Weather, security slow Day 2

FARWANIYA, Kuwait — My first day in Kuwait brought many contacts with Defense Department information technology personnel here — and I even got my first pitch from a contractor — but hard news is hard to come by.

The Army is working hard to get me access to a couple of camps here in Kuwait so that I can report on numerous IT-laden systems, ranging from how satellite communications are helping to ease bandwidth constraints and how radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are being used to provide increased visibility over logistics.

The Marine Corps also is working on similar angles, but security has been stepped up at the military bases in light of increasingly active war operations.

Still, I'm lining up interviews with DOD and industry folks, so watch for those pieces later this week or early next week.

Meanwhile, the weather here in Kuwait has been overcast and rainy, but it is not as bad as the sandstorms and almost total darkness troops and journalists are enduring on the battlefields in Iraq.

Although the wind, rain and sand have severely limited visibility and hindered certain military helicopters, coalition forces have plenty of options that are not weather-dependent, according to Air Force Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart, director of operations at Central Command.

"The weather does affect Apaches [helicopters], but we have an integrated air approach," and the coalition forces are using aircraft that are not affected by the weather, Renuart said today during a press briefing from Qatar. "We have the most sophisticated ISR [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] assets in the world. They're working well and allowing us to continue to operate."

Renuart also said that Iraqi forces were using Global Positioning System jammers in an attempt to block coalition weapons and other systems that rely on the GPS satellites. However, DOD located each of the six Iraqi GPS-jamming sites and destroyed them all, he said.

Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, also speaking at the Centcom press briefing, showed demonstrations of DOD weapons successfully destroying Iraqi military targets, and said that in addition to vehicles, weapons and depots, coalition forces are also targeting and destroying command, control, communications (C3) and intelligence nodes in Iraq.

Because of this, Renuart urged all Iraqi citizens to stay away from any building or asset associated with Saddam Hussein's regime, including C3 installations.


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