All posts by Jim

Remote Sensing Before and After Hurricane Harvey

800px-Harvey_2017-08-25_2231ZThe value of remote sensing is shown again with images of before and after Hurricane Harvey. Wow – Take a look!

The Ny times featured Digital Globe images of the areas of Texas that were severely hit by Hurricane Harvey. There are also street level photographs to show the local spots before and after Harvey.

If you are interested in learning more about remote sensing from satellites the Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) has in-depth technical training programs.

The Washington Post has great images of the the rainfall rate relative to historic averages. The claim is that some Texas areas had a rainfall rate that is a 0.1% chance flood event in a year or 1 in 1000 in a year.

“A new analysis from the University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and
Engineering Center has determined that Harvey is a 1-in-1,000-year flood
event that has overwhelmed an enormous section of Southeast Texas
equivalent in size to New Jersey.”

Harvey released 40 inches to 45 inches of rain in a few days over areas of Texas or about 24.5 trillion gallons of water. Huge amount! – that is 3.5 ft in some areas.

The prediction of the frequency of strong flooding is tricky. The definitions and methods matter and can be slanted to make the author’s point. See the many comments to the above article.

By some measures this is the third 500 year flood in 3 years for Houston.

Please update this post with useful articles about the analysis of the Harvey rainfall and flooding in comparison to other major US flood events.


Government-ShutdownApplied Technology Institute (ATICourses) provides a variety of technical training courses on Space, Satellite, Radar, Defense, Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Sonar.  Now is the time to plan your training!

This updates an 8/18/2017 post. Unfortunately, the shutdown risk has grown!

This is a good article about the economic cost of a federal shutdown. It provides many detailed examples of the costs of the shutdown caused by the failure of the federal government to act in a timely way due to the shutdown.
Jeff Neal was the chief human capital officer at the Homeland Security Department and the chief human resources officer at the Defense Logistics Agency.

Planning training and travel for FY 2018 could be tricky if there is a government shutdown of unknown duration. Many of the people that ATI has talked to have “no remaining FY 2017 training funds and have no idea what training budget will be in the FY 2018”.

The last government shutdown occurred in 2013. The 16-day-long shutdown of October 2013 was the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history, after the 18-day shutdown in 1978 and the 21-day 1995–96 shutdown. ATI was conducting training in 1995-1996. The 1995 shut-down was chaos.

The last time sequestration kicked in 2013, it forced many federal agencies to furlough employees, costing them up to 20 percent of their salary during the furlough period.  Fortunately, all the government employees were eventually paid their full salary. Paying employees to not work and then rush to catch-up is a wasteful government practice. Many had to struggle until the late salary pay was received.

Standard & Poor’s estimated that the 2013 shutdown took $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, and reduced projected fourth-quarter GDP growth from 3 percent to 2.4 percent.

Even after the shutdown was over there was confusion for several months as employees talked about the shutdown and tried to get all the affected programs back on track. Small businesses and tourist locations lost money that was never recovered. Training and travel funds were devastated for most of the year in 1995 and 2013.

Congress must pass a new government funding bill by Sept. 30 to prevent a shutdown on Oct. 1, which is when fiscal 2018 begins. In previous years, because of the limited amount of time on Capitol Hill in September, lawmakers have been forced to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running for a few more months.

This year could be different. “Build that wall,” Mr. Trump said. “Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

We’re months away from agreeing on the annual budget, and if Congress and President Trump fail to appropriate funds, government departments won’t be able to spend money. This means contractors won’t get paid.

“If the budget debate gets ugly, which is a clear possibility, we could see the stock shares weaken in September, and then potentially rebound fairly quickly with the conclusion of (or lack of) any shutdown, as was the case in 2013,” Wells Fargo analyst Ed Caso wrote in a Thursday note.

See this link for continuing news updates on the potential 2017 shutdown.

What Could Happen?

During the federal shutdown of 2013, contractor stocks fell as much as 6 percent, while annual revenue and earnings per share were estimated to average a 1- to 1.5-percent hit, according to Wells Fargo. IFCI also lowered guidance.

But this year’s shocks could be amplified.

“We should note that in 2013 the defense sector was at through EV/EBITDA (enterprise value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) multiples, while now they are in the upper quartile suggesting the potential for more volatility,” Caso wrote.

But How Worried Should We Be?

Given the current political climate, Caso considers a one-day shutdown possible and a multi-day shutdown modestly likely. Still, the caprice of the Trump administration merits preparation.

“The political calculus, in our view, is even more unstable than in 2013, so uncertainty going into GFY end (September) should only be higher even with the memory that no one gained politically from the 2013 shutdown,” he wrote.

