What's Old is New Again

Barrage Balloons ready to rip the wings off low flying fighters and bombers…

An invasion force seeking to kill, destroy and conquer…

Evil intent seeking to work its will upon any and all…

British_LCTYou might remember the balloons from D-Day invasion pictures. They were restrained from flying aloft by steel cables. Any plane seeking to dive onto targets might lose a wing to the Ginsu cable as it roars past. It was a tactic used for a few decades in the last century, working mainly as an area denial device. It didn’t have to really cut off wingss. Instead, all it needed to do was promise to cut off wings and limbs and pilots would stay away, unless they were exceptionally talented or hormonally out-of-balance.

As for invasion forces, “boots on the ground” have always been the way to take and keep a foreign land. An air force can wreak havoc on the enemy, but planes flying away back to base are a poor way to proclaim “we have met the enemy, and he is ours.” An invader must have people in place to occupy conquered territory.

These days, I’m still on the EMP and /or Grid Kill kick, believing that we are terribly unprepared to suffer either of those two attacks. Yet, my experience with international thuggery calls me back to the times wherein I was initiated into the greatest of modern day threats – the nuclear attack.

In the 1970s, I was being raised to understand a few things about atomic warfare and to prepare for an attack that didn’t kill me and my family outright. In the 80s, as I grew older, my understanding of nuclear war and its methods grew. From long range nuclear bombers vs. land-based interceptor missiles, to 12 minute sub-launched cruise missile attacks vs. kiss-your-assets goodbye, I’ve maintained as awareness of the tactics of nuclear war.

The imagination drives technological development, and existing technologies, (whether suited to their original task or not), drive the imagination. It is a circle of innovation that each side of a potential conflict feeds with its own motives.

Evil seeks to work its will upon any and all it has the power to affect. Its restraint is the duty of every good man and a good man’s nation. The US and the rest of the free world have many threats to counter. Some are new. Some are old. Some are reworked. Our response must match and exceed each threat. If it doesn’t, we will see the horrendous results of a successful killing attack on our people.

So much for my introduction. The seed of thought for this article comes from DefenseOne.com in the form of an article entitled “Pentagon Building Cruise Missile Shield to Defend US Cities from Russia.” (My amateur editor’s nose would probably have name reworded it to read “US DoD to Build Another Cruise Missile Shield to Defend US from New Soviet Attack.”) The article starts out by stating:

The Pentagon is quietly working to set up an elaborate network of defenses to protect American cities from a barrage of Russian cruise missiles. The plan calls for buying radars that would enable National Guard F-16 fighter jets to spot and shoot down fast and low-flying missiles. Top generals want to network those radars with sensor-laden aerostat balloons hovering over U.S. cities and with coastal warships equipped with sensors and interceptor missiles of their own.”

Barrage balloons. Except in today’s incarnation, they work to “clip the wings” by serving as warning platforms and sensor enhancers for point-defense counter attack technology. Each balloon serves as sentinel for an area, denying attacking missiles their evil joy by assisting in vectoring a defensive aircraft or missile to the attacking missile.

The article states that the Pentagon has been working quietly on this.  It’s one of those things I find myself cheering on. We seem more interested in societal re-engineering and pop-heroes than any meaningful planning for our survival. How old is the Congressional Report on EMP vulnerability? How long has the Soviet Union, um, excuse me, RUSSIA possessed a reentry vehicle that can maneuver to avoid defensive weapons? What are we doing to get the ballistic missile shield tested, certified and fielded? (See THAD and GMD.) I can only hope that we have a very talented, motivated and funded black-arts defensive tech group with the ability, balls and cash to get something in place. We’ve played with a variety of tech, and so far, haven’t seen anything I feel good about. I’m hoping this program will either produce something usable, or spur the spending needed to flesh out the concepts underlying THAD and GMD.

Recently, the Aegis technology behind our fleet defense, the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and possibly the future “Killer Balloons” as I call them, was reportedly shut down by Russian counter measures technology. “Oh, geeez, no it wasn’t.” Well, I can’t say for sure, but you can read a bout it HERE and HERE. Oh, and HERE. Stars and Stripes reports the fly-bys, but not the shut down. But it wouldn’t surprise me, what with all our security failures over the last several years. If Aegis is compromised, we are well and truly screwed until the weakness is corrected /replaced.

On a somewhat related Aegis news note: Here is an article from USNI News on May 5th of this year. “NAVY Needs New Servers for Aegis Cruisers and Destroyers After Chinese Purchase of IBM Line.”  Pardon me, but, how the hell does this happen? Reminds me of Mein Clintong shifting sales authority from State to Commerce so he could sell sensitive super-computers to China, ostensibly for satellite launch modelling, but in reality for ICBM guidance modelling.

“The Navy needs new servers for its upgraded Aegis Combat System after the current IBM line was sold to Chinese computer maker Lenovo.

The $2.1 billion sale closed in October and made Lenovo the number three server maker in the world.

IBM shedding its server business creates a security concern for the U.S. Navy, which included the company’s x86 BladeCenter HT server in its Aegis Technical Insertion (TI) 12. The TI-12 hardware upgrades, along with Advanced Capability Build (ACB) 12 software upgrades, compose the Aegis Baseline 9 combat system upgrade that combines a ballistic missile defense capability with anti-air warfare (AAW) improvements for the Navy’s guided missile cruiser and destroyer fleets.”

This particular line of servers shares technology with the Aegis system’s own servers. Couldn’t the sale wait a little while? What was the rush? Where was the DoD? Now, the Navy needs to “upgrade”. That should read, “Redesign its ass ASAP.” (Either way, it shows how our lead in technology must eternally evolve to counter advances developed or acquired by the enemy. If we stay still, we are more than just a target. We are DEAD.)

Evil, while it may sleep, is never satisfied with the status quo. It won’t be stop until it has destroyed itself after first doing the same to every living thing within reach. Every old ambition on our lives and security is new again. They are constantly renewing. This is why we spend the bucks on defense. This is why we hunt down and kill espionage agents. This is why so many have fought the enemy within to shore up our defenses, recover what was lost, and try to prevent further loss. It is why every angle of attack against our defenses has to be monitored and defeated. If it means bringing back barrage balloons, the why not? Looking up and seeing an aerial sentinel could be kinda cool.

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