Skywatchdc in the Huffington Post!

Check out this Huffington Post Op-Ed on the HuffPo DC blog by Skywatchdc team-member Tyler Lopez:

“When Raytheon‘s two massive JLENS aerostats deploy over Washington, D.C. next year, they will usher in a new era for surveillance technology in the United States. While many privacy activists have their sights set on military drones and internet-based surveillance programs, the Army is set to begin testing a system capable of monitoring airspace for 340 miles in every direction — and capable of monitoring boats, vehicles, and possibly people on the ground below.”

Full Story: SkywatchDC in Huffington Post Op-Ed

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The JLENS aerostat system: Coming to the DC region in September 2013

Aberdeen Proving Ground

Image from Skywatchdc

Skywatchdc is committed to publicizing the planned deployment of Raytheon’s JLENS aerostat system by the U.S. Army to the Aberdeen Proving Ground on Maryland’s east coast in September 2013. In pursuit of that goal, Skywatchdc wrote a final report summarizing the materials that have been shared through our website, social media, poster and brochure, and video. Please follow the link below to our report.

Skywatchdc Final Report

To help with the visualization of a 341 mile radar range from 10,000 feet above the Aberdeen Proving Ground, we have adapted the following map from Google Maps.

Image from Google Maps

Image from Google Maps

Skywatchdc Presentation

Today, Skywatchdc gave a seven-minute presentation to the CCT 506 professors and students on the details of the JLENS aerostat, its historical context, and the positive and negative aspects of its upcoming deployment to the Aberdeen Proving Ground.  We also answered a variety of questions from the audience.  In addition, we previewed our upcoming interview-based video with a special trailer-length version.  The following slides were used in the Skywatchdc presentation and the photograph shows the Skywatchdc team mid-presentation.

Skywatch Slide 1Skywatch Slide 2Skywatch Slide 3Skywatch Slide 4Skywatch Slide 5

IMG_1669

Skywatchdc Team During the Presentation
Zhou, Emily, Tyler, Uwa, Man

The JLENS Aerostat – A Job Booster in a Recovering Economy?

Image from Defense Update

Image from Defense Update

There’s no denying that many organizations are scaling back in a tough economy. The Baltimore Sun reports that the JLENS system will be relocating to the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Harford County, Maryland this fall.  Along with approximately 100 U.S. soldiers, the dual aerostat system was chosen by the U.S. Army to be housed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground since it has a restricted airspace approved by the FAA and allows for weapons-testing and tracking over water.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, from the House Intelligence Committee, stated that keeping the JLENS aerostat in this specific location will bring up to 140 jobs to the region. Even though the Department of Defense is undergoing major budget cuts, the Aberdeen Proving Ground is expected to “have a domino effect on our local economy,” according to Ruppersberger. The APG is expected to cost roughly $20 million but with the new influx of people, this may lead to more home purchases, discretionary spending and other positive externalities related to the local economy.

In addition, the JLENS aerostat project will also create the need for more contractor-based jobs for civilians and non-civilians. The Washington, D.C. region is unique for its proximity to governmental, private, and public organizations. This region is also a prime testing ground for air, land, and sea defense systems before mass implementations take place nationwide or internationally.