Additionally, the drastic budget changes proposed could sustain debate more contentious than that driving the previous 16-day shutdown. Government agencies and employees do not know how to plan training and travel. Confusion will result for several months.

New Color Maps of Pluto

The Principal Investigator (PI) for the LORRI instrument is Andy Cheng, and it is operated from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Laurel, Maryland. Alan Stern is the PI for the MVIC and Ralph instruments, which are operated from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas. And as you can plainly see, the maps are quite detailed and eye-popping!

Dr. Stern, who is also the PI of the New Horizons mission, commented on the release of the maps in a recent NASA press statement. As he stated, they are just the latest example of what the New Horizons mission accomplished during its historic mission:

“The complexity of the Pluto system — from its geology to its satellite system to its atmosphere— has been beyond our wildest imagination. Everywhere we turn are new mysteries. These new maps from the landmark exploration of Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons mission in 2015 will help unravel these mysteries and are for everyone to enjoy.”


Maps at


This 38 page paper reviews the growing potential for cyber-attack on the UK’s operational fleet of Vanguard-class submarines armed with nuclear-tipped Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles, and some of the implications for strategic stability.

Malware injection during manufacturing, mid-life refurbishment or software updates and data transmission interception allow potential adversaries to conduct long-term cyber operations. BASIC has already highlighted the future potential for emerging technologies to deliver high confidence in global detection of submarines.1 Future weaponized underwater drones may facilitate close proximity kinetic and cyber-attacks on ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).

The report concludes that the vulnerability to cyber attacks is real. It can be reduced by significant, vigilant and continuous cyber protection, but cannot be eliminated. It is therefore essential that in addition to significant investment in cyber defense, those responsible also need to consider strategies that build resilience within the systems, and to incorporate this threat into broader assessments relevant to the choice of weapon systems, platforms and broader defense and security strategies

For more information on this cyber threat, visit the article:

The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) offers courses in cyber security to help government and private facilities worldwide from learning how to mitigate or prevent such occurrences. Among the courses ATI offers in cyber security is Cyber Leadership Course (CLC) with the following upcoming dates in Hanover, Maryland:
September 6–7 2017 and October 1–2 2017.

In addition, ATI offers Tactical Digital Forensics from December 4–15 2017, also in Hanover, MD.

For more information or to view ATI’s schedule of courses, visit or contact us at (410) 956-8805.

Get Your Camera Ready – Super-Moon November 13-14.

Get your cameras ready. The biggest, brightest full moon will be visible November 13 and 14, 2016. Take photos especially around moon rise and set times. If you get a good photo, please send a copy to us at ATI. We will feature a selection in a future blog post. The article below give useful hints on how to get good photos. You want some recognizable items in the foreground, such as a tree, person or building, to help frame the photo and to give a size prospective.

A full moon won’t be this close again until 2034…so the largest and most visible moon in 86 years.
This should also be a fun discussion and viewing opportunity for those of you who have children or grandchildren.
On its elliptical orbit, the moon will come to within 221,524 miles of the Earth. It will be closer than at any time since January 1948, almost 69 years ago. The moon orbits the earth, but the dimensions of the orbit do not remain constant.
The Slooh Community Observatory will offer a live broadcast for November’s full moon on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT on Nov. 14).

Celebrating Veteran’s Day November 11, 2016 !

PHOENIX, Md. (June 22, 2015) Rear Admiral Dale E. Horan, deputy director for Operations, Joint Staff, pins the Purple Heart medal to former U.S. Army Corporal Charles B. Elder for wounds he received in action while a prisoner of war from August 1951 to August 1953 during the Korean War.  Elder was captured while serving with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.  He was taken into captivity by North Korean Forces on August 6, 1951 and held until 1953. Rear Adm. Horan was approached by Cpl. Elder's family about the missing Purple Heart Medal when he made a Veteran's Day Speech at the Jacksonville Senior Center in 2014. An Army review of Cpl. Elder's records verified his eligibility for the medal. (U.S. Navy photo by Commander Daryl Borgquist/Released)
PHOENIX, Md. (June 22, 2015) Rear Admiral Dale E. Horan, deputy director for Operations, Joint Staff, pins the Purple Heart medal to former U.S. Army Corporal Charles B. Elder for wounds he received in action while a prisoner of war from August 1951 to August 1953 during the Korean War. Elder was captured while serving with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was taken into captivity by North Korean Forces on August 6, 1951 and held until 1953. Rear Adm. Horan was approached by Cpl. Elder’s family about the missing Purple Heart Medal when he made a Veteran’s Day Speech at the Jacksonville Senior Center in 2014. An Army review of Cpl. Elder’s records verified his eligibility for the medal. (U.S. Navy photo by Commander Daryl Borgquist/Released) created this video to understanding why Veterans Day matters. Also see some of the additional links.

