The Defense Department still uses 8-inch floppy disks and computers from the 1970s to coordinate nuclear forcesPosted: April 3, 2017
Mackenzie Eaglen writes: Dale Hayden, a senior researcher at the Air Force’s Air University, told an audience of aerospace experts earlier this month that proliferation of antisatellite technology has put America’s communications networks at risk. “In a conflict, it will be impossible to defend all of the space assets in totality,” he said. “Losses must be expected.”
It has never been easier for America’s adversaries—principally Russia and China, but also independent nonstate actors—to degrade the U.S. military’s ability to fight and communicate. Senior military officials have expressed grave doubts about the security of the Pentagon’s information systems and America’s ability to protect the wider commercial virtual infrastructure.
The U.S. Navy, under its mission to keep the global commons free, prevents tampering with undersea cables. But accidents—and worse—do happen. Last year a ship’s anchor severed a cable in the English Channel, slowing internet service on the island of Jersey. In 2013 the Egyptian coast guard arrested three scuba divers trying to cut a cable carrying a third of the internet traffic between Europe and Egypt. “When communications networks go down, the financial services sector does not grind to a halt, rather it snaps to a halt,” warned a senior staffer to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in 2009. Trillions of dollars in daily trading depends on GPS, which is kept free by the Air Force.
There are now an estimated 17.6 billion devices around the world connected to the internet, including more than six billion smartphones. The tech industry expects those numbers to double by 2020. That growth is dependent, however, on secure and reliable access to intercontinental undersea fiber-optic cables, which carry 99% of global internet traffic, and a range of satellite services.
The U.S. military is working on ways of making them more resilient. For instance, the Tactical Undersea Network Architectures program promises rapidly deployable, lightweight fiber-optic backup cables, and autonomous undersea vehicles could soon be used to monitor and repair cables. In space, the military is leading the way with advanced repair satellites as well as new and experimental GPS satellites, which will enhance both military and civilian signals. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Robert Gates Laughs Recalling Obama White House’s Inability to Understand Military Options in LibyaPosted: April 2, 2016
Rasmussen: Belief that Terrorists are Winning the War Hits All Time High
Source: Ace of Spades HQ
In the surveillance area, I believe the public is mostly wrong.
Andrew C. McCarthy writes: Should private companies that provide users with encryption technology be required to assist law-enforcement and intelligence services to defeat that technology? This question is a more pressing one in the wake of November’s Paris terrorist attacks. But it is a very tough question that has vexed both the government and providers of communications services for years.
“The problem is that encryption technology has gotten very tough to crack and very widely available. Consequently, if terrorists or other high-level criminals are using it to carry out schemes that endanger the public, government agents cannot penetrate the communications in real time.”
Part of what makes it so difficult is the new facts of life. As I noted during the debate over the NSA’s bulk-collection of telephone metadata, we are operating in a political environment that is night-and-day different from the aftermath of 9/11. Back then, a frightened public was demanding that the government do a better job of collecting intelligence and thwarting terrorist plots. Of course that sentiment was driven by the mass-murder of nearly 3,000 Americans, coupled with the destruction of the World Trade Center and a strike against the Pentagon. But it also owed in no small measure to the fact that government had done such an incompetent job gathering and “connecting the dots” prior to the attacks. There was a strong public sense that intelligence agencies needed an injection of muscle.
“That they have a legal basis to conduct surveillance is beside the point; all the probable cause in the world won’t help an agent who lacks the know-how to access what he’s been authorized to search.”
Today, the public’s sense tends in the other direction. There have been spectacular abuses of government power (e.g., IRS scandal), and intrusive security precautions infused by political correctness (e.g., airport searches). Americans understandably suspect that government cannot be trusted with enhanced authorities and that many of its tactics are more about the appearance of security than real security.
It is, moreover, no longer sufficient for the national-security right to posit that security measures pass legal muster. The public wants proof that these measures actually and meaningfully improve our security, regardless of whether they are justifiable as a matter of law.
This makes it a very uphill environment in which to suggest, as FBI Director Jim Comey has recently done, that communications providers should provide the government with keys to unlocking their encryption technology – encryption-key repositories or what is often called “backdoor” access.
