Web Posted August 09, 2004
Updated August 09, 2004
Greetings autoduelists. It is August 30th as I finish this issue, which was to be sent out in early July. The next two issues, originally scheduled for August and September, will be sent out over the next two weeks as I will be attempting to get the newsletter back on schedule. This weekend is the third I have had off from work since early May.
During this time, my favorite activity outside of work has been sleep. Although I have been a busy lab rat wandering through mazes for cheese, I have not abandoned gaming as the lack of updates to SWAT HQ or the terrible schedule of this magazine may suggest. While traveling recently, I found some excellent salvage.
During my May trip to Maryland, I revisited Games, Comics and Stuff
(the first time was in November) where I acquired several ADQ issues. While
in Oakland a few weeks ago, I made a return trip to the legendary Gamescape
in San Francisco. There I picked up Formula De Mini, which features a simplied
set of rules that makes teaching Formula De easier. At Games of Berkeley,
another store long-time Car Wars players are
familiar with, I surrendered to gaming impulses and purchased Munchkin Fu. The game is one of the funniest I have played in years.
At Comix Experience, adjacent to Gamescape, I came across the first
issue of The Snake Plissken Chronicles, a new quarterly comic series that
is being produced by CrossGen with John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Snake
himself Kurt Russell. The storyline is sharp and very dark. The second
issue was released on August 6th. Most stores in the Seattle area sold out by August 9th. If you like Snake, you are going to like this series (assuming you can find it).
Two weeks ago, I was able to attend the annual Seattle-based gaming convention Dragonflight. I had a blast playing Munchkin Fu, Dune and Crypt. I had the honor to meet Andrew Hackard, SJ Games Managing Editor. Andrew gave me five minutes of time to talk about <DELETED>, and was extremely courteous.
I also played in two Car Wars events sponsored by Glenn Berry and Mark
Verdeck, two of SWAT's long-lost members. Glenn duelmastered a 1.3X scale
jumping-and-checkpoints event with the arena roads built on water (which
made leaving the arena floor a slight problem for the
participants) Mark brought out his model cars from last year's polodueling event and ran a 6X scale team duel that involved collision after collision with the rammers and rammed continue driving. Thanks, Glenn and Mark. I have already paid my admission for next year's convention,
therefore you can expect me to be a Duelmaster from Hell in 2004 in Seattle.
Also at Dragonflight I had the opportunity to watch The Gamers, a new film released by Washington State-based Dead Gentlemen Productions. I and the other gamers who watched the movie were rolling on the floor laughing. The Gamers is not to be missed. Order the DVD now.
Games, Comics and Stuff
Glen Burnie, MD
San Francisco, CA
Games of Berkeley
San Francisco, CA
Dead Gentlemen Productions: The Gamers
The smoke emerging from the Car Wars factory at SJ Games is no mirage to desert drivers. As announced on Car Wars HQ and mentioned by Andrew Hackard at Dragonflight, the Car Wars Vehicle Design System has been revised and will likely be released to playtesters in the near future.
Because of my discussion with Andrew Hackard, ACE has been pushed back
to the end of this year. ACE will be a fantastic resource to autoduelists,
therefore your wait will be worthwhile. At this time, I am finishing the
very special project for drivers and gunners that will be out in a few
Plans Within Plans
WADA is running on fumes. Its statistics have not been updated since February. I believe I have received results for a few events since then, but I emphasize the word few. If you want WADA to continue, being operated by SWAT or another entity, please give me some feedback.
As I am typing this editorial, I am working on a long-overdue overhaul of the SWAT Web site. I will be uploading the new pages (with removed dead links and a new format) late next week before my trip to Atlanta.
While I do expect to update SWAT HQ at least once a quarter, I am wondering
where SWAT, WADA and CWIN should go from here. It is approaching the end
of the sixth year of CWIN. There are very few active Car Wars gaming groups
(I am aware of) that exist today. Should the reigns of the auto-combat
horse train be handed over entirely to SJ Games with its renewed effort
in Car Wars, or should the fans still run
efforts in parallel with the fortress town of Austin? Do you want CWIN to continue as a monthly magazine, or should its (theoretical) frequency change to bi-monthly or quarterly? Give me some feedback, please.
Until next issue, remember to keep shooting incendiary ammo until your target is burned to ash.