November 11 – let us celebrate our veterans and current service members.

Let us also celebrate my personal November 10 birthday for fun.

Navy Vietnam Video – Wings Over Vietnam

I am a strong supporter of the US Navy. I enjoy Navy videos. I have two son-in-laws serving. Serval of ATI’s instructors are retired Navy. This 54 minute video provides an in-depth history of airpower during the Vietnam War.
James Bond “Jim” Stockdale (December 23, 1923 – July 5, 2005) was a United States Navy vice admiral. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, during which he was a prisoner of war for over seven years.
Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer held as a prisoner in North Vietnam. He had led aerial attacks from the carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident. On his next deployment, while Commander of Carrier Air Wing 16 aboard the carrier USS Oriskany (CV-34), he was shot down in North Vietnam on September 9, 1965.
During the late 1970s, he served as President of the Naval War College. Stockdale was a candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 1992 presidential election, on Ross Perot’s independent ticket.

Protecting Against the Cyber Insider Threat

This is a good article on protecting against the cyber insider threat. I quote below the action items, but you should read the full article for more insight.

What you can do

There are ways you can protect your organization’s (and your customer’s) data. It’s not difficult, but it will require diligence.

  1. On-board your employees in a consistent manner that properly trains them in cyber vulnerabilities
  2. Maintain this training regularly
  3. Assess your organization’s and employee’s weakness so you can better mitigate cyber vulnerabilities and risks
  4. Understand cyber risks

Your IT professionals aren’t the true gatekeepers – your employees are! 

ATIcourses offers several practical cyber security training programs that can help with the ongoing need for cyber technical training. 

Cyber Leadership Course(CLC)

Cyber Security -Practical Boot Camp

Cyber Security, Communications & Networking courses

Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and the Air Force conducted a joint air defense exercise in the Arabian Gulf

The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) provides technical training in Radar and Missile Defense. We have been following and posting public information about the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group as a service to our students. We also have family deployed with the Eisenhower Carrier Group. See this link for ATI Defense courses.

ARABIAN GULF (AFNS) — The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) and the Air Force conducted a joint air defense exercise (ADEX) in the Arabian Gulf Oct. 25.


Navy Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Operations
An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike). Ike and its carrier strike group are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations

The objective of the ADEX was to improve integration of Navy and Air Force defense efforts while protecting aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) from simulated aerial threats.

The training was designed to simulate real-world scenarios the ship may encounter at sea.

The exercise consisted of multiple platforms from both branches, including guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70), and the squadrons of embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 aboard Ike.

“The exercise was a big accomplishment,” said Lt. Anand Jantzen, the San Jacinto’s fire control officer and liaison officer aboard Ike. “Not only was the strike group still conducting our primary mission supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, but we also directed a joint exercise simultaneously.”

The Air Force provided two big-wing tankers and two F-22 Raptors from the 525th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to support 13 aircraft from the Ike CSG. During the exercise, both forces were utilized and divided into “red air” hostile threats and “blue air,” the strike group’s air defense force.

The air support provided by the red and blue air allowed a simulation of actual engagements and an opportunity to train in scenarios, which created a challenging environment. The aircrews were able to work on their proficiency and meet different mission objectives.

“We were able to exercise the full Ike CSG capability and integrate that with the Air Force,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tommy Kolwicz, the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86’s operations officer. “We had full integration from the fighters in the air to the tactical actions officers and watchstanders on the surface ships.”

Red air’s objective was to overwhelm the CSG’s air defenses with simulated air-to-surface missiles. Aircraft flew missile profiles towards the surface ships so they could practice going through pre-planned responses and simulate shooting down anti-surface missiles.

The cruisers were tested in their ability to protect Ike, which acted as a high-value unit (HVU), and demonstrated their ability to conduct air defense.

“The main goal for the cruisers is to protect the HVU from air threats, and fill in as the alternate air intercept controllers in case the E-2C Hawkeye is unable to do so,” Jantzen said.

Kolwicz further explained across the CSG and between both branches, there was an emphasis on gathering perspective from areas outside of normal operations. As a pilot, he was able to provide a personal view of his role to the watchstanders on the ship and learn from subject matter experts. Overall, the Navy and Air Force were able to gain hands-on understanding of each other’s tactics and capabilities.

“The biggest focus was on integration,” Jantzen said. “In a real-world scenario the Air Force has aircraft that we can request to support our mission, just like we support theirs. Joint missions are the cornerstone of the United States military, and our ability to work with the other services towards a common mission makes us stronger. I’m extremely confident in the ability of all the personnel involved. It allowed everyone to see different aspects of the normal routine.”