posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 05:00 PM
When I was back in Aviation Electronics A-School for the Navy (October of 06 through June of 07), there was a recruiting drive for volunteers to go to
Seal Team Six - or under that same command. I wish I could remember the Chief who was in charge of that at the time (and had written it down - still
got the 'brochure' as a digital copy, though - but I don't think it had his name on it). In any case - they were looking at something crazy, like
a 300% manpower surge over the next few years.
The deal was that they were looking for aviation guys at the top of their class (me - I am not above bragging on myself) and in good physical
condition (again, I fit the bill) to run surveillance drones in support of SEAL teams on the ground. It was CNO priority one recruiting - if you were
active duty and volunteered, they could get you if they wanted you. I, however, am a contracted reservist... oops.
I've never been sure what trees I need to bark up to see if I can get a conditional release to active duty through that program, or not.
But - that might give you all an idea of what some of that budget could be going towards. There were some other things discussed when we were there -
a focus on creativity; they buy off-the-shelf stuff and work it over with pre-market technologies and solutions - a lot of one-of-a-kind systems that
the world will likely never really know about, or care about so long as they get to see the big B-2 fly over at airshows.
That was my little glimpse into that end of the military. It's both as 'mundane' as any other segment of the military, but as cool as 007 - if
that makes any sense.
In either case - I'm surprised to see the budget go up under this administration at all, considering a number of the communities seeing that budget
increase would just as soon vote the administration and party out of office (or otherwise remove them).
But I guess the budget doesn't really matter much when you print money like it's going out of style. It's not like they have to take money away
from another program to fund their favored ones.
If I had to guess at what is being researched under some of these programs, though, I would have to place my bets on:
- room temperature superconductors
The reasoning for this should be fairly obvious.
- diamond-substrate electronic lithography
Silicon-based semiconductors are only going to take us so far, as demand for efficiency, processing power, switching extremes, etc push the
boundaries of silicon based methods, we need to expand into another segment that the market cannot yet take advantage of.
- data encryption/security methods
Secure transmission of data in today's large combat networks is essential, making sure we always have the latest and greatest in data and
information security is a must, failure to realize and maintain that advantage would cost us a war with any country that understood that principle.
- materials and applications related to transatmospheric airframes
If for no other reason than a bomb dropped from orbit would be particularly devastating. There are many advantages to materials and designs that
could withstand the extremes of transatmospheric operations - both in research/intel and in combat roles.
- projected/directed energy weapons
Lasers, Masers, Phasers - whatever, developing them and utilizing them, even if only as a detection method (LADAR) will bring many advantages.
This would likely be related to diamond-substrate research - a diamond-substrate laser diode could have much tighter emission spectra as well as
tolerate much higher temperatures and power.
- chemical and/or electromagnetic propulsion systems
Simply put, rockets are a rather ineffective means of propulsion - whether you are putting a warhead into a target or a ship/payload into orbit.
Developing better chemical or other propulsion systems to make longer ranged missiles and space travel more practical (as well as potential
improvements to aircraft) is a worthwhile investment.
- Genetic/biological engineering
Not necessarily "super soldier" type of stuff, but why should you kill the enemy when a virus or bacteria can? Why should you use a bunch of
chemicals and expensive processes to refine minerals or split molecules when you can do that with genetically modified bacteria/algae/plants/etc? Or
- here's another interesting idea - why should you have to administer an antibiotic to soldiers with infections (or against a bio-weapon) when you
can simply introduce them to modified forms of Staph and various digestive bacteria that will, literally, kill a wide range of bacteria destructive to
the human body?
When you consider there are more bacteria in/on our body than our own body's cells, the idea of genetic modification of bacteria and the
possibilities take on an entirely new meaning.