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The Military Technology

DARPA Chief Outlines Array of Future Projects 53

coondoggie writes to tell us that DARPA announced a wide array of new projects in a report to the House Armed Services Committee that they will be funding in the near future. "everything from advanced network and communications implementations to powerful laser and unmanned aircraft development as well as developing techniques to help military personnel survive myriad dangerous situations"
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DARPA Chief Outlines Array of Future Projects

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  • One of eight (Score:5, Informative)

    by Raindance ( 680694 ) * <johnsonmx&gmail,com> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @01:38AM (#22757866) Homepage Journal
    The linked article just discusses the 'networking' subset of the report. The full original [darpa.mil] outlines eight primary research areas:

    Deny hiding in any environment and cultural background;
      Provide persistent situational awareness and rapid strike;
      Beat the OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) loop of modern adversaries;
      Provide cyber operations dominance;
      Remove the value of using biological weapons;
      Increase survival from life-threatening wounds;
      Restore injured warfighters to the way they were; and
      Develop core technologies that maintain U.S. military superiority.
    ... and has specific examples of programs within each area. Worth a look-see, particularly since DARPA's one of the few government initiatives that generally gets results.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by imasu ( 1008081 )

      Develop core technologies that maintain U.S. military superiority.

      "We call this one, 'ImpeacherBot'. Its mission is to save what army we still have."

    • Yeah, "The Orient" bit of the loop seems to be pretty hard to beat :\.

      Anyway, how about getting an exoskeleton to work? Looks like the golden bullet to me.
      Suppose a 50kg exoskeleton can carry 150kg. This leaves 50 kg for a powersource, 50kg for armor (enough to stop .50cal rounds), 20kg of 20mm ammo for a BFG, and 30kg for a long range tank-busting rocket.
      Put a top speed of 50 km/h, and tanks become obsolete, plus you can fight in a urban environment without having to call strikes on every standing building
      • You might get 50kg of armor to stop a .50 caliber action express pistol round, but it sure is not going to stop a .50 caliber BMG machine gun round.
        • Body surface area is approx 2 sq.meters. Suppose it takes 1cm of steel to stop a .50 HMG bullet - then the armor weighs 150 kg. But it doesn't have to be steel, does it - gel would do just as well for a supersonic round, so it could well be some sort of a kevlar-gel composite.
          • I think you will find it takes significantly more than 1cm of steel to stop .50 bmg rounds. They really are ridiculously powerful rounds.
            Evidence Here [youtube.com]
            • That's API, not ball, and the plate is plain metal, not armor steel. The point is valid to some degree - API would probably not disintegrate as easily as ball. But I could just as well say - ok, then we make the armor 100kg (metal-ceramic), and carry normal guns, except for one or two squad members who are lightly armored and carry rockets.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Don't you think it's interesting that for four years, the US and UK military forces in the Iraq sustained a pretty stready rate of casualties whilst the country slowly unraveled around them and a de-facto civil war / ethnic cleansing / religious genocide killed thousands of people, despite all the UAVs, ECM to jam EIDs, superstrong ballistic armour on people and vehicles, digital data and comms that have all contributed to the > $1T cost. Then in the last year or so things have quietened down considerabl
      • Re:One of eight (Score:4, Insightful)

        by samkass ( 174571 ) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @08:05AM (#22758848) Homepage Journal
        Winning the hearts and minds is completely orthogonal to the technology. Technology won't rescue you from awful strategies or misguided goals. But it still helps save lives, and I'm sure there are a lot of soldiers out there who are glad to be alive and owe it to some of the technology that's come out of DARPA.
      • The Iraqi death toll is 1,189,173. [justforeignpolicy.org] The US death toll is around 4,000 (with another 30,000 wounded). [antiwar.com] That's 297 to 1. Which speaks highly of "all the UAVs, ECM to jam EIDs, superstrong ballistic armour on people and vehicles, digital data and comms that have all contributed to the > $1T cost." I'm no fan of the war, or the cost of the war in humans and dollars, but I would gladly have the increased debt than have the 30k wounded be 30k dead. Better still if they had all stayed home, or in Afghanistan. (US
  • In Soviet Russia, bird watches YOU.
  • I like the chip-scale atomic clock. In fact, with clock speeds of processors going sky-high nowadays, it would be extremely cool if our computer processors gained an atomic clock. Such a clock would come in very handy to synchronize the events going on within a processor chip containing, say, 1000 cores. I envision the number of cores in processors to increase to many thousands within the next decade, and clock speeds increasing to the terahertz. All of this technology will require an atomic clock to keep p
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gardyloo ( 512791 )

      All of this technology will require an atomic clock to keep proper time.
      Erm... why?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vertinox ( 846076 )
        Erm... why?

        First thing that comes to mind is unbreakable encryption with a one-time pad [wikipedia.org].

        If your devices were never off even by one second, then you could always know what time the other device is set to at all times.

        Example... You're in the field and you need to use your laptop to communicate to another officers laptop while still possibly being eavesdropped by the enemy. Each laptop contains the same one time pad for a particular situation that expires after a certain amount of time (FFS you shouldn't be h
        • Yes, that's interesting and insightful.

