Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on December 1, 1999 · Page 7
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 7

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, December 1, 1999
Page 7
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Technolo WEDNESDAY, DEC. 1, 1999 — 7 Air Force looking at lasers for defense By ROBERT BURNS AP Military Writer '.'. SEATTLE—Across the street from a •museum depicting the Wright brothers' historic flights at Kitty Hawk, N.C., ;' nearly 100 years ago, a new breed of aviation pioneer is chasing a 21st century dream: an airplane armed with speed-of- light weaponry that can destroy enemy •'missiles in flight. ; The airborne laser is a little known 'but potentially important part of a future defense against missile attack. The work ' being done at Boeing Co.'s development ! center is part of an effort to leap ahead of 'the traditional approach to missile 'defense. Critics and doubters say it may be an expensive flop like many other attempt,ed innovations in missile defense over i the past two decades. The Clinton administration is devel- ' oping two kinds of missile defense systems, both possibly using laser weapons: —Relying on the airborne laser to help provide protection against missile attack on U.S. and allied troops abroad. —Protecting the U.S. homeland, first by shooting down missiles with other missiles and later, perhaps, with laser j weapons orbiting in outer space. Air Force Gen. Michael Ryan sees a bright future for airborne lasers. "We think we've got all the physics about right," he said recently. "Now we need to see if we can engineer it onto the (airplane) and shoot it. That's the next test. This could be a revolutionary kind of capability." Boeing technical specialists and managers of the airborne laser project say it has evolved from an intriguing theory to an almost realized fact. If the current schedule holds, they will have a chance in four years to test it against Scud missiles of the type Iraq launched in the 1991 Gulf War. If the tests are successful and Congress remains supportive, the first three combat-ready planes would be ready for duty by 2007, and the full fleet of seven planes would be operating by 2009. "We still have technical problems, but we really have no inventions left to go," said Stephen Sauve, Boeing's deputy program director. He acknowledges that the physics of firing a laser beam from an airplane are complicated, but he and others at Boeing sound confident it will work. One of the biggest technological challenges is to correct for distortion of the laser beam as it travels through the atmosphere. The chemical oxygen iodine laser, made by TRW, already has proved lethal in ground tests. The trick is getting the laser, the beam control system, computers and other gear to work together at 40,000 feet. "This was meant to be done on Earth," Sauve said. We're going to be doing it on an airplane." The "battle management" software to operate the on-board computers and other equipment has been ready since July, Sauve said, although Lockheed Martin Corp. still is working on the beam control software. In April, the program is due for what the Pentagon calls a "critical design review" — an assessment of the program's progress and promise and a decision on whether to proceed to the live- fire tests against Scud missiles. Physics aside, the project also faces political questions. Among them is whether an airborne laser could be deployed without violating the 1972 AntWBallistic Missile treaty, which is intended to prevent either the United States or Russia from building a national defense against missile attack. While the airborne laser is not planned to be part of a U.S. national defense system, the laser weapon might be judged by the Russians to have been built on "physical principles" that the treaty is meant to prohibit. "It's certainly in the gray area" of treaty compliance, said Spurgeon Keeny Jr., who was part of the U.S. government team that helped draft the ABM treaty. Now he is president of the Arms Control Association, a private group critical of U.S. missile defense efforts. Keeny's group also opposes the administration's efforts to revise the ABM treaty to permit national missile defenses. The administration has not pushed for treaty changes clarifying the legality of the airborne laser. Lt. Col. Joel Owens, director of management operations for the airborne laser project office at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., said in an interview that while the Defense Department has not made a final decision on whether the laser is compliant with the ABM treaty, he expects a favorable ruling in 2001. Kenny and other critics question whether the Air Force cpuld get one of its slow-flying airborne lasers into position quickly enough to respond to a missile attack, and whether it could avoid getting shot down. The Air Force intends to base a fleet of laser-equipped aircraft in the United States. They would be sent on 24 hours notice anywhere in the world where U.S. or allied troops faced the threat of missile attack. The hope would be that the mere presence of the airborne laser orbiting the sky on the periphery of a potential battle area would deter an attack. But if a missile were launched, the plane could spot it with an infrared sensor, then instantly calculate the trajectory and find the range. rocessor the * tor Associated Press fh* fastest cx petsona) cdiftiput- ' taaibt ehito maker AMD w &Nfeitt& Monday ' that crunches information $1 & , of *750 lassittg Intel fjdbtpjtttro- , |1s» kftowft is arritfhat mafce rait. Ires faster the chip. 4nd more powerful the Chips help voice Ics and aetworlctng with r.AMIHnd, Intel een taking turns inching t«&ti other in their stiff competi- ifor the most powerful processor. ***** said it is workmg on a «|^iertz processor to be introduced next fall. •c >^fmwteri$ei$ who ^vant to bay -the AWu) chips can <row get them > ^ortpiters they order frorn "Ing Compaq Compiil- Lagging state agencies making Y2K progress as deadline nears Associated Press SACRAMENTO — With just a month to go until the Year 2000, three state agencies that have been slow to fix their computer systems are making progress, says a hew'state report. The agencies monitor toxic cleanups, house veterans and imprison juvenile criminals. The Department of Information Technology, the state's central Y2K agency, had highlighted the three departments in its quarterly report last month. 