense, and space operations and intelligence.

“If you could take the two payloads on that satellite, the tactical payload and strategic payload, and separate them onto different hosted platforms, or [make] the strategic platform a hardened, survivable platform and the tactical platform maybe not quite so hardened, … that’s certainly a path we’re studying, seeing what might be most cost-efficient,” Shelton explained.

For the Air Force’s Space-based Infrared Systems, or SBIRS, program, a critical missile defense and warning capability, the architecture consists of a mix of geosynchronous Earth orbit or GEO satellites, payloads in highly elliptical Earth orbit, and ground hardware and software.

In missile warning, Air Force Space Command is looking at the wide-field-of-view or scanning sensor on GEO satellites and trying to determine whether or not it can host that on a platform other than SBIRS, the general said.

“It’s important to note that for both advanced EHF and SBIRS, the die is cast through about 2025” because of contract commitments, Shelton said.

“I think it’s safe to say in both of those cases, depending on how much money we have in 2015, we’ll look to continue the study efforts to determine cost efficiency,” he said.

The general said studies are ongoing for a weather satellite that will be a follow-on to the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program managed by the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base in California.

“We’re in the midst of [analyzing] alternatives right now to develop a follow-on weather satellite that will be in the mid-2020 kind of time frame, but looking at making that probably a smaller satellite and much less expensive,” Shelton said.

Studies also continue for the follow-on to the Space-based Surveillance System, part of the U.S. Strategic Command's Space Surveillance Network and operated by the 1st Satellite Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado.

The SBSS satellite is the only space-based sensor in the network, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week to collect about man-made space objects.

“We firmly believe that space-based space surveillance is something we need to continue,” Shelton said. “The question is exactly what should that satellite look like?”

The Global Positioning System, a constellation of more than 24 dual-use satellites that provides positioning, velocity and timing to military and civilian users around the world, is a joint service effort directed by the Air Force.
“We’re doing great on GPS,” Shelton said, adding that the Air Force may look at an “augmentation, navigation-only kind of satellite that doesn’t have the nuclear-detonation-detection payload on it, so we could have a fairly inexpensive satellite that addresses some lack of coverage in urban canyons, for example.”

The general said he also will try very hard to protect funding for the Joint Space Operations Center Mission System.

JSPOC includes personnel from all four services and from the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, along with facilities and equipment needed to give U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space the ability to plan and execute command and control of worldwide space forces.
“The JSPOC Mission System out at Vandenberg [Air Force Base in California] underpins all space operations,” Shelton said. “Everything we do starts with what happens at the JSPOC.”

AEDC director settles into new job, takes aim at advancing mission

by Philip Lorenz III
Arnold Engineering Development Complex Public Affairs


1/15/2013 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Dr. Douglas Blake took the reins as Arnold Engineering Development Complex 's executive director only last month, but is ready to tackle the challenges and explore the possibilities of his new position.

One current focus is advancing hypersonic flight with programs like the X-51 WaveRider and Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2, but he acknowledged the complex technical challenges those programs have presented to the ground and flight test community.

"I'm a huge believer in the potential of what hypersonics can bring to the fight," Blake said. "There's tremendous opportunity there, but that doesn't come without costs. Hypersonics is one of those games that is very expensive to get into and to develop the technology for.

"AEDC is uniquely positioned to contribute to that effort. There is a target of opportunity for a contribution there that needs to be made by a consortium of folks as opposed to a relatively small number [of people]."

Blake said AEDC's world-class flight simulation testing facilities are only half of the story when it comes to supporting the mission. This translates to supporting the workforce and promoting science, technology and mathematics career choices to ensure future generations of scientists, engineers and technicians will bring their skills to places like AEDC.

"I am in a learning mode at this point," he said. "If you look at my background, you will see I've been heavily involved in aerospace systems, whether that was in academia or project management. I was involved in the follow-on test and evaluation programs for the Minuteman III and Peacekeeper weapons systems, and I am just interested in this field."

Blake is an aerospace engineer whose career has ranged from academics to management of major weapons systems programs and included a deputy directorship at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and a directorship at Tinker AFB, Okla.

He said that whenever you are in a position of leadership over an organization, the more you identify with and understand the business that you're over. That in turn, allows you to be a benefit to the organization.

"Teaching aerospace engineering, thermodynamics and computational aerodynamics, running computational fluid dynamics calculations and having been over a wind tunnel test facility at the Air Force Research Laboratory have helped me to understand the mission of AEDC, I would say much more readily than had I not been involved in that type of activity. All of that experience helps me to understand and understanding what we do here puts me in a position that I can help the organization. My job here is to help the organization in any way I possibly can."

Blake said it is important for leaders to keep the big picture in mind and team with their colleagues.

"I'm going to learn what this place needs, and not just here at AEDC," he said. "Especially in today's world, you can't be myopic and just focus on your own installation; you've got to focus on the needs of the larger [test] community.

"We're a national asset here; there's no doubt about it. [But] there are other national assets that are out there. We need to be asking ourselves, 'How do we bring these national assets together to bear on problems that we need to solve as a nation moving forward, in the most effective manner possible?'"

Blake said everyone must remain cognizant of challenges -- rapidly evolving technologies and encouraging young people to stay the course toward STEM-oriented careers -- facing the Department of Defense, especially in a fiscally constrained environment.

Even under ideal circumstances, he emphasized effective leadership requires ongoing collaboration and education beyond formal academics.

"So, it's not just about learning about AEDC, but it's about learning about the test community in general -- that's my number one priority," Blake said. "I also don't believe in a single person's vision for an organization because I'm going to leave some day and if it's 'my' vision, it leaves with me. If it's 'our' vision, then it stays behind. So, it's a process of developing that as opposed to walking into an organization with a preconceived notion of what that is."

