Google+

Weapon Wednesday – Military’s Threat Detecting/Spy Plants

DARPA, the US military’s arm responsible for developing new military technologies, is developing genetically modified plants that can detect threats and spy discreetly

The program aims to engineer plants to detect certain chemicals, pathogens, radiation, and even electromagnetic and nuclear signals, and use existing hardware such as satellites to monitor these plants.

The smart plants could have applications outside of the military too –  for example to help communities identify undetonated landmines from previous conflicts and testing areas.

DARPA's new Advanced Plant Technologies (APT) program aims to engineer plants to detect certain chemicals, pathogens, radiation, and even electromagnetic and nuclear signals, and use existing hardware such as satellites to monitor these plants

Weapon Wednesday – Patriot Missile System Gets an Upgrade

Lockheed Martin’s radar technology demonstrator is designed to operate within the US Army Integrated Air & ...
Lockheed Martin’s radar technology demonstrator is  designed to operate within the US Army Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) framework (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

The radar at the heart of US Army’s Patriot missile system is getting a bit long in the tooth, so Lockheed Martin has announced the debut of its next-generation air and missile defense radar demonstrator. The 360⁰ capable Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar for Engagement and Surveillance (ARES) will be unveiled to the public at the 2017 Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. read more

A Patriot Speaks at the Democrat Convention – How Odd

by: the Common Constitutionalist

The political world is buzzing over Khizr Khan’s democrat convention speech the other night, in which he urged his fellow Muslims and immigrants not to take this election lightly.

His speech started well – very patriotic – a story of an immigrant family who, in 1980, came to America with little or nothing. Khan said that with hard work they “could share in and contribute to its [America’s] blessings.”

Well, sir – you sounded very sincere – and if you were – why on Earth did you choose to speak at the hate-America and blame-America-first convention? If you have been in this country for any length of time – and you have – you should have learned that the democrat party is party of no work, not hard work. Its convention was one speaker after another either demanding or promising some sort of big government giveaway.

And why is Mr. Khan urging immigrants to not take the election lightly? Last I checked, “immigrants” are not supposed to be allowed to vote – or does that just apply to Republican immigrants. read more

Is This a Drone or UFO?

Okay, if this is a new kind of attack drone, it is the baddest on the planet and I want one!

The following video was filmed by a member of the U.S. military standing by an armored vehicle in Afghanistan. It was apparently filmed just this past March taking out a Taliban stronghold. From the looks of things, I’m guessing the Taliban didn’t fare well.

Watch the video and tell me what it is: read more

Girley-Marines

 

The Marine Corps has delayed a requirement that all female recruits perform three pull-ups after more than half of them were unable to complete it, raising further questions about the push to integrate women into combat roles and units starting in 2016.

The Marines quietly announced the delay in a November report on its TV show, “The Corps Report,” and news sources have just begun to report it. An initial memo in 2012 stipulated that female recruits would have to perform three pull-ups like males beginning this year in order to graduate training.

Female recruits previously had to complete a “flexed arm hang,” or holding their chins above the pull-up bar for at least 15 seconds. They will now have the option of fulfilling either the pull-ups or flexed arm hang requirement for the next annual Physical Fitness Test (PFT). read more

Special Forces AXE Their Plan to Infiltrate Utah

Locals complain about exercise ‘imposing martial law’

 

The U.S. Army chose a quiet community in central Utah as the training ground for Special Forces soldiers needing to develop Jason Bourne-like skills and to learn how to build a resistance movement by infiltrating the town leadership.

With the deeply religious culture present in Manti, Utah and the desert landscape of the area,  residents were deemed ideal candidates by the Defense Department to role play with soldiers in the 10th Special Forces as part of a several week training exercise in July on unconventional warfare tactics.

Now that sequestration is in full effect, the Utah mission was called on Thursday, to the relief of residents who had feared their community would turn into a scene out of Hunger Games.

Unconventional
 The Defense Department had selected a central Utah community to participate in a training exercise for Army Special Forces soldiers

 

Setting
 The town of Manti, Utah was deemed an ideal location because of the desert landscape and the strong religious conviction on its residents

The exercise, named Robin Sage, is a component of Phase Four training for Army Special Forces soldiers, also known as the Green Berets.

Lasting four weeks, the large-scale exercise is typically held at Fort Bragg in North Carolina but officials were looking for a closer locale for soldiers of the 4th battalion of the 10th Special Forces, stationed at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs.

‘Every place we go [to train] is a different culture… a different mentality throws them off and requires [soldiers] to adapt,’ Staff Sgt. Ryan Sabin, a spokesman for the 10th Special Forces, told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Last fall, officials representing the DOD met with communities across Central Utah, including Sanpete, Sevier, Emery and Carbon counties, to recruit local governments to host the training exercise scheduled for July 2013.

Mormon
The town of Manti has a population of just over 3,000. It is home to one of the first temples built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsSoldiers develop skills in the training to mobilize foreign guerrilla fighters, like the Allied Forces who recruited French resistance fighters during World War II.

