Showing posts with label Tactical Operations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tactical Operations. Show all posts

Friday, December 9, 2016

And You Thought You Saw The Last of The Terminator. He's Back - As A SWAT-Bot!

So, I've been watching Westworld and it seems like killer robots are becoming a thing again. There are some really cool things with the bot featured in this slick ad:
  • It's seemingly quiet. For obvious reasons.
  • They went the fashionable "combat black" look. It's mandatory for anything being called "covert" these days. (snark)
  • It has loads of cameras. One of the primary purposes of the bot is to give human operators tactical situational awareness. The field of view seems to be okay and has what appears to be some PTZ stuff going on, though the cameras appear to be very stationary. If it relies on the vehicle to move the camera, then I'm curious whether that compromises noise discipline.
  • It comes with a Glock. Yeah. It's "G'd up from da floor up". My bad - that's street vernacular for "It has a working gun that can kill people". That said, I'm curious if the vehicle has a stabilizer to compensate for recoil. Also, where does the "brass" go? Surely, it's not optimal to have it eject in a way that it could lodge between the gun and the bot chassis.
My overall complaints about the bot:
  • It looks great in a video which means it will perform like crap once it gets deployed.
  • I need to see more Army-proofing. Ahem! How long before crazy G.I.s break it on its first run? Trust me - you need to be asking this question.
  • Humans have been doing a bang-up job of clearing rooms thus far without bots. Not sure how this helps in real world tactical environments. Yeah, shooters may not have to get too close to make the hard shots but....What happens when your suspect sees this thing and decides you're trying to make entry and kills hostages preemptively before you do?
  • Finally, I worry about the trial and error part of figuring out its limitations in the real world. An EOD bot is easy to square away because testing and training go hand-in-hand especially in a semi-controlled environment. This bot's armament would need to be tested along with its operators under conditions that mirror the real world both in risk and realism. In other words, let's see it clear a "trap house" with a barricaded homicidal subject armed with an AK-47 and has kids as potential hostages. We tend to be very "meh" about collateral damage (civilian deaths) in combat zones during drone strikes - I have a feeling we'd feel differently about a bot who killed a hostage due to operator error or mechanical failure. Thankfully, it's under human-control. Imagine what it can do if given analytics.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

REPORT: Police Under Attack – The Police Foundation Review of the Christopher Dorner Incident

When I mention the name, Christopher Dorner, among my friends in law enforcement, the mood changes dramatically. I know I will never forget the day he attacked his fellow officers and their families. I have spoken at great length here about Dorner, so I won’t waste more of your time talking about him. However, I did find the following report published by The Police Foundation. If that name sounds familiar, it should. These were the folks behind the Kansas City Police Patrol Experiment. Recently, the published this report detailing a lot what happened during Dorner’s attacks. For civilians, it’s an after-action report of sorts. I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

VIDEO: IED Mitigation Cartoon From World War 2

One of the most entertaining and unusual pieces of improvised explosive device  mitigation pieces I've ever watched. It hails from World War II. Warning: This video is from an era when political correctness was not a part of modern society.

From the site where I found this gem of American military history:
Private Snafu learns about the hazards of enemy booby traps the hard way.

This is one of 26 Private SNAFU ('Situation Normal, All Fouled Up) cartoons made by the US Army Signal Corps to educate and boost the morale the troops. Originally created by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Phil Eastman, most of the cartoons were produced by Warner Brothers Animation Studios - employing their animators, voice actors (primarily Mel Blanc) and Carl Stalling's music.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

INTERVIEW: Geoff Howe of Howe and Howe Technologies Who Made The SWAT-BOT

I really like being a blogger. I get to explore all of my favorite topics and I get to be very passionate about security. That being said, it is a joy to find people who share my passion and make it evident in their work. The folks at Howe and Howe Technologies have found themselves in that very elite group. For the unfamiliar, I recently did an article about a remote piloted robot developed by the company. The other day, I decided to contact the Maine-based company for an interview to get some additional information. I knew right away upon speaking to Geoff Howe I'd called the right place.

Me: Can you tell me how the SWAT-Bot was developed?
Geoff: Two and a half years ago we started. Before that, in 2006, we were already developing unmanned ground vehicles for the US military. It was during the Fukishima reactor incident that we noticed something very troubling and quite frankly - frustrating. You see we had already developed a firefighting robot called Thermite. There was this incident and we had the technology in our facility to help. However, the infrastructure was not in place at the time. Shortly after that, we had a Department of Homeland Security Testing and Evaluation demonstration for FEMA at the Massachusetts Fire Academy.  The Massachusetts State Police STOP team was there and observed the Thermite and approached us about doing something for SWAT. We immediately began the dialogue and got great feedback from them. By 2012, we had a prototype developed. What was really frustrating was watching the West, Texas fire that killed all of those firemen and knowing we had technology here that could have taken them out of harms way.

Me: What are some of the robot's capabilities?
Geoff:  Well, it weighs 2300 lbs and can be transported in the bed of a pickup truck. Within 3 seconds, it can be operational. Within 15 seconds, the robot is ready to go with the ballistic shield mounted. It has several tools to include the DragonTail which shoots a projectile at a vehicle with a grappling hook and can drag cars. It also has a door breacher that can act as ram also, a tire deflator which was developed out of a request by Southern Maine Special Reaction Team, a negotiating basket, and HD video transmission. The HD video is done 1080p and is real-time. It was developed from technology used in sportscasting. There's also a light that has 16000 lumens.

