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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Laser beam 'kicks' molecules to detect roadside bombs

This may help save engineers and  bomb dogs lives......

A laser beam that makes molecules vibrate could help detect improvised explosive devises, say scientists.
Every molecule vibrates with a unique frequency - so the laser could "sense" bombs while scanning the ground from a safe distance.

The Michigan State University team's work is another attempt to curb the number of deaths from roadside bombs in places such as Afghanistan.
The research appears in the journal Applied Physical Letters.
An improvised explosive device is a homemade bomb and more than half the deaths of coalition soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been as a result of IEDs.
The lead developer of the laser sensor, Dr Marcos Dantus, said detecting IEDs has always been a challenge because of the chemical compounds present in the environment that mask the bomb's molecules.
"Having molecular structure sensitivity is critical for identifying explosives and avoiding unnecessary evacuation of buildings and closing roads due to false alarms," he said.
The invention uses a laser beam to probe the chemical composition of an object at a certain distance from the laser.
The beam combines short pulses that "kick" the molecules to make them vibrate with longer pulses.
"The laser and the method we've developed were originally intended for microscopes, but we were able to adapt and broaden its use to demonstrate its effectiveness for standoff detection of explosives," said Dr Dantus.
The researcher said he was not able to describe the technology behind the invention in great detail because of the project's sensitive nature.
"I cannot give you more specific information regarding its implementation," he told BBC News.
"All we are saying is that it could detect explosives from a standoff distance."
Bombs in airports
Many different devices and techniques have been developed to help safely detect roadside bombs.
A UK scientist Dr Graham Turnbull from University of St Andrews, who has done a lot of research in this area, told the BBC that the latest study is an exciting step forwards for stand-off detection of explosives - despite still being in the exploratory phase.
"The work demonstrates that a laser spectroscopy technique called 'coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy' can be used for high-sensitivity stand-off detection of explosives," he said.
"The researchers show that their technique is sensitive - they can detect low concentrations of explosives, of a few millionths of a gram per square centimetre, from a distance of one metre.
"They also show that it is highly selective and can even tell apart very similar explosive molecules - this could be important in complex environments like airports where there could be innocent substances that give false positives with other stand-off detection techniques."
Robot dog's nose
In mid-2010, Dr Turnbull and his team developed laser technology able to sense hidden explosives by "pumping" a type of plastic called polyfluorene with photons from another light source.
They found the laser reacted with vapours from explosives such as TNT.
Dr Turnbull suggested placing such a laser on a robotic, perhaps remotely controlled, vehicle that would be able to "sniff around" in a mine field, looking for vapour clouds.
"On a dusty road in Afghanistan there are relatively few things that might give you a false positive and it certainly could have potential in that area," said Dr Turnbull.
"Essentially it's making an artificial nose for a robot dog."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Combat, first-aid training prepare troops for tour in Afghanistan

In 2006 General Hillier ordered that all deploying soldiers in any area of operations would receive this type of first aid training.   It saves and has saved hundreds of lives.
The Medical Service was not happy and even stated publicly that not all soldiers should get this training and it should only be reserved for 'exceptional" soldiers.

Imagine how many lives would had been lost had the ego of the medical branch won out?

"However, reports in 2007 indicated that "the director of the military's health services branch, Col. Maureen Haberstock, has criticized the proposal, saying combat casualty care is training that should be reserved for 'exceptional' soldiers."

Lt.-Cmdr. Ian Torrie, a physician expert in combat casualty training, was further quoted as saying in an interview: "The people who are going to get this extra training, you really want your brightest person. You really don't want everybody to have it. Some of the skills taught, if performed unnecessarily or incorrectly can be harmful, or even fatal."

Canadian Forces members conduct training at CFB Edmonton in combat first aid training on Saturday, September 17, 2011.

EDMONTON — About a dozen soldiers, weapons at the ready, cautiously walk down a narrow gravel alley, between rows of nondescript modular buildings.
Suddenly a loud bang cuts through their hushed voices and a plume of smoke extends from a doorway.

The air is quickly filled with a flurry of loud, urgent instructions, and soldiers take off in every direction, securing the area as casualties are assessed.
A few soldiers apply immediate, life-saving care to the injured before they are moved to a safer location for a more thorough assessment.

“I need a stretcher. Get me a stretcher,” shouts one soldier.
Canadian Forces members deal with an injured soldier in a simulation of an urban Afghan setting at CFB Edmonton in combat first aid on Saturday, September 17, 2011.
Another soldier radios in a description of the injuries — an unconscious man with both his legs amputated in the blast and a second man with severe leg wounds. Both these people are carried to an open area where they’ll be flown away by a helicopter for treatment.
The incident was part of a combat first-aid training exercise Sunday for members of the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force at CFB Edmonton.
It’s a scenario soldiers could encounter at any moment while serving in Afghanistan, even in their new training role known as Operation Attention.