Blake said his own career path provides a good example of how a person's life can take many unexpected turns before finally finding something that excites an individual professionally.

"I became an aerospace engineer because I loved airplanes," he said. "I thought airplanes were the coolest thing in the world. [However], I quickly realized in my junior year that I wasn't ever going to design an airplane and some of that theoretical aerodynamics stuff I didn't like at all."

He learned what he really liked was programming computers.

"I literally would come home from work at night and write computer code, just for fun" he said. "Then I learned about this thing called computational fluid dynamics (CFD) -- something that can be solved on a computer. I got to solve these massively large fluid dynamics problems, like a heat transfer problem on a computer. I went, 'That's it and there you go!'"

This interest motivated Blake to continue his education and led to a master's degree in aeronautical engineering with a specialty in computational fluid dynamics and a doctorate in aeronautical engineering where he conducted research in computational electromagnetics and massively parallel computing. As much as he appreciates what CFD brings to the mission, Blake said it is only one tool and not a substitute for ground testing at a place like AEDC.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Reserve Hurricane Hunters kept relentless watch on 2012 storms

by Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service


1/18/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- As the nation rebounds from 19 named storms and 11 major hurricanes in 2012, a small but hardy military organization keeps relentless watch to track and prepare for such disasters.

Located at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, dubbed the "Hurricane Hunters" of the Air Force Reserve, is the Defense Department's sole organization dedicated to flying into tropical storms and hurricanes. The unit has performed the mission since 1944.

In a "DOD Live" bloggers roundtable today, Lt. Col. Jon Talbot, 53rd WRS chief meteorologist, and Capt. John Brady, a meteorologist with the squadron, said collecting winter storm, hurricane and tropical cyclone data for the National Weather Service is critical in mitigating loss of life and property.

Typically, a winter storm mission begins only if the weather system will have a large, societal impact somewhere in the United States, Talbot explained.

"Winter storms kill more people than hurricanes do," Talbot said, noting his team's specialty in analyzing data over water, where information is sparse. "If the National Weather Service is seeing a lot of uncertainty in their [data], they'll contact our liaison team."

Talbot and Brady oversee 20 flight meteorologists responsible for acting as mission directors aboard the fleet of 10 WC-130J reconnaissance aircraft and crews from the 403rd Wing, also based at Keesler. The weather experts collect and relay information such as storm center and intensity, known as models or numerical predictions, to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

"Over the open waters of the Pacific and Atlantic, there's nothing out there for the models to ingest, so we get extra data to pump into the model," Brady said. "The forecast accuracy can go up 15 to 20 percent just by gathering that data."

But winter-storm tracking missions in the Northeast and Northwest corners of the United States, Talbot said, differ from conventional hurricane tracking. These are high-altitude missions, usually at 30,000 to 34,000 feet, that supplement data from an upper-air balloon

"It's not an active environment [as with] a hurricane, where you're right in the middle of it [because] you're a lot lower," Talbot said.

Brady agreed and explained the squadron's use of dropsondes -- small, expendable, parachute-like meteorological devices that collect information and send the coded data back to weather trackers.

"Our goal is to fly as high as possible and drop our weather dropsondes at predetermined points to measure the atmosphere ... and get that information to the National Weather Service so they can increase the forecast accuracy for developing winter storms," Brady said. "The longer they flew, the lighter the aircraft got due to less fuel, so they were able to get higher and higher with each one." Hurricane Hunters, particularly in the Atlantic basin, often fly a day or so ahead of a weather system before its main impact, he added.

The data can even provide rescuers an immediate, life-saving advantage, Brady said, relating a recent example of collaboration with the Coast Guard. In October 2012, Tropical Storm-turned-Hurricane Rafael caused heavy rains and formidable gusts that thwarted rescue efforts for two men and one woman whose twin-engine Piper Aztec aircraft crashed near St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coast Guard rescue crews called on the Hurricane Hunters, who were in the area and were able to spot from high above an oil slick and aircraft debris. Although the other two passengers perished, the woman was rescued, thanks to the Hurricane Hunters' ability to identify and relay critical coordinates of the survivor's location.

"[The Coast Guard] took over and ultimately did find the rest of the debris and one female survivor still clinging to life," Brady said. "I'm sure she was extremely grateful to see some folks coming to get her, [and] that's just one example of how we can intercoordinate with the different branches through search and rescue."

After Hurricane Katrina crippled the Gulf Coast in 2005, Talbot said, the use of instruments such as remote wind sensors now enable the team to provide even greater detail about how winds are likely to affect a coastal area when a hurricane comes ashore.

"We're able to map the entire area under a hurricane," Talbot said. "During Katrina, we had only one or two airplanes [with that] instrument installed, and now we've gone to the entire fleet."

Talbot added that being able to map the area under a hurricane is a "gigantic benefit" for not only forecasters at the hurricane center, but for the local emergency management workers assessing how and where to evacuate people. The colonel also noted that collaboration with the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service likely will pave the way to develop future capabilities such as enhancing radar and satellite communications to better track real-time hurricane changes.

"NASA has flown over hurricanes using ... high-altitude Global Hawks outfitted with special instrumentation," Talbot said. "We're trying to get to a point where we can develop [similar] remote sensors."

Still, mission requirements, Talbot noted, ultimately will be defined by the needs of the Hurricane Hunters' main customer, the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center.

"[What we do at] the 53rd [WRS] and the Air Force Reserve has always been a great mission for us," Talbot said. "We're proud to be able to help mitigate the cost and protection of lives during hurricanes and we look forward to continuing this mission proudly."