The problem is that encryption technology has gotten very tough to crack and very widely available. Consequently, if terrorists or other high-level criminals are using it to carry out schemes that endanger the public, government agents cannot penetrate the communications in real time. That they have a legal basis to conduct surveillance is beside the point; all the probable cause in the world won’t help an agent who lacks the know-how to access what he’s been authorized to search. Read the rest of this entry »
Industry reports are out that show the number of DDoS attacks is trending upward, even hitting new highs.
Andy Meek reports: No wonder the Pentagon has announced it’s working on a plan to fund tools and researchers to help organizations defend themselves against the pervasive threat of cyber assaults known as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
“The threat posed by distributed denial of service (DDoS) and web application attacks continues to grow each quarter. Malicious actors are continually changing the game by switching tactics, seeking out new vulnerabilities and even bringing back old techniques that were considered outdated.”
— John Summers, vice president of Akamai’s cloud security business unit
In recent days, the agency said it’s looking to fund researchers who can come up with tools as part of a program starting next April that would, among other things, help organizations recover from DDoS attacks in a maximum of 10 seconds. And the acknowledgement of that hunt for researchers for the program, called Extreme DDoS Defense, arguably comes not a moment too soon.
A few new industry reports are out that show the number of DDoS attacks is trending upward, even hitting new highs. Their provenance and targets take many forms – from organized, malicious hackers targeting sophisticated organizations to more isolated incidents where, experts say, the intent is to just find a weakness somewhere, anywhere. But the result is a kind of cyber blitz that’s growing in number and aggressiveness.
New York Magazine was among those organizations recently hit by a DDoS attack, and at a critical moment. After publishing the blockbuster results of an interview with 35 women who’ve accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them, the magazine’s website was knocked offline by what appeared to be a DDoS attack.
His company is a cloud-based application delivery service. According to another cloud services provider, Akamai Technologies, DDoS attacks were up 132% in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
Sharon Weinberger writes: For almost two years, an unmanned space plane bearing a remarkable resemblance to NASA’s space shuttle has circled the Earth, performing a top-secret mission. It’s called the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle — but that’s pretty much all we know for certain.
“Despite the secrecy surrounding its mission, the space plane’s travels are closely watched. The Air Force announces its launches, and satellite watchers monitor its flight and orbit. What is not revealed is what’s inside the cargo bay and what it’s being used for.”
Officially, the only role the Pentagon acknowledges is that the space plane is used to conduct experiments on new technologies. Theories about its mission have ranged from an orbiting space bomber to an anti-satellite weapon.
The truth, however, is likely much more obvious: According to intelligence experts and satellite watchers who have closely monitored its orbit, the X-37B is being used to carry secret satellites and classified sensors into space — a little-known role once played by NASA’s now-retired space shuttles.
For a decade between the 1980s and early 1990s, NASA’s space shuttles were used for classified military missions, which involved ferrying military payloads into space.
“Now, with the X-37B, the Pentagon no longer has to rely on NASA — or humans.”
But the shuttles’ military role rested on an uneasy alliance between NASA and the Pentagon. Even before the 1986 Challenger disaster, which killed all seven crewmembers, the Pentagon had grown frustrated with NASA’s delays.
Now, with the X-37B, the Pentagon no longer has to rely on NASA — or humans.
The X-37B resembles a shuttle, or at least a shrunken-down version of it. Like the space shuttles, the X-37B is boosted into orbit by an external rocket, but lands like an aircraft on a conventional runway. But the X-37B is just shy of 10 feet tall and slightly less than 30 feet long.
Its cargo bay, often compared to the size of a pickup truck bed, is just big enough to carry a small satellite. Once in orbit, the X-37B deploys a foldable solar array, which is believed to power the sensors in its cargo bay.
“It’s just an updated version of the space shuttle type of activities in space,” insisted one senior Air Force official in 2010, the year of the first launch, when rampant speculation about the secret project prompted some to question whether it was possibly a space bomber. Read the rest of this entry »
“…I think what you could conclude from this is the United States is at war with ISIL..”