Everyone in the Canadian Forces, regardless of trade, occupation and rank, has to be taught combat first aid before they’re deployed.  “You have to be prepared for everything,” said Lt. Col. Ian Barnes of the Canadian Forces Signal Corps.

“First aid training is key. No one’s going to say they’ve had too much first aid training, whether it’s to help ... our own Canadian Forces or coalition members, or the local population.”

The two-day training program gives soldiers a day of lectures and practical skills in a classroom before they’re sent onto a training field at the base, designed to replicate an urban Afghanistan setting.

Over about eight hours, the soldiers are presented with six different simulations to prepare for everything from an insurgent attack to the aftermath of an improvised explosive device going off.

“It is quite realistic, within the training context. Your heart rate is increased. It’s time sensitive,” said Barnes, who has been with the Canadian Forces for 16 years and has done one tour in Afghanistan.

The instruction is part of the preparation for the NATO-led training mission in Afghanistan. Canada is one of 29 countries supporting the mission, which is comprised of about 2,600 advisers and trainers, and is set to stay in the country until March 2014.

While the simulations are designed to build upon soldiers’ basic first-aid knowledge, the Afghan setting presents unique challenges, said Sgt. Chris Gillis of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry 3rd Battalion.

“When you walk into an initial scenario, what we try to do is replicate a realistic training environment,” Gillis said. “And with that comes a little bit of induced stress to see how people perform under that kind of stress.”

Before soldiers can deliver first aid, the area around them has to be secure, Gillis said.
And although Canada’s role in Afghanistan has changed from combat to training, the threat from insurgent groups remains.

“The threat can come from anywhere. They can hide in the populace.”

That means maintaining a 360-degree “security bubble” before casualties are moved to a safer area and eventually transported to a field hospital, he said.

Because about 90 per cent of battlefield deaths are caused by bleeding, administering effective first aid at the scene is crucial, he added.

But those skills can also help treat everything from a gunshot wound to injuries sustained in a car crash.

The intention is to pass on this expertise to members of the Afghan National Army, in hopes of creating a fully trained, self-sustainable force by the end of the mission, Gillis said.
“We’re not there to tell them how to reinvent the wheel. We’re there to work with them.”

Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/canada-in-afghanistan/Combat+first+training+prepare+troops+tour+Afghanistan/5421954/story.html#ixzz1YT94eA17

Sunday, September 18, 2011

DND tail wagging the Dog

As we see another case of civilians ruining the DND and as they congratulate themselves on wagging the dog once again do they really know that this is not the dog of the past.... this dog is combat proven and prepared to fight.

Suddenly after General Leslie says cut 11 000 Ottawa based employees the majority being civilian we have the bureaucracy running the show.

As well as the so called controversy of the Chief of Defence Staff using allocated resources in his role as CDS.

As the CDS gets close to the end of his term I wonder why they are doing this to him? 
There is your answer... bureaucrats release info saying the CDS is using the challengers as 
personal flights so they can change PUBLIC policy again.

They controlled the way returning soldiers returned to work (Universality of Service rules and regs) or were not allowed to... they are now pushing the political agenda to save their own jobs on the backs of soldiers once again.

Would the US Joint Chief of Staff use Alaska Airlines

Yet this is what we are asking the man in charge of over 110 000 men and women deployed in every area of the world, in action activily hunting terrorists, peace support operations, intellegence gathering, peacekeeping operations, and peacemaking operation.   
Has Canada really come to this point?

If you dont think that Canadian government jets should be used for high level CF personnel ask some questions:

Would their security be guarenteed hanging out in a public location and on public transportation?
Obviously it would not.

Would the airforce pilots still be paid and still require hours (qualification) if they were not flying around senior leadership?
Yes they would.

Is the plane going to use fuel anyway?
Yes it would.

I am not a fan of bloated waste but this is not a case of it.  The costs are there and the planes and pilots are paid for as is the maintenace and the fuel.

Is there real waste in DND?
Yes but does the 45 flights by cabinet ministers show more waste then the 21 the CDS has taken.

