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Protecting Civilian Flights from Missiles – CRS Insights

August 6, 2014 Comments off

Protecting Civilian Flights from Missiles – CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashed over eastern Ukraine after apparently being struck by a surface-toair missile. The event has renewed congressional interest in protecting civilian aircraft from missiles, a topic of considerable interest in the context of protection against terrorist threats and risks to aircraft operated in conflict zones.
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It is unlikely that a DIRCM system would have offered protection against the attack that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, as this incident appears to have involved a radar-guided missile. The DHS missile-protection effort did not focus on protections against radar-guided missiles, as these are rarely possessed by terrorists and insurgent groups. There are only two known cases of civilian aircraft encounters with radar-guided surface-to-air missiles. On July 3, 1988, a radar-guided missile launched by the USS Vincennes, a U.S. Navy cruiser operating in the Persian Gulf, brought down Iran Air Flight 655. On October 4, 2001, a Siberia Airlines Tupolev 154 was shot down over the Black Sea near Crimea during a Ukrainian military exercise.

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Possible Missile Attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – CRS Insights

August 6, 2014 Comments off

Possible Missile Attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), a Boeing 777 bound from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in eastern Ukraine.

MH17’s position was shown on live aircraft tracking websites using the airliner’s automated dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) signal. Its final reported position was near the Russia-Ukraine border at an altitude of 33,000 feet.

Initial reports from the crash scene indicated that the resulting debris field covered a large area. This is characteristic when an aircraft breaks up at high altitude (as opposed to diving into the ground or incidents on landing or takeoff, where the debris field is tightly confined around the point of impact). Inflight breakup can occur for a number of reasons, including metal fatigue (as in the case of two DeHavilland Comet jetliners in the 1950s); onboard explosions, whether caused by bombs or accidental combustion (such as TWA flight 800 in 1996); or external events like a missile attack (as was the case with Korean Air Lines 007 in 1983 and Iran Air 655 in 1988).

Because spontaneous inflight breakup of an airliner is a rare event, the crash’s proximity to an active conflict zone where military aircraft had recently been shot down led to speculation that MH17’s breakup may have been the result of a surface-to-air missile. This was reinforced when, almost immediately, pictures appeared in social media purporting to show Russian-built Buk anti-aircraft missile launchers near the crash site.

Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement

July 18, 2014 Comments off

Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 56: Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement compiles current literature and practice on how airport operators utilize social media to enhance customer engagement.

Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America’s Image

July 16, 2014 Comments off

Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America’s Image
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

Revelations about the scope of American electronic surveillance efforts have generated headlines around the world over the past year. And a new Pew Research Center survey finds widespread global opposition to U.S. eavesdropping and a decline in the view that the U.S. respects the personal freedoms of its people. But in most countries there is little evidence this opposition has severely harmed America’s overall image.

A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth

July 16, 2014 Comments off

A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth (PDF)
Source: American Public Transportation Association

This joint report produced with the U.S. Travel Assocation examines how cities with rail stations connected directly to airport terminals can realize increases in hotel performance. The report compares six cities with direct rail access from their airport terminal to five cities without. The analysis found that from 2006-2013, hotels in the cities with direct rail access brought in 10.9% more revenue per room than hotels in those cities without.

New From the GAO

July 14, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Military Training: Observations on Efforts to Prepare Personnel to Survive Helicopter Crashes into Water. GAO-14-615R, July 14.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-615R

New From the GAO

July 9, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Enhancing Data Collection Could Improve Management of Investigations. GAO-14-553, June 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-553
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664515.pdf

2. Human Capital: DOD Should Fully Develop Its Civilian Strategic Workforce Plan to Aid Decision Makers. GAO-14-565, July 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-565
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664698.pdf

3. NOAA Aircraft: Aging Fleet and Future Challenges Underscore the Need for a Capital Asset Plan. GAO-14-566, July 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-566
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664708.pdf

4. Export-Import Bank: Information on Export Credit Agency Financing for Wide-Body Jets. GAO-14-642R, July 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-642R

Testimony

1. Improper Payments: Government-Wide Estimates and Reduction Strategies, by Beryl H. Davis, director, financial management and assurance, before the Subcommittee on Government Operations, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-14-737T, July 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-737T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664693.pdf

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