Army communications tested in New Mexico desert training

From the El Paso Times - by David Burge - DO√ĎA ANA RANGE COMPLEX, N.M. >> Tanks, Bradleys and other armored vehicles rumble through the desert north of the Fort Bliss Garrison.
      Soldiers hurry about, doing their daily duties while immersed in round-the-clock operations designed to replicate realistic combat conditions as closely as possible.
      It is all part of the twice-a-year Network Integration Evaluation which turns the vast Fort Bliss training area into a giant testing ground for the latest Army equipment used mostly for its communications and data networks.
      About 3,800 soldiers from Fort Bliss' 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division are participating in the exercise this month. The idea is to test network and communications equipment under austere conditions using real soldiers in the field, said Col. Jim Crider, deputy commander of the Brigade Modernization Command, which plans and manages the NIE, as it is more commonly called.
      Another 1,200 soldiers and Department of Defense civilian employees from around the Army also came out to support the exercise as data collectors and observer-controllers. New equipment is placed in Army vehicles and is used by soldiers. It is also jostled around as soldiers go about their combat missions during the exercise. More


Marita Noon: EU climate compromise ~ I will if you will

Commentary by Marita Noon - After the 2009 Copenhagen global climate conference failed to produce a legally-binding global treaty to replace the lapsing Kyoto Protocol, climate campaigners are eager to put some kind of win on the board. Therefore, despite threats to veto the deal and discussions that ran into the wee hours, the European Union’s agreement on a new set of climate and energy goals is being heralded as “a new global standard”—though it is really more “I will, if you will.”
      On Thursday October 23, 28 European leaders met at a summit in Brussels to reach a climate deal that would build on previous targets of a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gases, a 20 percent boost in the use of renewable sources, and a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, from the benchmark year of 1990, by 2020.
      Prior to the meeting, countries such as Poland (which wanted to protect its coal industry) and Portugal (which has excess renewable energy that it cannot, currently, export to the rest of Europe) threatened to block the deal. Poorer states in Eastern Europe feared new cuts in carbon output would hurt them economically by slowing business growth. Industrialists complained that the new regulations would discourage business and investment in the bloc, at a time when its faltering economy can ill afford to lose it.
      In an interview with Reuters before the summit, Connie Hedegaard, European Climate Commissioner, declared: “There should not be problems that could not be overcome.” As predicated, a deal was struck—though the current team of commissioners steps aside in days and the new commission will have to finesse the implementation. Read full column