Lead imageThe CDS responds:
The Challenger squadron always keeps two aircraft on standby, ready to go anywhere to transport V.I.P.s or to perform medical evacuations, said the general. But because the Conservative government has reduced the amount of times its members fly on the jets, they are not getting used enough, he said.
“So aircraft are flying around empty because we have to maintain the proficiency of the pilots and indeed of the crew,” said Gen. Natynczyk. “The aircraft costs for the crew, for the flying, it’s all been prepaid.”
The RCMP has said he can not take commercial jets due to security reasons... and he cuts a check for the price of a commercial flight when the aircraft is used for personal reasons.

Events like a fundraiser in Calgary which is claimed as one of the trips raised over $1.2 million for military family charities.  Another event held in Vancouver helped raise $1.5 million for military family charities with the PM's wife in attendance.

"Calgary entrepreneur Brett Wilson spoke out in support of Gen. Natynczyk and his use of the government jet, saying he saw how tightly packed the soldier’s schedule was when he worked to convince him to appear at a March, 2011, fundraiser for military families in Vancouver.

“Without that jet he couldn’t have been there. I used every ounce of moral suasion to get him out there,” Mr. Wilson said.
“What he did at that event - in terms of good will with the Canadian business community - was worth hundred times more than the cost of the jet that was needed to fit everything he was doing into [his] schedule.”

CC-144 Challenger

While Canada's top general is being criticized over his use of government jets, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says any officials who use the jets for personal reasons should write a cheque to Ottawa.
Harper was asked about media reports that Gen. Walt Natynczyk, chief of the defence staff, has taken the government's Challenger jets to events including hockey and football games, and to join his family on a cruise starting in St. Maarten, a Caribbean island.  He said he and his cabinet ministers have cut back on the use of the VIP aircraft.
The RCMP won't allow him to fly commercially for security reasons, he said, so if he travels for holidays or to take in concerts and hockey games, he cuts a cheque to the federal government for the cost of a commercial airline ticket.
National Defence figures put the cost of operating the Challenger at $10,806 per flying hour in 2011/2012, much more than the cost of most commercial flights. It was $10,105 in 2009/2010."When government aircraft are used, as certainly I do on some occasions, and occasionally others [do too], when they are used for personal or private travel, we expect that travel at commercial rates to be reimbursed to taxpayers. That’s what I do and I think that’s protocol that should be respected across government," Harper said in Saskatoon.
Harper's spokesman says the prime minister wasn't passing judgement on the nature of Natynczyk's flights.
"I don't even know if officials use them for personal use," Andrew MacDougall said.

CC-144 Challenger

Natynczyk's jet trips 'used for work'

A spokesman for Natynczyk says he makes every effort to use commercial flights whenever possible, where they’re available and where the travel schedule permits.
"[The Challenger is] used for work and to allow him to remain in contact and in command and control of the Canadian Forces," said Lt.-Col. Norbert Cyr.
In the case of the flight to St. Maarten, Cyr said, Natynczyk had to catch up with his family on their holiday because he stayed in Canada to attend a 2010 repatriation ceremony for four soldiers and a journalist killed in Afghanistan. He flew on the Challenger to meet his family to get on a cruise.
Natynczyk is also frequently invited to professional hockey and football games, Cyr said, to represent the Canadian Forces so they can be honoured.
"It’s not a case of him sitting in a corporate booth watching a hockey game. That’s not what he does," Cyr said.
"He is working the whole time that he is there. While he is there, he will be meeting with families, with families of the fallen, of the ill and injured. He will be meeting with community leaders."
Cyr says the $10,806 per hour cost of the Challenger is inflated, since it includes extra costs like the pilots' salaries. He notes they would be paid their annual salary whether or not they were flying, and pegged the actual flying cost at $2,630.
The reports are based on documents released under federal access to information laws.
NDP defence critic Jack Harris said he's not sure all those sport-related trips aren't a little extravagant.
"I mean, it's nice to have the chief of the defence staff drop a puck at a hockey game, but you know, if that has to be done at the expense of having a private jet travel with you, well then, it's clearly extravagant and it clearly shouldn't happen."
Liberal MP John McCallum said he doesn't have a problem with Natynczyk's travel, but said that in this economic climate, the government could cut back on the use of its jets.

122 Generals and few with combat or even operational experience


There are 122 general officers in DND and with staff levels of about 10 to 12 per each officer you begin to get the idea of where the bloat is.
Now ask how many have combat experience or even experience on deployed operations be it NORAD, NATO or an operation like Libya.

