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[] AWST 09.12.02: War Preparations Reveal Problems,

Aviation Week & Space Technology
December 9, 2002
Pg. 29

War Preparations Reveal Problems

By David A. Fulghum and Douglas Barrie

Inter-agency conflict over the Pentagon's plans to penetrate, spoof and 
manipulate Iraq's computer networks are being resolved slowly, and they may 
not be smoothed out in time to fully exploit the military's non-lethal 

Senior U.S. Air Force officials have complained for years that their forces 
can be used to kill people at crucial air defense, communications or 
command facilities with bombs, but they aren't allowed to "attack with ones 
and zeros," lamented a senior commander.

The Pentagon is seeking approval for long-standing plans to carve out a 
major role for computer network attack (CNA) and information operations 
(IO) in any conflict with Iraq. But a problem that has surfaced in every 
conflict since the 1990-91 Persian Gulf war is how to get civilian approval 
for such operations. The impasse between war planners and civilian policy 
enforcers is repeating itself as senior combatant commanders struggle to 
win approval of their plans for "getting at the computer infrastructure, 
inserting disinformation and attacking a lot of their networks," the Air 
Force official said. A key target will be tightly integrated air defense 
systems that rely on networking to survive attack. However, any request 
from the military to employ computer network attack has to be approved by 
an inter-agency policy group that includes the State and Commerce 
departments, and many other agencies.

"That is becoming very frustrating," the Air Force official said. "Trying 
to normalize computer network attack with policy is difficult. The 
civilians are afraid to say yes to anything." In a recent conference call 
with a combatant commander, "it took 40 min. just to get through the roll 
call of participants in the approval chain," he said.

Meanwhile, Iraq has accepted the renewed work of United Nations inspection 
teams in searching for the manufacturing and storage of weapons of mass 
destruction and the vehicles to deliver such weapons.

However, inspections will take time to complete and analyze. As a result, 
Pentagon planners have pushed back the date for large mobilization of 
reserves in anticipation of a conflict with Iraq to mid-January. The 
call-up of 87,000 reservists--many of them fighter, tanker and transport 
aircrews and support staff--is being delayed to keep costs down and lessen 
the impact of pulling reservists away from their civilian jobs.

Many of the reservists will replace active duty personnel who will move 
into Europe and the Middle East. Some plans are already in place. B-52 
aircraft and crews will set up operations at RAF Fairford, England, to 
shorten the flight to Baghdad by an hour or two over flying out of Diego 
Garcia in the Indian Ocean. However, B-2 operations will move to Diego 
Garcia to take advantage of the new environmentally controlled hangars 
installed there to cure repairs to the low-observable bombers' stealthy 
skin coatings.

In addition, B-1s and crews will return to Oman, but plans are in place, 
during combat operations, to keep two aircraft forward deployed to Kuwait 
and two in the air over western Iraq to maintain a fast response, 
precision-bombing capability if ballistic missile or air defense missile 
launchers begin operating there to threaten Israel and Jordan. The bombers 
will be networked with long-endurance intelligence-gathering and 
surveillance aircraft like Predator, Rivet Joint, Joint-STARS and AWACS to 
locate mobile and moving targets, track them and strike when appropriate.

Britain, the European nation that has so far proved Washington's closest 
ally in terms of any escalation of operations against Iraq, has also begun 
to examine the mobilization of reserves. British Secretary of State for 
Defense Geoffrey Hoon told Parliament late last month: "As the House is 
well aware, however, any substantial military operation would require a 
contribution from the reserves. As part of our contingency planning, 
therefore, we are clarifying the requirement for such a contribution in 
support of any military operations in Iraq."

The U.K. also announced at the end of November the deployment of a naval 
task group, built around the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Under the 
banner of exercise Flying Fish, the task group will take part in exercises 
in the Asia-Pacific region beginning in June 2003. However, it will depart 
this month and will route via the Gulf. Defense Ministry officials declined 
to discuss the exact nature of the fixed- and rotary-wing platforms 
embarked. However, they indicated Royal Air Force Harrier GR7 ground attack 
aircraft could be deployed on board if required.