From The Corner, Brendan Bordelon: It looks as though Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was on-message Friday when he contradicted secretary of state John Kerry by saying ”we are at war” with the Islamic State, since White House press secretary Josh Earnest echoed his remarks almost word-for-word just minutes later.
“…in the same way that we’re at war with al-Qaeda and its al-Qaeda affiliates all around the globe.”
For Defining Ideas, Victor Davis Hanson writes: Will the United States in its near future be hit again in the manner of the 9/11 attacks of thirteen years ago? The destruction of the World Trade Center, the suicide implosions of four passenger airliners, and the attack on the Pentagon unfortunately have become far-off memories. They are now more distant from us than was the Vietnam War was from the Korean War.
“Drone strikes continue at a vastly accelerated pace under President Obama, but they also raise existential hypocrisies about our approach to terrorism.”
Two questions will determine whether radical Islamic terrorists will attack us once more: one, are the post-9/11 anti-terrorism protocols that have so far stopped major terrorist attacks still viable and effective, and, two, is Al-Qaeda or an analogous Islamic terrorist organization now still as capable as were Osama bin Laden’s henchmen in 2001?
Unfortunately, the answers to those two questions should raise great concern. Take the current status of the so-called war on terror in all of its manifestations. The southern border of the United States is less guarded than at anytime since 9/11.
For all practical purposes, enforceable immigration laws simply no longer exist. The result is that we have no idea who is crossing into the United States or for what purposes.
“The President’s six years of concentrated Islamic outreach has not won over the Muslim Middle East.”
Some of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols are still in operation—renditions, preventative detention, the Guantanamo detention center, and the Patriot Act. However, the NSA, IRS, and VA scandals, along with the Edward Snowden and Wikileaks revelations, have created an understandably strong public backlash against government surveillance, which will lead to new protocols limiting our ability to monitor terrorist suspects. Read the rest of this entry »
“This is definitely a game changer for al-Shabaab and probably a turning point for the organization.”
The group said it had named Ahmed Omar Abu Ubeyd to succeed Ahmed Abdi Godane, who died of wounds sustained in the drone strike Monday in Somalia’s remote Lower Shabelle region, said the group’s spokesman, Abdiasis abu Mus’ab.
“This leader, Ahmed Godane, built the organization around himself for the past three years.”
— Abdi Aynte, head of The Heritage Institute, a Mogadishu-based think tank
“We will not sit alone,” he said, vowing revenge for a strike that appears to have killed not only Mr. Godane but several of his top aides.
Analysts said it was too soon to tell if al-Shabaab was indeed still unified or attempting to forestall its fragmentation after the death of a charismatic leader, who had sidelined or eliminated other powerful figures in the group since taking over in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »
Tribute in Light, for the victims of 9/11, will return this year from sunset Sept. 11 until dawn on Sept. 12 pic.twitter.com/xNxRDdZgcJ
— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) September 2, 2014
China demands end to U.S. surveillance flights
Bill Gertz reports: The Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Asia Pacific region amid new tensions with China over a dangerous aerial encounter between a Chinese interceptor and Navy P-8 surveillance craft.
“We stand by our account of this dangerous and unprofessional incident.”
— Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby
The strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson departed San Diego for the Pacific on Friday, the Navy said in an announcement of what it terms a “planned” deployment.
- Report: Chinese Su-27 Jet Threatened U.S. Navy Intelligence Aircraft Near Japan (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- China Warns U.S. to Stop Close-in Surveillance (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
China’s military on Saturday, meanwhile, demanded an end to all U.S. monitoring flights and called U.S. criticism of dangerous Chinese jet maneuvers false.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that a Chinese fighter jet made a “regular identification and verification” of the Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet during an encounter in an area 135 miles east of Hainan Island.
“We are concerned that the intercepting crews from that unit are acting aggressively and demonstrating a lack of regard for the regard for the safety of our aircrews.”
— Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool
Yang called Pentagon criticism of the incident “totally groundless” and insisted the Chinese pilot operated professionally and kept a safe distance.
The Chinese spokesman’s account, published in the state-run Xinhua news agency, is at odds with Pentagon officials who called the encounter both dangerous and aggressive. A White House official also said the dangerous intercept was a Chinese “provocation.”
