September 10 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Security Year: 2008 Rating: 6 Hot
The WoodwardGate super-secret-weapon saga continues and the blogosphere is “abuzz”, pardon the pun – couldn’t resist, with speculation about what the “secret operational capabilities that have been developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq, insurgent leaders, renegade militia leaders” may consist of.
Fortunately, we’ve got a bunch of brainiacs here at Future Blogger that have helped us separate the more plausible wheat from the ultra-theoretical chaff. Some of their best guesses include:
Tiny Unmanned Aerial Drones: tk421 and a few other contributors have ventured that small, or even microscopic, automated drones or insects could contribute to the secret program. After all, the American govt has been hard at work figuring out how to either build microdrones or embed chips directly into actual insects.
Smart Dust the Size of Pepper Grains: According to commenter CheechWizard (gotta love the handle): It’s smart dust: RFID tags the size of small pepper grains, packaged in grenades, mortar rounds, artillery shells. Their cases are modeled after seeds and pollen that sticks effectively to animals & such, colored to match local dirt and grime. How it works:
Your unit is taking fire, so you call in a couple of rounds of artillery that cover the enemy position in tags. As your guys advance, the attackers fade away as usual. That night, helicopters scan the town, and within a couple of hours, the door kicker squads are rounding up your attackers and their friends at home.
Scanners are also located at checkpoints & available as portable wand units. Every munition’s smart dust will have its own RFID serial number, so you can keep track of who was where, and ignore ones too old to be reliable markers on your insurgent targets.
Airborne Tactical Laser: Brainiac rumurphy believes the recent success should be attributed to the ongoing, and successful, U.S. ATL program:
The ATL lasership system is designed to Locate, Target, and Kill effectively. Probably through the use of UAVs to locate and target by infrared.. and then the ATL Hercules laser plane comes in at a safe distance of over 5 miles away and instantly focuses a beam on the lit up target by the UAV. Reports have been said that the target’s clothes would combust and the victim would suffer severe instant trauma. I mean this makes so much sense.
It’s basically an AC-130 gunship with a 100 kWatt laser instead of guns. It has a range of 5 miles or more.. and the laser beam makes no noise and is invisible and makes an instant, precise beam.
Thermal Biometrics: Sharon Weinberger over at Wired extends our satellite argument by making the case for “the much ballyhooed ‘Tagging, Tracking and Locating’ program … These are newfangled technologies designed to track people from long distances, without the targeted people realizing they are being tracked.”
Conclusion: Seeing as Woodward indicates multiple “secret operational capabilities”, the answer is likely to be a robust network combining all or most of the above.
But what other components are we missing here?