I just spent the last few days at a Department of Defense conference in Huntsville, Alabama, which provided me with the occasion to sit through presentations from a couple of American heroes. The first was Michael Durant, who was the Army helicopter pilot that was held in captivity as depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down”. The other presentation was from Jason Conroy, who was the Captain of the Army tank company that was the first to lead armored vehicles down the streets of Baghdad.
It was a great opportunity to meet these men in person after their presentations and discuss the finer details of their experiences. The very consistent message from all of the military folks is their viewpoint on the Moslem enemy. There is no mincing of words when they describe their combat experiences where weapons were fired at them from mosques, hospitals, and schools… or how a bus load of Iraqi civilians was used as a shield and driven into a column of American tanks.
I also spent some time in the main exhibit hall to view some of the emerging weapons to better deal with “asymmetric warfare”. For example, the army has various “directed energy” technologies (lasers, millimeter waves, etc.) under development that better manage the destruction of road-side IEDs, or better manage dangerous crowds without using rubber bullets. I also spent an hour with an Engineer from the Defense Intelligence Agency who showed me all of the details of the operation of the infamous Scud missile. He indicated that they expect that almost 80% of the strategic missiles used by our enemies in the up-coming years will be based on the Russian Scud design (see photos of Katuysha and Scud missiles below).