Archive for category Military and Defense

Frontier Justice: Governmental Protections from Criminal, Terrorist, and Wartime Threats

Frontier Justice: Governmental Protections from Criminal, Terrorist, and Wartime Threats

     Written By: Kyree N. Clarke, Gary C. Coulter, Leonard P. Gentile III, and Amy L. Wees

University of Maryland University College

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            Abstract

Pfc. Bradley Manning was an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army who was stationed in Baghdad, Iraq. Beginning in November 2009, Manning allegedly began working with Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks. By his own admission in online chats, Manning sent WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents that he was able to access through his job as an intelligence analyst and download onto blank CD-RWs. He exploited the Army’s lax information security to do so. This paper will examine not only Manning, but also the sort of threat he and others may pose to a secure military network. It will examine the type of liabilities that come with protecting classified information and the effect that this sort of cybercrime has on an organization. In addition, the paper will examine how the military has changed in regards to its security posture since Manning. Finally, the paper will discuss the security measures that could be taken by the U.S. Army to prevent a security breach similar to the WikiLeaks incident from ever happening again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

In October 2007 Bradley Manning stood with a group of his fellow Americans at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in Oklahoma City, Okla., and took the oath of enlistment (Fishman, 2011; USMEPCOM, 2012). He made a choice in his life at this point, choosing to follow the tenets of the U.S. Armed Forces, specifically the U.S. Army. However, little did he or the world know that at that juncture he had started down the road to becoming one of the largest threats to secure information the U.S. and possibly the world has ever seen.

This paper will examine not only Manning, but also the sort of threat he and others may pose to a secure military network. It will examine the type of liabilities that come with protecting classified information and the effect that this sort of cybercrime has on an organization. Finally, the paper will examine how the military has changed in regards to its security posture since Manning.

An Army of One

Bradley Manning enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private choosing to become an intelligence analyst (Fishman, 2011).  This Mission Operations Specialist (MOS) classification is for an all-source intelligence analyst. Their duties include preparing all-source intelligence products to support a combatant commander, assessing the significance and reliability of incoming information, and establishing and maintaining intelligence records. Training for this position includes critical thinking, preparation of intelligence documents, and most importantly using computer systems (U.S. Army, 2012). Manning developed a number of these skills by working as a developer at a photo-hosting (Fishman, 2011).

Upon completion of his training, Manning transitioned to his permanent duty station, Ft. Drum, N.Y.  Although it has never been stated in open press what battalion Manning was a part of, it appears that he either worked in the brigade command group, support battalion, or as part of the infantry battalion. In chat logs between Manning and Adrian Lamo, the former hacker who eventually turned Manning in, Manning discussed being ordered to provide intelligence to another soldier so that they could detain additional individuals while in Iraq (Poulsen & Zetter, 2010). This implies that Manning was working with infantry soldiers.

Due to the nature of intelligence and the broad mission that Manning had to support in Iraq, he had access to a wide variety of information.  Manning’s position as a 35F gave him access to not only the Army’s intelligence, but also the entirety of the intelligence communities. This information was not just at the Secret level, which is information that would cause “grave damage to national security if it were publically available.” The information he had available was to the Top Secret level, meaning that it would cause “exceptionally grave damage to national security if made publicly available” (Office of The President of the United States, 2009).
It also seems that Manning was not particularly busy in Iraq. He indicated that individuals in his unit spent a lot of time watching movies and listening to music during work hours. In chats with Lamo, Manning stated that he was burning his unauthorized CD-RWs while others were burning their own CDs of movies and music videos or they were cultivating connections with federal level agencies (Poulsen & Zetter, 2010).

In addition to these factors, it seems that there was a lack of information security for Manning’s unit. Manning mentions this situation in the same chat logs with Lamo describing the system as having weak logins, servers, physical security, counter intelligence, and having inattentive signal analysis. Manning went on to state that security should have been better (Poulsen & Zetter, 2010).

This access to information, free time, and lack of security provided Manning the opportunity to illicitly use skills he possessed before joining the Army. Manning knew that due to the limited nature of access to the unclassified Internet (NIPR) that it would be more closely monitored then either the secured Internet (SIPR) or the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System (JWICS), the two systems where classified data was stored. He realized that he could not openly upload massive amounts of data without being noticed. As such, Manning utilized a secure site to transfer encrypted data slowly through the monitored system (Poulsen & Zetter, 2010).

Threats to Military Cyber

The idea of having a classified network is that it will always be secure and information shared within that network would only be accessed by those who are intended to see, use, or benefit from having access to it. With the intelligence agency having access and having to store almost all of military secrets, it is good practice “to focus on hiring the right people not just in terms of requisite skills, but also in terms of character and values” (Himma, 2006). The Army, being one of the most sought out branches of the military, faces cyber threats that do not compare to those faced by other organizations. With the amount of intelligence being shared, it was only a matter of time before military networks would be an instant target for hactivists.

One of the biggest pressures to classified networks is insider threats; however, misclassification of information, and lack of server monitoring could pose just as much of a risk. Whether using SIPR or NIPR networks, which Manning demonstrated, e-mails are sent all day long with some level of classified information. It is not uncommon to inadvertently forward this information to someone who should not have access, and in turn, leak valuable information or be a victim while someone else leaks the information.

Misclassification of information is another big threat when it comes to military cyber. One of the defenses for the Manning case is that he had access to information that was misclassified in the first place, which poses the argument that some of the documentation that was shared with WikiLeaks should not be have been classified as Top Secret. Regardless of the information being misclassified or not, trust was still broken when the documents and video was presented to an outside source. The amount of information that is held within a government agency should be carefully classified and dispersed.

If a system crashes, the backup should be readily accessible, yet it should also be well protected. It is counterproductive to have servers anyone can get to and that could easily be attacked by hackers within or outside an agency as it is not wise to hold all Top Secret information in one place. The most detrimental harm to military cyber comes from insider threats. With the amount of employees and allies involved in an agency as civilians or even military, it becomes difficult to build a relationship with each individually. Having a negative experience at work does not help a situation, for it only increases the chance that an employee will use their inside knowledge to damage its employer. For example, Manning was dealing with coming into his own sexuality, so when he was getting demoted for what he thought was a personal issue that just caused more confusion and fury towards the Army. Per his conversations with Lamo, he felt everyone was turning their backs on him and he no longer had anyone to trust. Although he thought he found an ally with Lamo to confide in, his apprehensiveness and negative feelings toward the government were already ingrained.

