What was Bob Woodward talking about?

Light reading from unclassified DARPA documents


The Threat Activity Recognition and Monitoring (TARM) program will develop an automated capability to reliably capture, identify, and classify human activities in surveillance environments. Currently, these types of activities are identified and analyzed by humans studying real-time and recorded video sequences. TARM technology will dramatically improve the speed and ability to discover and identify anomalous or suspicious terrorist threat-indicative activities. In particular, includes detecting hostile operatives collecting data on deployed forces or DoD facilities at home or abroad. The capability to automatically identify and classify anomalous or suspicious terrorist threat- indicative activities will both greatly enhance force protection initiatives by providing increased warning for asymmetric attacks, and it will increase the reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities for intelligence and Special Operations Forces.

face recognition experiments is as follows: All face data will be de-identified, and all faces of a person will be given a random identifier. For research experiments, the true identity of a person is not needed. The large-scale experiments would be conducted at a central facility, and face recognition researchers would bring their systems to the facility to perform experiments. The use of a central facility means that experiments can be performed without distributing data. At the conclusion of an experiment, all face images and derived information that could allow for reconstruction of the faces will be deleted and removed from researchers face recognition systems.
The basis of TARM capabilities will be human activity models. The approach will be multisensor and will include video, agile sensors, low-power radar, infrared, and radio frequency tags. The program will produce component technologies, and prototype systems for demonstrating and evaluating performance for multiple scenarios. TARM is a new program for FY 2003 that arose from new research areas identified in the HTID program. In FY 2003, we are developing intelligent activity and monitoring algorithms that are resident in networked sensors. In FY 2004, TARM plans to develop a prototype system of networked sensors that is scalable and extensible.
It will begin to demonstrate and evaluate the prototype system on a series of increasingly challenging scenarios. In FY 2005, we will develop human computer interfaces that are tailored to the demands of different users.


The Hypersonics Flight Demonstration (HyFly) program is developing, and will demonstrate advanced technologies for hypersonic flight. The ultimate goals of the program are to demonstrate a vehicle range of 600 nautical miles with a maximum sustainable cruise speed in excess of six times the speed of sound, and to dispense a submunition.


The High Power Fiber Lasers (HPFL) program will develop and demonstrate single-mode fiber lasers with output powers of nearly one kilowatt from a single aperture. As part of the Department-wide effort to develop high energy lasers for military applications, DARPA is pursuing a unique high power laser approach that uses fiberoptics, similar to those used in telecommunications (but specially prepared), as the lasing medium. This approach will lead to lasers that are much lighter and smaller than existing designs, allowing them to be placed in tactical aircraft, ships, and small ground vehicles. Having a high energy laser of such versatility will greatly enhance the safety of U.S. airmen against surface-to- air missiles, and that of U.S. soldiers against cruise missile attack. Tens of kilowatts output power and capability, to scale to greater than hundreds of kilowatts output power (and beyond), will be demonstrated by coherently combining the output power from multiple fiber lasers. High power fiber lasers will provide a quantum leap in Defense capabilities by simplifying the logistic train and providing a deep magazine, limited only by electric power, in a compact footprint. For theater/area defense and self-protection of combat platforms, these lasers will provide speed-of-light engagement and flexible response against cruise missiles, reconnaissance unmanned air vehicles, rockets, and saturation attack. In FY 2003’s phase I, large mode- field area fiber designs, preform fabrication techniques, and coupling of high brightness laser diode pumps are being developed to demonstrate greater than 100 watt single-mode output power from a fiber laser.

The Jigsaw project is developing a three- dimensional (3-D) imaging laser radar capable of reliably identifying hidden targets through gaps infoliage and camouflage. The Jigsaw sensor will collect high-resolution, 3-D images from multiple viewpoints and combine them to form a composite 3-D image to enable the warfighter to see underneath the canopy and visually recognize targets, day or night. Jigsaw sensor and technology development is focused on application to the Army’s Future Combat Systems. In FY 2001, Jigsaw performed system trade studies to assess the capabilities and performance of candidate laser radar architectures, developed registration and compression algorithms, and created visualization tools. The program also completed a ground-based Jigsaw data collection against vehicles hidden behind a dense stand of trees.
The Jigsaw team successfully demonstrated the ability to register the resulting 3-D images and form a composite 3-D image for vehicle identification. In addition, Jigsaw initiated an end-to-end system modeling and simulation capability for assessing a wide variety of Jigsaw operational scenarios for the Organic Air Vehicle and the Army’s Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle. In FY 2002, two Jigsaw laser radar system design contractors were selected to build prototype Jigsaw sensors for integration on a helicopter. Extensive laboratory system testing was conducted to validate sensor performance.
In FY 2003, contractors will checkout, integrate, test, and fly the prototypes against targets hidden by various densities of foliage, types of camouflage, and deployed in urban settings, such as alleyways and alcoves. If successful, an additional effort will start in FY 2003 to ruggedize and miniaturize the Jigsaw sensor for the Army’s Future Combat Systems.


The research includes four general areas: • Sensors to find targets; • Sensor exploitation systems to identify and track targets; • Command and control systems to plan and manage the use of sensors, platforms, and weapons throughout the battlespace; and • Information technology to tie it all together and ensure the effective dissemination of information.

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) integration time is currently limited by the amount of ground vehicle motion encountered during the synthetic aperture collection time. For space radar systems, this has traditionally meant that SAR had to be accomplished at low earth orbit (LEO) trajectories where the collection time would be much shorter given the high speeds of a LEO satellite.
Although the specifics depend heavily on geometric considerations, medium earth orbit (MEO) SAR imaging intervals can be a factor of approximately eight longer, compared to a LEO alternative.
The longer integration times required at MEO can have a major impact on the quality of the otherwise equivalent SAR image due to the presence of internal motion within the image scene. To achieve equivalent quality imagery, the contribution of the moving targets within the image must be excised. The MEOSAR program will develop techniques to identify moving targets and extract them from the data prior to imaging to avoid the streaking caused by their motions.
The program will develop reliable automated detection of moving targets within SAR imagery using a double thresholding process in interferometric phase and amplitude.
This moving target detection technique can be readily reversed to excise the moving targets from the clutter (image) background. Temporal sub-array processing will demonstrate early detection and rejection of moving targets in sub-array images. The program will develop improved motion detection and removal algorithms, demonstrate their performance on simulated and airborne data, and develop an architectural concept for a MEOSAR system.
This program will transition to the Air Force and STRATCOM in FY 2013.

The Chip-Scale High Energy Atomic Beams program will develop chip-scale high-energy atomic beam technology by developing high- efficiency radio frequency (RF) accelerators, either linear or circular, that can achieve energies of protons and other ions up to a few mega electron volts (MeV).
Chip-scale integration offers precise, micro actuators and high electric field generation at modest power levels that will enable several order of magnitude decreases in the volume needed to accelerate the ions. Furthermore, thermal isolation techniques will enable high efficiency beam to power converters, perhaps making chipscale self-sustained fusion possible.

Urban operations have become an essential part of military and peace-keeping operations. Currently, buildings provide a safe refuge from our reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities.
Technology developed in the Radar Scope program provides a personnel detection device which can detect movement of people through non-metallic walls like concrete, adobe, cinderblock, or drywall.
Some commercial techniques attempt to provide crude imaging of a room’s contents, but are limited by the size and aperture of the device. This program will provide an synthetic aperture imaging capability into a room by sweeping a small handheld system over the face of a wall, an arbitrarily large aperture can be recreated to improve the imaging capability to the physical propagation and dispersion limits of the wall.
This program will transition to the Army in FY 2011.

Get Alerts