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Brain Computer Interface Technology for Our Military: Military Connection

Military Connection: brain to computer

By Debbie Gregory.

What if you could communicate via a cellphone or radio without uttering a sound or moving a finger? What sounds like science fiction is becoming a reality.

The Army Research Laboratory is funding research into brain-computer interfacing (BCI), the technology that allows paralyzed individuals to move robotic limbs. The exploration of this technology has the potential to revolutionize both medical applications and the ways that Soldiers communicate on the battlefield.

Recent advances in hardware and software, in addition to breakthroughs in neuroscience and cognitive science has resulted in the ability to perform functions such as typing, making phone calls and controlling a robotic arm, solely by thinking.

The laboratory is funding two projects. The first is to develop a prototype system for detecting imagined speech and monitoring a user’s attention and orientation by recording brain activity in real time.

The second project seeks to understand the physiological biomarkers of brain signals for imagined speech detection. If successful, that would allow researchers to design algorithms to extract biomarkers, or features, for imagined speech detection. In other words, it would be a way for a program to read the user’s thoughts.

While it may take many years, or even decades to grow BCI technology, Dr. Liyi Dai, program manager in the Computer Sciences Division at ARL’s Army Research Office, and his fellow researchers are confident that further progress means potentially great capabilities for Soldiers.

“Progress in BCI based communication is potentially of great importance to the warfighter because BCIs would eliminate the intermediate steps required in traditional human-machine interfaces. Having a Soldier gain the ability to communicate without any overt movement would be invaluable both in the battlefield as well as in combat casualty care,” Dai said.

Scientists are working hard behind the scenes to bring this technology to fruition and make it applicable in real-world situations for the benefit and protection of our Soldiers.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Brain Computer Interface Technology for Our Military: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

US to Withdraw Missile Batteries: Military Connection

Military Connection: missile batteries

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. will pull out its Patriot missile defense units along the Turkish border with Syria.

The Pentagon released a joint statement by Washington and NATO ally Turkey, saying that the Patriot batteries, which were sent to Turkey in 2013, would return to the U.S. for upgrades by October.

According to the joint statement, the Patriot batteries “will be re-deployed to the United States for critical modernization upgrades that will ensure the U.S. missile defense force remains capable of countering evolving global threats and protecting Allies and partners, including Turkey.” The statement stressed that the United States and NATO are committed to supporting Turkey’s security and regional stability.

Absent, however, was any mention of the recent Turkish airstrikes in northwestern Iraq against the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which have come under increasing criticism in Europe. Turkey has said that the airstrikes against the PKK were in response to terror attacks.

While Turkey agreed to let the U.S. use Incirlik Air Base to launch air strikes against Islamic State forces in neighboring Syria, Turkey’s hostility toward Kurdish fighters, many of whom are American allies in ground battles against Islamic State, complicates the relationship.

The U.S., Germany and the Netherlands all deployed Patriots in early 2013 after Turkey asked its NATO partners for help as the Syrian civil war escalated. The Netherlands withdrew its Patriot battery earlier this year and was replaced by Spain.

Despite the withdrawal of the Patriots, the US will retain a “persistent presence” of US Navy multi-role Aegis ships in the eastern Mediterranean and these ships offer a range of capabilities to support the defense of Turkey and NATO missions, including support for NATO air and missile defense. “If needed, the U.S is prepared to return Patriot assets and personnel to Turkey within one week.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

China Ordered to Remove Covert Agents: Military Connection

epa04486112 US President Barack Obama (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping leave after a press conference at the Great Hall of the People (GHOP) in Beijing, China, 12 November 2014. Obama is in China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2014 Summit and related meetings.  EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG (Newscom TagID: epalive434760.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. has warned China that covert agents tasked with hunting down alleged Chinese fugitives across the globe are not welcome in America.

The Obama administration has delivered a warning to Beijing about the presence of Chinese government agents operating secretly in the United States to return home immediately. U.S. diplomats previously warned China to stop using covert law enforcement agents on U.S. soil.

The Chinese government has officially named the effort “Operation Fox Hunt.”

Delivered to Chinese officials, the warning comes amid growing tension between Washington and Beijing on a number of issues, including the devaluation of China’s currency and the cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management, in which tens of millions of classified personnel files of government employees were stolen.

