Intelligence: Keeping Up With Tracking Technology


January16, 2007: Tracking devices have become smaller, cheaper, more reliable, and with longer range. Not much is said about work in this area, as it risks alerting the enemy to what devices you have, and what their operating characteristics are. Technological advances also come quickly in this area, so the U.S. Department of Defense depends on commercial firms to provide the latest stuff, and do so where it is needed the most. This explains a recent government contract awarded to Blackbird Technologies, for training military personnel on the use of tagging, tracking and locating devices. The contract award gave few details, other than the fact the $13.3 million deal was for one year, and that 25 percent of the work would be done in Iraq, and another 15 percent in Afghanistan. Nearly all the remainder will be done in the United States, but interestingly, 15 percent will be done in Florida, where SOCOM (Special Operations Command) is located. Many classified tracking and bugging devices are eventually "declassified" (and sold commercially), once the government has a newer, much improved model in hand. Based on the declassified stuff on the market, the classified equipment must be quite tiny and very capable. Some of these devices, for example, can be fitted into fake pieces of "gravel", that can get picked up by vehicle wheels. Many other items are disguised as all manner of innocent, and tiny, items (buttons, jewelry and so on.) Several high-profile terrorists have lost their lives due to the use of these tracking devices, and apparently that's a trend that's on the upswing.




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