1 Bangladesh10,736
2 Pakistan10,691
3 India8,935
4 Nigeria5,709
5 Egypt5,458
6 Nepal5,044
7 Jordan3,826
8 Ghana3,647
9 Rwanda3,635
10 Uruguay2,489
11 Ethiopia2,391
12 Brazil2,269
13 Senegal2,254
14 South Africa2,088
15 China1,995
16 Italy1,866
17 France1,771
18 Indonesia1,691
19 Morocco1,561
20 Sri Lanka1,157
21 Spain1,109
22 Malaysia1,080
23 Benin1,028
24 Philippines1,024
25 Argentina1,023
26 Tanzania1,011
27 Burkina Faso927
28 Kenya870
29 Zambia768
30 Togo738
31 Turkey664
32 South Korea643
33 Niger577
34 Chile538
35 Gambia522
36 Mongolia426
37 Peru396
38 Austria393
39 Ukraine366
40 Russia362
41 Portugal337
42 Guatemala320
43 Sierra Leone311
44 Germany293
45 United Kingdom281
46 Japan266
47 Fiji263
48 Bolivia259
49 Yemen211
50 Canada200
There are only 200 Canadian service personnel on UN operations around the world...... yet we have 122 generals.
File:CADPAT AR.jpg
For operations in Afghanistan there will be a total of 950 specialized personnel training the ANSF

Has this issue been brought up before?
Chris Wattie   
National Post  

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

The Canadian Forces face dire, even terminal, consequences after decades of government neglect and underfunding, but a comprehensive new report on the future of Canada‘s military has also concluded more money is not the answer.

"About half of the defence budget is spent on military capability related to operations and the remainder on various managerial activities," said the 125-page report by researchers at Queen‘s University and the Conference of Defence Associations.

"Even though the Canadian Forces has been reduced by 50% over the last 40 years, overhead (measured as the increase in supervisory groups) has increased in the same time frame by 300%."

The Canadian military is overburdened with generals and senior staff officers and a structure that is three decades out of date, the report said.

"National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ), designed in 1972 to meet Cold War commitments and the demands of the Ottawa officialdom, remained essentially unchanged in structure throughout the 1990s."

Canada‘s military has long been criticized for its high ratio of generals and senior officers to privates and corporals, and the paper concludes the Canadian Forces also needs a top-to-bottom overhaul of its structure, "a huge redistribution of the resources allocated to national defence and the Canadian Forces, and a reordering of attitudes as well."

However, the authors of "Canada Without Armed Forces?" conclude: "Even in the best of circumstances, it might take many years before this transformation is fully effective."

Colonel Howard Marsh, a retired army officer and co-author of the study, said inefficiency and orders imposed by politicians waste "perhaps 40 to 50%" of the defence budget.

For example, the study says the military‘s training system is too often forced to deal with ad hoc recruiting drives that deliver more new soldiers, sailors and airmen than it can handle.

This May, for example, there were 7,872 troops awaiting or receiving training. "Given that the recruiters are annually pumping 5,000-6,000 candidates into an individual training system that was downsized in the 1990s to handle fewer than 3,000 trainees a year, one should not be surprised to discover that thousands of paid but unqualified ... people are waiting to begin or to complete [basic] training," the study notes.

But in addition to increased funding, more troops and newer equipment, the study also calls for wholesale changes to the way new weapons and vehicles are purchased.

Col. Marsh, a former senior army planner, is scathing in his analysis of the military‘s purchasing programs, which eat up scarce defence dollars by requiring equipment be bought at a premium from certain Canadian manufacturers.

He cites the example of the army‘s heavy, medium and light trucks, including the ageing Iltis jeep-type vehicles, which were purchased from manufacturers in B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

"The Department of National Defence paid an exorbitant premium for these regionally manufactured trucks, a premium estimated at 250% of the original manufacturers‘ retail price. In other words, the DND should have obtained twice the number of vehicles for the same price, or paid half as much for what it got."

The pattern of "regional development strategies imposed on DND by Cabinet" make such equipment more expensive to operate, as spare parts must eventually be ordered from the original foreign manufacturer.

And the study notes that buying even the simplest pieces of kit require years of study and requisitioning.

"Acquiring equipment and bringing it to operational standards require a minimum of eight to 12 years," the study said. "Even the seemingly straightforward project to replace combat clothing started in 1992 and was not completed by 2002."

One of the most serious shortcomings, according to the study, is the absence of an up-to-date plan for the future of the military.

The study notes that since the last Defence White Paper was issued in 1994, the international scene has changed dramatically -- particularly since Sept. 11, 2001.

"But so far as research into public records and other primary sources reveal, no Canadian review of the implications of this strategy on Canada‘s defence situation has been conducted in Ottawa.

"Certainly, the realities of what some Americans now call ‘the Fourth World War‘ have not caused Canadian ministers to spring to the garrison‘s walls."


© Copyright 2003 National Post