Me: I'm really impressed by how cool the tech is behind this. Where does the person who pilots this operate from?
Geoff: The cool thing is he can be anywhere in the SWAT formation known as the stack. The best part is it can controlled by tether from a command vehicle with 300 foot tether.

Me: How long does it take to train operators? Maintenance?
Geoff: Maybe an hour. It's very easy to learn how to pilot. Maintenance can be done by the end-user and is very minor or we can send one of our field service reps out on an as needed basis.

Me: Geoff, this sounds like an amazing robot. I hope I make it to Maine to test this out. Any parting words?
Geoff: Thanks. We just want the product to be in the hands of people who need it the most. After Boston and all these other shootings, we can't help but see the demand and need for this. We're an R&D company so making things like this is what we do. I don't want to see another tragedy where we have the technology in our facility and not in the hands of first responders.

For more information:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

VIDEO: SWAT-BOT: This Robot DESTROYS Barricades

I try not to get all mushy-gushy about law enforcement technology videos. Let's be honest - a great many are better known for their hype than their product delivery. Well I'm very encouraged by the SWAT-BOT. Howe and Howe Technologies created the product in coordination with the Massachusetts State Police and comes equipped with a collapsible ballistic shield, and a hardened AR400 steel nose shield to protect those in the line of fire. According to their site, "It serves as a robotic ballistic shield, door breacher and vehicle/debris remover when the environment is deemed unsafe." It has seen action in a variety of high profile SWAT deployments with MSP such as the Boston Marathon manhunt.

  • Collapsible for easy transport
  • Remote controlled platform
  • Integrated 5000lb winch
  • Integrated Class III receiver
  • Integrated ballistic vision blocks
  • Additional Options Available:
  • Integrated storage cage
  • Door entry ram
  • HD Video Optics
  • Designed to traverse the most rugged of terrain
  • Durability to withstand challenges other robots this size would not be able to endure
  • Constructed of A440f steel, aircraft grade aluminum , and high quality components
  • Start up of full robotic functions in 5 seconds, significantly lowering response times
  • 100% handcrafted in the USA and draws upon years of robotic research
  • Dimensions Stowed: 72” L x 41” W x 47” H
  • Dimensions Expanded: 72” L x 97” W x 80” H
  • Weight: 2290 lbs
  • Draw bar pull: 1270lbs on asphalt, 1040lbs on concrete
  • 25hp Diesel Engine
For more information:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Survey says.....

Please, take a few minutes to answer my survey and provide whatever commentary you want below.

Unfortunately, the Boogey Man still lives under our beds

This ladies and gentleman is courtesy of Al Jazeera. It's a part of a series of articles and commentary on the 9/11 anniversary. What I find most poignant is with all our efforts to successfully target and eliminate their principle leadership, AQ is still a very viable threat to security particularly if you're in the business of mass gatherings. Their appetite for "soft targets" is almost perpetual and is core to their preferred modis operandi - the improvised explosive device. I digress. This map is a great visual tool for any security professional.

View Major al-Qaeda attacks worldwide in a larger map

Friday, March 28, 2008

The New Equalizer?

As we approach the time of the year when we'll see more terrorist attacks, I wanted to post some videos of how the threat from VBIED is truly evolving. Just take a look and let me know what you think. Remember to practice OPSEC though.

This second video is posted by a guy on his mobile phone of the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks in the UK. I love citizen journalists. They can get in where big media outlets can't.

This last video is from a dump truck filled with explosives. You can see the shock wave and the blast expansion. Perfect illustration of what VBIED's could look and feel like.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Apprehender

Have you ever been on-scene to arrest, detain, or escort an unruly individual from a facility? If you have, then you understand how fast things can go from good to bad. If your organization has a use-of-force policy, it usually places your verbal techniques at the very top. After verbal judo has failed, what do you have left? Depending on your situation, arm manipulation or wrist locks may be unavailable. Most officers/guards would probably be looking at their non-lethals and more than likely a baton.

There's a product out now called The Apprehender. It is quite unique with a U-shaped end where a wrist can be captured and locked into place like a handcuff. You, then, have the added benefit of leverage from the elongated torso of the device. It can also be used as a striking tool as well.

I would certainly look at taking this with me on a protest dispatch or maybe a house where I had a lot domestic violence calls or any other environment with highly combative subjects. This is also a tool in which a subject would have to be very good at taking away weapons. Normal, baton resistance techniques can't be applied due to the device's unique shape.

Some of the cons of having such a device are its size and liability. Its current size is 27" X 5" X 1.25". This is a longer-shaped baton. We're talking at least 6" above what the average officer/guard may carry. I know of departments who carry bigger. This isn't something you're wearing in the car either. You would have to store this in the trunk or elsewhere. If you've been in a police vehicle that was fully equipped, the you know how much space you have for extra stuff. If its too big officers may not carry it with them when they get out or they may just forget it.

You would certainly have to train every officer on its use and implementation. This should include modified striking techniques that would have to be reviewed by your department. Your department would also have to look at how the restraint functioned in conjunction with existing restraints. Nothing sucks worse than arresting some guy and realizing you're being sued for excessive force for applying too much leverage and breaking their wrists.

I welcome you to check out the video below and let me know what you think.

BLUtube is powered by

GREM Reaper who blows stuff up

I know this blog is about security as a profession and when we think of security (at least in the federal government) we think of badging systems, card readers, CCTV, and explosive readers as a short list of "must-have" toys. Well, check out the new breaching tool the US Army has come up with to keep troops safe from the "fatal funnel" and knock down a few doors in the process. Check out the video .

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