Tag Archives: Canada

Northern Exposure: The Future of Unmanned Systems in the Arctic

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Will AUVs and UAVs help open the earth’s northern reaches?

By K. Joseph Spears

The Arctic is one of the world’s last remaining frontiers. Though mapped long ago, much about this massive area remains unknown. For example, only ten percent of Canadian Arctic waters are charted to modern hydrographic standards. Scientists know more about the physical characteristics of the moon and Mars than about the waters of the planet and of the Arctic, in particular.

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Germs, Spores, and Borders

Protecting the U.S. Homeland from Biological Threats Requires a Holistic Approach

By Steve Melito

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Last December, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviewed its leading health challenges of 2013. “Our biggest successes,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, “may be the bad things that did not happen.” This included stopping the outbreak of a smallpox-like virus in the Eurasian Republic of Georgia, and preventing other infectious diseases from reaching the U.S. “Global health and protecting our country go hand in hand,” Dr. Frieden explained.

The CDC isn’t part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but DHS works in concert with the nation’s health protection agency. The DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA) also coordinates efforts with the U.S. Department of State to share information both across the U.S. federal government and with Canada and Mexico. As part of OHA, the National Biosurveillance Center (NBIC) integrates biomonitoring activities to provide a common operating picture.

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What’s Happening on the 49th Parallel

Last month, Tactical Defense Media went to Detroit to take in a conference on the U.S./Canada border. Battling storms and power outages, the organizers ended up putting on an insightful show. Here’s a quick rundown:

The conference was based around the “Beyond the Border” initiative. Signed in 2011 by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama, “The Declaration estab­lished a new long-term partnership built upon a perimeter approach to security and economic com­petitiveness. This means working together, not just at the border, but ‘beyond the border’ to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services. Leaders called for the development of a joint Action Plan to realize this goal…”

One major theme discussed was “pushing the border out.” In other words, knowing what is coming into the two countries before it arrives. This entails pre-inspection in ports of departure and prioritizing containers to be searched before they arrive (thereby streamlining the loading and unloading process). The eventual goal is an “inspected once, cleared twice” outcome in which, for example, a container cleared by Canadian customs could be transported by rail into the U.S. without needing to stop at the border for a second inspection.

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Today’s Links

  • Time’s Battleland has an excellent obit for the USS Enterprise. After fifty years of service, the aircraft carrier is being retired. A sad day for some, but also comforting to know she worked hard and well for five decades.
  • The robotic mule is coming soon to a USMC squad near you! DARPA’s $54 million Legged Squad Support System (LS3), which mimics a mule, just completed a couple weeks of field testing and is no worse for the wear. Among many other great features, the LS3 can recharge batteries and follow basic commands (“sit!”).
  • In allies news, Japan will up its defense budget a bit, though it is still a very low share of GDP. Canada’s love-hate relationship with the F-35 continues to twist and turn: Ottawa claims it will have to use private companies and allies for mid-air refueling because it will not modify tankers for the job.
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Today’s Links

  • At Fort Sill, the Army holds a meeting to discuss Anti-UAS measures:

U.S. ground forces detect an enemy unmanned aircraft performing reconnaissance  over their forward operating base. Now the soldiers must determine how to  neutralize the Unmanned Aerial System threat: whether to jam the electronic  signal from its ground controller, kill the ground controller or shoot down the  Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS.

  • The Afghan Army is not retaining its soldiers too well these days, but at least they’re not joining the Taliban:

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