As part of the planned Utah training three teams of 12 soldiers would approach residents, who were respected leaders in business and in the Mormon church, and enlist their help in building a coalition.

A total of 30 citizens would participate in the missions, mainly during the evening hours, in Sanpete and Sevier counties and in Emery-Carbon county.

Over a two week period the plainclothes soldiers would depend on their civilian allies for food, lodging, transportation and supplies.

No live ammunition would be used and no private property would be entered without the owner’s permission, according to the rules of the mission.

Army officials said that utilizing real-life community leaders in their own setting would be more cost effective than having to create a fake setting for the training at the National Guard training site at Camp Williams.

Brave men of the Green Beret

Army Special Forces soldiers, also known as the Green Berets, train foreign troops in unconventional warfare tactics

But the prospect of a military infiltration raised concern among the residents.

At a Manti City Council Meeting on November 7, one resident accused the government of dishonorable and deceptive motives for the mission.

Another citizen, Alan Braithwaite, said the training exercise was the first step in the U.S. government turning the country into a police state.

Concerned parents wondered if their children would be safe and if tanks and helicopters would fill the streets and skies. Others feared that soldiers looking for some R&R would run rampant and would corrupt the youth.

So when the plan fell by the wayside due to budget cuts, many welcomed the news but some are still hopeful the exercise will go forward at some point in the future.

‘This is not a one-time shot, lost to Utah. There will be other opportunities,’ Paul Weddle, a retired Green Beret contracted to help the Army set up the exercise in Utah, told the Tribune.

‘There’s a chance that it may be rescheduled for next year but that remains to be determined,’ he added.

Sequestration Fraud

Defending the United States is one of the very few constitutionally mandated functions of the federal government; maintaining an army and navy.

For that reason our country must be able to properly fund the military via a defense budget. The left and right have been debating the balance between defense and other domestic unconstitutionalspending it seems like forever, or at least since LBJ’s Great Society. The right, or constitutional conservatives maintain that nothing is more important than funding defense. The left however, believes that domestic spending is as or more important than defense.

The fact is, constitutionally it doesn’t matter what the left or right feels or thinks. Most of the spending the federal government does is unconstitutional. There is no article, section, clause or amendment that allows the feds to take our tax money to spend on college loans, illegal immigrants, mortgages, welfare, Social Security, food stamps, etc. The list isn’t endless, but it’s darn close. None of these programs are truly legal.

Yet here we are – collecting around $2 trillion in taxes and spending over $3.5 trillion every year.

Last year our spineless Congress was once again faced with a decision. Cut spending, increase taxes, raise the debt ceiling. As is their usual M.O., rather than make an actual decision, they decided to punt the ball. After all, is this not what we elected them to do? Off they go to Washington, collect a good salary with endless perks, benefits and lifetime retirement after a few short terms. I know that’s what I’m looking for in an employee; and overpaid primadonna that can decide not to make a decision on any issue.

That brings us to the 800-pound gorilla in the room. My apology to any gorillas reading this. The dreaded sequestration; the automatic spending cuts that Congress didn’t think we would ever have to deal with.Sequestration

As I stated, last year Congress kicked the spending can down the road once again, figuring, somehow, that a magic fairy would come and solve it for them; maybe a blue ribbon commission of ex-politicians that were unable to make a decision while they were in office.

The right figured it would never get to this point due to drastic cuts in defense spending. See all Republicans are warmongers, ya know. The left figured this would never come to pass due to the potential of draconian domestic spending cuts.

Notice I haven’t mentioned our King. That’s because, I don’t think Obama gives a crap either way. If he really wants something done, he’ll just write an executive order.

Anywho, if you have been watching anything other than TMZ or Entertainment Tonight, you’ve heard of the dreaded sequestration. Among the two, the drastic automatic cuts of $500 billion from the defense budget have garnered the most attention. This is of course purposefsequestration-2ul, for the left feels it can pressure the right into caving because of the right’s precious defense budget.

And that’s all we hear. How will we survive? A cut of $500 billion from Defense will cripple us, they say. Yes it would if it were all taken at once. But that $500 billion cut is spaced out over 10 years. It’s not all up front, but it sounds scarier if the 10-year thing isn’t mentioned.

The sequestration cost for this year from Defense is $45 billion. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s a lot of cabbage (money, for you who don’t speak gangster), but with a total governmental budget of over $3.5 trillion, it’s an accounting error.

I am a diehard supporter of the military, but total defense related spending is over $820 billion per yeanever_let_a_serious_crisis_go_to_waste_r. That includes the military, homeland security, State Department and the like. Is anyone really naïve enough to think that any government agency can’t cut a little over 5% from their budget? Hell, we gave away $47 billion in foreign and military aid in 2012 alone and it’s projected top $56 billion next year. There is so much pork built into every government budget, 5% wouldn’t be missed.

