• Autonomous maritime vehiclesU.S. Navy, allies taking part in first-ever Unmanned Warrior joint exercise

    Autonomy and unmanned systems experts from across the naval science and technology (S&T) community will converge on the shores of the United Kingdom next month for the first-ever Unmanned Warrior joint exercise hosted by the British Royal Navy. The U.S. Navy contingent will experiment with ten technology projects to push the limits of maritime autonomous systems in real-world, challenging operational environments.

  • African securityAssessing the risk from Africa as Libya loses its chemical weapons

    By Scott Firsing

    Libya’s remaining chemical weapons left over from the Gaddafi regime are now being safely disposed of in a German facility. This eliminates the risk of them falling into the wrong hands. But can these same hands acquire weapons of mass destruction from the rest of Africa? The disposal of Libya’s chemical weapons has lowered the risk of weapons of mass destruction in Africa. But we have seen how far non-state actors are willing to go to either produce or steal such weapons. For example, analysts envision militants known as “suicide infectors” visiting an area with an infectious disease outbreak like Ebola purposely to infect themselves and then using air travel to carry out the attack. Reports from 2009 show forty al-Qaeda linked militants being killed by the plague at a training camp in Algeria. There were claims that they were developing the disease as a weapon. The threat WMD pose cannot be ignored. African countries, with help from bilateral partners and the international community, have broadened their nonproliferation focus. They will need to keep doing so if the goal is effectively to counter this threat.

  • view counter
  • ISIS & chemical weaponsISIS fired chemical shells at U.S., Iraqi troops near Mosul

    U.S. defense officials say that on Tuesday ISIS has fired a shell containing mustard agent at the Qayarrah air base south of Msoul. U.S. and Iraqi troops use the base for operations against the Islamist group. No U.S. or Iraqi troops were hurt, and none has shown symptoms of exposure. One official told CNN that the agent had “low purity” and was “poorly weaponized.” A second official described it as “ineffective.”

  • Emerging threatsIntegrating climate change into U.S. national security planning

    On Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum to address climate change and national security. The Department of Defense calls it a “threat multiplier.” The Department of Homeland Security considers it a major homeland security risk. As President Obama said in to the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, “the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other challenge.”

  • DetectionX-ray vision: Bomb technicians strengthen their hand with Sandia’s XTK software

    X-Ray Toolkit (XTK), an image-processing and analysis software developed at Sandia National Laboratories, has been adopted by the military and emergency response communities in the United States and around he world. “XTK is the standard in the field not only nationally, but internationally. It made the average bomb tech a better bomb tech,” said Craig Greene, a special agent and bomb technician at the Albuquerque, New Mexico FBI. “In the past twenty years, the bomb technician community has progressed from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century in terms of equipment and procedures, and XTK is a major part of that progression.”

  • Emerging threatsClimate change poses “strategically significant risk” to U.S. national security

    Twenty-five national security and military leaders the other day released a statement declaring that: “the effects of climate change present a strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security,” and urging a “comprehensive policy” in response. The authors of the statement say that stresses resulting from climate change can increase the likelihood of intra or international conflict, state failure, mass migration, and the creation of additional ungoverned spaces, across a range of strategically-significant regions. They add that the impacts of climate change will place significant strains on international financial stability through contributing to supply line disruptions for major global industries in the manufacturing, energy, agriculture, and water sectors, disrupting the viability of the insurance industry, and generally increasing the political and financial risks of doing business in an increasingly unstable global environment.

  • ISISU.S. destroys large ISIS chemical weapons manufacturing facility

    The U.S. on Monday destroyed an ISIS chemical manufacturing facility in Iraq, which posed a “significant chemical [weapons] threat.” Footage of Monday air strikes showed twelve aircraft hitting a sprawling industrial site in Mosul. The hits were followed by huge explosions in multiple buildings and storage facilities. The buildings were quickly engulfed by flames, and heavy plumes of dark smoke rose into the air. USAF spokesman said that fifty individual targets were hit in the attack.