“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law.”
— Rear Adm. John Kirby
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby on Friday called the maneuvers by the Chinese J-11—a Russian design Su-27—a dangerous and unprofessional encounter and said the military has protested the incident to the Chinese military. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Flawless’ Except That the Hostages Weren’t There
“Was this a failure of intelligence? No…This operation, by the way, was a flawless operation, but…”
We have learned more about the thinking brain in the last 10-15 years than in all of previous human history.
“There may come a day when the Internet might be replaced by a Brain-net, in which emotions, sensations, memories and thoughts are sent over the Internet.”
Michio Kaku writes: More than a billion people were amazed this summer when a 29-year-old paraplegic man from Brazil raised his right leg and kicked a soccer ball to ceremonially begin the World Cup. The sight of a paralyzed person whose brain directly controlled a robotic exoskeleton (designed at Duke University) was thrilling.
[Check out Michio Kaku’s book “The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind” at Amazon.com]
We are now entering the golden age of neuroscience. We have learned more about the thinking brain in the last 10-15 years than in all of previous human history.
A blizzard of the new technologies using advanced physics—resulting in scans and tests we know as fMRI, EEG, PET, DBS, CAT, TCM and TES—have allowed scientists to observe thoughts as they ricochet like a pong ball inside the living brain, and then begin the process of deciphering these thoughts using powerful computers. Read the rest of this entry »
GLOBAL PANIC OF JULY 2014 REACHES NORTH KOREA: Hwang Pyong-So Threatens Nuclear Strike on White House, PentagonPosted: July 28, 2014
Seoul (AFP) – A top-ranking North Korean military official has threatened a nuclear strike on the White House and Pentagon after accusing Washington of raising military tensions on the Korean peninsula.
“If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival… our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon — the sources of all evil.”
— Hwang Pyong-So, director of the military’s General Political Bureau
The threat came from Hwang Pyong-So, director of the military’s General Political Bureau, during a speech to a large military rally in Pyongyang Sunday on the anniversary of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
Hwang, who holds the rank of vice marshal in the Korean People’s Army, said a recent series of South Korea-US military drills, one of which included the deployment of a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier, had ramped up tensions. Read the rest of this entry »
Defense contractors are now bidding on the right to build the Long Range Strike Bomber. This is what you need to know about the Air Force’s next big machine of death.
For Popular Mechanics, Joe Pappalardo writes: The U.S. Air Force this week made it official: They are officially in the market for a new bomber. In wonk speak, the service sent a formal Request for Proposals to defense contractors who will vie for the (at least) $55 billion program.
“Will the LRS-B be designed to deliver nukes? The Air Force has indicated that the priority for America’s new bomber is not an ability to drop nuclear bombs but to deliver other weapons”
Like any massive, classified national security effort, few things about the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) are exactly what they appear to be. So here’s a cheat sheet.
1. Our Bomber Fleet is Old—Very Old
The average B-52 Stratofortress is 50 years old, and the B-1 Lancer fleet has a mean age of 28. Now, there are plenty of things you can do with a B-52; you can fly over undefended terrain and drop bombs, or launch missiles from longer, safer ranges. But you can’t fly a B-52 anywhere that is guarded by the kind of top-notch, integrated air defense radar and anti-aircraft missiles that Russia sells and that China, Iran, Syria, and others use. Only the B-2 stealth bomber can breach those defenses. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the Boeing Co.-made interceptors will be launched from an underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in an attempt to strike a dummy missile fired from a Pacific range, according to the article. The exercise is designed to gauge whether the system is capable of knocking out an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile.
The agency’s director, Navy Vice Admiral James Syring, described it as the agency’s “highest near-term priority,” during a hearing Wednesday before members of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, headed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.
An interceptor launched from the same site last July missed its target, the latest in a series of failures dating to 2008. Lawmakers, including Durbin, have criticized the military’s plans to increase the number of interceptors despite lingering problems with the technology. Read the rest of this entry »
“I think that it’s very important that the Army pursue this.”
“If you’re going to do the swap that we did for this kind of guy, where there is a question whether he left on his own or not or what the motives were, you absolutely have to bring military justice to bear.”
— Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday’s Special Report
For The Daily Caller, Christopher Bedford reports: As early as 2010, the Pentagon had confirmed that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had deserted his post in 2009, and even before he deserted he had been the subject of “a major classified file” by U.S. intelligence.
A 2010 investigation by the Pentagon found there was solid evidence that Bergdahl hadn’t lagged behind on patrol, as first reported, and had indeed walked from his post, AP reports. The Pentagon decided at that point to draw down search-and-rescue operations. Read the rest of this entry »
Marine One-to-be: An artist’s rendering shows what Sikorsky’s proposed ‘VXX‘ presidential helicopter might look like
For Mail Online, David Martosko reports: The Department of Defense awarded a contract on Wednesday to a Connecticut company that will build a fleet of helicopters to replace the Marine One fleet that ferries U.S. presidents short distances.
The contract, given to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, will cost an initial $1,244,677,064 ‘for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement program.’ For that price the U.S. Navy will get six test aircraft and all the necessary research & development.
The Pentagon made a similar attempt to replace the aging fleet of Sikorsky choppers, spending $3.2 billion on a landing pad to nowhere.
Adding in the likely $17 billion price tag for the new project – a numberestimated by the Congressional Budget Office – the $20 billion total makes the fleet the most expensive helicopters ever built.
Seeing double? If the current fleet of presidential choppers looks a lot like the new one, it’s because the same company will build them, and it was the only firm to bid on the project
The CBO reports that the projected cost also ‘does not include costs to keep the 19 existing presidential helicopters in operation until they are replaced by new helicopters.’ Read the rest of this entry »
“We are aware that the Russian ships Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker are currently operating in waters that are beyond U.S. territorial seas but near Cuba…”
— Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman
For The Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz reports: A Russian intelligence-gathering ship has been operating off the U.S. East Coast and near the Gulf of Mexico for the past month, the Pentagon said Thursday.
“We are aware that the Russian ships Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker are currently operating in waters that are beyond U.S. territorial seas but near Cuba,” said Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman. “We respect the freedom of all nations, as reflected in international law, to operate military vessels beyond the territorial seas of other nations.”
The Leonov is an intelligence gathering ship outfitted with high-tech electronic spying gear. The Chiker is an ocean-going naval tug that has been accompanying the spy ship on its mission. Pentagon officials suspect the ships were part of a spying operation since March against the U.S. nuclear missile submarine base at Kings Bay, Ga. and other U.S. military facilities. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Washington Times, Douglas Ernst reports: The Pentagon’s research agency tasked with developing breakthrough technologies for national security has come up with a plan for dealing with shrinking budgets: robotic flight crews..
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently working on technology that will be able to replace up to five crew members on military aircraft, in effect making the lone human operator a “mission supervisor,” tech magazine Wired reported.
The Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) would offer the military a “tailorable, drop-in, removable kit that would enable the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft to enable operation with reduced onboard crew,” DARPA said….(read more)
For The Washington Post, FRED HIATT writes: Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine. That was the word from Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, who visited The Post Friday after meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Siemoniak said the decision has been made on a political level and that military planners are working out details. There will also be intensified cooperation in air defense, special forces, cyberdefense and other areas. Poland will play a leading regional role, “under U.S. patronage,” he said.
But the defense minister also said that any immediate NATO response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, while important, matter less than a long-term shift in the defense postures of Europe and America. The United States, having announced a “pivot” to Asia, needs to “re-pivot” to Europe, he said, and European countries that have cut back on defense spending need to reverse the trends. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Gertz reports: An experimental scramjet-powered, ultrahigh speed strike vehicle is emerging as the Pentagon’s main choice for a new long-range, rapid attack weapon, a seniorPentagon official says.
Alan R. Shaffer, principal deputy assistant defense secretary for research and engineering, told a defense industry conference that prototypes and recent tests proved concepts for hypersonic arms, and several systems are part of a high-priority effort by Pentagon weapons developers, despite the era of sharply-diminished defense spending.