AF Academy cadets demonstrate prototypes built of toys

by Staff Sgt. Maria Boman
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


1/18/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Children's toys can become tools used by adults to create an object with the goal of making a difference in the lives of others. Scott AFB, Ill., served as a guiding hand in that process for seven U.S. Air Force Academy cadets Jan. 15, 2013.

Since August, a group of senior cadets from the Academy have been designing patient loading prototypes to improve the current system medical personnel use to transport a patient into an aircraft more safely and easily. This project serves an Air Force need.

"The current patient loading system needs to be replaced with safer equipment for medical personnel and patients," said Maj. Samantha Treadwell, Air Mobility Command Aeromedical Evacuation Medical Modernization officer in charge. "Currently, parts have to be taken off of one PLS to fix another because the parts can no longer be ordered."

The prototypes needed feedback from the people it would serve. So, three students visited the 375th AES conference room at Scott for the first patient loading system capstone workshop.

"One of the major issues with numerous design projects is that engineers design something the customer does not want," said Maj. Cody Rasmussen, the Academy's engineering mechanics department advisor. "Our goal is to avoid that common and critical error at all costs."

The cadets gave a verbal presentation on their prototypes design construction, analysis and testing. Then, using prototypes made of wood, metal and colorful interlocking plastic bricks, they presented their potential PLS replacement design concepts, including different lifts and means of elevating patients into a plane. The medical personnel tested the prototypes and provided feedback on advantages and disadvantages.

"Without inputs from the AE members, we have no guidance for what needs to be improved," said Cadet 1st Class Hayden Richards, who's only had about two hours of evacuation experience. "We hope to mesh our ideas together."

With more than 2,000 hours of combined experience, the 375th AES participants moved theory into a practical system.

"Bringing AF Academy cadets here for collaboration allows for maximum feedback from those in the field," Treadwell said. "The 375th AES is the pilot unit for all Air Force aeromedical evacuation issues, and it's critical the medical personnel are involved in the process."

The workshop was not just beneficial to the cadets working on this project--it's also important for the medical personnel who will use the new PLS in the future because Air Mobility Command's aeromedical evacuation mission transports wounded and injured service members to critical care hospitals far away from the battle space.

"One day, one of their inventions will be what we use," said Maj. Michelle Wyche, 375th AES clinical management flight nurse.

Safety is very important to members of Team Scott, as it is throughout the rest of all military.

"Providing safe patient transport is vital," Treadwell said. "An improved PLS will aid in that effort."

This workshop was just one more stop on the road to completing this project.

"With the information we gathered, we will now select and build two final prototypes with increased functionality and size," said Rasmussen.

"Our goal is to have enough work done so the future system design process will go faster, and the customer will get a system that better fulfills their need."

The cadets will give their final presentation in May to the Air Mobility Command customers, in addition to leaders in the Air Force Medical Support Agency.

The students involved in this project are Cadets 1st Class Matt Heien, Tyler Ogren, Brad Phelan, Fred Rath, Jared Rillings, Jenna Whetsel, and Richards.

Naval Hospital Bremerton's Simulation Lab Provides Latest in Medical Training

y MC1 (SW/AW) James Evans Coyle, NHB Public Affairs
BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton's Simulation Center (Sim Lab) expanded training options were on full display for doctors, nurses, hospital corpsmen and other staff Jan 14.

NHB's Simulation Center has existed for more than three years to provide healthcare providers with a chance to accurately replicate the experience of giving patient care. These tasks can range from the mundane to highly complex and can cover every skill level.

"The mission (of the Sim Lab) is to develop and maintain the skills of our healthcare staff and become the go-to source of skills development for regionally based military personnel," said NHB's Sim Lab Program Manager Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Blake Hite.

According to Hite, the Sim Lab's goal is to develop both didactic and kinesthetic skills through the use of low, medium, and high fidelity simulation. These realistic simulations build communication skills, develop leaders in high stress situations, and keep important yet sometimes rarely used skills honed.

With the latest addition of their state-of-the-art "SimMan," a medical mannequin with cutting edge technology, the Sim Lab can ensure the training learned equates to increased benefits for actual patients.

"The SimMan can be programmed for many different types of medical conditions such as cardiac arrest, various bronchial and endoscope procedures. Sim Man 3G is our newest mannequin. Unfortunately, he is not quite ready to go live yet, but when he is it will be impressive. He has everything from fluctuating pupil sizes from LED lights to the ability to be put on a ventilator. This mannequin will be almost completely wireless and will really push the immersion to a new level. The more immersed a student is the more realistic we can make things seem, especially with stress and working on communication," said Hite.

"Our Simulation Center is capable of a broad range of skill training, such as suturing, birthing drills, intubations, inserting NG tubes, central line insertions using sonosites, and many more. We can even do certain procedures such as broncoscopies and endoscopies. The birthing simulator and emergency neo-resuscitation situations are frequently utilized by doctors, nurses and hospital corpsman," Hite said.

According to Medical Simulation Contractor Doug Jones, the SimMan's human-like responses will eventually become a reality when the SimMan will be able to talk directly to the doctors and nurses engaged in the training.

"The way it will soon work is that I or one of the other simulation instructors will be on a wireless microphone from another room, and we'll be able to create a scenario through the voice box of the SimMan complaining of various ailments and disorders," said Jones. "The doctor or nurse will come in, SimMan will say, for example, 'I'm having chest pains.' People involved in the training will also see that SimMan's heart rate has maybe skyrocketed. The people training can then administer medication." said Jones.

"Our patients benefit the most. The advantage is we don't have to learn in a real life situation. We can practice the skills we will need in cases and work out the kinks before we go on to do the real thing," added Hite.

