Other Technology Application Areas
Four other application areas in which many of the above technologies have important implications for the Department of the Navy and which are important to the future dominance of the battlefield are (1) space, (2) signature management, (3) chemical and biological warfare, and (4) combat identification.
For military use, the major applications of space are navigation of platforms and weapons, communications, environmental monitoring, and surveillance. It is clear to the panel that for the Department of the Navy, space offers innumerable advantages for rapid and secure global communications, for monitoring of the air and sea environment, for locating and targeting adversary naval and air forces, and potentially for soft and hard kills of targets. Space will continue to provide the high ground for line-of-sight access to the ocean areas of the globe and is integral to the mission responsibility of the naval forces.
The panel recognizes that the Department of the Navy, while a major user of space, is not a developer of major space systems. However, the panel believes that to remain a "smart buyer and user" of national space assets, the Navy Department must maintain a knowledgeable cadre of professional personnel versed in the latest space technology, equipment, and systems. The Department of the Navy space cadre must participate in an active manner with the other major organizations constituting the National programs through joint training and job rotation. This cadre must have opportunities for professional growth and recognition. It must also have access to the highest decision levels of the Department
of the Navy so that space requirements, alternatives, and options can be considered and acted on in the best overall interests of the naval forces.
Signature management is the application of many of the technologies described in this report to permit the purposeful reduction of the observability of a platform, vehicle, facility, person, and so on in order to accomplish one or more of the following objectives: (1) hide its existence from the enemy, (2) confuse the enemy's ability to locate it, (3) confuse the enemy's ability to identify it, or (4) reduce its vulnerability to attack. Over the past decade, the DOD has made remarkable use of signature management to enhance the probability of success on the battlefield. The F-117 stealth fighter clearly demonstrated the advantage of surprise in Desert Storm in terms of inflicting initial devastating destruction on the adversary while remaining virtually invulnerable. U.S. Navy submarines through their shape, material coatings, and operational practices have been the silent service for decades. The B-2 stealth bomber and the Sea Shadow stealth ship developments, while not yet deployed in warfare, are other examples.
In the past decade or so, materials to control the absorption, reflectance, and emissions of electromagnetic and optical signals, the muffling of acoustic emissions, and the shaping of objects have been the principal methods of controlling and reducing the signature of platforms below detectable levels. Electromagnetic analysis codes based on fundamental physical principles, such as Maxwell's equations, attempt to determine the signature response of a platform to incident electromagnetic energy. The sophistication and fidelity of these codes have evolved at the rate of progress in computers. Progress in the future should track the computer technology trends described in Chapter 2, provided that the Department of the Navy invests in these software code developments. This is important because high-fidelity computer modeling of electromagnetic wave interactions with objects is a powerful design tool for future stealthy platforms. Confidence in the accuracy and fidelity of such modeling codes can greatly reduce expensive testing time on outdoor ranges.
Materials for these applications have been complex in many cases and expensive. To make signature management available to a wider variety of applications, the Department of the Navy should invest in appropriate material technologies with a goal of significantly reducing the cost and improving the ease of application and maintainability.
With the advent of MEMS technology and the availability of systems-on-a-chip and with advances in smart materials, computing power, and intelligent software systems, the possibility exists in the future to actively control the signature of important assets such as aircraft, UAVs, and UUVs. This could lead to signature warfare, the ability to present in real time a different signature to an adversary as the warfighting scenario evolves. Signature warfare could change
the outcome of a battle by using the unique knowledge of how signatures can change the perception of the adversaries' visualization of the battle space. Signature management remains critically important to the naval forces.
Chemical and Biological Warfare
Chemical and biological warfare (CBW) is an area that has become a credible threat, both tactical and strategic, without having been demonstrated effectively.1 The use of mustard gas in World War I was sobering and led to international agreements to ban further use of chemical weapons. Developments in recent decades have altered this situation in a number of respects. The proliferation and advances of technology have brought CBW within the reach of almost any nation or well-organized terrorist group. People of all nations are being trained in techniques that can produce biological weapons of mass destruction. Facilities need not be vast and expensive and may be easily disguised. These weapons have been employed in the Iraq-Iran war and in the release of nerve gas in the Tokyo subway in 1995.
Chemical warfare and biological warfare are often lumped together, but in fact they are distinct. Biological warfare, like nuclear warfare, involves weapons of mass destruction. These are strategic weapons. Chemical warfare is more localized. Estimates of the extent of the danger of biological weapons have been made by various agencies. Biological weapons are predicted to be effective over several hundred square kilometers, causing hundreds of thousands to millions of deaths. Chemical weapons are estimated to be effective over a few square kilometers, with deaths in the hundreds to thousands. Toxins form a third class of agent that is often included with chemical and biological warfare agents. Toxins are associated with biological warfare because they have their origins in biological media. Toxins, however, are substances that can be synthesized outside of biological media, making them more appropriately an agent of chemical warfare. In this regime where chemistry and biology are merging, synthesis of toxins will often be accomplished by biochemical or genetic engineering techniques.
