[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V0 #162

ARPAVAX:C70:arms-d (10/25/82)

>From HGA@MIT-MC Tue Oct 12 21:34:53 1982

Arms-Discussion Digest                            Volume 0 : Issue 162

Today's Topics:
                          X-ray laser system
                          Interesting books
                 DOD Mounts Major Trial of Smart Card

Date: 10/10/82 00:50-EDT
From: LIN at MIT-MC
Subject: x-ray laser system...

The recent discussion regarding x-ray lasers for BMD strikes me as
being yet another wishful thinking high-tech panacea which will turn
into an Edsel.  Comments which follow are taken from JCP's summary of
the relevant article in AWAST.

    [The system] would use a satellite network of 'porcupine'
    satellites, each of which would be a sperical nuclear device, with
    dense rods attached to the exterior, sticking out like needles of
    a porcupine.

    	Each rod would be steerable, and each device would contain
    some number of them (say 20).  The satellites tracking/target
    acquisition logic would point them at potential Soviet targets,
    and then the nuclear device would be detonated, inducing lasing in
    the rods in the X-Ray and maybe Gamma ray regions....An
    theoretical efficiency of some 40% was claimed, if all rods were
    tracking a target at the point of detonation.  The satellite is,
    of course, destroyed in the process.

In other words, each satellite will track and destroy ONE missile.
What does this to the cost-exchange ratio?  A Minuteman missile costs
about $5M.  What will this system cost per satellite?  The nuclear
bomb will cost about $1M by itself.  The rest?  Will it cost less than
an M-1 tank ($2.7M)?  I'll bet not.  What's to prevent the USSR from
building more missiles than we can afford satellites?

    It was mentioned that the satellites might be stored in vacated
    Minuteman silos, and launched into low earth orbit during periods
    of international crisis.

which means that you have to have satellites numbering MANY TIMES more
than the number of missiles you want to destroy; low earth orbit isn't
geo-synchronous.  If you don't have many satellites, he can just wait
until the satellite is gone.

Conclusion: it is not a win to build a system in which you have to
build many more missile-destroyers than the other side has missiles,
each of which costs more than the missile you want to kill.

    [The porcupine satellites ] are envisioned as Tier 2 of a
    multi-tier Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) umbrella:

    	1)	Boost Phase Intercept	High Energy Lasers/
    					Particle Beam
    					Large Space Battle stations
    	2)	Coast Phase/Atmosphere	Porcupine satellites
    	3)	Ionospheric Intercept	ABM missils ala Safeguard
    					Nuclear detonation required
    	4)	Stratosphere & below	LOADs style conventional
    					homing missiles, placed around
    					high-value targets.

For appropriate comment on Space Battle stations for boost phase
intercept, see recent Scientific American articles on Laser/Particle
Beam weapons.  Their conclusions?  These battle stations are quite
likely to be ineffective at survivving, let alone shooting anything
else down.  Their destruct mechanism is easily degraded by some VERY
cheap counter-measures, e.g., lifting lots of atmosphere by a nuclear
blast to block the particle beam, making the ICBM spin or coating it
with shiny aluminum to reflect the laser beam.

For comment on Safeguard (nuclear detonation required), note JCP's
comment below:

    	It is important to NOT use the particle beam type weapons
    over one's home territory, as any splatter/misses tend to ionize
    the atmosphere, effectively 'blinding' lower phase radar
    installations.  Very messy.  Nuclear explosions do that too, so
    the first couple of phases are critical to keep enough clear air
    for the later phases to work properly.

Indeed, ionospheric intercept would happen over our own territory.

For comment on LOADs, this is good only for hard targets; otherwise
homing missiles won't have the range.  On the other hand, simple
radar-directed AA guns will work fine against warheads aimed at hard
targets; you don't even need guns - use fratricide to stop it by
detonating your own nuclear warhead nearby.

I think that any advocate of exotic BMD systems should be able to
demonstrate aanalytically why the arguments presented against them are
wrong.  After reading both the advocates and the critics, it seems to
me that the advocates have yet to answer the critics.  Anyone want to
take me up on this dare?

Herb Lin


Date: 10/10/82 01:01-EDT
From: LIN at MIT-MC
Subject: interesting books...

A recent book "Defense or Delusion: America's Military in the 1980's",
by Thomas Etzold (Professor of Strategy, US Naval War College), Harper
and Row, 1982 ($15) seems pretty interesting.  He essentially
documents US military unpreparedness, taking much the same line as
Fallows in National Defense.  Better documentation for claims, also a
disticnctly anti-Carter slant to his writing.  Only mildly critical of
the Reagan buildup.

Facts it presents:

125 nuclear weapons accidents between 1945-76, 27 major ones.

90% of nuclear weapons technicians don't have the skills to do their

The M-1 tank has a mean mileage to failure of 100 miles.

The F-15 averages a down time of 40%.

To move the 82nd Airborne division to the Persian Gulf would require
1/3 of current US fuel consumption for the 10 days it would take.


Also, "Beyond the Freeze", by Daniel Ford (and others of the Union of
Concerned Scientists), Beacon Press, 1982 ($5), is a good primer for
novices (so recommend it to friends of yours who want to learn
something).  Distinctly peacenik biased, but many good and short (1
page) summaries of historical events in the arms race (ABM treaty,
MIRV development, etc).


Date: 11-Oct-82 10:51-PDT
From: DAUL at OFFICE  
From: DATA CHANNELS, Oct. 4, 1982, V9 N20

The Department of Defense has decided to test a smart card--a microprocessor in 
a plastic card developed be Philips Data Systems of France--as part of a program
to eliminate abuse of the identification cards currently used by the nation's 
uniformed services.

"Waste and fraud through the use of lost, stolen, or forged ID cards is 
estimated to cost between $60 million and $100 million a year," a spokesman for 
Intelmatique, the promotional arm of the French telecommunications 
administration, told DATA CHANNELS.  A large part of that comes from the 
military medical care program, he added.

Congress has ordered the multiservice RAPIDS (realtime Automated Personal 
Identification Card System) program.  The Navy will be in charge of the test.  
Technologies to be tested include the smart card;  the conventional magnetic 
card supplied by U.S. Bank Note Corp., Data Card Corp. and others; and an 
infrared fingerprint recognition card made by Interlock of West Germany.  Only 
the smart card uses telecommunications lines, however.

"We deliberately chose technologies covering a wide spectrum--from the 
state-of-the-art smart card to the familiar magnetic stripe card," said RAPIDS 
Program Manager John Poetker of Input Output Computer Services Inc., an 
independent engineering consulting firm located in Bethesda, Md., and Boston 
being used by the Navy.  "The end result may be a combination of all the 
technologies," he added.

The purchase of 2,000 smart cards for the use at the Army's Fort Lee in 
Petersburg, Va., represents the first major sale of these systems in the U.S., 
an  Intelmatique spokeswoman told DATA CHANNELS.  About a dozen are already 
being used in Minneapolis in First Bank System Inc.'s videotex trials.  A 
variety of smart card readers will be tested--including those that are on line 
to a central database or connected to a local database--as well as stand-alone 
verification of eligibility at points of sale and points of entry.

Eight-thousand fingerprint recognition cards will be tested at Seymour Johnson 
Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C., and 17,000 magnetic stripe cards will be 
tested at the Cherry Point, N.C., Marine Corps Air Station, the Little Creek, 
Va., Naval Amphibious Base and aboard a Navy vessel based in Norfolk, Va.  The 
trials are to begin in January with final evaluation in September.


End of Arms-D Digest