More often than not, we gain trust in individuals that seem to have our best interest at hand, but are just forming a relationship to get closer to insider information that should not be shared. These allies come in government and military buildings as visitors and sit in meetings with high officials. They are considered one of our own, and involved with classified information that can later be used against us. Taking time to form intimate relationships with each employee will help to foster a positive rapport as well as decrease any chance of destructive behavior that could possibly cause harm to the agency.  “To mitigate Intellectual Property theft, companies can increase security awareness among their employees. They should also compartmentalize employee access to information, restricting knowledge to a need-to-know basis” (Himma, 2006).

With the many threats that come along with any government agency, mainly military, there is an equal amount of rules, regulations, and policies in place to help avoid cyber crimes. Probably one of the most overlooked would be awareness training. Aside from being knowledgeable and being overloaded with all the on boarding rules and regulations, it is very important to have continuous learning with regards to security and how it plays a part in each department.

An effective information technology policy should be customized to address all current and future employees in an organization as well as leave room for employees to attend additional training as needed according to their specific jobs. The company should offer mandatory yearly training and employees must certify that they have reviewed and understand the materials.  Basic rules must be followed as far as leaving their workstations unlocked, not sharing passwords, or walking around without identification. Keeping documents secure and reprimanding individuals who violate any of these rules is also in the agency’s best interest, so that the employees understand how important it is to follow these best practices. If they constantly violate the rules, and never get in trouble for it, chances are the unwarranted behavior will continue.  Holding individuals accountable for their actions is a sure way to deter fascinated hackers from future attacks on the agency.

Carefully evaluating a person’s history and background information should allow for a better judgment of character and may eliminate some of the extensive training of policies and regulations once brought onboard. Allowing employees to only have access to what they need to have access to is another way to counter some of the possible wrong doings of insiders. When too much access is given to certain individuals, they feel it is their right to expose weaknesses presented before them.

 

Liabilities of Protecting Classified Information

Unlike the private sector, military units do not have to worry about protecting credit card numbers or information of customers.  The biggest concern of military leaders when it comes to cyber security is loss of classified information.  With such a large amount of information to protect and so many people with access to that information, there are many liabilities, the most dangerous of which is the insider charged with protecting that information.  Military units such as Manning’s operate out of large data centers in remote locations.  Deployed locations have a high turnover which often results in a false sense of security and slack security practices by Information Technology (IT) personnel.  As Manning reports of the video he recovered from a classified network in his chats with Lamo “At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter.  No big deal … about two dozen more where that came from, right? But something struck me as odd with the van thing, and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory. So I looked into it (Poulson & Zetter, 2010).”  He also describes rummaging through classified information out of boredom and curiosity; “If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do (Poulson & Zetter, 2010)?” he asked.

Manning may have had the security clearance to be on the network but his account privileges should not have allowed him to view files in a JAG directory.  Other videos and documents he found by searching intelligence Web sites which are also controlled on a username and password basis.  All IT personnel in the Department of Defense (DOD) must hold a COMPTIA Security Plus certification in accordance with DOD directive 8570 (US Army Signal Center, 2012).  The most basic of security principles covered under this certification is the principle of least privilege. Least privilege ensures that  users are only given the privileges they need to perform the responsibilities of their jobs (Saltzer & Schroeder, 1975).  By not using least privilege and allowing users to access information that they do not need, organizations run the risk of suffering the negative impacts of data breaches (Bishop, 2003).

Users can also be irresponsible by posting unencrypted information or in the case of the JAG, not properly protecting their public file folders on shared partitions.  Military personnel receive annual information assurance and information protection training via online computer based training (CBT).  In 2008, a study conducted by the U.S. Navy found that annual learning requirements were not being met by CBT as courses were not often tailored to the job and sailors often had trouble learning in an “electronic environment (Navy Inspector General, 2009).”  Despite negative reports regarding the effectiveness of CBT, the military continues to conduct 100 percent of information assurance and information protection training in this manner.

 

Cyber Crime Reporting, Prosecution and Prevention

The Department of the Army’s Information Security Program details what should be done when classified material is leaked or not under proper control.  The immediate priority is to report the incident, regain control of the information and conduct an investigation to determine the details of the event, the classification and contents of the information, and any witnesses involved.  The most important question to answer during the loss or compromise of classified information is “whether any compromise did occur and what, if any, potential damage to nationalsecurity has occurred (Department of the Army, 2000).”

Incident reporting and thorough investigations are critical to ensuring those who leak classified information are caught and prosecuted.  However, it can be very difficult to determine who leaked the information and successfully prosecute the perpetrator, particularly in an electronic environment where it is easy to share information (The Heritage Foundation, 2005).  In addition, there is no one statute that provides criminal penalties for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information regardless of the type of information or the recipient involved. This means that the Justice Department must rely on a number of different laws to prosecute those who commit data breaches. As a result, there has only been one prosecution for non-espionage disclosure of classified information in the last half century. If the past is any indication, Manning, who is currently charged with violating two articles of the United States Code of Military Justice, may not be prosecuted on all charges (Miklaszewski & Kube, 2011).
What Could Have Been Done to Prevent the Leak?

