Saturday, May 26, 2007

IDA's 21st-Century Weapons Research Work

In the 21st-century ‘era of permanent war” and blogging, the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] continues to do weapons research work for the U.S. war machine. On its web site at, IDA revealed, for instance, that after the Pentagon “lost about 100 helicopters from fall 2001 to spring 2005” in Afghanistan and Iraq, it “asked IDA to examine available data and records to identify why the helicopters were lost and to develop options for reducing future losses.”

IDA researchers found that “about one-third” of Pentagon helicopter losses in Afghanistan and Iraq “were due to engagements by enemy forces, which primarily used shoulder-fired missiles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and small arms.” IDA’s weapons research study then “identified several options” for the Pentagon “to improve rotorcraft survivability” in still-occupied Iraq, “including: enhancing the onboard countermeasures suite to counter shoulder-fired missiles; modifying tactics and procedures to minimize exposure to RPGs and small arms;” and “developing a lightweight sensor package integrated with software-based terrain avoidance to improve aircrew performance in degraded environments.”

University of South Carolina President Emeritus John Palms, University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs Professor Edwin Dorn, MIT Institute Professor Sheila Widnall, MIT and Harvard University Broad Institute Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Programs Director Jill Mesirov and Harvard University JFK School of Government Lecturer in Public Policy John White all currently sit on the IDA board of trustees.

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