Michael P. Owen
CAR WARS HQ
August 7, 2003: Did You Miss Us?
Well then, you should have sprung for that hi-res targeting computer . . .
A lot has happened in the Car Wars world since we last did an update. The main thing that has happened is . . . nothing has happened. Lots and lots of nothing. Months and months went by without any progress on our end on any of our new products or future plans.
And now . . . well, now we've got this spiffy announcement!
You're not laughing. Put down that flamethrower . . .
Actually, we've got more than that. We've got me -- Scott Haring -- former Car Wars guru, former Autoduel Quarterly editor, author of many original Car Wars products, back in the saddle as Car Wars Line Editor.
And we've got progress on the Vehicle Design System. After taking a step or two back to reevaluate, I wrote a new first draft, which is now finished. Once the Big Bosses give the go-ahead, we'll post it to Pyramid for playtest and put it back on the release schedule.
As for the other announced products -- it's too early to tell. We might do them as currently planned, we might change them, we might scrap them and come up with new ideas. For that, you've got to stay tuned.
Oh, and don't forget . . . Drive Offensively!
August 21, 2003: New Errata
In the course of testing the new Vehicle Design System, we ran every design already published for the new edition of Car Wars to make the sure the new system didn't make any designs invalid. I'm glad to say the system passed, but in the course of checking, I found a couple of small mistakes in the books . . .
So we've updated the errata for the Arena Book 1 and the Division 5 Vehicle Guide -- check the Errata Page for the details.
Car Wars HQ: Errata
THREE ARRESTED IN MISSILE-SMUGGLING CASE
Tuesday, August 12, 2003 Posted: 11:23 PM EDT (0323 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI arrested three people Tuesday for allegedly
smuggling a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile into
the United States as part of a sting, government and law enforcement sources said.
The sting came at the end of a year-long undercover operation in which
U.S. agents, aided by Russian officials, posed as Muslim extremists to
buy the missile, U.S. government sources said.
The weapon arrived from Russia Tuesday afternoon at a port in Newark, New Jersey, with the full knowledge and cooperation of U.S. officials.
Officials said undercover agents received the weapon and arrested the man, identified by a senior U.S. government source as Hekmat Lakhani.
Law enforcement sources described Lakhani as a British citizen of Indian
descent, an independent arms dealer who in the past had sold
weapons to al Qaeda.
Later in the day, authorities arrested two Manhattan gem dealers who
law enforcement sources said were thought to be the "money
launderers" in the case, taking care of the cash between the buyer and the seller.
Shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles have raised concern among government and security officials because their portability makes them easy to use against commercial airliners.
The Department of Homeland Security estimates there are 750,000 shoulder-fired missiles in the world, and they are easy to obtain on the black market.
Each missile weighs about 30 to 40 pounds and could fit inside a golf bag, counterterrorism expert Brian Jenkins told CNN.
While sources could not give a dollar amount for the missile involved
in the sting, they estimated it would probably
sell for about $100,000 on the open market.
Russians, British aided sting
U.S. government sources said the sting operation began after U.S. agents learned of Lakhani, who advertised his ability to buy missiles.
After U.S. agents posing as Muslim extremists approached Lakhani, he made inquiries in Russia about purchasing a missile, the sources said.
Russian authorities became involved and posed undercover with the U.S. agents in several meetings with Lakhani in St. Petersburg and Moscow, the sources said.
With U.S. approval, the Russians provided Lakhani with a Russian-made shoulder-launched SA-18 Igla missile, several U.S. government sources said.
Lakhani arranged for the missile to be shipped to the United States, without explosives, with full knowledge of the United States, the sources said.
Lakhani arrived over the weekend to complete the cash transaction, those sources said. He was expected in federal court in Newark Wednesday around 10 a.m. The other men will appear in federal court in Manhattan.
Besides the Russians, the British also played a large role in the sting, U.S. government sources said. Search warrants in the case were executed Tuesday in Britain, but it was unclear what they yielded, the sources said.
The two gem dealers worked at an office called Ambuy, located on the 12th floor of a building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan's jewelry exchange district, officials said.
One eyewitness said he watched about a dozen FBI agents Tuesday afternoon carry out 32 pieces of evidence, including boxes and filing cabinets, one of which was labeled "Jackie Abrahams," the name of an office across the hall from Ambuy.