There are a number of things that the U.S.  Army could have done to prevent Manning from leaking the documents to Assange. In Manning’s online chat with former hacker Adrian Lamo, Manning said that he was able to steal the sensitive documents that he leaked by erasing a music CD and writing the files to the disc (Hansen, 2011). Although allowing intelligence analysts to use storage media such as CD-RWs poses serious risks to the security of the sensitive documents on SIPR and other computer networks, this practice was not banned because using a disc or a thumb drive is the easiest way to transfer files between computers in environments where classified machines are generally not connected to one another for security reasons (Aamoth, 2010). Despite the convenience of being able to transfer files from one machine to another using CD-RWs or thumb drives, the military may have been able to prevent Manning from leaking the documents by banning personnel from downloading sensitive files to such forms of storage media. Indeed, the Army had a ban in place on the use of rewritable storage media until February 2010, when it was lifted (Aamoth, 2010). Manning began downloading the documents that he would eventually leak shortly after that (Aamoth, 2010). In the aftermath of the WikiLeaks incident, the U.S. Air Force has adopted a ban on the use of removable media on systems, servers, and stand-alone machines connected to SIPR (Aamoth, 2010).
The Army may have also been able to prevent Manning from leaking the documents to Assange by more closely monitoring his activities. Manning was a junior intelligence analyst who hacked access to hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents. His rank at the time of the leak was specialist, though he was demoted to private first class after striking a female soldier (Nakashima, 2010). The ranks of specialist and private first class are two of the lowest ranks in the U.S. Army, yet people of these ranks were allowed to access sensitive files and download them to CDs, apparently without much supervision. Manning may have been prevented from leaking the files to Assange if someone of a higher rank had been watching him.

One way in which Manning’s activities could have been monitored is by implementing a system that documents the actions specific users take with certain files. Such a system would note which files an intelligence analyst had been accessing and whether or not the analyst had transferred those files to some form of removable media. This would allow higher-ranking personnel to identify when intelligence analysts are accessing files that they do not need or when they are accessing an unusually large number of files. It would also help higher-ranking personnel to determine if files were being downloaded when they should not have been.

If Manning had been monitored after he was demoted, it is possible that this whole situation could have been avoided. It was apparent that his behavior was erratic and should have been flagged. Kabay and Robertson (2009) noted that managers who identify early signs of trouble in an employee may be able to prevent more serious problems later.
An analysis of the WikiLeaks incident also indicates that a lack of security awareness was a factor that may have contributed to Manning’s ability to leak the documents. Manning noted that the room he worked in was so small that people could hardly move without bumping into one another (Fishman, 2011). Yet somehow in this tiny room, Manning was able to download hundreds of thousands of documents onto CD-RWs without anyone noticing. In addition, it seems as if Manning was downloading documents that did not have anything to do with his job as an intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq. Among the documents that he downloaded and sent to Assange was a classified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykavik, Iceland (Hansen, 2011). Surely if Manning’s fellow analysts had noticed that he was viewing and downloading documents that had nothing to do with his job, they might have been able to prevent the leak of the documents to WikiLeaks by reporting Manning’s actions to their superior officers.

As a result, a security awareness program may have been able to prevent Manning from leaking the documents to WikiLeaks. Such a program could have taught intelligence analysts or anyone dealing with sensitive documents to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior, such as people downloading documents that are not related to their jobs, as well as people downloading an unusually large numbers of files.

As important as a security awareness program is, such a program would likely be a failure unless soldiers agreed to take the necessary steps to protect sensitive information. The environment that Manning and his fellow intelligence analysts were working in likely made that difficult. Intelligence analysts stationed in Iraq were working 14 hours per day and had little time off for recreation, and as a result had stopped caring about information security (Hansen, 2011). Perhaps if the Army was able to recruit more intelligence analysts, its existing analysts would not get so burned out in their jobs and would thus be more inclined to care about information security.

Physical security also seems to have been an issue in the WikiLeaks case. For instance, the physical security of the room that housed servers that stored the confidential information Manning leaked was lax (Hansen, 2011). There was a five-digit cipher lock on the door to this room, though Manning said that this security measure could be bypassed by simply knocking on the door (Hansen, 2011). Perhaps if the Army had a policy in place that prohibited such behavior, the leak could have been prevented. In addition, the Army should require anyone who enters a room containing computers that store sensitive information to provide identification that displays their job code and proves that they have a reason to be there. Soldiers should also sign a log with the time they visited so that their visits are matched with any activity that may have happened on the servers.

Finally, the Army may have been able to prevent the leak by acting on the warning signs that Manning himself exhibited. For instance, Manning was referred to a psychologist several months before he was arrested because of concerns about his mental health (Fantz, 2011). After evaluating Manning, the psychologist determined that he posed a danger to himself and others (Fantz, 2011). The psychologist later said that he did not remember why he did not check a box on a form that would have revoked Manning’s security clearance (Fantz, 2011). Manning’s security clearance would have been revoked had the psychologist recommended it (Fantz, 2011). If Manning’s security clearance had been revoked after all the troubling signs that he displayed, he may have been prevented from leaking the documents to Assange.

 

 

 

 

References

Aamoth, D. (2010, Dec. 10). Military outlaws blank CDs and thumb drives to prevent leaks. Time Techland. Retrieved from http://techland.time.com

All-Source Intelligence. (n.d.). In About.com US Military. Retrieved from http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/generalinfo/g/alsoin.htm

Fantz, A. (2011, Dec. 8). Defense: Military failed to heed warnings Manning was unstable. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/

Fishman, S. (2011, Jul 3). Bradley Manning’s Army of One. New York Magazine. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/news/features/bradley-manning-2011-7/

Hansen, E. (2011, July 13). Manning-Lamo chat logs revealed. Wired.com. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/

Kabay, M.E., & Robertson, B. (2009). Employment practices and policies. In Bosworth, et al (Eds.), Computer security handbook. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Nakashima, E. (2010, June 10). Despondent words from an alleged hacker. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/

Office of The President of the United States. (2009, Dec 29). Executive Order 13526- Classified National Security Information. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-classified-national-security-information

Poulsen, K. & Zetter, K. (2010, Jun 10). “I Can’t Believe What I’m Confessing to You”: The Wikileaks Chats. Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-chat/

United States Army. (2012). Intelligence Analyst (35F). Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/intelligence-and-combat-support/intelligence-analyst.html

US Army Signal Center. (2012). Security Plus Course. Retrieved from Information Assurance Training Center: https://ia.signal.army.mil/FtDetrick/sec_plus.asp

USMEPCOM: United States Military Entrance Processing Command. (2012). Oklahoma City MEPS. Retrieved from http://www.mepcom.army.mil/meps/oklahomacity/index.html

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Nuclear Weapons, Deterrance, and International Law

 

Is current international policy enough to control the use of nuclear weapons to prevent a future catastrophe?