The comments come 2 1/2 months after China’s surprise Jan. 9 test of a new hypersonic glide vehicle, dubbed the Wu-14. That ultrahigh speed maneuvering vehicle test represents a major challenge for current U.S. missile defenses, which are designed to counter non-maneuvering ballistic missile threats. Read the rest of this entry »
The biggest news from the Pentagon this week is Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s new budget plan, which is designed to refit U.S. armed forces in a manner suitable for emerging threats. Informing Hagel’s thinking on the budget is the looming drawdown from the United States’ longest ground war ever – Afghanistan. Consequently, the proposed budget would see the U.S. Army reduced in size to pre-World War II levels…
Awr Hawkins writes: China military spending is surging from the $139.2 billion it spent in 2013 to the $148 billion allotted in 2014.
According to The New York Times, the U.S. still far outspends the Chinese at $574.9 billion. However, that number is decreasing, down nearly a hundred billion from the $664.3 spent in 2013.
ALERT THE NSA: SUSPICIOUS MILITARY-INSPIRED DESIGN RAISES THREAT LEVEL FROM JAPANESE FRUIT-TERROR CAMPAIGN’S SECRET CITRUS-ENGINEERING HEADQUARTERS
From creepy pears in the shape of a baby to heart-shaped and watermelons, Japan has the market cornered on unusually shaped fruit. Now we’ve come across a five-sided orange produced in Ehime Prefecture.
Pentagon intelligence official says Chinese hypersonic weapon poses major challenge
Bill Gertz reports: China’s testing of a new ultra-high-speed maneuvering warhead represents a major threat to U.S. military forces, a Pentagon intelligence official said on Thursday.
Lee Fuell, a technical intelligence specialist with the Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center, said during a congressional China commission hearing that the recent test of what the Pentagon has called the WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicle “represents a considerable challenge.
“It is very difficult to defend against,” Fuell told the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission during a hearing on China’s military buildup. He noted that the weapon is “an area of great concern.”
The Washington Free Beacon first disclosed the test of an experimental hypersonic glide vehicle on Jan. 9. The vehicle appears to be an unpowered maneuvering vehicle that is lofted to near space and then is guided to its target at speeds of up to Mach 10 or nearly 8,000 miles per hour.
Chinese military commentators said the vehicle is planned for use in potential attacks against aircraft carriers at sea.
Fuell’s comments expressing concerns about the hypersonic threat contrast with those of Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, who said last week that he was not particularly concerned by the Chinese hypersonic weapon. Locklear later acknowledged to reporters that the high-speed weapon would be a factor in “the calculation of how we’re going to maintain a peaceful security environment in the future.”
Commission member Larry Wortzel, who asked Fuell about the hypersonic weapon, said China is developing the high-speed vehicle as an outgrowth of its anti-ship ballistic missile, the DF-21D.
“It’s a big deal,” Wortzel said in an interview.
Wortzel said that unless the U.S. military develops directed energy weapons, including lasers and pulsed rail guns “we don’t have a counter” to the hypersonic missile threat.
“It really forces us further away from China’s coasts,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
War: The Gambling Man’s Game
Kori Schake writes: Geoffrey Blainey’s The Causes of War is a genuinely wonderful book. I had it pressed on me by one of the Pentagon’s most thoughtful people, and while it’s not a new book, it should be at the top of the reading lists of people interested in international relations. Like much else in the book, Blainey is straightforward in his title: he is examining why wars occur. He quotes Clausewitz to the effect that of all the branches of human activity, war is the most like a gambling game, and Blainey’s approach is very much marked by game theory.
Blainey argues that assessments of relative power drive decisions on war and peace, and that war occurs when nations misjudge their relative power. He writes, “War is usually the outcome of a diplomatic crisis which cannot be solved because both sides have conflicting estimates of their bargaining power.” Disputes about issues central to states’ interests can be negotiated when there is a clear hierarchy of power—the weaker compromises to prevent war. When there is doubt about the weaker party, compromise is elusive and wars occur, because “war itself provides the most reliable and most objective test of which nation or alliance is the most powerful…war was therefore usually followed by an orderly market in political power, or in other words, peace.”
John Shiffman and Andrea Shalal-Esa – WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China’s espionage and military buildup.
