IDA Health Watch — Issue 4

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In this issue of IDA Health Watch, Air Force Maj. Gen. Friedrichs answers questions about his role as medical advisor to the Department of Defense’s COVID Task Force. Other topics provide insights on (1) solving the problem of integrating military and civilian medical trauma systems and (2) integrating the defense biosecurity enterprise.

A Statistical Solution to a Physics Problem

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The 2014 Larry D. Welch Award winner for best external publication was the IEEE Access article “Mixed Models Analysis of Radar Residuals Data” by IDA researchers Carl Clifford Gaither III, Christopher R. Jackson, Dawn C. Foley Loper, and Jasmina Marsh. In this summary, Loper, the only author still working at IDA, reflects on the team’s incentive in 2012 to address biases in radar observation. Their research focused on residuals that indicate a bias between actual locations of calibration satellites and observations of the satellites’ positions reported by the ballistic missile detection radar known as Cobra Dane. By using a statistical approach instead of the usual physics-based model, the authors were able to control for numerous, random idiosyncrasies of calibration satellites to account for variation in residuals to a greater extent than ever before.

Evaluating Multipath Effects After 50 Years

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The 2013 Larry D. Welch Award winner for best external publication was the brief electronic systems communications paper titled “Comparison of Predicted and Measured Multipath Impulse Responses,” by IDA researchers Kent Haspert and Michael T. Tuley. The paper revisited and improved upon the traditional evaluation of multipath effects. Haspert and Tuley’s research found that multipath should be treated as a combination of both specular and diffuse effects. The research presented in the original paper helped create a foundation for future research into the implementation of multipath effects in a classified system.

Research Into an Authoritarian Regime

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The 2012 Larry D. Welch Award winner for best external publication was "The Saddam Tapes: The Inner Workings of a Tyrant's Regime, 1978-2001," a book by IDA researcher Kevin M. Woods published in 2011. This summary explores how a close examination of captured state records, namely a significant body of audio files, led to critical insights into Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. As a result, the book serves as educational and enlightening resource for understanding the nature of Hussein's character and of authoritarian regimes more broadly.