 

Prologue

This course has helped me to understand more about international policy and also has brought me to the realization that although there are international laws in place, there are many unstable nations who do not follow them or are not party to them.  With the recent news of North Korea and the threat of nuclear weapons, I have to wonder what our own specific policy is about deterrence and retaliation.

In my career as a U.S. military war planner; I work with an array of different career fields within the military.  One of which is the Air Force missileer.  Upon considering the topic of Nuclear Weapons for this research paper, I questioned one of our missileers, about the U.S. policy toward the use of nuclear weapons.  The missileer deals with a pretty ugly reality every day.  They sit in a guarded missile silo next to a nuclear weapon with their finger on the trigger (so to speak), and they wait for a phone call on a direct line from somewhere very high in our chain of command.  Because of their ability to use a specific checklist and fire this weapon, they must understand very well the circumstances for which that weapon might be fired and what the exact target is.  I asked the officer I was interviewing if he was nervous sitting in this position everyday or if he expected nothing to come of it.  He explained that he wasn’t exactly nervous but there was always a reason, sitting in such a position, to remain vigilant and understand the importance of your duty.  My next burning question was “in what situation would you actually have to fire the weapon?”  Of course there are many reasons he could not share because of classification but the short answer was that the weapon would only be used if we were fired upon first or if we had confirmation that we were in imminent danger of being destroyed.

It is upsetting to think that our nation would ever have to use a nuclear weapon, but it is even more devastating to think we would use it in retaliation even though we already knew our own destroyed fate.  Can you imagine being in this man’s position should this ever happen?  You are firing a weapon you know will have catastrophic consequences for its target and yet you also know you will most likely meet your own fate somewhere in the near future.

Stated best in a quote by Author Hans Bethe “If we fight a war and win it with H-bombs, what history will remember is not the ideals we were fighting for but the methods we used to accomplish them. These methods will be compared to the warfare of Genghis Khan who ruthlessly killed every last inhabitant of Persia (Bethe, 1991).”  A weapon of this sort does not discriminate; there is no strategic military target involved.  There will be dire consequences for many innocent people that are definitely non-combatants.  This goes against every international law in place to protect humanity.  I’m sure there must be a plan in place somewhere within International Policy, to prevent this from happening.  Have we not learned anything from history?  This is what I intend to find out through research and hopefully reach a better conclusion and understanding of nuclear weapons, deterrence and international law.

 

Introduction

History has shown that the use of nuclear weapons can cause catastrophic harm to an entire nation and therefore the subject of nuclear weapons policy is important in terms of International Law as well as the control of these weapons and the questions of morality associated with their use.  Is current international policy enough to control the use of nuclear weapons to prevent a future catastrophe?

 

Background

It is first important to define some of the terminology behind nuclear weapons and warfare such as the definition of a nuclear weapon versus a conventional weapon and also nuclear war versus conventional war.

            -The Nuclear Weapon

Simply put, nuclear weapons are weapons that release energy through atomic reactions rather than chemical reactions. There are many different names for nuclear weapons such as atomic bombs (A-bombs), hydrogen bombs (H-bombs), nuclear weapons, fission bombs, fusion bombs, and thermonuclear weapons but what they all have in common is that they require nuclear fission to initiate the explosive release of energy.  Nuclear weapons are either fission fueled, such as the atomic bomb, or fusion fueled, such as the hydrogen bomb.  Each of these weapons generates an explosive reaction from the interaction between atoms however hydrogen bombs are distinguishable by the isotopes of hydrogen involved in that atomic reaction.  Fusion weapons such as the H-bomb are also called “thermonuclear weapons” because high temperatures are required for the fusion reactions to occur (Sublette, 2001).

Nuclear weapons come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be delivered by artillery, plane, ship, or ballistic missile (ICBM); some can also fit inside a suitcase. “Tactical nuclear weapons can have the explosive power of a fraction of a kiloton (one kiloton equals 1,000 tons of TNT); while strategic nuclear weapons can produce thousands of kilotons of explosive force (“Nuclear Weapons”, 2008)”.

Nuclear technology is the most destructive ever developed and therefore controlling the technology is of utmost importance to the human race.  As explained by author Carey Sublette in his introduction to the frequently asked questions about nuclear weapons: “The topic is complex and technical: steeped in physics, mathematics, and esoteric engineering. Born in war, the subject has been highly classified from the beginning making it even more inaccessible. Yet this complexity and secrecy has not prevented their acquisition by any nation with an industrial infrastructure advanced enough to build them, and a matching desire. The obstacle to would-be members to the nuclear club has not been discovering how they work, but simply obtaining the tools and materials to make them.

During the Cold War immense empires devoted to the development, manufacture, and potential use of these weapons developed in the United States and Soviet Union. Although motivated by the natural desire for self-protection, much that occurred within these secret enclaves was less than noble. Political posturing, personal ambition, profiteering, and plain carelessness all had their role in deciding the expenditure of staggering amounts of public funds, the exposure of millions of people to risk and injury, and the creation of products and by-products that will burden future generations. Secrecy has been used as a screen from accountability, a tool for personal advancement, and an insider’s weapon against challenges as often as a genuine means for protecting national security (Sublette, 2001).”

-Nuclear Warfare vs. Conventional Warfare

            The primary differences between nuclear and conventional warfare are the weapons utilized and the objectives involved.  Conventional weapons are those weapons that are not chemical, biological or nuclear in nature.  These types of weapons can be aimed and fired at the opposing enemy or a legal military target.  Conventional warfare is defined as “armed conflicts openly waged by one state against another by means of their regular armies (Creveld, 2004).”  During conventional warfare, the objective is to weaken or destroy the opposing military allowing surrender and victory.

Nuclear warfare uses highly destructive nuclear weapons.  There cannot be an objective of conventional means to destroy a specific opposing force or target because a nuclear weapon cannot be employed in a proportional manner.  The long term effects of the use of a nuclear weapon can last years versus the immediate effects of a conventional weapon.  Nuclear warfare can be called unconventional because it does not follow the “rules” of conventional warfare and the tactics used will destroy illegal targets such as innocent civilians as well as legal ones.  There can be no justification for using nuclear force that is within the boundaries of just warfare.

