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Military News Briefs for the Week of August 3, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2001 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending August 3, 2001.)

ANTI-COMPUTER VIRUS EFFORTS APPEAR SUCCESSFUL

DoD efforts to protect military computers against the so- called Code Red 'worm' virus seem successful, so far.

Since July 31, DoD technicians have observed a "great increase" of activity on DoD computer servers, Pentagon spokesperson Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley told reporters Aug. 2. "We attribute that to the Code Red 'worm,'" he said.

"We've taken a variety of actions to watch that very carefully, to mitigate the effect," Quigley added. Some DoD network servers have been taken off line as a safety precaution, he noted.

Over the past several days, DoD computer technicians have installed special programs, or "patches," that prevent the virus from spreading, which can lead to the shutdown of entire systems.

"We think we've been largely successful in downloading and installing the patch," Quigley said. However, he noted, patches don't stop virus "threads" from probing servers.

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IRAQI PROVOCATIONS OF COALITION AIRCRAFT GROW

Iraq has grown increasingly aggressive in trying to down a coalition aircraft, a Pentagon spokesman said July 31.

Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said the volume of fire is up "significantly" from last year. In the area encompassed by Operation Southern Watch, there were 221 Iraqi provocations of coalition aircraft in all of 2000. In just seven months of 2001, there have been 370 provocations. In the Northern Watch area, there were 145 provocations in 2000 and 62 this year. These numbers also include Iraqi violations of the no-fly zones.

Quigley said "provocation" means missiles or anti-aircraft artillery fired or Iraqi radars "painting" -- locking onto – coalition aircraft. He said Saddam Hussein has offered a reward for gunners who down a coalition aircraft. The Iraqis seem to be getting bolder, he noted. Last week, Iraqi gunners launched a surface-to-air missile at a U-2 reconnaissance plane. Earlier, Iraq even shot at a Navy E-2 Hawkeye plane flying over Kuwait.

For years, Saddam has offered a reward for crews that shoot down a coalition aircraft. The number cited most often is $1 million. The United States "reserves the right to strike targets at a time and a place and a manner of our choosing," Quigley said.

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DOD TARGETS ECSTASY

"Ecstasy" is the fastest growing abused drug in the United States, and the military is taking steps to ensure it doesn't endanger service members.

Ecstasy -- chemical name 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine -- is also called "X," "XTC," "Clarity," "Essence" "Adam," "Lover's Speed" and "Hug Drug" on the street. A drug with no known medical use, its abuse has exploded among young people, especially those between 18 and 21. Federal authorities seized 49,000 Ecstasy pills in 1997 -- but more than 900,000 just two years later.

DoD officials said 1,070 cases of Ecstasy abuse in fiscal 2000 accounted for 5.6 percent of all positives in the DoD urinalysis program. This puts Ecstasy behind marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine as the most abused drugs in the military.

"This is a problem in the civilian world," said Deborah Rosenblum, principal director for counternarcotics. "Anything that is as popular, in vogue -- where there are misconceptions about it -- in the civilian world, we certainly take note of it from a recruiting and readiness perspective."

Abuses in fiscal 2001 have slowed, officials said. Rosenblum said contributing factors are education efforts by the services and members' growing awareness that the urine test can detect Ecstasy use.

DoD plans changes in test protocols -- weekend testing, for example, she noted. The services will also work together to see what messages resonate with service members and what tactics seem to work, she said.

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