According to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters, chief U.S. arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers, Northrop Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc, to use Chinese magnets for the new warplane’s radar system, landing gears and other hardware. Without the waivers, both companies could have faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program could have faced further delays.
“It was a pretty big deal and an unusual situation because there’s a prohibition on doing defense work in China, even if it’s inadvertent,” said Frank Kenlon, who recently retired as a senior Pentagon procurement official and now teaches at American University. “I’d never seen this happen before.”
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is examining three such cases involving the F-35, the U.S. military’s next generation fighter, the documents show.
The GAO report, due March 1, was ordered by U.S. lawmakers, who say they are concerned that Americans firms are being shut out of the specialty metals market, and that a U.S. weapon system may become dependent on parts made by a potential future adversary.
Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robot named WildCat can gallop at high speeds
Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.
It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection. But Boston Dynamics and its animal kingdom-themed machines bring significant cachet to Google’s robotic efforts, which are being led by Andy Rubin, the Google executive who spearheaded the development of Android, the world’s most widely used smartphone software.
The deal is also the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.
NORAD’s Santa Tracker: Fanciful ‘Fighter Jet Escort’ for Santa Under Fire from Child Psychologists and Public Health Experts?
It was only a matter of time before some humorless finger-wagging scolds indulged their paranoia and accused the government of sponsoring a harmful military-industrial brainwashing campaign against children (to induce them into military service later in life?) and succeeded in getting the media to pay attention.
I think we should celebrate when these imaginary grievances make national news. It reveals how silly the academics, psychologists, and culture warriors can get. When allowed to walk outside of their University offices and talk to members of the press, without supervision, they unintentionally provide us with comedy gold.
One of the advocates of this campaign, Amy Hagopian, a professor of public health at the University of Washington, should be
fired given a toy airplane, a basket of candy canes, some cupcakes, and a yo yo. Then taken on a trip to the zoo, then taken out for an ice cream, and read a bedtime story. She deserves a happy childhood, but perhaps didn’t get one. I propose that we bury her in love, kindness, and holiday cheer, ’cause she needs it. Send her an email, let her know what you think.
Without NORAD’s official protection, securing North American airspace for Santa and his reindeer, Santa’s annual global delivery route–and Santa himself– could be at risk! I hope the fine men and women at NORAD ignore the Scrooges and screwballs, and continue their volunteer efforts to keep Santa’s supply routes open and safe! Props to Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, for standing his ground in this (manufactured) controversy. A fictional controversy about an imaginary NORAD mission. It’s perfect.
WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Some child advocates are upset that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is providing Santa Claus with a fighter jet escort around the globe in this year’s tracking program.
Since 1955, NORAD Tracks Santa has been operated by the joint U.S.-Canada command. Its purpose is to provide children with information and details about Santa’s whereabouts as he drops off presents around the world.
This year’s program depicts Santa flying over snow-capped mountain peaks with a military aircraft keeping up with him on either side.
Jason Paur reports: Lockheed Martin’s famed Skunk Works has finally unveiled the long-awaited successor to the SR-71 Blackbird. Aviation Week and Space Technology’s Guy Norris pulled the covers off the project that Lockheed Martin is simply calling the SR-72. The new airplane will be roughly the same size as the record-setting Blackbird, but will be able to fly twice as fast as the jet that still holds the speed records.
The new spy plane will be capable of Mach 6 cruise speeds, making it the first hypersonic aircraft to enter service should it be produced. Only the rocket-powered North American X-15 was able to regularly fly those speeds, and the three examples built were used for research. The SR-71 Blackbird is legendary in aviation circles for its Mach 3 capabilities, and different iterations served as a spy plane for 35 years until its retirement in 1998. It still holds several records, including a flight from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. in 64 minutes, 20 seconds.
The new SR-72 has long been rumored and debated, and is part of the U.S. Air Force’s plan for hypersonic capabilities that will allow fast reaction for gathering intelligence around the world. A Mach 6 airplane fills the gap between current surveillance aircraft that can loiter for long periods of time, but don’t have the ability to transit to a new area quickly. The SR-72 is also expected to have optional strike capabilities, according to Aviation Week. Read the rest of this entry »