 

History

The nuclear era began with the Manhattan Project, the secret American effort during World War II to construct an atomic bomb (Rezelman, 2003). After the discovery of fission many physicists realized the potential danger of the technology associated with atomic energy.  One physicist in particular, Leo Szilard, is considered the inventor of the atomic bomb.  Szilard led a team under President Roosevelt to test the capabilities of this new technology and the possibility of creating a bomb.  As German armies advanced through Europe during the war, many scientists thought it only a matter of time before the United States would be involved and this brought on the acceleration of the project.  On December 7th, 1941 Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor forcing U.S. involvement on the Pacific and European fronts.  President Roosevelt gave the approval for the project to construct the atomic bomb.  During this time, there was also the fear that other countries, such as Nazi Germany, held similar technologies and were also attempting to create nuclear weapons and this essentially created a race to see who might use it first to affect the war.  For construction and security purposes, the project was turned over to the Army Corps of Engineers under the leadership of Colonel Richard Groves.  “With the successful Allied landings in France on “D-Day,” June 6, 1944, the war in Europe appeared to be entering its final phase.  Germany ceased to be the primary intended target.  General Groves and his advisers turned their sights on Japan, and the rush was on to complete the atomic bomb in time to end the war in the Pacific (US Dept of Energy, 2003)”.

The first test of the atomic bomb was in New Mexico in 1945.  The explosion and effects were much larger than anyone had anticipated.  “Los Alamos scientists agreed that the blast had been the equivalent of between 15,000 and 20,000 tons of TNT, higher than generally had been predicted.  Groves reported that glass shattered 125 miles away, that the fireball was brighter than several suns at midday, and that the steel tower had been vaporized (US Dept of Energy, 2003).”  Reports of the tests were handed over to President Truman who was currently at Potsdam in talks with the Soviet Union who had similar technology and were at the head of the pack in the nuclear arms race.  After it was clear that the Japanese would not surrender and that the Soviet Union under Stalin was not yet ready to declare war, Truman approved the use of the non-tested bomb on Hiroshima and to use additional bombs on Nagasaki as soon as they became available.

The bombs were delivered by aircraft on 6 and 9 August to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and on 10 August, Japan surrendered.  The U.S. celebrated the end of the war but was also in shock of the “terrifying power of this new class of weaponry”.  The reactions to the bomb varied greatly and many feared that the next world war could mean the “literal extinction of humankind, and to witnesses of two world wars in the space of three decades, a third world war seemed a virtual inevitability”.  Some thought that the “atomic world” might force creation of a world government, end war altogether, or that the new technology might be able to end disease and provide unlimited electricity.  Although the first two dreams of the atomic world were never realized, nuclear energy eventually did help to fight cancer and generate electricity. The bomb did have long lasting effects on American culture. “By the early 1950s even schoolchildren were instructed by a cartoon turtle that they “must be ready every day, all the time, to do the right thing if the atomic bomb explodes: duck and cover (Rezelman, 2003)!”

Even the devastating effects of the bombing of Japan did not end the nuclear arms race. There was hope by military leaders that an American monopoly on these weapons would deter any possible enemies in the near future but with the spread of technology and the Soviet Union also soon able to create weapons, any monopoly would be short lived.   Nuclear theorists developed deterrence theories and it seemed preventing war was more important than winning one.  When the Soviet Union started atomic testing in 1949, the United States felt it even more necessary to stay ahead and President Truman approved the development of a hydrogen bomb.  The h-bomb had even worse possible consequences than the atomic bomb.  In 1957, the Soviet Union came out ahead with the release of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).  The ICBM allowed an attack to be initiated in minutes versus the hours it had previously taken to load a weapon on an airplane.  The U.S. soon developed their own ICBMs and it was soon clear by leaders on both sides that neither superpower could “hope to escape unacceptable damage to its homeland (Rezelman, 2003)”.

The arms race continued into the 1970’s as each side realized that the slightest bit of new technology could remove the chance of retaliation by the other side causing the need for a “second strike” capability, thus ensuring the deterrent of “Mutual Assured Destruction” or MAD. The US created a “strategic nuclear triad” using intercontinental bombers, land-based ICBMs, and submarines equipped with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.  Soon after ICBMs with multiple warheads that had the ability to destroy the enemy’s weapons while still in their hardened silo’s were created. There was also the threat of antiballistic missile (ABM) systems, these weapons were to be used to fire at other weapons, but because of the “possibly destabilizing nature of a partially effective defense” both sides signed the ABM Treaty to prevent the other from moving further with the systems. The biggest concern was that the weapons had become so commonly available during the 60’s and 70’s that they were being deployed with military troops with the intention of using them in tactical roles.  The reality was that any combatant could now be the victim of a nuclear attack.  A ground assault by the Soviet Union against Western Europe was a particular concern because this type of attack could potentially wipe out civilization in the area and could not be called a “successful” defense (Rezelman, 2003).

It seemed many in the US and Europe in the 1980’s thought that a nuclear freeze might be the answer to this never ending saga.  President Ronald Reagan challenged the logic of “MAD” in 1981 and renewed the ABM debate through his “Strategic Defense Initiative.”  The arms race finally ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

As Martin Van Creveld explains in his discussion paper about modern conventional warfare, nuclear weapons capabilities are now quite commonplace in the international community.  “Since 1945, when the first two atomic bombs were dropped, the number of countries with nuclear weapons in their arsenals has increased from just one to ten; namely, the US; Russia; Britain; France; Russia; China; India; Pakistan; Israel, and North Korea.  At least as many countries are capable of producing them quickly should they want to do so, and will presumably do so if they feel that their security is seriously threatened. Out of those, several are working in this direction even now and are expected to go nuclear in the near future. In fact, by the early twenty first century any country sufficiently developed to build and maintain considerable conventional armed forces should also be capable of begging, stealing, or manufacturing nukes (Creveld, 2004)”.  Governments are now more concerned less with the idea of nuclear war and more with the acquisition of nuclear weapons by “rogue states” such as Iraq and North Korea (Rezelman, 2003).  It is for this reason that international policy on nuclear weapons and warfare is necessary.

