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[] wired news: Better Bombing Through Technology,

Das Pentagon denkt mal wieder groß: 
"We're trying to figure out whether we need teraflops (trillions of
floating-point operations per second) or a whole new computer

Better Bombing Through Technology 
By Elliot Borin

02:00 AM Mar. 22, 2004 PT

The media covering U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq
called them "bunker busters" -- bombs that were designed to dig deep
into the ground before detonating.

Now, the Pentagon is attempting to refine the way targets are identified
before using these so-called smart bombs through something called the
Counter Underground Facilities, or CUGF, program. In other words, ask
first and shoot later.

"What if we knew whether urban buildings were interconnected
underground?" said program manager Gregory Duckworth. "What if we could
use that information to stop free movement of critical leadership or
re-supply of command-and-control facilities?"

Under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's
Special Projects Office, CUGF researchers are working to answer those
what-ifs by developing technologies intended to pinpoint the location,
size and mission of underground facilities, determine the pace at which
the mission is being carried out, recommend the optimum time for a
pre-emptive strike and monitor the results of that strike.

The program's success will depend largely on the ability of Darpa and
its contractors to develop unmanned passive-sensor systems to measure
electromagnetic currents, effluent emissions, acoustic waves, seismic
activities and other events near suspected underground
command-and-control bunkers, weapons research labs and missile-launching

Data from the sensors -- which will be implanted near suspected
underground installations or configured as a Low-Altitude Airborne
Sensor System, or LAASS, carried by a small unmanned aircraft -- will be
uploaded to an intelligence-gathering airplane.

The most daunting challenge facing LAASS developers is devising filters
and cross-checking computer modules that will enable the sensors to
overcome electromagnetic clutter and radio-frequency emissions from the
LAASS-bearing aircraft itself.

Current research is focused on applying expert reasoning to separate
intelligence "wheat" from extraneous "chaff." Unfortunately, the Defense
Department's current crop of computers -- which compute at gigaflop
(billions of floating-point operations per second) rates -- may not be
equal to the task.

"We're trying to figure out whether we need teraflops (trillions of
floating-point operations per second) or a whole new computer
architecture," said Joe Guerci, deputy director of the special projects

Once acquired and verified, data from each sensor will be analyzed to
extract such basic information as the amount of electrical power being
used by occupants of the underground installation. (According to Darpa
researchers, power usage can be determined from the type and amount of
effluents being emitted from vent holes.)

"We really need to address the classification problem," said Duckworth.
"Can we separate hospital from hostile bunker when both are on emergency

Software using sophisticated proprietary algorithms will take the raw
data from the sensors, along with the information developed from
individual analysis of that data and use it all to generate an
analytical report.

Though the exact form of these reports has yet to be decided, CUGF
planners expect that at least one version will be very familiar to
anyone used to working with Web search engines: a "hit" list ranked by
probabilities. The program may, for example, be 100 percent sure that an
underground bunker lies at a particular set of map coordinates, 83
percent sure that the facility is being used to manufacture and store
chemical weapons, and 70 percent sure that the drug lab is running at 90
percent of capacity.

CUGF had its genesis in the Nuclear Posture Review presented to Congress
by the Defense Department in December 2001.

In the review, the Pentagon claimed that more than 10,000 underground
military facilities -- 1,400 of which purportedly contained weapons of
mass destruction, ballistic missiles or high-level military command
stations -- were located in 70 countries. The review did not reveal how
many of the installations containing ballistic missiles with nuclear
warheads and other weapons of mass destruction were located in the
United States.

"At present," the review's authors said, "the United States lacks
adequate means to deal with these strategic facilities."

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