Those tensions are expected to complicate the state visit to Washington next month by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president.

The agents have been operating covertly, often entering the U.S. on tourist or trade visas. They are tasked with hunting down economic fugitives and bringing them back to China, sometimes using strong-arm tactics to repatriate them to China, including threatening family members who remain in China.

Director of Operation Fox Hunt Liu Dong has said in the past that Chinese agents working abroad must comply with local laws, and sometimes even work with local law enforcement to locate fugitive suspects.

The campaign has resulted in more than 930 suspects being repatriated since last year, including more than 70 who have returned voluntarily.

Officials declined to provide specific evidence of the activities of the agents.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Winners: Military Connection

freedom award

By Debbie Gregory.

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) office, has selected the 15 employers named as the recipients for the 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Now in its 20th year, the award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. The awards are presented each year to employers in three categories, large business, small business and the public sector.

The Freedom Award was created to publicly recognize employers who hire veterans and provide exceptional support to their Guard employees and Reserve employees. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense. Nominations must come from a Guard or Reserve member who is employed by the organization they are nominating, or from a family member.

Senior DoD and other officials and representatives of prior recipient organizations narrowed the field of 30 nominees to the 15 Freedom Award recipients.

The winning companies are:

Black Hills Corporation

Boise Fire Department

BP America, Inc.

Cardinal Health

Cigna

City of Glendale

City of Shawnee

College of the Ozarks

CVS Health

Devon Energy

Dr. Joe A. Jackson, MD, PLLC

Neil, Dymott, Frank, McFall, Trexler, McCabe & Hudson

Snell & Wilmer, LLP

Town of Hingham

Walt Disney Co

Previous winners include Bank of America, McDonnell Douglas, Tektronix, Inc. and National Life of Vermont. If you would like to view all past recipients, visit http://www.freedomaward.mil/PastRecipientsView.aspx .

The finalists were selected from 2,960 nominations received from Guardsmen and reservists for going far beyond what federal law requires in support of military employees. At MilitaryConnection.com, we tip our hat to these outstanding employers and congratulate these recipients of the prestigious 2015 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

 

The Tragic Consequences of Over-Prescribing of Painkillers : Military Connection

Military Connection: jason

By Debbie Gregory.

As the first anniversary of Jason Simcakoski’s passing approaches, an inspector general’s report faults a Wisconsin Veterans Affairs hospital for the accidental overdose of the Marine Corps veteran.

The outrage of Simcakoski’s death has sparked legislation aimed at strengthening guidelines for prescribing painkillers. His parents, widow and daughter watched as a Senate committee weighed an overhaul bill, sponsored by a Wisconsin senator, designed to curb overdose deaths at Wisconsin’s Tomah VA and other medical centers across the country. It was a crucial first step for the legislation, though many hurdles remain and its future is uncertain.

The inspector general’s report revealed that Jason Simcakoski’s death in August, 2014 was a reaction to a toxic mix of at least 12 prescribed drugs. It also faulted VA staff for the chaotic resuscitation response, and failing to have the proper drugs on hand to counteract Simcakoski’s overdose.

The Tomah VA has been dubbed “Candyland” for what some say was wanton overprescription of opiates.

Simcakoski served in the Marines from 1998-2002 and suffered a head injury. Anxiety attacks led him to seek care at the Tomah VA, where his family said he struggled for over four years with no improvement, despite a long list of medications.

An autopsy found the mix of drugs in system resulted in his death while an in-patient at the facility. The two psychiatrists who prescribed drugs to Simcakoski did not talk to him or his family about risks associated with the drugs.

In response to the report, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who requested the investigation, released a statement saying “This report confirms that the Tomah VA physicians entrusted with Jason’s care failed to keep their promise to a Wisconsin Marine and his family.”

Sen. Baldwin has sponsored a bill that calls for an update to guidelines for the use of opioids for pain management, new safety training for health care providers, and real-time reporting and tracking of veterans’ narcotic prescriptions. Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.V., cosponsored the bill.

The report on Simcakoski’s death recommends local VA officials determine whether anyone should be punished, and that the facility director review medical emergency procedures.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

The Tragic Consequences of Over-Prescribing of Painkillers : Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

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