Two other men were escorted from the building with bags over their heads,
but the witness identified one of them as a worker at Jackie Abrahams.
Each was put into a separate vehicle and driven away, the witness said.
Failed attempt a 'wake-up call'
A failed attempt in November to shoot down an Israeli charter jet with a shoulder-fired missile as it took off from the airport in Mombasa, Kenya, was a "wake-up call" for U.S. intelligence agencies, several officials said, underscoring the vulnerability of airliners.
The attempt occurred within minutes of an al Qaeda-claimed suicide bombing at a nearby Israeli-owned hotel that killed more than a dozen people, and authorities believe both attacks were coordinated.
The Department of Homeland Security has asked eight government contractors to come up with plans for anti-missile technology that could be put on airliners to prevent a missile strike.
An interagency task force likewise has been assessing additional security measures that can be taken at airports, such as fencing.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said the sting proved the threat to commercial airliners from shoulder-fired missiles "is no longer theoretical."
"The fact that DHS is planning to take at least two years to develop a missile defense prototype to outfit the U.S. commercial fleet verges on the dangerous," said Schumer, who is sponsoring legislation to put anti-missile technology on the U.S. airliners.
"The White House ought to be providing Homeland Security with the money it needs to begin protecting civilian aircraft with jamming devices immediately, before it's too late," he said.
The Bush administration is trying to stem the proliferation of the missiles by encouraging other nations to better control their inventories and by reinstituting buyback programs in some high-risk countries.
The Department of Homeland Security also has been evaluating about a dozen overseas airports to determine their vulnerability to attacks with shoulder-fired missiles. (Full story)
CNN correspondents David Ensor, Jeanne Meserve, Deborah Feyerick and
Kelli Arena and producers Kevin Bohn, Ronnie Berke and Vivienne Foley contributed
to this report.
SOUND AND FURY: SONIC BULLETS TO BE ACOUSTIC WEAPON OF TH FUTURE
By Judy Muller
July 16, 2003
A new technology emits so-called "sonic bullets" along a narrow, intense beam up to 145 decibels, 50 times the human threshold of pain. (ABCNEWS.com)
Anyone who has seen Tom Cruise fire his state-of-the-art sound wave gun at his pursuers in Minority Report no doubt assumes it is a weapon from the arsenal of science fiction. But such a weapon, or at least a less-glamorous version, is scientific fact.
Woody Norris, the CEO of American Technology Corporation and a pioneer in ultrasound technology, has developed a non-lethal acoustic weapon that stopspeople in their tracks.
"[For] most people," said Norris, "even if they plug their ears, it will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine. Some people, it will knock them on their knees."
The device emits so-called "sonic bullets" along a narrow, intense beam up to 145 decibels, 50 times the human threshold of pain. It usually doesn't take that much to stop someone, as we learned in a demonstration in the company parking lot. The acoustic "weapon," in the demonstration model, looks like a huge stereo speaker, except this one sports urban camouflage.
The operator chooses one of many annoying sounds in the computer -- in this case, the high pitched wail of a baby, played backwards -- and aims it at us. At 110 decibels, we were forced to walk out of the beam's path, our ears ringing. Had we stayed longer, Norris said our skulls would literally start to vibrate.
Police departments and the Pentagon are flocking to Norris' headquarters in San Diego to see this revolutionary technology for themselves. The problem with past attempts to make an acoustic weapon is that sound traveled in every direction, affecting the operator, as well. Norris' narrow ultrasound beam takes care of that problem, meaning police could use it to subdue suspects or quell riots, without hurting bystanders or the operator, because the sound is directional.
"Tear gas lingers long after you've fired off the canisters," said Norris.
"This, you switch it off and it's gone. And the damage is only temporary."
Army to Use as Sonic Cannons
The U.S. Army has already ordered its own prototype of the non-lethal acoustic weapon. It will be packaged in a camouflaged cylinder and either be handheld or mounted on an armored car.
Two security experts who were at the company on behalf of the Defense Department said it would be terrific for repelling suicide bombers and for rousting terrorists from their hideouts. Because the sound ricochets in tight, enclosed areas, said retired Marine Col. Peter Dotto, it would make it very uncomfortable for al Qaeda terrorists to stay in Afghan caves.
