Into the Black

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The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments issued an updated analysis recently of the classified projects budget for fiscal 2008.

Comprising about 18 percent of the DoDs acquisition budget, the $31.9 billion will continue programs with names like Link Plumeria and Black Light and others which have no name.

Aviation Week reports the programs include...

...a growing ability to invade sensors, create false targets, take over networks, plant misleading information and mine computer data, even from manned or unmanned aircraft flying close to the emitter of interest. A new generation of stealththat will be invulnerable to low- as well as high-frequency radaris being developed.

A lot of money has gone into technologies to find, disarm, jam or preempt the construction, planting and detonation of improvised explosive devices. High-power microwave devices are being designed to disable electronics, erase or scramble computer memories, or shut down electrical activity in road vehicles, aircraft in flight or satellites in orbit.

CSBA said the budget line for classified programs has more than doubled since 1995, increasing by 112 percent while unclassified acquisition in the Pentagon fiscal year budget has increased 77 percent.

The record for classified acquisition programs has been mixed. Some successful and effective weapon systems were developed and even produced as black programs. These include the F-117 stealth fighter and the B-2 stealth bomber.

On the other hand, some classified programs have had troubled histories. Restrictions placed on access to classified funding have meant that DoD and Congress typically exercise less oversight over classified programs than unclassified ones. This lower level of scrutiny, coupled with the compartmentalization of information generally associated with classified efforts has contributed to performance problems and cost growth in a number of programs, such as the Navys ill-fated A-12 attack aircraft program.

Still, a UAV that plants a virus in an enemy computer? Im all for it.

(Gouge: NC)

-- Christian

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