Dept. of Fiction: Army holds its annual bullshitters club

Posted in Bioterrorism, Crazy Weapons, Cyberterrorism, Extremism at 5:54 pm by George Smith

“It is always easy to find people who will pontificate about these matters and blow smoke in everyone’s ears … It’s a fancy idea lab, but the ideas are not that good.” — Me

“Electromagnetic pulse guns, genetically designed killer diseases and swarms of miniature self-guided missiles if these sound like the products of a mad scientist, they should,” reports the Washington Times here. “They are among the threats predicted during the U.S. Army’s 11th annual Mad Scientist Future Technology Seminar (no, really) in Newport News, Va.”

“It is only a matter of time before there is a significant high-tech surprise awaiting U.S. military forces” … is this bullshitters paradise’s motto, reads the newspaper.

Refreshingly, DD was asked to deliver a dash of ice-water to the face.

“The summary lists five ‘significant findings’ of the seminar, concluding that ’emerging biological technology especially in the hands of non-state actors, has the greatest potential to catch the Army unprepared in the short term’ by allowing the creation and delivery of new diseases for which there is no cure,” continues the Times. “The summary states that this capability likely will be available to U.S. adversaries ‘as early as 2015.'”

“The seminar concluded that ‘EMP weapons will become available to potential adversaries in mortar and artillery rounds soon … blending technologies necessary to generate an EMP with advances in miniaturization could produce a hand-held EMP gun before 2020.”

EMP guns lagging behind custom-made plagues? You don’t say, Misters Science Fiction Men! How about turning people into living shrapnel bombs, like they did in an episode of Fringe last year?

George Smith, a defense technology analyst and a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org, said in an interview that he was skeptical about the value of such exercises … They have been predicting some of these things for 20 years,” Mr. Smith said about some of the advanced threats discussed in the summary.

That’s just a fact. Electromagnetic ray guns have been promised for as long as DD has been in cyberspace. It’s the weapon that’s always coming but never quite arriving, despite much hoping and wishing.

And a few times a month DD gets querulous mail from people wishing to show me their EMP guns or impugn my character for writing stuff like this here.

What’s changed most, however, is the need for the Army’s ‘mad scientist’ picnic.

There isn’t any.

Anyone who follows national security affairs knows there’s no shortage of predictive analysis rank bullshitting about the many enemies the US is likely to face. Potential foes and their fancy weapons and plans lurk everywhere! MacGyver-like terrorists will make Facebook and bags of high-tech dirt into existential threats.

“[Adversaries] are likely to try to bypass the military, shifting ‘toward a focus on disrupting transportation, banking, and government infrastructure within the United States’ by exploiting malicious use of the Internet and other computer networks, ‘generating greater stress in an increasingly vulnerable U.S. homeland,” says some alleged director of Army intelligence analysis named Tom Pappas.

Nope, you certainly don’t hear that everyday now.

Brilliant stuff, lads, just brilliant! Tis a shame the taxpayer has to underwrite it. I sure could use a year of free lunches.

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