"They would have to come out," said Dotto, "and they probably would
come out with their hands over their ears so they would be very easy to
subdue at that point."
Practical Uses, Too
Not all the applications of this new technology are pain-inducing. Norris has invented a related acoustic device called the Hypersonic Sound System. Only when he turns the speaker in your direction, do you hear the message. For instance, liquid being poured over ice was the sound requested by a soda company to inspire people within earshot of a vending machine to quench their thirst.
Norris tried out the acoustic beam at a mall near his office and passers-by all stopped to listen when the sound was aimed at them. "That is absolutely amazing," said one woman, "it sounds like the sound is inside your head."
There are dozens of potential commercial uses, from shooing away pesky birds (geese off of golf courses, for example) to directing television sound so it doesn't disturb a sleeping spouse.
Whether friend or "friendly fire," this new technology is likely to
affect almost every aspect of our lives, in ways we can only begin to imagine.
HYDROGEN CARS NOT NEEDED, U.S. EXPERTS SAY
Reuters News Service and CNN
Monday, July 21, 2003
Posted: 11:13 AM EDT (1513 GMT)
WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) -- Two U.S. energy experts cast more doubt on a push to develop hydrogen-powered cars as a means to cut air pollution and reduce oil imports.
Cheaper and faster ways already exist to achieve the same effect, including raising fuel efficiency and toughening environmental standards, David Keith and Alexander Farrell, wrote in the current issue of the journal Science.
"Hydrogen cars are a poor short-term strategy, and it's not even clear that they are a good idea in the long term," Farrell, assistant professor of energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, said Friday in a statement.
"Because the prospects for hydrogen cars are so uncertain, we need to think carefully before we invest all this money and all this public effort in one area."
U.S. President George W. Bush has proposed spending $1.5 billion over five years to spur development by 2020 of cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells in order to cut dependence on imported oil.
The European Commission has said it plans to spend close to $2.3 billion (2.1 billion euros) on hydrogen-related research over the next four years.
Hydrogen is present in water, oil, gas and coal. Supporters of a "hydrogen economy" regard it as a clean source of energy that would cut pollution and the carbon dioxide emissions some scientists link to global warming.
Farrell and Keith, associate professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, noted that hydrogen is derived mostly from oil and coal, which produce substantial carbon dioxide.
They said better fuel efficiency, improvements to car technology and stricter environmental rules could reduce air pollution at less than 100th the cost of hydrogen cars and would be more effective for several decades.
"Automobile manufacturers don't need to invest in anything fancy. A wide number of technologies are already on the shelf," Farrell said. "The cost would be trivial compared to the changes needed to go to a hydrogen car."
Other scientists have also questioned the benefits of hydrogen fuel
cells. Leading environmental groups have also criticized the U.S. government
and Europe for failing to put renewable energy sources such as wind and
solar power at the heart of their hydrogen policies.
'STRYKER' TESTS HOLD HIGH STAKES FOR ARMY -- AND FORT LEWIS
Saturday, June 21, 2003
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Washingtin Bureau
FORT POLK, La. -- Sgt. Johnathan Noel, his goggles down and his jaw firmly set, guns the Army's future down the dusty Louisiana road, spewing a cloud of dirt and pebbles in pursuit of a enemy his onboard computers tell him is lurking nearby.
Noel, who is stationed at Fort Lewis, commands a Stryker combat vehicle, an eight-wheeled, 20-ton armored troop carrier that is more than just the Army's newest piece of hardware in 20 years. Supporters say the Stryker is the critical bridge to a remodeled Army, a force whose commanders think differently and approach combat in remarkable new ways.
And, oh, by the way, some models come with air conditioning.
Noel and thousands of other soldiers from Fort Lewis came to the sticky heat of Louisiana to take part in a sophisticated war game designed to test the Stryker's ability.
"This is transformation in every sense of the word," said Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano, I Corps Commander at Fort Lewis, which is the laboratory for Strykers and where two brigades will be based. "What this is all about is the future. This is the catalyst for the future. This is the catalyst for change."
To its supporters, the Stryker is just that -- a versatile, fast, digitally-connected weapon, physical proof of an Army shorn of its conservative, lumbering Cold War ways for a faster, more lethal force that uses information, computers, sensors and smarts to win rather than brute force. It is built to respond to a world threatened by small skirmishes rather than full-force, frontal attacks.