          But so far as I know, the grandparent post wasn't talking about laptops separated by any distance, it was talking about multi-core processors. Having an atomic clock on board (afaik) won't make anything more accurate or improve communications. Any sufficiently fast master clock, no matter how it drifts relative to the rest of the world, or how unstable (within some broadly defined limits) it is compared to itself, say, one day ago, will work to coordinate the c
    • Not sure why. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jd ( 1658 )
      You could move to asychronous processors and eliminate the need to worry about timings issues. Or you could have RAM that worked faster than the CPU cores and interleave the cores. Or you could map 1000 virtual cores onto Nx1000 physical processing elements, and have the hypervisor schedule the vcores such that the I/O bandwidth was always optimal. Or each core could be given so much local L1/L2 that main memory accesses were infrequent enough for conflicts to not arise. Or you could provide each core with
      • I can imagine that a company like Intel should be able to produce the things they can make now and sell fast, while simultaneously building things that have been mastered already (you gave the example of offloading) into new technologies, things they plan on introducing later in the game. It would be extremely important to keep these developments totally under wraps (the way Apple keeps things secret until the moment they are ready for announcement). This type of business planning would allow a company like
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      All of this technology will require an atomic clock to keep proper time.

      Not really. The problem of distributing the clock signal between the multiple cores and keeping it in sync is far more critical than actually keeping them on an accurate time. In fact, the cores probably don't care whether or not the clock frequency drifts a few percent, so long as they all stay in step.

      What an atomic clock buys you is the ability to synchronize communications between various remote platforms. Or to provide an accurate time base between them for functions like encryption or triangulati

  • Where is the DARPA Chief's pet project, Code Name... Metal Gear?
  • As an avid non-reader of the actual article I must say that this snippet is rather disappointing. I fully expected armor suits at the very least.
    • As an avid non-reader of the actual article I must say that this snippet is rather disappointing. I fully expected armor suits at the very least.
      Armored suits? I was expecting armored polar bears.

      • Had I said Mobile Suit as intended, it may have made more sense. But nothing makes more sense than armored polar bears.
  • ...is there a better place on Earth to work than DARPA? I always thought it would be SO cool to go to work every day and look down a list of fantastic toys that people are willing to spend giga-bucks on, and maybe get a chance to decide which ones get built.
    • by smilindog2000 ( 907665 ) <bill@billrocks.org> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @05:45AM (#22758546) Homepage
      AFAIK, DARPA just funds research projects. People who actually work for DARPA are mostly government administrators. You have to be careful, though. DARPA isn't suppose to fund projects that directly result in any actual products for the military. It's suppose to be far-future advanced research. I was once raked over the coals for pushing for actual commercialization of a DARPA funded project (cheap, reliable, rad-hard-by-design chips). Personally, I prefer to stay clear of DARPA, and instead work on projects funded to actually build something useful for today's military. It might sound fun on slashdot, but I've found DARPA work highly frustrating... but I like building real systems, so it's a matter of preference. With research, you can change the rules at the end and declare success... it's often very political. With real systems, the proof is in the product. There's no faking your way around it.
      • by samkass ( 174571 )
        The end goal of every DARPA project is a final report. Thus, every DARPA project ends in "success" as long as someone writes the thing. That being said, in the final stages of most DARPA projects things usually come down to Earth and everyone starts considering what short-term benefits an actual program might see from it.

        Our DARPA project, by the way, was fielded and transitioned to a program office (CPOF). So it can happen.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Like any true geek, I've often admired boy toys coming out of defense research projects (regardless of which country or organization produced them), for the technical feat or wow-factor. BUT...

      At the same time it saddens me to know that so much effort is channeled into (in a sense, wasted) destroying other human beings. A stealth bomber is a magnificent machine, but it's basically a machine meant to go somewhere, destroy things and/or people, and get away undetected. In history there may be times when

  • DARPA Chief Outlines Array of Future Projects
    Just make sure it's not one of those fake DARPA Chiefs who'll go an have a "heart attack" right at the beginning of the game...

    Also, remember: Meryl's CODEC frequency is on the back of the disc case.
  • efficacy (Score:2, Interesting)

    Please let me know if I'm wrong here, but it seems that as exciting as it might seem to have Darpa working on all this "neat stuff", the reality is its really just a highly inefficient way to stimulate the economy. After all, the real goal of theses projects is simply to inject federal (the publics money) spending into congressional districts and funnel it into private hands, ie. job creation, etc to stimulate the local economies of every congressional district. Unfortunately, there's a tremendous amount of
  • Communications/ISec, Soldiers, Health, Logistics, Command & Control, S2/G2 collection the complete battle field environment is going SF/XF. I wounder, how will the home-front keep up with such an exceptionally high-speed, fast consumption ... USA DoD Military? Well, the world best watch-out now if they are supporting terrorist and enemy combatants.

    Dang, I hope the "Office/Industry Environment" is being improved equally, because if you can't keep the innovation and logistics flow up to speed ... someone
  • DARPA has dozens of projects and various different management styles in the several offices.

    Nevertheless, the comments about DARPA being about only research and producing a final report are completely at variance with my personal experience with DARPA. In contrast, I like to joke that, under Tether, DARPA is not about research at all. It's more about engineering and assembling existing pieces of research into a working prototype. The Grand Challenge is an excellent example of this. The ultimate succe

  • developing techniques to help military personnel survive myriad dangerous situations

    How about: Don't put them in the middle of every civil war or unstable regime that's none of our business in the first place.

    Now, where's my grant money?

  • Where is Donald Anderson?

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!