Oh, and by the way; with the scam called government base-line budgeting, the budget will always increase, and the sequestration cuts (after the first year) is merely a decrease in the automatic increase in every departments budget. It’s like marking up a product from $20 to $30 and then offering a $5 discount. What a bargain.  

Once again, in my opinion, this is another purposely-created emergency. If you recall, our country was going to collapse if we didn’t spend $1 trillion on TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) under the progressive George W Bush administration.

Then we had to have the trillion-dollar useless stimulus program, lest the world end. Then son of stimulus, second cousin of stimulus, Bernanke’s buyback stimulus, etc. See, a good crisis never does go to waste (thanks Rohm). Everything is always and purposefully pushed off until the 11th hour by both sides allowing for rash decisions to be made by one side and cover for the other.

And does anyone truly believe these cuts will continue for 10 years? They can’t even decide what to do next year. The federal budget will increase as it always does, unfettered and unpinned from economic reality.

So fear not, all you warmongering hawks. Our military will prevail as it always has.

Let the sequestration happen and let the chips fall where they may.

This Ain’t Your Grandpas Field Rations

The Military Is Pushing the Bounds… of Food Science

Tremendous breakthroughs are often born out of military pursuits. In the past, military research has directly or indirectly led to technological innovations like the microwave oven, nuclear power, and the Internet.

You can also add M&M’s to that list — yes M&M’s. Those delightfully crunchy and satisfyingly chocolatey candies that melt in your mouth (not in your hand) were originally intended for American troops in World War II.m & m

Legend has it that Forrest Mars, Sr., while traveling in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, found soldiers eating tiny chocolate pellets coated in hard, sugar shells. Returning to the states in 1940, Mars perfected the candy and negotiated an amicable deal with the Hershey Corporation, which already had an agreement to provide chocolate to the army. When World War II rolled around, M&M’s became an instant hit with the troops because the candies could travel well and withstand high temperatures without melting.

shutterstock_120239824.jpg

Today, M&M’s remain a troop favorite, but the battleground has changed. While the first rendition of the delectable candies could withstand the temperatures of Europe, Africa, and the Pacific fairly well, they were found to be no match for the incessant heat of the Middle East. So, in the midst of Operation Desert Storm, food technologist Tom Yang led a team that redesigned M&M’s so they wouldn’t turn into a “sticky mess.”

“Regular chocolate is protein in the center coated with fat, so that fat can easily melt,” Yang explained to PBS’ NOVA. “So we came up with sort of a reverse phase chocolate, putting the protein on the outside and the fat in the center. And protein is not that easy to melt.”

A Meat Roll-Up

Yang isn’t solely focused on the sweet side of food, however. He’s recently been investigating a method called osmotic dehydration for use in military MREs (meals, ready-to-eat). The process involves rolling meat into thin sheets, extracting water via osmosis, osmotic dehydration of meatthen running the product through a brine composed primarily of an oligosaccharide food additive called maltodextrin. The end product is a meat roll-up, very much like a fruit roll-up.

Yang plans to adapt osmotic dehydration to all sorts of foods. “The beauty of this technology is you can use beef, you can use  pork, you can use poultry or you can even use fish or a combination of  fruit, vegetable and meat together,” Yang said.

Years of Freshness

An American army soldier’s “meat and potatoes” is the MRE. Available in 24 different varieties, the meal must — as described by Director of Combat Feeding Program Jerry Darsch — have at least “a minimum shelf life at three years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, six months at 100. It has to be stored, distributed for minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  It has to be able to be thrown — free fall out of a chopper at 100 feet, and obviously airdropped with parachutes from about 2,000 feet and higher.”

320px-MRE_20071124.PNGIt also has to be at least mildly pleasurable to eat. Military food scientists’ constantly try to balance taste and longevity — a difficult task — but recently they made a breakthrough by creating a sandwich that can stay fresh for three years! The key to the near immortal sandwich was limiting moisture, which is necessary for bacteria to grow. The scientists utilized three surprisingly simple ingredients — honey, sugar, and salt — to retain moisture and seal it off at the same time, thus keeping the sandwich fresh and safe-to-eat. Oxygen, a primary cause of food deterioration, was also limited. A small package of iron filings placed within the sandwich bag traps the gas in a layer of rust.

Another part of the food pleasure equation is warmth. All MREs come equipped with a flameless heater. It’s a small pad filled with magnesium dust, salt, and a little iron dust. Add water, and an oxidation reaction begins that releases a good amount of heat, which can be used to warm the food packages.

Military food scientists continue to push the envelope. During the Civil War, salted pork and hardtack was the faire du jour. Today, it’s lemon pepper tuna, chicken pesto pasta, and beef roast with vegetables. Vast improvements have been made, but the work is never done.

Soldiers have been clamoring for pizza, but technologists have yet to master a version that fits to the MRE’s stringent requirements.

Attribution: Ross Pomeroy, Real Science