Inside the Stryker, the crew can fire its weapons without being exposed, thanks to a remote weapon system that resembles a supervideo game. The system offers a real-time view of the outside on a plasma screen, and the weapon is controlled by a joystick. Another plasma screen provides real-time information on the Stryker's position on the battlefield as well as the position of supporting units and the enemy. The icons move on the computer screen in real-time to provide the crew a detailed "situational awareness" that older equipment cannot match.
The first brigade of 309 vehicles and 3,600 troops is expected to go into service at Fort Lewis by early fall. A second brigade is expected to follow next spring.
Yet despite its promise, there are plenty of critics. Among them are senior Army commanders who say the Stryker does not have enough armor, its big tires are vulnerable and its guns are too small. Members of Congress are skeptical that the Stryker is light enough to fit into the smaller C-130 cargo plane. Others, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have waged a campaign to slow -- or derail -- the program for all those reasons and more.
Congress responded to those worries by holding up money for the final two Stryker brigades until the performance of the existing units can be determined. Pentagon officials and members of Congress conceded that the $3 billion need for the final two brigades may never materialize.
The irony, said one Stryker supporter, is that the toughest fight the troop carrier faces will be in Congress rather than any battlefield.
The Army says that Strykers "would provide a capability that the Army did not possess: a rapidly deployable, early-entry combat force that is lethal, survivable, and capable of operating in all types of military operations, from small-scale contingencies to a major theater of war."
It sounds good. But with the conflict in Iraq still fresh in many commanders' minds, they ask how a troop carrier with large tires that is not protected from rocket propelled grenades can operate.
It's not an idle fear. At least two, and perhaps four, of the Army's top-of-the-line, 70-ton, M1A1 Abrams battle tanks were knocked out of service by well-placed shots to their tracks. Strykers, which have eight wheels instead of tank tracks, are lightly armored around the wheels and some experts fear this is a serious vulnerability. The Army says it is examining the concern and developing additional armor.
But that will only add weight.
Gingrich insists Strykers are too heavy and too vulnerable, and he has some influence. He is a member of the influential Defense Policy Board, which provides independent advice on military matters directly to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The 30-member board is stocked with senior military and political officials, including Henry Kissinger, Dan Quayle and former House Speaker Tom Foley. Pentagon officials say Rumsfeld pays close attention to the board's opinions.
Gen. Eric Shinseki, who retired this week as Army chief of staff, and other supporters dismissed Gingrich's complaints as "misinformation." But the criticism was worrisome enough to persuade them to stage a demonstration last fall at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington in which a Stryker rolled out of a C-130 that had just landed.
Weight is a persistent concern. The troop carriers are designed to fit inside a propeller-driven C-130 so they can be taken to remote areas with short and rugged runways. But the maximum payload of a C-130 is 40,000 pounds -- one Stryker.
"The problem is, in order to carry 40,000 pounds it has to offload gas from its tank in its wings, which gives it very short legs," said Rep. James Saxton, R-N.J.
"As a matter of fact, one pilot who was flying a C-130 with a Stryker on board told me ... if we can take off with this load, we may be able to fly to a destination 60 or 100 miles away," he said.
Stryker teams are expected to be able to arrive at a hot spot anywhere in the world within 96 hours, much faster than the weeks that are need to carry heavy tanks and armor. They can cover 300 miles on a tank of gas.
Lt. Col. John Nicholson, who just finished a tour as military assistant to the Army secretary and who is expected to command Fort Lewis' second Stryker brigade, said a commander using Strykers will be able to "make better decisions, faster. He'll be autonomous but part of a larger group, and he will be able to know where everybody else is at all times." Such knowledge and flexibility, he said, will allow the forces of the future to find and exploit weaknesses as never before.
The stakes are very high for senior Army commanders who have stood by the Stryker since the concept was first announced three years ago.
The stakes are equally great for Fort Lewis. If Strykers are as successful as anticipated, Fort Lewis commanders believe the base will become a major laboratory for other initiatives to "transform" the Army.
According to Pentagon planners, Strykers are all things for all purposes -- faster than traditional heavy tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles but better armed than the quick-footed special operations forces.