  • Military assistanceU.S., Israel sign record 10-Year, $38 billion defense package

    After nearly a year of negotiations, Israel and the United States have signed a record $38 billion, 10-year military aid package. The deal is “the single largest military assistance package — with any country — in American history,” American ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said

  • Hamas tunnelsReport: Hamas spends $100 million annually to build up its military infrastructure

    Hamas spends an annual $100 million on its military infrastructure in order to prepare for its next war against Israel. Roughly $40 million is spent on employing around 1,500 diggers to build the Iran-backed terror organization’s network of tunnels. Despite the financial hardships experienced by Gaza residents, Hamas, which in 2014 had a budget of around $530 million, is intent on increasing its military spending. In addition to digging tunnels, it hopes to upgrade its capabilities, which were degraded during its war with Israel two years ago, and is seeking to develop more precise rockets that could evade Israel’s Iron Dome defensive shield.

  • Chemical weaponsWhy ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention is in Israel’s best interest

    By David Cole-Hamilton and Ehud Keinan

    When the time came to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first major use of chemical weapons, it seemed there was at last a real chance of ridding the world of all chemical weapons in the very near future. Almost all countries had already joined the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which commits countries to the supervised destruction of all stockpiles of chemical weapons – with only two states as yet unwilling to sign: North Korea and Egypt. But there’s another exception: Israel, which has signed the convention but is refusing to ratify it. Chemical weapons have no place in a civilized society. They have little to no use as a tactical deterrent, and their effects are indiscriminate and appalling. We have a unique opportunity to rid the world of this scourge, and we’re so close to doing so. It’s high time Israel joined the rest of the world.

  • Chemical weaponsSyria chlorine attack claims: what this chemical is and how it became a weapon

    By Simon Cotton

    New claims that the Syrian government has dropped barrel bombs full of chlorine on a suburb of Aleppo are the latest in a series of allegations of chemical weapon use. Although the Syrian government denies using chemical weapons, a recent UN-led enquiry found it had used chlorine on at least two occasions. The first gas attack using chlorine was launched on 22 April 1915 in the trenches on the Western front, near Ypres. Gas masks were developed to protect against chlorine attacks and other chemical warfare agents were developed. But chlorine remains the simplest chemical weapon and reappeared on the battlefield during the Iraq War and allegedly now in Syria. In the Second World War, both sides of the conflict knew that the other side had weaponized chlorine and refrained from using it. Today in Syria, it sadly appears this may not have been the case.

  • DronesRules governing targeted killing by U.S. drones need clarifying

    Since the beginning of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has dramatically increased use of unmanned drones, developing technology to target and kill those identified as being terrorist leaders. Current U.S. policies on using drones for targeted killing are characterized by ambiguities in interpretations of international law and too many generalities, despite recent efforts by the Obama administration to clarify the policies, a new report finds.

  • Intelligence softwareStrengthening national security by improving intelligence software

    An intelligence analyst hunting for answers in a sea of data faces steep challenges: She must choose the right search terms, identify useful results, and organize them in a way that reveals new connections. Making that process quicker and more intuitive could yield faster answers to key national security questions. Researchers are developing intelligence software that allows analysts to interact more closely with their data.

  • Chemical weaponsLibya’s remaining chemical weapons materials removed

    The director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, announced a milestone in the operation to verifiably eliminate Libya’s remaining chemical weapons stocks by confirming that the chemicals have been successfully removed from Libya on 27 August 2016.

  • HezbollahEx-Shin Bet chief: Hezbollah “learning to fight on a large scale” in Syria, threatening Israel

    The Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah is gaining valuable experience while “learning to fight on a large scale” in Syria, a former Shin Bet chief told a visiting delegation of U.S. congressional advisers last Monday. Avi Dichter, currently the chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Hezbollah in Syria is “learning to fight on a large scale, in platoons and battalion, while using sophisticated weaponry and heavy, precise arms that they receive from Iran.” These new capabilities will ensure that the “next round” in the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel will be much different.