NHB's Training and Education Department Head, Lt. Cmdr. Ronald Cleveland attests that the SimMan and the Simulation Center's mission of "Quality Care, Patient Safety and Lead Team Dynamics" will continue to be available to other health care facilities in the local community.

"We're incorporating more PQS (Personnel Qualification Standards) needed by all ship-board medical personnel in this area who are using and will continue to utilize our Sim Lab. We've specifically been an excellent resource for Sailors going out in the field," said Cleveland.

Air Force Space Command to Bolster Cyber Force


By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2013 – The Air Force Space Command expects to be directed to add 1,000 new people, mainly civilians, to its base of about 6,000 cyber professionals for the 2014 fiscal year, the command’s chief said here yesterday.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Left to Right: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Joel Melendez, Naval Network Warfare Command information systems analysis, Air Force Staff Sgt. Rogerick Montgomery, U.S. Cyber Command network analysis, and Army Staff Sgt. Jacob Harding, 780th Military Intelligence Brigade cyber systems analysis, at an exercise during Cyber Flag 13-1, Nov. 8, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Speaking with reporters at a meeting of the Defense Writers Group, Air Force Gen. William L. Shelton said direction for the hires would come from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, fueled by the U.S. Cyber Command.
 
“Cyber Command is in the midst of determining how they are going to operate across all the geographic combatant commands as well as internal to the United States,” Shelton said, “and it looks like we will be tapped for well over 1,000 additional people into the cyber business, so you can see [cyber] is starting to take root.”


If budget restrictions allow the increase in personnel, they will be hired over two years beginning in fiscal 2014, and 70 percent to 80 percent will be civilians “if it turns out like we think it’s going to turn out,” the general said.

This will represent about a 15 percent increase over 6,000 cyber professionals working today for the 24th Air Force, he added, noting that the 24th Air Force is the numbered Air Force that works under Air Force Space Command.

A numbered Air Force is a tactical Air Force organization that is subordinate to a major command and has assigned to it operational units like wings, squadrons and groups.

Within the 24th Air Force, subordinate units for cyber operations include the 67th Network Warfare Wing and the 688th Information Operations Wing at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, and the 689th Combat Communications Wing at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

“I have the responsibility of major command headquarters but in terms of where the work really gets done to operate and defend Air Force networks, to provide exploitation capabilities and develop attack capabilities, that’s the 24th Air Force,” he said.

“They are also the Air Force component to U.S. Cyber Command,” the general said, “so when U.S. Cyber Command wants Air Force capability or wants capabilities the Air Force has developed, that’s where they go.”

Those who work in the Space Command’s cyber arm tend to operate, defend, exploit and attack rather than address cyber policy, Shelton said, “but the 24th Air force certainly gets into the policy area as well just because of the newness of this business.”

The general observed that the policy and legal regimes are not as mature as they need to be because it’s so difficult to segment them.

“The cyber domain -- I call it the Wild West because you can be anywhere and do anything and be effective,” Shelton said. “All you need is an Internet connection, the right skills and a laptop and you’re in the game.”

In cyber there are many parallels to the space domain, Shelton said, “because it’s global in nature and yet the effects you want are in somebody else’s backyard in terms of geographic combatant commanders’ ownership. So getting a model that works efficiently and effectively and also respects the geographic combatant commanders’ authorities -- that’s the challenge.”

Shelton said one of his biggest problems in planning for the future, including the future of Air Force cyber and space operations, is the uncertainty of the DOD budget process.

“We don’t have an appropriations bill for [fiscal 20]13 so we’re not sure what the ’13 picture is, and here we are over a quarter [of the way] into ’13,” the general said. “That affects planning for the president’s budget for ’14 and that, in turn, impacts … the ’15-and-out budget, which we’re in the throes of right now.”
The budget situation, he added, “is the worst I’ve seen in thirty-six-and-a-half years in this business [in terms of] the pressures on all of us now to try to make decisions without good information. And it is the national security of the nation we’re talking about here.”

Shelton said he’d looked at 2012 as a year to make “a pretty good move into cyber … to show progression, to show grasping the reins of the cyber capabilities of the Air Force. Whether or not we’re going to be able to do that is the question, whether or not we’re going to have sufficient funding.”

But as the budget process plays out, the general said he plans to be a strong advocate for priorities like space and cyber.

“There will be strong advocates coming from other functional areas within the United States military as well,” he added, “so it’s going to be literally the strategy that we adopt based on the budget authority that will be available, and then you let the chips fall from there.”

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Naval Aerospace Medical Institute Hosts Aeromedical Conference in Pensacola

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Members of a U.S. Navy organization dedicated to supporting Navy and Marine Corps aviation units hosted the U.S. Navy Aeromedical Conference Jan. 14-17 aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Fleet-wide operational Aviation Medicine Technicians (AVT), flight surgeons, and aerospace physiologists from U.S. Navy and Marine Corps units - as well as U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard service members, attended the U.S. Naval Aeromedical Conference, a forum for flight surgeons, physiologists and AVTs to discuss matters important to their community.

Attendees also attended lectures from experts in particular areas of aviation medicine and shared ideas, something Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI) Officer-in-Charge Capt. Charles Ciccone said is integral to the continued success U.S. Navy aeromedical personnel have historically employed.

"The theme of the conference, 'Distance Medicine and En-Route Care,' provided an outstanding opportunity for a joint learning environment and provided a critical update to our joint aeromedical operational forces who are directly supporting overseas contingency operations for the global war on terrorism," he said.

Deputy Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) and Deputy Surgeon General Rear Adm. Michael Mittelman and Commander, 81st Medical Group U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Kory Cornum also attended the three-day event

Ciccone said NAMI is the Navy's recognized expert in aerospace medicine and provides aeromedical consultation services, develops aeromedical standards and provides training to Navy, joint, and allied aeromedical personnel. NAMI hosts the event to ensure communication between members of the aerospace medicine community.