More important, advocates of the Stryker say the vehicles will help cultivate a new "breed" of commanders. The Stryker brigade, Shinseki said recently, will become a "laboratory to grow new leadership that's going to think about new organizations, new ways of putting together capabilities, new ways of fighting."
The Stryker is actually a family of 10 different vehicles. The basic troop carrier can fit nine soldiers and a crew of two. Another version comes with a 105 mm cannon; a third carries a lethal anti-tank missile system.
With a steering wheel, the Stryker is as easy to drive as a severely bulked up minivan, soldiers say. And for its passengers, it's nothing less than a joyful departure from its tracked predecessor, the M-113A3 armored personnel carrier, that was so rough it often left troops wounded, bruised and exhausted before the battle began.
Another Stryker variant is designed to carry mortars and is supported by a computer-packed variant that identifies targets. All of it is knitted together by the commander's vehicle, which is air conditioned and packed with electronics that allow him to see the entire battlefield in real time. Other variations are specially designed for reconnaissance, to detect and remove mines and overcome obstacles, and finally, one is outfitted as an ambulance that can carry four soldiers at a time.
Even the name plays a multiple role. The vehicles are named in honor of Pfc. Stuart Stryker, who died in World War II, and Spc. 4 Robert Stryker, who was killed in Vietnam. Both earned the Medal of Honor. The two men were not related.
With such dominant voices on both sides, the future of the Stryker program remains in flux. Most observers agree the system will be used. The question is whether all 2,200 will be built and deployed.
Noel, the Stryker commander, understands all of that, but for the moment as he motors down a Louisiana dirt road, the more salient fact is that his Stryker can reach speeds of 60 mph and cover 300 miles faster than anything the Army has, short of a helicopter. Asked if the Stryker lives up to expectations, Noel answers as you'd expect, saying over the roar of the engine: "Roger that." Asked if he was disappointed that the Stryker wasn't certified in time to go to Iraq, he answers again. "Roger that. It would have been perfect over there, especially in northern Iraq."
P-I Washington correspondent Charles Pope can be reached
at 202-263-6461 or email@example.com
STRYKER BRIGADE FROM FORT LEWIS PLANS FOR DEPLOYMENT TO IRAQ
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Page updated at 12:25 A.M
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Army's first Stryker brigade, headquartered at Fort Lewis, will be deployed in October to relieve battle-weary troops in Iraq, defense officials announced yesterday.
The Army's newest and most experimental unit -- built around the medium-armored
Stryker attack vehicles -- has completed field tests but
has yet to be certified for battle, and receive congressional approval.
Fort Lewis spokesman Lt. Col. Stephen Barger said he did not expect certification to be an obstacle.
"It has always been the plan for the unit to be field certified by October, and we're well on our way," Barger said.
The planned deployment is part of a troop-rotation strategy announced yesterday by the Army's top general and includes plans to deploy two National Guard brigades. Gen. John Keane, the acting Army chief of staff, told a Pentagon news conference he had not decided which National Guard brigades would be deployed, but a decision is expected by tomorrow.
There is speculation that the Washington National Guard's 81st Armored Brigade could be among those called. The 3,500-member unit, headquartered at Camp Murray south of Tacoma, was on alert for deployment earlier this year before the alert was canceled.
Washington National Guard officials said yesterday they have not been notified the brigade would be deployed.
About 198,660 reserve and National Guard members are on active duty, including about 3,000 from Washington state.
The rotation plan comes amid increasing pressure to get fresh troops to Iraq. Since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1, U.S. troops have come under daily attacks from guerrilla forces that military officials think are becoming more organized.
Some soldiers and their families also have complained about extended deployments in the region.
There are now 156,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, most of those Army.
The first unit to be relieved will be the Army's 3rd Infantry Division,
which has been in the region since the fall and was among the first to
Baghdad. They will be replaced by elements of the 82nd Airborne Division in September, Keane said.
Also scheduled to depart in September is the 1st Marine Expeditionary
Force, followed by the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in
Keane acknowledged that the Army is "stretched" thin but was still able to meet the requirement for troops in Iraq. He added that he thinks there are critical shortages in some areas.
"We need more infantry, we need more military police, we need more civil affairs," he said. "Those are facts."
Despite extended deployments, Keane said morale was high.
"Our soldiers feel very good about what they're doing," Keane said. "There's a sense of purpose. They know that what they're doing in the global war on terrorism is all about the American people."
