Balloon Reconnaissance, History

Just three months after the first manned balloon flights in France in 1783, Benjamin Franklin wrote of the new invention's military capabilities.

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)

The ETA was founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles in the northern Spanish Provinces of Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, Alava, and Navarra, and the southwestern French Departments of Labourd, Basse-Navarra, and Soule. The Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) group also operates as, or is known as Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna.

Bathymetric Maps

Bathymetric mapping refers to construction of ocean and sea maps—bathymetric maps (BM). Bathymetric maps represent the ocean (sea) depth depending on geographical coordinates, just as topographic maps represent the altitude of Earth's surface at different geographic points.

Bay of Pigs

The Bay of Pigs (BahĂ­a de Cochinos) is a small bay on the southern coast of Cuba that was invaded on April 17, 1961 by approximately 1,400 Cuban exiles organized and armed by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The invasion was meant to appear to be an attempt by independent Cuban rebels to overthrow leftist Cuban leader Fidel Castro, but became obviously known as an American project, and confirmed when President John F.

Belgium, Intelligence and Security Agencies

Officially upholding a declared policy of neutrality, Belgium maintains a small number of defense, intelligence, and military forces. Belgium has three national languages, French, German, and Dutch, all of which are equally recognized for official government use.

Belly Buster Hand Drill

The "belly buster" hand-crank drill served as an aid to audio surveillance efforts by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the 1950s and 1960s. Designed to drill holes into masonry, the device made it possible to implant audio devices for covert listening.

Berlin Airlift

Following World War II, Germany was partitioned into various zones under the control of Allied nations. Berlin, the nation's key city, was also divided into different occupation areas, despite its location deep into the Soviet sector.

Berlin Tunnel

The Berlin Tunnel involved an attempt by American and British intelligence to adjust to the late 1940s Soviet shift from wireless transmissions to landlines by tapping Soviet and East German communication cables via a tunnel dug below the communist sector of the German city. The tunnel, which lasted from March 1955 until its discovery by Soviet troops in April 1956, provided difficult-to-obtain military intelligence, as well as information about scientific and political developments behind the Iron Curtain.

Berlin Wall

In the early hours of August 13, 1961, the border crossings between the eastern Soviet Occupied Zone of Berlin and the western American, British and French controlled sectors began to be sealed. At first barbed wire was used to separate East from West Berlin, but over time this was replaced by concrete slabs and a deadly no man's land that became known as the Berlin Wall.

Biochemical Assassination Weapons

Assassination is usually defined as politically inspired murder. The term is probably derived from the Arabic word for hemp (Hashish), which was apparently used by Hasan-ban-Sabah (c.

Biocontainment Laboratories

A biocontainment laboratory is a laboratory that has been designed to lessen or completely prevent the escape of microorganisms.


Biodetectors are analytical devices that combine the precision and selectivity of biological systems with the processing power of microelectronics. Biodetectors act as powerful analytical tools in medicine, environmental diagnostics, and food industries, as well as forensic analysis and counterterrorism.

Bio-Engineered Tissue Constructs

For several decades, scientists have cultured individual cells and single layers of cells in media outside the body. Information on cell growth, function, and pathology has accumulated from studying these tissue cultures.


Bio-flips are specialized microprocessors that can be implanted in the body and that are capable of configuring and calibrating themselves internally via biological feedback (e.g., a response to a set of biological conditions or parameters). Bio-flip type microprocessors can also be used in external biosensors through which bodily fluids or gases are passed.

Biological and Biomimetic Systems

Animals depend on a variety of adaptations and behaviors for reacting to their environment including locomotion, navigation, and the compilation of sensory input into recognizable patterns. The success of these various behaviors is determined by an animal's fitness, which is defined in evolutionary terms as the number of offspring that live to reach reproductive age.

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

The Biological Weapons Convention (also more properly, but less widely known as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention) is an international agreement that prohibits the development and stockpiling of biological weapons.

Biological Input/Output Systems (BIOS)

The Biological Input/Output Systems program, also called BIOS, was funded by the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2002. Its goal is to develop and incorporate specific genes into plants, bacteria, yeasts, and prokaryotes that will induce these organisms to act as remote sentinels indicating the presence of biological and chemical substances.

Biological Warfare

Biological warfare, as defined by the United Nations, is the use of any living organism (e.g. bacterium, virus) or an infective component (e.g., toxin), to cause disease or death in humans, animals, or plants.

Biological Warfare, Advanced Diagnostics

The Advanced Diagnostics Program is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the United States government (DARPA). Its objective is to develop tools and medicines to detect and treat biological and chemical weapons in the field at concentrations low enough to prevent illness.

Biological Weapons, Genetic Identification

Biological weapons are weapons whose payload consists of microorganisms that can cause infections, or the toxic components of the microorganisms. Examples of microorganisms include viruses (e.g., smallpox, Ebola, influenza), bacteria (e.g., Bacillus anthracis, Clostridium botulinum, Yersinia pestis) and protozoa.


In 2002, the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded an initiative to research the use of magnetic technologies in the detection, manipulation and control of cells, molecules and nanomolecules called Bio-Magnetics Interfacing Concepts (BioMagnetICs). Living cells and biological molecules are not particularly polar, therefore using magnetic markers as tags represents a highly specific and easily detectable signal for measuring cellular response to environmental conditions, including the presence of biological and chemical toxins.

Biomedical Technologies

In 1993, the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated a program to develop biomedical technologies for use on the front line of the battlefield in 1993. Research had shown that even though medical care has greatly improved during the last three decades, the number of casualties on the battlefield has essentially remained constant.


Biometrics refers to the measurement of specific physical or behavioral characteristics and the use of that data in identifying subjects. With wide application, biometricbased identification techniques are increasingly an important part of physical and financial security infrastructure because biometric data is difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate or otherwise falsify.

Bio-Optic Synthetic Systems (BOSS)

In 2002, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) initiated a program aimed at simplifying complex optical sensors used in military operations by imitating biological visual systems. The goal of the Bio-Optical Synthetic Systems project (BOSS) is to understand and synthesize the components of biological vision systems.

Biosensor Technologies

The capability for detecting and identifying multiple biological warfare agents quickly and accurately is required to protect both troops on the battlefields and civilians confronted with terrorist attacks. The systems currently available for sensing biological analytes rely on two technologies: reporter molecules that attach to antibodies and give off fluorescent signals and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) that amplifies suspect DNA.

Bioshield Project

Although the medical industry has made great strides in the treatment of many naturally occurring diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, over the last few decades, very little has changed in the treatment of many of the diseases that might be used in an terrorist attack. In particular, the smallpox vaccine has not changed much since the 1960s and the treatments for exposure to radiation have remained the same since the 1970s.


Bioterrorism is the use of a biological weapon against a civilian or military population by a government, organization, or individual. As with any form of terrorism, its purposes include the undermining of morale, creating chaos, or achieving political goals.

Bioterrorism, Protective Measures

Bioterrorism is the deliberate use of microorganisms or the poisonous compounds that can be produced by some microbes as weapons. Bioterrorism can be a well-organized government sanctioned weapons development program, or can involve a small group of people dedicated to their particular cause.

Black Chamber

The term "black chamber" has come to represent any code-breaking organization, but was originally applied to groups of code-breakers associated with the French postal service that intercepted, read, copied and decoded diplomatic mail. In the twentieth century, Americans created a black chamber to intercept and decode radio transmissions (telegraphs) rather than postal mail.

Black Ops

"Black ops" is shorthand for "black operations," covert or clandestine activities that cannot be linked to the organization that undertakes them. The term is a highly problematic one, for a number of reasons.