Ardent Observervations and the Istanbullian drew our attention to "The Bomb Lady" Nguyet Anh Duong a disarminglt pretty Vietnamese / US weapons scientist and an article in Wapo about her recently receiving the the National Security Medal for significant contribution to the nation in activities related to national security.The blast from the thermobaric, or vacuum, bomb maintains its energy over a longer time and distance,enabling it to kill people hunkered deep underground.
"Her work is a significant reason that few U.S. soldiers died in hand-to-hand combat inside the Taliban's vast network of caves and tunnels in Afghanistan. Not only did she help us win the war, but we avoided the loss of many lives had we had to clear caves in a more traditional manner," said Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter presented Duong with the 2007 Service to America National Security Medal from the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service (PPS).
Duong dedicated her award to "the 58,000 names on the wall of the Vietnam War memorial and the 260,000 Vietnamese who died in order for people like me to earn a second chance at freedom."
She received a standing ovation.
(Pic of glamorous granny Senator Harman at a PPS Dinner)
The Bomb Lady's current e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org she also favours pink pearlescent nail polish (against her daughters wishes)
Born into an anti communist family, who fled to the US and were eventually granted asylum She graduated from the University of Maryland with both a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and a B.S. degree in Computer Science and was launched on a 23 year distinguished career as a a weaposn scientist..
In 1983 she started working as a Chemical Engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division.
From 1991-1999, she managed all Navy basic, exploratory research and advanced development programs in High Explosives.
From 1999-2002, she managed all NSWC Indian Head's technical programs in Explosives and Undersea Weapons, from concept through engineering development to production and demilitarization.
She successfully assembled and led a team of scientists and engineers to develop the payload for a new weapon, now known as the thermobaric bomb, then proceeded to limited production and delivery to the Air Force, all in an unprecedented period of 67 days.
Nguyet Anh successfully led the development and transition of a total of 10 high performing explosives into 18 different U.S. weapons in the past 12 years, which is an unprecedented record of its kind.
She served as a U.S. Delegate at the NATO AC310 Subgroup I for Explosives, and chairman/member of many national and international Panels/Technical Steering Groups.
Since 2002 Nguyet Anh has been Director of Science and Technology of Naval Surface Warfare Center, U.S. Department of Defense,(Pentagon) where she is responsible for Indian Head's overall technical investment strategies, guiding and overseeing research and development programs in all areas of science and technology and focusing these efforts toward the creation of future weapon generations for the United States.
Duong's most recent innovation, the Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities (JEFF) project or "lab in a box," analyzes biometrics in the field. It will be delivered to Iraq at the beginning of 2008, the Navy said, to help distinguish insurgents from civilians. (Useful Power Point presentation here) (No.NO. not useful - essential reading 1st page pic at top of post)
"The best missile is worthless if you don't know who to shoot," Duong said.
Thomas A. Betro, director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service explains the military has been scanning the irises and taking the fingerprints of Iraqis, feeding a biometrics data base in West Virginia. To date, a few ad hoc labs have processed about 85,000 pieces of evidence taken from weapons caches or roadside devices. Duong's mobile forensic labs, with an initial budget of $34 million, will be deployed all over Iraq.
Duong, supervised the "lab in a box" design.
Each collapsible, sand-colored, 20 x 20 foot foot unit has its own generator and satellite link(see sexy pic of the facility) . If things go as planned, data will beamed to the Biometric Fusion Center to check against more than a million Iraqi fingerprints. Hundreds of Marines will become scen of crime investigators - donning rubber gloves and laying aside their weapons.
The next stage is to miniaturize, create "a backpack lab," so that soldiers who encounter a suspect "could find out within minutes" if he's on a terrorist watch list, Duong said. "A war fighter needs to know one of three things: Do I let him go? Keep him? Or shoot him on the spot? In Vietnam, our guys didn't have this tool."
There are some interesting jobs being offered ...
Now how would such a mobile identification facility rest with a nationwide biometric Based ID card ?
Oh ! By the way the Bomb Lady keeps Harry Potter away from her kids .. too, too violent.
UPDATE : A nice take by American Coprophagia