Detection of facilities for the production and delivery of chemical and biological weapons is very difficult and often may not be possible. Unlike the apparatus of nuclear programs, that for biological warfare is relatively small, inexpensive, and indistinguishable from facilities used in peaceful pursuits. For example, development of insecticides by genetic-engineering methods and adapting methods for their distribution closely resemble procedures required for producing offensive biological weapons. With the proliferation of techniques and the availability of equipment, it is virtually certain that many nations will acquire
the capability for manufacturing CBW agents. Clandestine operations should be relatively easy to implement.
The United States is a party to both the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, international bodies that are working toward the elimination of these weapons worldwide. Accordingly, the United States does not now have programs for the production of offensive chemical and biological weapons, and it is unlikely that this position will change. Following World War II, the United States and other nations had chemical weapons programs, but the United States terminated its activities in 1969.
Defensive chemical and biological weapons programs are acceptable, and the United States is active in the area. The Army is the lead agency, and a substantial program is in place. Development of vaccines for immunization is an example of defensive CBW. Imaginative approaches are being pursued. For example, vaccines that will respond to a range of disease threats are being devised. The defensive technologist will, however, always be at a disadvantage in view of the wide range of options open to the offensive technologist.
Antidotes for nerve gases (e.g., sarin, tabun, and VX) are unlikely, owing to the rapid action and high lethality of these agents. These gases at milligram doses are deadly and are readily absorbed through the skin. Fortunately, these compounds hydrolyze to less lethal products fairly rapidly, but local use is a real threat. Of course, new agents could be (and may have been) designed that are longer lived in normal ambient conditions. The compact and crowded nature of Navy ships, for example, could be a problem in defending against a chemical weapons attack. The use of sarin in a Japanese subway station in 1995 did not result in mass death, but it might have in the hands of more competent terrorists.
Detection, Tracking, and Prediction of Dispersal
Dispersal of CBW agents is accomplished predominantly by use of aerosols. There may or may not be a visible cloud. Dispersal of aerosols over wide areas is dependent on wind patterns. From the Navy's point of view, delivery by up-wind release could be a problem, but the mobility of the target vessel would complicate the attacker's mission. Even so, the advantage would seem to be on the side of the CBW perpetrator. Evasion by a battle group, especially when a cloud of harmful substances is not visible, would be very difficult.
Although vaccines are known for most of the likely biological warfare agents (e.g., anthrax), there are many agents available (at least a dozen), and vaccination of a general population for the full range of agents might not be feasible. The naval forces could presumably be immunized for the obvious agents, but this strategy might not work against a sophisticated foe.
The methodology of self-protection from CBW agents involves detection and identification of the agents and evasion and/or provision of a safe haven until the threat has abated. The U.S. military, and the Department of the Navy specifically, is investing heavily in the science and technology of detection and identification of CBW agents. Building on the rapidly advancing field of MEMS, sophisticated instruments are being developed that give promise of being small, rugged, broad gauge in coverage, and reasonable in cost. MEMS employs fabrication methods developed in the semiconductor industry to manufacture mass spectrometers, chromatographs, and miniature chemical laboratories on a wafer. Fiber-optic sensors have been fabricated that can detect toxins and bacteria at levels relevant to CBW. Objectives include complete analysis systems that operate at less than a watt of power, are less than a pound in weight, are an inch or two across, and can be produced at a unit cost of tens of dollars. This kind of instrumentation is well adapted to transport by unmanned vehicles, and control and readout should be readily integrated into conventional electronics. The magnitudes of progress reported and promised in the MEMS-sensor-instrumentation arena are sufficiently out of the ordinary as to suggest hyperbole, but there is substance here and the progress is real. The investment implied is considerable (on the order of $100 million per year), but the capability offered is essential. Continued support of this exciting technology offers an effective way to stay ahead of the CBW aggressor.
The other aspect of the defensive problem is the safe haven to protect military personnel from CBW agents that are present. The Navy has been active in this area through the development of the Collective Protection System (CPS). CPS provides filters for CBW agents. High-efficiency air particulate (HEPA) filters, also employed in semiconductor clean rooms, are used to remove particulate material (e.g., spores), and charcoal filters are used to adsorb gaseous molecules, as in nerve gases. The protected zone is supplied with air drawn through the filters, and the atmosphere inside is operated at an overpressure to prevent inward leakage. A four-stage decontamination station allows entry of contaminated personnel to the protected zone. Although there are many areas for improvement, the CPS is already operational. Filter life is an issue that will require further development. Operation in heavy smoke must be demonstrated. Future enhancements may include destruction of CBW agents by catalytic oxidation units.
The CPS has been installed on the USS Belleau Wood, LHA-3, and about 30
ships are currently being or have recently been equipped to some extent. CPS can be designed into a ship's air-conditioning system to provide constant protection, or it can be backfitted into critical compartments (e.g., radar rooms) on existing ships. System cost is said to be about 2 percent of ship cost (excluding weapons systems). Overall, CPS represents a well-thought-out response to the novel threats of CBW.