A 1-billion-pound ($1.56-billion) contingency fund was set aside in late 
November by the British government to cover the cost of any unanticipated 
military operations. This could also be used to fund emerging urgent 
operational requirements (UOR) in areas such as precision strike. The 
Defense Ministry may look at bolstering its precision-guided weapons 
inventory by purchasing additional Enhanced Paveway GPS/laser-guided bombs, 
possibly along with a limited stock of Joint Direct Attack Munitions under 
the aegis of a UOR.

IN ADDITION to RAF strike weaponry, the Defense Ministry could also look to 
further supplement--in the near term--its submarine-launched Tomahawk 
cruise missile inventory. After they were used in Yugoslavia and 
Afghanistan, a follow-on order to the initial 65 was placed. While the U.K. 
will eventually almost certainly buy the Tactical Tomahawk, a further 
interim purchase of Block III missiles could prove attractive.

Going more smoothly now is the approval process for U.S. and allied 
aircraft to use bases, airspace and facilities in the Middle East. Kuwait, 
Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman have agreed, and Saudi 
Arabian officials have promised, that when the time comes, they will 
support the U.S., say U.S. Air Force officials.

Meanwhile, both the U.S. and Israel have been fine-tuning their ballistic 
missile detection capabilities. Two Scud missiles were launched from 
Vandenberg AFB, Calif., in recent weeks, and more launches are expected 
soon. Strict security rules were in force because the closely scrutinized 
launches were attended by 50 Israeli government, military and industry 
officials, some of whom helped prepare the tests, according to the Lompoc 
(Calif.) Record.

U.S. AEROSPACE industry officials said the Scud tests are not unusual, 
except for the Israeli presence, and have been conducted for years using 
surrogates and actual missiles. The latter have been procured from former 
Soviet-Bloc or Soviet-client nations in Eastern Europe and the Middle East 
along with fighter aircraft, anti-aircraft weapons, armored vehicles and 
other military equipment.

The tests give U.S. military and industry researchers a chance to calibrate 
their equipment and hone their skills. They are developing networking 
schemes so they can pinpoint ballistic missile launch sites for attack 
before mobile launchers can move out of lethal range. The network can also 
pass predicted missile impact points to air defense systems in nearby 
friendly nations.

A recent operational addition to this capability is the Theater Airborne 
Warning System (TAWS) that combines information from Defense Support 
Program (DSP) satellites and medium wave infrared arrays (MIRA) carried by 
RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft. Fusing MIRA and DSP data can cut the 
satellite's ellipse error by 1}20 and plot target locations to within less 
than a mile. Researchers say those are very conservative numbers. Moreover, 
airborne infrared observations are made much more often than the DSP 
satellite, thereby allowing a more accurate determination of the point at 
which the missile's engine cuts off, a key data point for predicting the 
impact point. TAWS was initially demonstrated in 1997 against Scud 
surrogates launched from the Kwajalein Island missile facility ( AW&ST Aug. 
4, 1997, p. 54). However, lack of funding had held up installation of the 
capability on additional aircraft until just recently.

TAWS is in the process of being installed on the two most recently upgraded 
RC-135V/W Rivet Joint aircraft that in the past have been dedicated solely 
to signals intelligence gathering. They should be operational within weeks. 
With at least three aircraft (one Cobra Ball and two Rivet Joints) capable 
of providing wide area infrared surveillance and precision targeting, the 
U.S. could provide around-the-clock coverage of western Iraq. The area is 
the site of at least two "Scud boxes" from where the Russian-built, 
Iraqi-modified missiles could be fired into Israel and Jordan.

Quick location of a missile-firing vehicle would allow warfighters at least 
two options: destroy the transporter as soon as possible, or follow it back 
to its reloading site and perhaps find an entire missile supply facility to 
attack. The TAWS scheme uses satellite communications links to tie into 
ground stations, other manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, attack 
aircraft and even special operations ground forces for real-time response 
to mobile targets.

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