"We train commissioned and enlisted aeromedical personnel for naval aviation," Ciccone said. "The U.S. Naval Aeromedical Conference allows us to update our aeromedical personnel on the latest and best advances and allows us to remain on the cutting edge of aerospace medicine."

The conference showcased a series of open-forum lectures as well as breakout sessions including topics such as Radiation Health and Nuclear Field Duty, Aviation Safety Perspectives in Aeromedical Transport and an update from the U.S. Army's Flight Paramedic Program. The conference is one of the few military conferences specifically tailored toward aviation medicine.

Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (NMOTC) Commanding Officer Capt. James Norton said the conference underscores the important role aviation medical personnel play in global operations on a daily basis, citing the specific and often difficult tasking with which these men and women often face.

"Naval aviation's role in contingency operations has remained at the forefront of conflicts for the past several decades," he said. "U.S. Naval flight surgeons and aerospace physiologists who clear the pilots to fly these missions, train them on aviation sensory and acceleration physiology, life-support systems, egress and water survival. They provide a service that directly impacts each and every naval aviator. This is a highly specific and demanding area of Navy Medicine, and the service members who are part of this community are some of the best in the world."

Navy aerospace physiologists are involved in survival training, research, development, testing and evaluation to improve aviator performance and aircrew survivability, and aeromedical operational and safety programs.

NAMI is a component of NMOTC, the recognized global leader in operational medical and aviation survival training, which reports to Navy Medicine Education and Training Command (NMETC) which manages Navy Medicine's formal enlisted and officer education and training programs, medical operational training for medical and medical support personnel deploying worldwide, and training that prepares aviators and flight crews to survive in land and water mishaps.

NAMI, NMOTC and NMETC are all part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of Navy medical professionals around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

Automotive Electronics Manufacturer Fined $500,000 for Selling Illegal Devices Resulting in Tons of Excess Particulate Matter Emissions

WASHINGTON –In a settlement with the United States on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, automotive electronics manufacturer Edge Products LLC (Edge) has agreed to pay a $500,000 civil penalty for manufacturing and selling electronic devices that allowed owners of model year 2007 and later diesel pickup trucks to remove emission controls from their vehicles. Diesel trucks that are not equipped with emission controls known as “diesel particulate filters” emit excess particulate matter (PM). When running, trucks without these types of controls leave behind a trail of dark, black smoke. PM is associated with a number of health problems, including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and an increased risk of lung cancer.

The company, located in Ogden, Utah, sold more than 9,000 of these electronic devices nationwide, resulting in an estimated 158 tons of excess PM emissions released into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the emissions from 422 new long-haul semi trucks operating for a period of 29 years. 

“The Department of Justice will continue to vigilantly protect America’s health and environment through the enforcement of the Clean Air Act standards governing emissions from vehicles and engines,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement holds Edge Products accountable for selling devices that allow consumers to disable the emission controls on their vehicles by requiring the company to pay a penalty, buy back the devices, and perform a project to offset the air pollution resulting from the Clean Air Act violations.”

“Our goal is to have these illegal devices removed and proper emission controls installed,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Allowing black smoke to billow conspicuously from the tailpipes of diesel pickup trucks is a practice that directly harms public health.”
Diesel particulate filters remove approximately 90% of the particulate matter emissions from a truck’s exhaust.  If the filter is removed, the truck will generally not operate properly as the filter is monitored by the truck’s computer.  However, the electronic devices sold by Edge allowed individuals to reprogram the truck’s computer so that the truck would continue to operate even after the filter had been removed.

Although Edge stopped selling the illegal devices in mid-2011, the consent decree requires Edge to offer to buy back the devices from anyone who possesses one.  In order to sell the device back to Edge, the truck from which the device came must be returned to its original factory programming.  Edge is also required to spend at least $157,600 to implement an emission mitigation project to offset the excess PM emissions that it caused.  Edge will use the additional funds to offer rebates to individuals who own old wood-burning stoves and who wish to replace them with cleaner burning appliances such as new pellet stoves or EPA-certified wood stoves.

The civil penalty of $500,000 is based on the United States’ determination that Edge has a limited ability to pay a penalty in this matter.

The consent decree resolves allegations in a complaint, filed today, that Edge violated the Clean Air Act by manufacturing and selling motor vehicle parts or components whose effect is to bypass, defeat, or render inoperative a motor vehicles emission control device. 

Hurricane Hunters’ Weather Storms to Save Lives


By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2013 – As the nation rebounds from 19 named storms and 11 major hurricanes in 2012, a small but hardy military organization keeps relentless watch to track and prepare for such disasters.

Located at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, dubbed the “Hurricane Hunters” of the Air Force Reserve, is the Defense Department’s sole organization dedicated to flying into tropical storms and hurricanes. The unit has performed the mission since 1944.

In a “DOD Live” bloggers roundtable today, Lt. Col. Jon Talbot, 53rd WRS chief meteorologist, and Capt. John Brady, a meteorologist with the squadron, said collecting winter storm, hurricane and tropical cyclone data for the National Weather Service is critical in mitigating loss of life and property.

Typically, a winter storm mission begins only if the weather system will have a large, societal impact somewhere in the United States, Talbot explained.

“Winter storms kill more people than hurricanes do,” Talbot said, noting his team’s specialty in analyzing data over water, where information is sparse. “If the National Weather Service is seeing a lot of uncertainty in their [data], they’ll contact our liaison team.”