Protective suits are available and provide good protection while they are being worn. Suits can be effective in a chemical weapons attack in which the agent can be neutralized or eliminated in some way. For CBW agents, one must consider what happens when the suits are removed. A further problem with suits is that they reduce the effectiveness of those wearing them. Problems aside, special protective clothing will play an important role in defense against CBW.
The effectiveness of CBW against ships is largely untested. Biological warfare agents have an incubation period of at least a day and thus would probably not be the weapon of choice for battle situations. Chemical warfare agents, on the other hand, are fast-acting and can be lethal (as is the case for nerve gases) or incapacitating (e.g., U.S. advanced riot control agent), and could be used to advantage in a naval battle. The ship could be defeated without itself being damaged. CBW agents could also be used in a sabotage mode or in a port attack. If a substantial portion of the ship personnel were dead or incapacitated, the fleet would be of little use. Vulnerability of the naval forces to attacks of the nonbattle kind could be considerable in view of the naval forces' mission as the nation's advanced force in regional conflicts. CBW agents are required only in small quantities, and delivery could be made by swimmers, small boats, or unmanned aircraft. The manner in which this kind of warfare will be played out is yet to be determined. The Department of the Navy is supporting the right kinds of technology to face the issue strongly.
In nearly every military operational scenario, the ability to identify friendly assets from enemy assets is extremely important. This capability has for many years been described as identification, friend or foe (IFF) but has recently become known as combat identification (CID). The capability to perform effective CID is a DOD-wide responsibility, since multi-Service involvement in battle requires uniform equipment, policies, and procedures. In the past, ineffective CID practices have caused many friendly-fire casualties as well as the destruction of friendly assets. As the tempo of warfare increases in the future, the incidence of friendly-fire accidents will increase correspondingly.
Navy and Marine Corps forces require effective CID in the following operations:
- Ground fire against ground targets,
- Ground fire against air targets,
- Air attacks against ground targets,
- Air attacks against air targets,
- Missile attacks against surface naval targets, and
- Ability to distinguish enemy and friendly assets in surveillance data.
Over the years, a number of systems have been developed primarily for the identification of friendly aircraft. Most early IFF systems took advantage of the radar sensor being used to detect and track aircraft. The ability to perform effective IFF required some form of answering transponder to identify an aircraft as friendly. Because most early radar systems used multiple high frequency (HF) and very high frequency (VHF), it was necessary for a friendly aircraft to carry an IFF set for each possible ground-radar frequency in use. These systems, such as the Mark XII and the Mark XV, had many deficiencies, including (1) the ability to be exploited by the enemy, (2) vulnerability to jamming, (3) reliability problems, (4) lack of uniform implementation by friendly nations, such as those nations belonging to NATO, (5) the inability to identify enemy aircraft, and (6) lack of covertness or low probability of intercept. These systems were also not tailored for naval or ground forces and assets. The Mark XV system was canceled in 1991, leaving only the older Mark II available to U.S. and allied forces.
In 1992, the Joint Combat Identification Program Office was established in response to congressional concern over friendly-fire casualties. Following the Gulf War, a number of "quick fixes" for friendly ground-target identification involving infrared sources were implemented. The Navy Department is currently developing a CID system that transmits GPS coordinates to a fleet satellite communications satellite and then back to a central command-and-control site. The system is encrypted but is neither covert nor resistant to jamming of the fleet satellite communications or GPS signals (see the discussion on GPS jamming in Chapter 5). The system may also be exploitable by an adversary. The U.S. Army currently has under development a millimeter-wave CID system for use on ground vehicles and perhaps helicopters. The Army has also developed a CID system using a special LPI waveform.
To date there has not been a multipurpose CID concept identified that uses common hardware for all of the various applications cited above. This serious deficiency has led to recent friendly-fire incidents, including the shoot-down of friendly helicopters in Iraq by Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS)-controlled U.S. fighter aircraft. The panel strongly suggests that any effective
CID system must be interoperable across U.S. Service units, much like electronic warfare equipment and practices. Effective CID systems should be developed at the DOD level, and the current practice of assigning responsibility for certain CID elements to each of the services should be reconsidered.
The panel believes that there are sufficient technologies (as described in this report) in the areas of communications (especially LPI), signal processing, embedded computing, information, sensors, and signature management to develop an effective, multimission, interoperable CID system.
The following are the panel's recommendations:
- The Department of the Navy should maintain a knowledgeable cadre of professional personnel versed in the latest space technology, equipment, and systems; should ensure the professional growth, development, and recognition of this cadre; and should ensure that the cadre effectively enables the naval forces to satisfy their requirements for space-based information.
- The Department of the Navy should invest in and exploit the technologies described in this report for applications to reducing and controlling the signature of important assets.
- The Department of the Navy, in cooperation with the Joint Combat Identification Program Office, should initiate a fresh look at technologies to accomplish a robust, multimission, interoperable combat identification system. Inputs from universities, industry, and government laboratories should be sought to develop the best system that current technologies will permit.
- New combat identification technologies should be considered in concert with EW and signature management to optimize performance.
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