Archive for November, 2009


Moving On (Updated Nov. 24)

Jeremiah “J.J.” Gertler, a former assistant vice president for defense policy at the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), is leaving for a post at the Congressional Research Service.

Gertler, now  a specialist in military aviation at CRS, was already an expert in defense policy, procurement and congressional issues when he joined AIA in 2006. At the trade group he handled policy issues relating to the defense budget, industrial base, military aviation and research and development.

Prior to AIA,  Gertler had more than 20 years experience in academia, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill — including time as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies where he was lead analyst on missile defense and base closure issues. Gertler also was a staffer on the House Armed Services Committee where he worked on the military procurement and missile defense budgets.

A 2003 graduate with distinction from the Naval War College, Gertler also has degrees from Amherst Colle and George Washington University.

For the record, when contacted by 4G War last week Gertler said he was going back to government service but couldn’t say where until his new employers made the announcement.  “But it’s going to be a lot of fun,” he added. He confirmed his new job will be at CRS Nov. 24.

–John M. Doyle (

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Johnny Bivera)


November 21, 2009 at 10:44 am Leave a comment

DEVELOPMENTS (Nov. 17, 2009)


Soft Power
The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting piece on the challeneges facing the just- nominated head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), America’s top foreign assistance program and a key part of efforts to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan.

Counter Insurgency
Fertilizer bombs are now the most lethal weapon used against U.S. and NATO troops in southern Afghanistan, Dexter Filkens reports in a New York Times story on the seizure of half a million pounds of ammonium nitrate and about 2,000 bomb-making devices.

International Crime
Pirates off the coast of Somalia are at it again. Voice of America reports a cargo ship with 22 crew members has been seized.

November 17, 2009 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment


Drone over troubled waters


After more than a year of study, testing and consultation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is finally getting an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that can conduct long endurance patrols over water.

Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine office, an arm of Homeland Security, plans to unveil next month the first of its Predator B unmanned aircraft to be equipped with a maritime radar system allowing it to monitor small surface vessels – the kind that drug cartels and people smugglers use.

The roll out is currently slated for Dec. 7 in Palmdale, California at the Gray Butte Flight Operations Center of Predator manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. Plans are still fluid, however, and the rollout might shift to General Atomics’ Poway, Calif. facility.

The maritime mission Predator will be equipped with Raytheon’s SeaVue Maritime and Overland Surveillance Radar, as well as a Raytheon Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS-B) with electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) tracking capability. The Predator will also have an Automated Identification System (AIS) device allowing the unmanned aircraft’s operators, who will be using a specially-built maritime ground control system, to identify larger vessels equipped with government-required AIS transponders.

Last year CBP Air and Marine – in cooperation with the Air Force and Coast Guard – tested a marinized Predator, flying it from Tyndall Air Force Base down the Gulf Coast to the Florida Keys and back. In that test, CBP and the Coast Guard used a borrowed Air Force Predator equipped with a maritime search radar package from Israeli manufacturer, Elta.

But CBP officials say the flight from Tyndall is too long a commute to effectively patrol Gulf and Caribbean waters for drug and people smugglers – as well as possible terrorist infiltrators. Instead, CBP plans to base the maritime variant at Patrick Air Force Base near Cape Canaveral, Florida.

CBP Air and Marine bills itself as the world’s largest law enforcement air force with 290 aircraft, both fixed wing and rotorcraft — as well as 225 maritime vessels.

CBP Assistant Commissioner Michael Kostelnik, who heads the Air and Marine office, has been pushing for the maritime capability to extend the reach of his fleet of six Predators. Most are based at Sierra Vista, Arizona close to the border with Mexico. But one UAS is located at Grand Forks, North Dakota, near the U.S.-Canadian border.

–John M. Doyle (

November 8, 2009 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment


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