 

International Law

            The threat of the possible consequences of an increasing number of states developing or acquiring nuclear weapons over the years has caused policymakers and diplomats alike to pursue international law as a means of controlling that threat (Graham, 2000).  As a result there have been many treaties and agreements between nations over the years, some an attempt to control testing and use and others to create nuclear weapons free zones and limits on the use of nuclear energy.  There have also been defense and missile treaties as well as international agreements to promote human rights and peace.

-Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

“International law, as it relates to the control and spread of nuclear weapons, consists of a collection of largely Cold War-era treaties predicated on the belief that both the spread and existence of large arsenals of nuclear weapons represent a threat to international peace and security. More importantly, these agreements, particularly those in the 1970s that placed limits on U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals, were based on the idea that nuclear arms limitations and arms reductions could not be undertaken unless done verifiably and in parallel (Graham, 2000)”.

            One of the most significant treaties is the United Nations nuclear non-proliferation treaty.  This treaty was signed in 1970 and all five nuclear weapon states as well as 187 parties have joined the treaty.  The objective of the treaty is “is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament (UN Department for Disarmament Affairs, 2002)”.  To further the efforts of non-proliferation and build confidence of treaty members, a system of checks and balances was put in place in the form of inspections conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  The IAEA inspects for compliance with the treaty and also ensures the security of fissile materials that could be used to create weapons.  In 1991 it was decided upon review that the treaty should remain in force indefinitely.  Although there has not been another nuclear attack equal to that of the atomic bomb on Japan, the treaty seems to have failed in its attempt to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons technology.

-Nuclear Weapon Free Zones

“Nuclear Weapon Free Zones (NWFZs) at a minimum prohibit the stationing, testing, use, and development of nuclear weapons inside a particular geographical region, whether that is a single state, a region, or area governed solely by international agreements. They have been identified in many fora, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the UN General Assembly, as being positive steps towards nuclear disarmament (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 2009).”

Single state zones can be declared through legislation, declarations or constitutions.  Mongolia and Austria have declared themselves as weapons free zones using legislation without the use of treaties while New Zealand and the Philippines have signed a treaty but have also used domestic legislation to go above and beyond the requirements of the treaties they are party to.  The local legislation in Mongolia and Austria prohibits the storage, manufacture or testing of nuclear weapons within their territories but unfortunately it does not serve as a formal agreement from non-weapon states to respect their weapons free status.  Mongolia is hoping to achieve some international recognition of its weapons free status through a formal agreement.  Other single state zones located on or surrounded by water, such as New Zealand, have set domestic legislation to prohibit any ships which are carrying nuclear materials from entering their waters and also aircraft carrying nuclear weapons from landing in their territory which goes beyond New Zealand’s regional requirements under the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 2009).

Regional zones are weapons free zones formed by agreements from more than one state.  There are currently five regional NWFZs established by treaty.  “The provisions of each zone vary with the language of each respective treaty; however each treaty prohibits the manufacture, production, possession, testing, acquisition, and receipt of nuclear weapons (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 2009).”  Each of the treaties also requires each non-weapon state to sign a protocol that lays out specific negative security assurances and respect for the NWFZ.

The five regional zone treaties cover the areas of Latin America and the Caribbean through the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the South Pacific through the Treaty of Rarotonga, Southeast Asia through the Treaty of Bangkok, Africa through the Treaty of Pelindaba, and the Sea Bed, Outer Space and the Antarctic through their respective treaties.  Each of the regions has its own drawbacks because although most of the states in the region have signed and ratified the treaties, there are still some states left to sign or ratify in certain areas.  For example, Cuba has not yet ratified the Treaty of Tlatelolco, The United States has yet to ratify the Treaty of Rarotonga, and none of the states have signed the additional protocols that require negative security assurances of the Treaty of Bangkok (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 2009).  The most significant of the regions in current affairs is the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula between Korea and North Korea, signed in January of 1992.  “Under this declaration the two countries agree not to test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons, not to possess nuclear reprocessing or uranium enrichment facilities, and to use nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes.”  However, the treaty has not been enforced because North Korea has threatened to withdraw from the Non-proliferation Treaty.

It is clear that although the Nuclear Weapons Free Zones are a step in the right direction, the issues that face them such as the single state zones not receiving negative security assurances from non-weapon states and the regional zones obtaining the full ratification of their treaties and the transit of material through international waters in these zones remain a problem.  It seems in the case of the non-proliferation treaty as well as the weapons free zones, that the current laws in place are not enough to prevent further actions in regards to nuclear weapons and materials and that it was necessary for the United Nations to turn to the International Court of Justice for an opinion on the matter.

-Legality of Nuclear Weapons

The piece of the puzzle that seems to be missing thus far is the issue of the overall legality of the use of nuclear weapons in terms of international law.  It is excellent that the international community had the idea thus far of attempting to prevent the further use of nuclear weapons through avenues such as the non-proliferation treaty, but is the use of nuclear weapons legal?

On December 20th of 1994, the UN Secretary General requested that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) answer the question “Is the threat or use of nuclear weapons in any circumstance permitted under international law?”  The court first determined that they held the necessary jurisdiction to reply to the request, which was granted because the charter required the requestor to have authorization from the United Nations.  Next the court questioned the “compatibility of the threat or use of nuclear weapons with international law” and decided that any political motives behind the request were “irrelevant to the establishment of its jurisdiction to give an opinion (Bello & Bekker, 1997).”  After it was decided that the court would make a judgment, the results were delivered.

“The court held: (A) that neither customary nor conventional international law specifically authorizes the threat or use of nuclear weapons; (B) that international law comprehensivley and universally prohibits the threat or use of nuclear weapons; (C) a threat or force by means of nuclear weapons that is contrary to Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN Charter and that fails to meet all the requirements of Article 51 is unlawful; (D) that a threat or use of nuclear weapons should be compatible with the requirements of the international law applicable in armed conflict (including international humanitarian law) and specific obligations under treaties and other undertakings expressly dealing with nuclear weapons; (E)that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law, but that in view of the current state of international law and the facts before the Court, it could not conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a state would be at stake; and (F) that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under international control (Bello & Bekker, 1997).”

