Editor's corner.A potential doomsday scenario of chemical and biological attacks against U.S. forces deployed in the Middle East has put into sharp focus the quality of protective gear issued to thousands of troops. Defense Department officials repeatedly have stressed that the chem-bio defense equipment-suits, boots, gloves, masks and agent detectors-is up to the challenge. Unfortunately, it will rake an act of germ or poison warfare to truly test the caliber of the equipment.
In the past decade, finding for the Pentagon's chemical and biological defense program has tripled, rising to almost $1.4 billion in 2003. The money has helped address some well-documented problems, such as leaky leak·y
adj. leak·i·er, leak·i·est
Permitting leaks or leakage: a leaky roof; a leaky defense system.
Adj. 1. garments and defective masks. Despite the influx of new Rinds into the chem-bio defense program, critics claim that research programs in this arena remain unfocused un·fo·cused also un·fo·cussed
1. Not brought into focus: an unfocused lens.
2. and procurements are behind schedule.
Industry and government experts offer their views on the current stare of chem-bio defense technology. For details, please turn to our cover story on page 24.
The conflict with Iraq, meanwhile, has tested the capabilities of the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. to move mountains of supplies to the front lines. The head of the U.S. Transportation Command, Air Force Gen. John W Handy, tells National Defense that the buildup overall has been a success, despite many challenges. Our interview with Gen. Handy can be found on page 18.
When the Defense Department conceived an ambitious program to develop a multi-service computer simulation for commanders and war planners, few would have predicted that seven years and almost one billion dollars later, the project would be axed, having failed to produce the "mother of all simulations" that many had envisioned.
The Joint Simulation System will be closing shop in September. But the program manager, Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Seay, said there is a chance that JSIMS JSIMS Joint Simulation System
JSIMS Joint Simulations
JSIMS Joint Simulation and Integrated Modeling System
JSIMS Joint Simulation System Enterprise may get new life, depending on the outcome of critical tests this summer. The story can be found on page 38.
At the Pentagon these days, there are programs far more popular than JSIMS. Among them are unmanned aircraft Unmanned Aircraft (UA) is a term used in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) definition of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). UA refers to the aircraft portion of the system required to operate it, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. . The successful deployment of droves of UAVs during the conflict in Afghanistan and the preparations in the Middle East for a war with Iraq have made drones the order of the day on the battlefield. But Pentagon officials still are not satisfied because these UAVs are not "interoperable" enough for joint operations A general term to describe military actions conducted by joint forces or by Service forces in relationships (e.g., support, coordinating authority) which, of themselves, do not create joint forces. . These aircraft operate independently, meaning that they are not part of a broad network of airplanes ships and ground vehicles. The Pentagon released a new "UAV UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UAV Unmanned Air Vehicle
UAV Unmanned Aerospace Vehicle
UAV Unmanned Airborne Vehicle
UAV Uninhabited Air Vehicle
UAV Urban Assault Vehicle
UAV Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle (less common) roadmap" last month that directs UAV programs to focus on interoperability and common standards. The study also complains about the soaring costs of UAVs. Officials cautioned that programs increasingly will be scrutinized not just for their technical performance, but also for affordability. Find that story on page 30.
A companion piece probes one of the "command and control" architectures developed for UAVs, the U.S. Navy's Tactical Control System The Tactical Control System (TCS) is a group of protocols that govern the command and control system for unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs. History
Developed by EG&G Technical Services and Raytheon, starting in 1999, the Tactical Control System . As the Pentagon drafts common UAV interoperability standards, the Navy is modifying TCS (Transportation Control System) A widely used integrated information system for railroad transportation developed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was later implemented by Union Pacific when the companies merged. to make it compatible with other services, even though the Army and the Air Force already have expressed reluctance to use TCS. Turn to page 34 for an update on the program.