Talbot and Brady oversee 20 flight meteorologists responsible for acting as mission directors aboard the fleet of 10 WC-130J reconnaissance aircraft and crews from the 403rd Wing, also based at Keesler. The weather experts collect and relay information such as storm center and intensity, known as models or numerical predictions, to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

“Over the open waters of the Pacific and Atlantic, there’s nothing out there for the models to ingest, so we get extra data to pump into the model,” Brady said. “The forecast accuracy can go up 15 to 20 percent just by gathering that data.”

But winter-storm tracking missions in the Northeast and Northwest corners of the United States, Talbot said, differ from conventional hurricane tracking. These are high-altitude missions, usually at 30,000 to 34,000 feet, that supplement data from an upper-air balloon

“It’s not an active environment [as with] a hurricane, where you’re right in the middle of it [because] you’re a lot lower,” Talbot said.

Brady agreed and explained the squadron’s use of dropsondes -- small, expendable, parachute-like meteorological devices that collect information and send the coded data back to weather trackers.

“Our goal is to fly as high as possible and drop our weather dropsondes at predetermined points to measure the atmosphere … and get that information to the National Weather Service so they can increase the forecast accuracy for developing winter storms,” Brady said. “The longer they flew, the lighter the aircraft got due to less fuel, so they were able to get higher and higher with each one.” Hurricane Hunters, particularly in the Atlantic basin, often fly a day or so ahead of a weather system before its main impact, he added.

The data can even provide rescuers an immediate, life-saving advantage, Brady said, relating a recent example of collaboration with the Coast Guard. In October 2012, Tropical Storm-turned-Hurricane Rafael caused heavy rains and formidable gusts that thwarted rescue efforts for two men and one woman whose twin-engine Piper Aztec aircraft crashed near St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coast Guard rescue crews called on the Hurricane Hunters, who were in the area and were able to spot from high above an oil slick and aircraft debris. Although the other two passengers perished, the woman was rescued, thanks to the Hurricane Hunters’ ability to identify and relay critical coordinates of the survivor’s location.

“[The Coast Guard] took over and ultimately did find the rest of the debris and one female survivor still clinging to life,” Brady said. “I’m sure she was extremely grateful to see some folks coming to get her, [and] that’s just one example of how we can intercoordinate with the different branches through search and rescue.”

After Hurricane Katrina crippled the Gulf Coast in 2005, Talbot said, the use of instruments such as remote wind sensors now enable the team to provide even greater detail about how winds are likely to affect a coastal area when a hurricane comes ashore.

“We’re able to map the entire area under a hurricane,” Talbot said. “During Katrina, we had only one or two airplanes [with that] instrument installed, and now we’ve gone to the entire fleet.”

Talbot added that being able to map the area under a hurricane is a “gigantic benefit” for not only forecasters at the hurricane center, but for the local emergency management workers assessing how and where to evacuate people. The colonel also noted that collaboration with the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service likely will pave the way to develop future capabilities such as enhancing radar and satellite communications to better track real-time hurricane changes.

“NASA has flown over hurricanes using … high-altitude Global Hawks outfitted with special instrumentation,” Talbot said. “We’re trying to get to a point where we can develop [similar] remote sensors.”

Still, mission requirements, Talbot noted, ultimately will be defined by the needs of the Hurricane Hunters’ main customer, the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center.

“[What we do at] the 53rd [WRS] and the Air Force Reserve has always been a great mission for us,” Talbot said. “We’re proud to be able to help mitigate the cost and protection of lives during hurricanes and we look forward to continuing this mission proudly.”
 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Schriever plays part in new Smithsonian exhibit

by Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


1/16/2013 - WASHINGTON D.C. -- The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. is slated to open an exhibit March 2013 entitled, "Time and Navigation: The untold story of getting from here to there."

The exhibit will explore how timekeeping has evolved throughout three centuries and how it influences navigation. Whether through the high seas, the air or even space, time plays an essential role.

"The possibilities of traveling in space inspired plans to navigate from space. Innovators tried different approaches to see whether radio transmissions from orbiting satellites could be used to determine positions on Earth," according to the official Smithsonian website for the new exhibit. "They found that time from precise clocks on satellites, transmitted by radio signals, could in fact determine location. The military combined several systems into one and created the Global Positioning System."

That new system, now operated by the men and women of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., was a new joint program under the Air Force in 1973, and introduced synchronized time from space.

As a major player in the evolution of precise time, Schriever was given an opportunity to provide historical data for the "Time and Navigation" exhibit.

"[One of the sections in the exhibit] will feature five large screens oriented like portraits with a separate navigator from several eras located on each screen. One character represents a sea navigator from the mid-1800s; one character represents a space shuttle astronaut; one character represents a World War II air navigator; one character represents a modern civilian smartphone user; and one character represents a military navigator," said Thomas Paone, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum technician. "These portraits will come to life, and the characters will speak to each other to explain why you need an accurate clock to know where you are."

The military navigator portrait will be modeled after Capt. Bryony Veater, 2 SOPS payload systems operator and Weapons and Tactics Flight commander, who had the privilege of providing information about the uniform she wore in her latest deployment, to the Smithsonian for historical accuracy.

"[Veater's] character will briefly explain how atomic clocks in GPS work and how the military uses the technology today," said Paone.

In order to keep the names of characters generic, the name that will appear on the uniform is Sumner, an homage to Thomas Sumner, who first developed the concept of the Line of Position, a type of navigation used by seagoing vessels in the 19th century.

"The navigation and timing from GPS satellites plays such an important and often overlooked role in warfare," said Veater. "I am excited and proud that my experiences both deployed and at Schriever will educate current and future generations about the significant role space plays into modern military operations."

GPS, the world's largest military satellite constellation, is used for much more than military operations. Uses of GPS include precise timing for financial transactions, search and rescue, communications, farming, recreation and both military and commercial aviation.