Under the new rotation plan, future units going to Iraq will serve one-year tours, Keane said. Exceptions include the National Guard brigades and the newly created Stryker brigade, which will serve six-month tours.
The Stryker brigade will replace the 3rd Armored Calvary Division. A soldier from that division was killed Tuesday after a convoy was attacked with an explosive device between Ar Ramadi and Balal, in the "Sunni triangle" region to the north and west of Baghdad.
Officially designated 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, the 3,500-member unit is the first of six Stryker units being developed and the only one close to battle ready. An additional unit is expected to be fielded each year through 2008.
The brigade, which uses fast-moving wheeled vehicles instead of tanks, is the prototype for future Army combat forces. It is designed to provide more firepower than light-infantry units while being able to strike more rapidly than heavy-armored brigades.
But after some heavy Abrams tanks and Bradley armored fighting vehicles were disabled by rocket-propelled grenades in Iraq, some analysts have questioned whether the Stryker vehicles are too vulnerable.
The General Accounting Office also said in a June report that the Army's expectation of being able to deploy the unit anywhere in the world in four days was unrealistic.
The Fort Lewis unit, which includes 300 Stryker vehicles, underwent extensive field training this summer at the National Training Center in California and the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana.
A Pentagon team is evaluating the results of those exercises and is expected to submit a report to Keane sometime in the fall, which will then be forwarded to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Congress for approval.
Even without certification, Rumsfeld could send the unit to Iraq, said Army officials. Keane said he was confident the brigade is ready for action.
"It's been doing very well," he said of the unit's field exercises.
Ray Rivera: 206-464-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BOEING PLANS TO TEST ELECTRIC PLANE NEXT YEAR
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Aerospace Reporter
Friday, July 11, 2003
Forum: Dueling Debate <http://forums.delphiforums.com/carwars>
Subject: General / D20 Car Wars?
From: Kurt (KALDINGER)
Date: Aug 13, 2003, 1:28 pm
Well, not quite . . .
Fantasy Flight Games: Redline
From: Todd (SIRLOINOBEEF)
Date: Aug 13, 2003, 4:25 pm
Looks like a pretty cool system, if you have the time to devote to a RPG. The "Redliner" (character class) sounds like a good fit for Car Wars. I might buy the book just to read.
-- Todd Goff
Date: Aug 14, 2003, 11:17 am
Looks interesting, but I can't find any sites selling it. I guess maybe it isn't out yet.
Oddly enough, I found a book called Redline Restock, which appears to be an expansion to the game. (It has a different cover, but a similar description.) I can't find any mention of it on the FFG Web site, though.
-- Sean Lambert
From: Todd (SIRLOINOBEEF)
Date: Aug 15, 2003, 6:53 pm
There's a couple on eBay currently.
These d20 books . . . Do you have all the info in the book to play or do you need a d20 sourcebook?
-- Todd Goff
Date: Aug 15, 2003, 11:40 pm
Well, the d20 open gaming license basically lets people put most of the rules in. People with some AD&D experience should be able to figure out the rest. The parts left out are basically character creation, which you need to have the D&D Player's Handbook for.
There is also a System Reference Document (SRD) available (free) at Wizards of the Coast's Web site, which presents all of the material in a very choppy and disconnected format. You are far better-off getting D&D, though, since it has lots of friendly text and examples.
Some of the d20 games are very different than D&D, like d20 Modern, and presumably Redline. From what I understand, they are like a rules overlay, adding rules for guns and cars to D&D, adding and removing races and classes, and those sorts of things.
I e-mailed Fantasy Flight Games, and they said that Redline would be available on their Web site shortly. I haven't checked, but I saw that Warehouse 23 has it. The listings of Redline Restock are apparently an error and are actually the same thing, but I didn't get an explanation for the different cover art between the two titles.
-- Sean Lambert
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Forum: Dueling Debate <http://forums.delphiforums.com/carwars>
Subject: AADA Events and Tournaments / FADA's PBEM Fifth event
Date: Aug 22, 2003, 5:27 am
FADA's fifth PBEM event, "King of the Hill", will start soon.
Our FAQ, rules and event transcriptions are now also available in English.
Deadline for submissions is 31st of August.
-- Thierry Dehais