• Bomb disposalWater Cannon Technology Disarms IEDs

    Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are a constant and ever-changing threat to the security of our nation. Their extreme destructive potential demands innovative solutions. That’s where the Reverse Velocity Jet Tamper (ReVJeT) comes in. ReVJeT breaks apart IEDs by targeting a stream of high-velocity liquid, such as water. It does not detonate the device, but rather disarms it from a distance and allows bomb technicians do their jobs faster, safer, and more effectively.

  • DronesIdentify, Track, Capture: Addressing UAS Threats

    Sandia National Laboratories robotics experts are working on a way to intercept enemy unmanned aircraft systems midflight. They successfully tested their concept indoors with a swarm of four unmanned aircraft systems that flew in unison, each carrying one corner of a net. Acting as a team, they intercepted the flying target, trapped it in air like an insect caught in a web and safely lowered it to the ground.

  • Drone defenseLaser Defense System against Next Gen Autonomous Attack Drones

    attack drones are becoming increasingly common threats, and future attack drones will be completely autonomous, navigating via onboard sensors and cameras and eschewing any sort of exploitable communication link. In order to neutralize them before they reach their target, a “hard kill” option is needed to physically target and shoot down the drone. A Ben Gurion University (BGU) laser expert has developed a laser-based defense system, dubbed Light Blade (Lahav-Or in Hebrew), that will be able to down the next generation of attack drones.

  • Climate & securityClimate Change Poses “High-to-Catastrophic” Security Threats to U.S. Security: Experts

    A comprehensive report finds that plausible climate change trajectories pose “High-to-Catastrophic” threats to U.S. national security. An expert panel analyzed the globe through the lens of the U.S. Geographic Combatant Commands, and concluded that “Even at scenarios of low warming, each region of the world will face severe risks to national and global security in the next three decades. Higher levels of warming will pose catastrophic, and likely irreversible, global security risks over the course of the twenty-first century.”

  • Climate & securityA Military Perspective on Climate Change Could Bridge the Gap Between Believers and Doubters

    By Michael Klare

    As experts warn that the world is running out of time to head off severe climate change, discussions of what the U.S. should do about it are split into opposing camps. The scientific-environmental perspective says global warming will cause the planet severe harm without action to slow fossil fuel burning. Those who reject mainstream climate science insist either that warming is not occurring or that it’s not clear human actions are driving it. With these two extremes polarizing the American political arena, climate policy has come to a near standstill. But as I argue in my new book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, the U.S. armed forces offer a third perspective that could help bridge the gap.

  • African securityOut of Africa: U.S. Pulling Out Combat Troops Operating on Continent

    By Jeff Seldin

    The United States is starting to change its force posture in Africa, announcing it is bringing home part of an infantry brigade and replacing them with specialized military trainers. Pentagon officials described the move as “the first of many” that will impact the way the U.S. military operates on the continent, as it shifts its focus from counterterrorism to the great power competition. The shift comes as a new U.S. report warns the danger from terrorist groups in Africa is spreading and that many African forces are not ready to take on the terror threat alone.

  • Costs of warThe Iraq War Has Cost the U.S. Nearly $2 Trillion

    By Neta C. Crawford

    Even if the U.S. administration decided to leave — or was evicted from — Iraq immediately, the bill of war to the U.S. to date would be an estimated $1,922 billion in current dollars. This figure includes not only funding appropriated to the Pentagon explicitly for the war, but spending on Iraq by the State Department, the care of Iraq War veterans and interest on debt incurred to fund 16 years of U.S. military involvement in the country.

  • Stability“Insider” Knowledge to Enhance Stability Operations in Remote Regions

    U.S. forces operating in remote, under-governed regions around the world often find that an area’s distinct cultural and societal practices are opaque to outsiders, but are obvious to locals. Commanders can be hindered from making optimal decisions because they lack knowledge of how local socio-economic, political, religious, health, and infrastructure factors interact to shape a specific community. DARPA’s Habitus program seeks to provide commanders with “insider” knowledge of local environments.

  • Twitter & warHow Russia May have Used Twitter to Seize Crimea

    Online discourse by users of social media can provide important clues about the political dispositions of communities. New research suggests it can even be used by governments as a source of military intelligence to estimate prospective casualties and costs incurred from occupying foreign territories. New research shows real-time social media data may have been a source of military intelligence for the Kremlin and potentially other governments.

  • ArgumentThe Drone Beats of War: The U.S. Vulnerability to Targeted Killings

    The explosions from the recent U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have sent shock waves reverberating across the Middle East. David Baron and Nora Bensahel write that those same shocks should now be rippling through the American national security establishment too. “Regardless of what happens next, one thing is certain: The United States has now made it even more likely that American military and civilian leaders will be targeted by future U.S. foes,” they write.

  • CyberwarsU.S. Monitoring Cyberspace for Signs of Iranian Aggression

    By Jeff Seldin

    U.S. government officials are watching and waiting, with many believing it is only a matter of time before Iran lashes out in cyberspace for the U.S. drone strike that killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani last week. According to the latest advisory from the Department of Homeland Security, there are still “no specific, credible threats” to the United States. But officials say Iran’s public assurances that it is done retaliating mean little.

  • CyberwarsHow Real Is the Threat of Cyberwar Between Iran and the U.S.?

    By Vasileios Karagiannopoulos

    There are widespread concerns that rising tensions between the United States and Iran might fuel further conflict between the two countries. Considering the importance of information networks and cyberspace for our everyday lives, there is also concern that this conflict might not only take place in the physical world but could take the form of cyber-attacks. These could have serious consequences, particularly since Iran has demonstrated an increase in its cyber-capability in the past decade.

  • PerspectiveIran and Hezbollah’s Presence Around the World

    In the days since the U.S. strike that killed Quds Force commander Qassim Soleimani, Americans have heard dire warnings about potential retaliation by Iran. Eric Halliday writes that in addition to Quds Force, Iran’s ability to retaliate is enhanced by Iran’s extensive network of proxy forces, most notably Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran and Hezbollah have spent the last three decades creating international bases of operation, which means they already have resources in place which would allow them to strike U.S. interests far outside of the Middle East.

  • 2020 conflicts2020 Conflicts: The Most Likely, and Most Damaging to U.S.

    The Council on Foreign Relations has asked policy experts to rank thirty ongoing or potential conflicts based on how likely they are to occur or escalate in the next year, and their possible impact on U.S. interests. For the second year in a row, a highly disruptive cyberattack on critical infrastructure, including electoral systems, was the top-ranked homeland security–related concern. A mass-casualty terrorist attack was a close second. A confrontation between the United States and Iran, North Korea, or with China in the South China Sea remain the biggest concerns overseas.

  • ArgumentWas America’s Assassination of Qassem Suleimani Justified?

    David Petraeus, the former American army general who served as the commander of the Central Command and later as director of the CIA, said that the killing of Qassem Suleimani was “more consequential” than the killing of Osama bin Laden or of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Economist writes that while few bemoaned the demise of the jihadist leaders of al-Qaeda and Islamic State, the killing of Suleimani on 3 January has sparked a debate over the legality, effectiveness, and impact of his assassination.