In addition to an exhibit on satellite navigation, the museum will also display Stanley, a self-navigating car, demonstrate a new system of air traffic control and show other examples of how navigation technology impacts everyday life.

Monday, January 14, 2013

DOD Information Technology Evolves Toward Cloud Computing

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2013 – The Defense Department’s information technology infrastructure is on a journey of consolidation, standardization, security and access, the Defense Department’s principal deputy chief information officer told attendees at a cloud computing panel discussion today.

The department is reducing the number of data centers from about 1,500 to “a number far below that,” Robert J. Carey said, and is implementing a coherent and consistent architecture across thousands of computing environments.

This process is taking place in part because of the current era of fiscal austerity, but also because it makes sense when it comes to securing data within the network, Carey said.

In addition, DOD, along with much of industry, is shifting toward a cloud computing posture: the collection of data and use of related computing services via remote servers accessed through the Internet. Cloud
computing isn’t without its risks, Carey said, but the department is moving the paradigm of security from the infrastructure to the data layer. This includes continuous monitoring and cryptography, he added.

Concentrating on securing data, rather than an entire network, is “a big shift for a big engine like DOD,” Carey said.

As the department implements the joint information environment and delivers a consistent computing architecture -- which Carey noted the department does not yet have -- security becomes the discriminating factor, he said. “The access, the cost -- all those facets of the efficiency of cloud computing -- if it isn’t secure enough, it will not serve us well,” he added.

Carey said the way the intelligence community secures data on its networks can serve as a model for the Defense Department’s joint information environment. “I look at the [intelligence community] and its transformation, and I look at [the joint information environment] and the DOD transformation, and they are very aligned,” he said.

There are differences between the two communities, he said. The intelligence community doesn’t have to accommodate heterogeneous data security requirements, Carey said, and the network construct within DOD is different. “We’re just a little more complex,” he said. “But we are working on a plan with them to take the applicable lessons learned … into our world.”

The cloud is secure today, Carey said, but only for certain types of data. In its move to cloud computing, he said, the problem the department faces is progressing from its legacy systems into an up-to-date information environment in an era of cost constraints.

“We’re moving at a very deliberate pace,” Carey noted. “We have lots of [pilot programs] going on to evaluate these kinds of things and to make sure we understand both the pros, cons and risks of moving into the cloud space.”

Whether the department is ready to forge ahead on implementing a new information technology infrastructure hinges on whether it also ready is to make a cultural shift, he said.

“We have to take advantage of what commercial technology is bringing us, but at the same time, make sure that the people that actually … acquire it for us are able to do so,” Carey said.

The DOD IT community tends to try and avoid risk entirely rather than conduct risk management, he said, which is a problem given the rapid pace of information technology development.

“The acquisition corps is working on creating that workforce that’s able to understand how fast industry is moving and proceed with a risk-management approach vice a risk-avoidance approach,” he said.
Measuring risk in the cloud and the costs of risk response is a difficult task, Carey noted.

“At the end of the day, the metrics of cloud security are, at best, nebulous,” he said. It isn’t always easy to describe the relationship between risk reduction and purchasing, he added, but it’s important for the information technology community to try.

Friday, January 11, 2013

IOE strengthens MILSATCOM ops

by Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


1/9/2013 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Infrastructure for the 3rd and 4th Space Operations Squadrons' integrated operations environment at Schriever Air Force Base is complete and combined operation is slated to begin there Jan. 15.

"The start of satellite command and control operations in the integrated ops environment this week is the culmination of countless hours of work by hundreds of government and industry people," said Col. James Ross, 50th Space Wing commander. "This new facility will allow 3 SOPS and 4 SOPS professionals to more effectively and efficiently deliver decisive communication effects on a global scale."

The IOE is a 50th Space Wing initiative to integrate the operations of Department of Defense military satellite communications systems and architectures into a single operations floor.

"This is designed to strengthen the effectiveness of military satellite communication operations and enhance operational efficiencies and situational awareness while creating a truly integrated MILSATCOM operations center," said Capt. Gail Smicklas, 3 SOPS IOE project officer.

The demand for efficiency is increasing as the difficulties within the operational environment continue to grow. This is why a highly effective work environment is critical.

"Without question, the geosynchronous space environment has become increasingly congested," said Lt. Col. Chadwick Igl, 3 SOPS commander. "The warfighters demand for reliable, space borne communications becomes even more critical as the nation prepares for a potentially contested environment. IOE realizes this vision of a combined MILSATCOM operations center where the two premier SATCOM squadrons at the 50th Space Wing will have unprecedented situational awareness to recognize, react and respond to potential hostile actions and satellite anomalies. We hope to expand the synergies realized to our mission partners when they join us in the IOE and provide an even greater opportunity to enhance the combat effects provided by the 50th Space Wing to our U.S. and allied partners."

The IOE concept has been in development for a decade, but the current configuration was solidified in 2005. The original concept was to have one massive operations center that was two stories tall and could facilitate all satellite operations squadrons. Eventually leadership decided that 3 and 4 SOPS were best suited for the combined environment.

"During 2012, 3 and 4 SOPS tested the IOE concept by performing co-located operations," said Capt. Micah Dodds, 4 SOPS operations flight commander. "Building on the success of that experience, we are looking forward to moving into the new operations center."

The IOE aims at preparing the U.S. to successfully operate far into the future, in a spectrum of environments, including peacetime, degraded operations and full hostilities in space.

"We are very excited to enter the next phase of making MILSATCOM operations more effective and efficient," said Lt. Col. Scott Trinrud, 4 SOPS commander.

The layout of the ops floor is designed to encourage inter-squadron communication and situational awareness to respond to satellite anomalies, potential attacks or interference.