1 California's major electric and telephone companies and commuter railroads also say they're ready for Y2K, the state Public Utilities Commission reported Monday. ; State lawmakers who have been overseeing state agencies' Year 2000 efforts for several years asked DOIT to give them weekly progress reports on several agen- cies that have been slow in fixing their computer systems. The agencies "have shown continued progress towards Y2K readiness," said the latest report, issued Nov. 24. The Department of Toxic Substances Control has ordered new computer chips for instruments used at its Berkeley laboratory to test soil and gas samples from toxic cleanup sites. Those are scheduled to be installed by Dec. 15, the report said. Like all agencies that missed the state's September deadline, the department says it has in place a contingency plan to do its work even if the instruments don't work. The Department of Veterans' Affairs, which runs the state's two homes for 1,600 aged veterans, is still working on several projects, including training pharmacists at the Yountville home on new software that checks on federal benefits for the veterans. At the California Youth Authority, with 7,900 young criminals in 11 institutions and four camps, installation of a new computer system to track wards' prescriptions was supposed to be finished on Oct. 30, but has slipped to Dec. 3 because of additional requirements, the report said. An upgrade of two-way radios that connect guards on the fences around the CYA complex in Stockton with the main office is planned for Dec. 6, according to the report. If the radio problem is not fixed as scheduled, the radios will work on only one frequency, rather than rotating between frequencies as they usually do as a security precaution. As for the PUC, it relied on reports from the companies; saying that all-have certified that their computer systems have addressed potential problems caused by the calendar change to 2000. The list includes the major privately owned energy companies, such as Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Sempra Energy, which together serve about 75 percent of the state's electricity users and 95 percent of the natural gas users, the commission said. Local government-owned municipal utilities, not regulated by the PUC, serve the remaining customers. Also certifying themselves as Y2K- cpmpliant were local telephone companies, including Pacific Bell and GTE California; all major passenger commuter railroads and light-rail transit systems; and water companies that deliver about 20 percent of the water used by residents and businesses'. 1 '-"' "' «':.;«> r-iov.-'v Internet makes U.S. vulnerable to cyber attacks Get Fit Today fora Healthier Tomorrow! UKIAH FITNESS CENTER Fitness Classes All included with Membership 677 North State Street 462-1255 By EUN-KYUNG KIM Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON — Americans are addicted to the Internet — and their dependence is making them vulnerable to cyberter- rorist attacks, warns a national security adviser. Most Americans don't realize how dependent they have become on computers — not only at home or at the office, but also to run their electricity, telephone, transportation and other infrastructure systems, said Richard Clarke, the National $ecurity Council adviser who heads counterterrorism efforts. That reliance has made the nation vulnerable to attacks by terrorists who strike through computers rather than with bombs or bullets, Clarke said during a keynote address at a cyber threat summit. "We could wake one morning and find a city, or a sector of the country, or the whole country have an electric power problem, a transportation problem or a telecommunication problem because there was a surprise attack using information warfare," he said. The summit, intended to raise awareness about computer security awareness, follows a string of electronic attacks launched against federal government Web sites, including those run by the White House, the Senate, the FBI and the U.S. Army's main Internet site. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has released a report warning that computer systems at the Defense Department, law enforcement and private industries are at risk because of poor management and lax oversight. Clarke said the nation's frenzy over the Y2K computer bug has made it even more vulnerable to cyber attacks. He said technicians hired to make a company's computer system Y2K compliant could easily slip "a little Trojan horse or malicious code" into the system instead. HOLI<D STOREWIDE SALE! 10-50% OFF 12 months same as cash • 12/4 thru 12/11 only! Sectional Lane Leather Chair »499°° '799" Recliners Bedroom Sets 20" OIF • Home Accessories/Gifts • Sofa Sleepers •Curios • Entertainment Centers ARE Alt ON SALE! rRRY'S UKIAH 462-2901 245 E. Standley LAKEPORT 263-4415 335 N. Main St. ' CLEARLAKE 995-0114 14090 Olympic Dr. 'FURNITURE * Some one of a kind items may not be available in all stores. Open Mou. thru Sat. 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. • 'Ukiah Store Open Sun. 11:00 a.m. • 5:00 p.m. At The Tack lloom Justin time for the Holidays. 20% OFF All Boots Men, Women &Kids Get a Free Justin Gear Bag when you Buy Selected Justin Boots This holiday season you can get a Justin Gear Bag when you purchase selected Justin boots. From Westerns to Workboots, Lace-Rs®, to Chukkas. Justins are always are the perfect holiday gift. And right now this great free gear Bag with a retail value of $30.00 makes them even more special. But hurry as supplies are limited! All Hats 25% OFF Sale on Saddles, Blankets, Taek& More! Sale thru Wed. 12/8 FREE GIFT WRAPPING THE TACK ROOM r~>?h> \<>. siai. si. i ui.ih it* •_»-: OPI V Mu.Ml.i>-S..H,i ,l.i> !HH» Su ml.i> II .i.iii.- I |». in .

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