The court concluded that after all the recent world summits to talk of environmental and human security concerns, that is was important that a new level of cooperation was reached and that the UN should declare the first ten years of the twenty first century in creation of a “culture of peace.”  It was quoted by Attorney Jonathan Granoff:  “The moral experience of shame has been placed in us along with the moral sensibility of revulsion. What right do we have to organize ourselves such that we might give human beings the Sophie’s choice of ending all life on the planet in order to save a human creation, the state. As General Omar Bradley stated, “We live in an age of nuclear giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on the Mount. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than we know about living (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 2009).”

The rulings of the court give us the understanding that although the use of nuclear weapons is clearly inhumane and not within the confines of customary or conventional international law, that it cannot make a decision on complete disarmament because use might be legal under extreme circumstances.  Therefore, with this final judgment, the court has given us permission to keep producing, storing and distributing nuclear weapons just incase we might need them in an extreme circumstance.  Each states obligations under any treaty or international law are left to their own understanding and intentions.

 

Conclusion

            Attempts to control the use and spread of nuclear weapons have failed under any treaty or law.  It is clear that the international community understands the seriousness of the use and threat of these weapons but that they refuse to take necessary steps toward disarmament.  The steps that have been taken thus far have been successful on some fronts but in the long run we are in the same position we were in after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Each state that is party to a treaty has agreed to disagree because treaties have not been fully enforced.

The answer to the issue is definitely not clear cut.  Further actions may need to be taken by the weapons states to agree on disarmament and ultimately the destruction of weapons; however with rogue states holding weapons it may be hard for weapons states to disarm themselves first.  It is then fair to disarm a rogue state with the “promise” of destroying any existing weapons held by declared weapons states afterwards?  The reality is that because the technology exists there is always an ability to create a weapon, no matter how many are destroyed.  Therefore, it is clear we cannot prevent the repeat of a nuclear attack or a nuclear war and although it is important to have international law and treaties to police our current affairs and situation, international law is not enough to prevent further actions from taking place only to warn us of possible threats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

“Nuclear Weapons”. (2008). Retrieved August 11, 2009, from The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition: http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/nuclear_weapons.aspx

Bello, J. H., & Bekker, P. (1997). Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons. The American Journal of International Law. Vol. 91, No. 1 , 126-133.

Bethe, H. (1991). The Road from Los Alamos. New York: The American Institute of Physics.

Creveld, M. (2004, May 25). Modern Conventional Warfare: An Overview. Retrieved August 11, 2009, from National Intelligence Council: http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2020_2004_05_25_intro.html

Graham, T. J. (2000). International law and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics .

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. (2009). Treaties. Retrieved August 11, 2009, from Nuclear Files.org: http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/library/treaties/

Rezelman, D. (2003). “Nuclear Weapons.” . Retrieved August 11, 2009, from Dictionary of American History: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401803030.html

Sublette, C. (2001, August 9). A guide to Nuclear Weapons. Retrieved August 11, 2009, from The Nuclear Weapon Archive: http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/

UN Department for Disarmament Affairs. (2002). Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Retrieved august 11, 2009, from UN.org: http://www.un.org/Depts/dda/WMD/treaty/

US Dept of Energy. (2003). The Manhattan Project. Retrieved August 11, 2009, from USDOE Office of History and Heritage Resources: http://www.cfo.doe.gov/me70/manhattan/

 

 

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Should the Air Force explore the use of synthetic fuels?

The U.S Air Force seeks more Economical Fuel Sources

By Amy Wees

June 9, 2008

            No one is unaware of the recent skyrocketing fuel costs and with the U.S military being the countries largest single consumer of oil it is no surprise that the department of defense is looking for ways to somehow fit this expensive fuel into its already expensive wartime budget.  The answer is in synthetic fuels.  If the Air Force can get its gas guzzling aircraft to run on synthetic alternative fuel our military might be able to meet budget requirements in the future.  So with help from some contracting experts in this arena we see the testing begin.

The exploration of using synthetic fuels began when the fight over oil caused fuel prices to skyrocket and cost the military billions to fly everyday aircraft needed for our current wartime situation.  Not to mention with our enemies having a handle on most of this oil and our military needing so much of it poses a severe and apparent disadvantage.  Something needed to be done to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.  Therefore, military officials decided to explore the use of alternative fuels by sending out a contract solicitation for just that.  Although these synthetic fuels would cost more to manufacture in the beginning because they are not mass produced, the military is hoping to be the lead in helping America to gain an interest in this new eventually lower cost fuel alternative.  To do this, in Spring of 2006 a contract was awarded to aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing Corp. and the Pratt & Whitney engine unit of United Technologies Corp. and North American synthetic-fuel processors including Rentech Inc., Baard Energy and Syntroleum Corp.  All of these corporations operate or hope to build synthetic-fuel refineries to feed the military’s growing thirst.   The Air Force in particular is hoping to purchase up to 400 million gallons of synthetic fuel by 2016.

In June 2006, Syntroleum Corp sold the Air Force 100,000 gallons of synthetic fuel to test the B-52 bomber for flight at a very high price of 20 dollars per gallon.  Although the price was outstanding, the results of the flight were unprecedented as a B-52 was the first ever aircraft to fly using the alternative fuel burning in 2 of its 8 engines.  After the success of this flight, military officials want to explore this idea further.  Synthetic fuels are now being prepared to test with the even faster fighter jets in the U.S Air Force inventory.  In March 2008, the first flight test began with a B-1 bomber jet flight breaking the sound barrier using synthetic fuels.  Commercial airliners are also now beginning testing and the Army is requesting alternative fuels for its heavier vehicles to include hybrid humvees.  This is all for very good reason, although the price of synthetic fuels is now 50 percent more than the price of oil, experts estimate that if produced in commercial scale, refineries would be able to sell the fuel for less than  half the cost of crude oil.

