• CounterterrorismU.S. employs Israeli “roof-knocking” air strike tactic

    The U.S. military is now employing a controversial air strike technique called “roof-knocking,” which was widely used by Israel during the war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip in summer 2014. The approach involves dropping small munitions in the roof of a house in which terrorists are suspected to be hiding, or which is suspected of being a storing facility for terrorists weapons. The purpose of dropping the small, harmless munitions on the roof is to alert civilians in the house that they have a few minutes to escape to safety.

  • Cyber warfarePentagon “dropping cyberbombs” on ISIS

    Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work has said that the U.S. military is “dropping cyberbombs” on ISIS. Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the U.S. Cyber Command had been given its “first wartime assignment” – attacking and disrupting ISIS cyber infrastructure. in the last few months, the Pentagon has allowed more information to be published about the U.S. military’s cyberwar against ISIS. Work, describing the Cyber Command’s operations at a news conference, said: “We are dropping cyberbombs. We have never done that before.”

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  • In the trenchesGeneral Dynamics completes USAF Space Fence radar array ground structure

    General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies earlier this month completed the construction and walk-through of the 7,000 square-foot radar receive array structure which is part of the U.S. Air Force Space Fence radar system. With the array structure complete, the General Dynamics Space Fence team will dismantle the 700,000-pound steel structure and ship it to Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, for reassembly and integration into the Space Fence system.

  • Killer robotsPressure mounts to keep human control over killer robots

    Fully autonomous weapons would go a step beyond existing remote-controlled drones as they would be able to select and engage targets without human intervention. Although these weapons do not exist yet, the rapid movement of technology from human “in-the-loop” weapons systems toward “out-of-the-loop” systems is attracting international attention and concern. Countries should retain meaningful human control over weapons systems and ban fully autonomous weapons, also known as “killer robots,” Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic said in a new report. The concept of meaningful human control will be a centerpiece of deliberations at a week-long multilateral meeting on the weapons, opening 11 April 2016, at the United Nations in Geneva.

  • Robot warshipSea Hunter, world’s first robot warship

    At the Pentagon nowadays, you are starting to see robots everywhere. They dispose of bombs, and throw out the occasional first pitch. They help Marines improve their target shooting. And, if they are human-robot teams that entered last year’s DARPA Robotic Challenged Finals, they drive vehicles, use tools, open doors, climb stairs, and do all sorts of other things. Now another robot — one designed and built by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — happens to be the very first robot warship.

  • Presidents & use of forceU.S. more likely to use force in a military dispute when the president is a Southerner

    The United States is more likely to use force in a military dispute when the president is a Southerner, according to a new study. The study argues that “Southern honor” — an ethical code that emphasizes a reputation for resolve — pervasively shapes Southern presidents’ approach to disputes with other nations, making those presidents less willing than their peers from northern states to back down during international disputes. Consequently, Southern presidents have been more likely to use military force, resist withdrawal, and ultimately achieve victory, the study finds.

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  • Military budgetsRising world military spending in 2015

    World military expenditure totaled almost $1.7 trillion in 2015, an increase of 1 percent in real terms from 2014. The increase reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe, and some Middle Eastern states. The decline in spending in the West is also levelling off. At the same time, spending decreased in Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus, the global military expenditure picture is mixed. The United States remained by far the world’s biggest spender in 2015, despite its expenditure falling by 2.4 per cent to $596 billion.

  • TerrorismISIS rocket expert killed in U.S. strike

    Jasim Khadijah, a former Iraqi officer in Saddam Hussein’s army who joined ISIS and led the organization’s rocket development effort, was killed by a drone strike in northern Iraq Sunday. Khadijah was responsible for a rocket attack last month on a U.S. military base near the town of Makhmour, located between Mosul and Kirkuk. That attack killed marine staff sergeant Louis Cardin and wounded eight others.

  • TechnologyDARPA’s seeking innovative system-level technologies

    DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO) focuses on developing and demonstrating innovative system-level technologies and prototypes that incorporate new and emerging technologies, for the purpose of preserving and extending U.S. military advantages over potential adversaries. To help accomplish these goals and inform potential performers about TTO’s technical objectives, TTO has scheduled its fourth annual Proposers Day for Wednesday and Thursday, 20 and 21 April 2016.

  • Area 51Clinton said she would open Area 51 files to the public

    Hillary Clinton said that if she is elected president, she would open up the files on the mysterious Area 51 and make public as much as possible about what military or other activities have been taken place there. “If there is something there, unless it’s a threat to national security, I think we ought to share it with the public,”’ she said.

  • Chemical weapons1,500 people killed in 160 documented chemical attacks in Syria since 2011

    The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) earlier today (Monday) released a report detailing 161 chemical attacks in Syria since the conflict emerged in 2011. These attacks have killed nearly 1,500 people in Syria, according to the report. A UN war crimes expert says the documentation of the attacks will allow for international prosecution in the future.

  • In the trenches DARPA announces VTOL X-Plane Phase 2 design

    For decades, aircraft designers seeking to improve vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities have endured a substantial set of interrelated challenges. Dozens of attempts have been made to increase top speed without sacrificing range, efficiency or the ability to do useful work, with each effort struggling or failing in one way or another. DARPA says that its VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program aims to overcome these challenges through innovative cross-pollination between fixed-wing and rotary-wing technologies.

  • Emerging threatsSenior defense officials discuss arctic, Antarctic science and research

    To address the need for collaborative research in the Polar Regions, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mat Winter met in Finland two weeks ago with counterparts from five nations in a first-ever gathering of senior defense officials to coordinate science and technology research in high latitudes. While the U.S. Navy has long experience with polar operations, changing climates present new challenges — particularly for surface ships, as new water passages open up.

  • DronesFast, lightweight autonomous air vehicle completes first flight data tests

    DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) technologies could be useful in addressing a pressing surveillance shortfall. Military teams patrolling dangerous overseas urban environments, and rescue teams responding to disasters such as earthquakes or floods, currently can use remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide a bird’s-eye view of the situation, but to know what is going on inside an unstable building or a threatening indoor space often requires physical entry, which can put troops or civilian response teams in danger.

  • Arms salesAsia, Middle East lead rise in 2015 arms imports

    The volume of international transfers of major weapons has grown continuously since 2004 and rose by 14 percent between 2006 and 2010 and 2011–2015, according to new data. Six of the top ten largest arms importers in the 5-year period 2011–15 are in Asia and Oceania. Arms imports by states in the Middle East rose by 61 percent between 2006 and 2010 and 2011 and 2015.