"What started with a vision many years ago by my forward thinking predecessors Lt. Gen. John Hyten, Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric, Brig. Gen. Cary Chun and Col. Wayne Monteith is now becoming a reality. We should be proud to continue the 50 SW tradition of innovation and operations excellence," said Ross.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary Speaks at the Science Advisory Board Meeting

Washington, D.C. ~ Friday, January 11, 2013

Thank you, Al.  Good morning.  

It’s great to be back before the Board.  My thanks to Al for his continued leadership, and to all the Board and subcommittee members for your ongoing contributions.  I’m tremendously grateful for your time and expertise and am looking forward to continuing our engagement.

This is the first meeting of the Science Advisory Board since the election.  It’s also the first since the departure of John Laub and Jim Lynch, who have returned to academia and will be greatly missed by all of us.  So I thought this would be a good opportunity – at this moment of change and new beginnings – to re-affirm OJP’s and the Department’s support of science, research, and evidence-based practices and to think about our collective role in ensuring scientific integrity.

Let me begin by saying that OJP – and I personally – remain strongly committed to our scientific mission.  Over the last four years, we’ve generated tremendous momentum in our work to integrate evidence into our programs and activities.  Our leadership – not only at BJS and NIJ, but across OJP – has demonstrated a strong scientific ethic.  We’re consistently looking at research to guide program development in juvenile justice, victim services, reentry, recidivism, and many other issues in the domain of our Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office for Victims of Crime, and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  
Our Evidence Integration Initiative also continues to build steam.  Its two principal components – CrimeSolutions.gov and the OJP Diagnostic Center – are expanding their efforts.  CrimeSolutions.gov now has more than 240 programs in its database, up significantly from the last time we met.  And the Diagnostic Center is now engaged with six jurisdictions, working to address complex public safety problems at each of the sites.
 
The Department and the Administration are firmly behind our scientific and evidence-based work, as well.  At the last meeting, we circulated a draft of the Department’s Scientific and Research Integrity Policy, which – as I mentioned then – is a strong indicator of the value of science to DOJ’s work.  I think it clearly reflects the principles of quality, transparency, and integrity that this body stands for.  

We also discussed the guidance from the Office of Management and Budget on the use of evidence and evaluation in the federal budget process.  This is another emphatic statement from the Administration about the value it places on scientific evidence, to go along with the budget set-asides for research and evaluation and the President’s appointments to the BJS and NIJ leadership posts – and I look forward to continuing our discussions about candidates to replace Jim and John.  Fortunately, both BJS and NIJ have strong scientific leadership teams, and I know Bill Sabol and Greg Ridgeway will continue moving us ahead.  

So we’ve established, I think, a good recent record of accomplishments, and we’ve done a great deal already to establish a focus on scientific principles in OJP.  So here we are, at the beginning of a new term, with the opportunity to expand on that record and to work toward really embedding an evidence-based mindset in the work we do at the Department of Justice.  

How do we do that?  And more to our purpose, how can you – the Science Advisory Board – help us achieve that goal?  

For one thing, I hope you will give a good deal of thought to how we can draw on your expertise to strengthen our own operations.  A central theme of the National Research Council’s report on strengthening NIJ was the need for ongoing – and deep – self-assessment.  I’d like to see this as a practice across OJP.  I know NIJ started yesterday relying on the NIJ subcommittee for program reviews as a way of ensuring quality and integrity in programmatic activities, and the BJS subcommittee is providing input specific to the National Crime Victimization Survey and BJS’s National Crime Statistics Exchange initiative.  I think these are excellent ways for the Board to be engaged with OJP, and I’d like to see us expand that approach.
I’ve also asked OJP leadership for their input as to how the Science Advisory Board can best inform their work.  They identified three specific areas in which we could benefit from your guidance – data archiving, human subjects protection, and research training.  Later this afternoon, Thom Feucht from NIJ will discuss ways we see the Board as possibly helping us address these issues.

I’d also be interested in a robust discussion of how we can build our institutional research capability.  In other words, how do we establish a mechanism for responding to the big research questions of the day in a way that improves policy and maintains the integrity of the research function?  Are there changes we need to consider that will make OJP more effective in delivering its scientific products to policymakers and practitioners?

And finally, how do we promote and ensure a culture of science in OJP and the Department?  If a scientific mentality is to permeate OJP – if we really hope to encode scientific thinking in OJP’s DNA – how do we envision that in light of the many grant-making and non-science-related tasks OJP is expected to perform?  In other words, how do we manage the cross-over between technical knowledge and administrative function?  What is our expectation of staff-level proficiency within the agency?

These are just a few of the questions and challenges I see for the Board as we begin this next term of the Administration.  We’ve already taken a number of steps to address these issues, and I know your deliberations have touched on many of these questions.  I hope you will continue to develop your ideas on these fronts and help guide us forward.

Again, I want to say grateful I am for the work you are doing, both through the various subcommittees and as part of the larger Advisory Board.  Your guidance remains critical to helping OJP become the most knowledge-based – and the most effective – agency it can possibly be.

I want to turn things over now to my esteemed colleagues in BJS and NIJ, Bill Sabol and Greg Ridgeway.  Many of you know Bill – and have cited his work.  He’s a long-time member of BJS, overseeing its statistical programs, and is currently serving as its Acting Director.  Greg came to us relatively recently from the Rand Corporation, where he was director of the Safety and Justice Research Program and the Center on Quality Policing.  He’s now serving as NIJ’s Acting Director.  As I mentioned earlier, they’re both very committed to continuing Jim and John’s work, and I know we’ll be able to count on them to keep us on the right path.  I’d like to give them the opportunity to say a few words.