For the contractors, preparing this much fuel has not been easy.  Rentech is in the process of building a new facility in Colorado to support the production needs but this facility will only be able to produce small scale samples and Syntroleum, who was able to produce the fuel for the current testing has since shut down their production facility.  Baard energy of Vancouver is spending 6 million to produce the first commercial-scale production facility in the U.S. to support the militaries request.    It is expensive for these companies to produce the needed facilities and without a market for the product it is also hard to convince the corporations to make the investment.  Engines are also being built specifically to support the new fuels.   At Department of Defense direction, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce PLC, Honeywell International Inc. and General Electric Co. will work together to develop joint specifications for engine performances using artificial fuels.

This is the wave of the future, or is it?  The world will be waiting to see if America can lead the way in synthetic fuel usage.  We can only hope that the solicited contractors seek the benefit to their investments in commercial-scale production facilities.  Perhaps the expensive investment now will be a potential payoff for their corporations and for the American people at the gas pumps in the future.

Bibliography

Yochi J. Dreason, “U.S Military Launches Alternate Fuel Push,” Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2008.

Donna Miles, “Military Looks to Synthetics, Conservation to Cut Fuel Bills,” American Forces Press Service, Jun 6, 2008 (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=50131).

Gary Gamino, “ Syntroleum Signs Contract to Deliver Renewable Alternative Jet Fuel to U.S. Department of Defense,” Business Wire, July 9, 2007 (http://www.syntroleum.com/pr_individualpressrelease.aspx?NewsID=1023522).

 

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Synthetic Fuels: the answer to the fuel crisis for the military and America

Synthetic Fuels: the answer to the fuel crisis for the military and America

By Amy Wees

Date: November 14, 2008

            Most Americans are very aware of the recent skyrocketing fuel costs and the political concentration on the use of foreign oil consequently weakening the U.S. dollar.  With the U.S. military being the country’s largest single consumer of oil it is no surprise that the department of defense is looking for ways to somehow fit this expensive fuel into its already expensive wartime budget.  To put this in perspective, the military consumes 340,000 barrels of oil daily (Dreason, 2006) and every time the price of oil rises by one dollar per barrel, it costs the military $130 million (Miles, 2008).  The answer is in synthetic fuels.  If the Air Force can get its gas guzzling aircraft off the ground using synthetic alternative fuels our military may be able to meet budget requirements in the future as well as lead the way to alternative fuel use in America.  So with some help from contracting experts in this arena the testing began.

The exploration of using synthetic fuels began when the fight over foreign oil caused oil prices to skyrocket and in turn cost the military billions more dollars in order to fly the everyday air missions needed for the current wartime situation.  Not to mention with America’s enemies having a handle on most of the oil and our military requiring such a large amount of it, a severe threat and apparent disadvantage is posed.  Something needed to be done to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.  Therefore military officials decided to explore the use of alternative fuels by sending out a contract solicitation for the need.  Although these synthetic fuels would cost more to manufacture in the beginning because they are not mass produced the military was hoping to be the lead in helping America to gain an interest in this new, eventually lower cost, fuel alternative.  To accomplish this goal a contract was awarded in spring of 2006 to aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing Corp., The Pratt & Whitney engine unit of United Technologies Corp., and North American synthetic-fuel processors including Rentech Inc., Baard Energy, and Syntroleum Corp.  All of these corporations currently operate synthetic-fuel refineries or hope to build refineries in the near future to feed the military’s growing thirst.   The Air Force in particular is hoping to purchase up to 400 million gallons of synthetic fuel by 2016.  (Dreason, 2008)

In June of 2006 Syntroleum Corp sold the Air Force 100,000 gallons of synthetic fuel at the very high price of twenty dollars per gallon to test the B-52 bomber for flight with the new fuel.  Although the price was outstanding the results of the flight were unprecedented as a B-52 was the first ever aircraft to fly using alternative fuel burning in two of its eight engines.  After the success of this flight military officials were eager to explore the idea further.  Synthetic fuels are now being prepared to test with the faster and higher fuel burning fighter jets in the U.S Air Force inventory.  In March of 2008 the first test began using a B-1 bomber jet that broke the sound barrier using synthetic fuels. (Gamino, 2007)  Commercial airliners are also now beginning testing and the Army is requesting alternative fuels for its heavier vehicles to include requests for hybrid humvees.  This is all for very good reason because even though the price of synthetic fuels is now fifty percent more than the price of oil, experts estimate that if produced in commercial scale refineries would be able to sell the fuel for less than  half the cost of crude oil.  (Dreason, 2008)

For the contractors preparing this much fuel has not been easy.  Rentech is in the process of building a new facility in Colorado to support the production needs but this facility will only be able to produce small scale samples.  Syntroleum, who was able to produce the fuel for the current testing, has since shut down their production facility.  The only company with true commitment to the proposal is Baard energy of Vancouver; the company is spending six million dollars to produce the first commercial-scale production facility in the U.S. with the main objective being to support the military’s requests.    It is expensive for these companies to produce the needed facilities and without a market for the product it is also hard to convince the corporations to make the investment.  Engines are also being built specifically to support the new fuels.  At the direction of the Department of Defense, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce PLC, Honeywell International Inc. and General Electric Co. will work together to develop joint specifications for engine performances using artificial fuels.  (Dreason, 2008)

This is the wave of the future, or is it?  The world will be waiting to see if America, specifically our American military, can lead the way in synthetic fuel usage.  We can only hope that the solicited contractors seek the benefit to their investments in commercial-scale production facilities.  Perhaps the expensive investment now will be a potential payoff for their corporations and for the American people at the gas pumps in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Dreason, Y. (May 21, 2008). U.S Military Launches Alternate Fuel Push. Associated Press. Retrieved November 12, 2008 from http://www.military.com/news/article/us-military-launches-alternate-fuel-push.html

Gamino, G. (July 9, 2007). Syntroleum Signs Contract to Deliver Renewable Alternative Jet Fuel to U.S. Department of Defense. Business Wire, Retrieved November 12, 2008 from http://www.syntroleum.com/pr_individualpressrelease.aspx?NewsID=1023522

Miles, D. (June 6, 2008). Military Looks to Synthetics, Conservation to Cut Fuel Bills. American Forces Press Service, Retrieved November 12, 2008 from http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=50131

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