Military technology

  • “Go ahead, make my day”: Sheldon Adelson on how to deal with Iran

    Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson says that the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran will lead to nothing, arguing that the best negotiating tactics would be to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on unpopulated areas in Iran – accompanied by a threat to wipe out the entire population of Tehran if Iran refused to give up its nuclear program. Echoing Clint Eastwood, Adelson said that following the nuclear explosion in the desert, Obama should tell the Iranians: “You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.”

  • Acoustic detection identifies IEDs – and their explosive yield

    A number of different tools are currently used for explosives detection. These range from dogs and honeybees to mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, and specially designed X-ray machines.A new acoustic detection system, consisting of a phased acoustic array that focuses an intense sonic beam at a suspected improvised explosive device, can determine the difference between those that contain low-yield and high-yield explosives.

  • Violin Memory: Winning over the intelligence community

    Violin Memory (NSYE: VMEM) is a recently IPO’d enterprise flash memory provider that has won installations across the most demanding branches of government, particularly in intelligence and homeland security. One advantage the company holds is a partnership with Toshiba, the world’s #2 manufacturer of NAND, which reportedly gives Violin insider-access to the unpublished R&D data, allowing for a product that has steadily performed steps ahead of the competition. The partnership also allows Violin to buy NAND at special “producer-like” prices from Toshiba, which in turn has enabled Violin to price more competitively, up to 50 percent lower than other providers. What is clear is that Violin’s technology adoption is growing exponentially within the security sector and other areas where data performance cannot be compromised and is mission critical.

  • Israel destroys another missile shipment from Syria to Hezbollah

    Israeli warplanes on Friday destroyed a Syrian military convoy carrying advanced missiles to Hezbollah. The air strike was approved in a secret meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet on Thursday night. The target of Israel’s Friday attack were remotely operated missiles, with a range of about 950 miles, which were manufactured in China and upgraded in Iran. This is the fifth Israeli attack in which shipments of advanced weapons from Assad to Hezbollah were destroyed. The earlier four attacks took place on 30 January, 3 May, 5 May, and 5 July.

  • U.S. worries about proliferation of drone technology

    A new Amnesty International report about U.S. drone use in the war on terror says that the drone campaign is killing so many civilians, that it does not only violate international law, but may be a war crime. The report also says that the growing use of drones by the United States in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia encourages their use by other states and groups. The United States rejects the figures of civilian casualties cited in the Amnesty report as unreliable, and says that the research methodology the report’s authors used is deeply flawed. The United States does agree, however, that there is a reason to worry about the proliferation of drone technology. “Going forward this is a technology that we know more people will probably get access to,” a State Department spokeswoman said.

  • 2008 drone killing of al Shabab leader used phone info collected by NSA

    Court documents filed in the case of Basaaly Moalin, a San Diego cab driver of Somali origin accused of aiding al Shabab, reveal that the 2008 killing by a CIA drone strike of al Shabab leader Aden Hashen Ayrow was aided by information collected by the NSA metadata collection program. The NSA was able to pinpoint Ayrow’s real-time location by tracking calls between him and Moalin. Lawyers for Moalin are appealing the conviction on grounds that he was unconstitutionally targeted by the NSA’s surveillance program.

  • MI6 asks for more spies in Afghanistan to fight terrorism after NATO withdrawal

    MI6, the U.K. Secret Intelligence Service, is calling for reinforcements from other agencies in order to strengthen the U.K. intelligence presence in Afghanistan after NATO forces withdraw from the country in 2014. Intelligence analysts warn that Afghanistan will become an “intelligence vacuum” which will allow terrorists to pose an increased threat to Britain. Intelligence sources said that Britain’s intelligence agencies were already “very stretched” and focused on potential threats from Yemen and Somalia, a fact which might persuade al Qaeda to seek to exploit the lack of attention to Afghanistan.

  • Iraqi war- and occupation-related death toll estimated at half a million

    A scientific study calculating Iraqi deaths for almost the complete period of the U.S.-led war and subsequent occupation estimates, with 95 percent of statistical certainty, that the total excess Iraqi deaths attributable to the war through mid-2011 to be about 405,000 (“excess” death means death not related to natural causes or causes other than the war and occupation). The researchers also estimated that an additional 56,000 deaths were not counted due to migration. Including this number, their final estimate is that close to half a million people died in Iraq as a result of the war and subsequent occupation from March 2003 to June 2011.

  • U.S. formulates strategy for a new Arctic landscape

    U.S. national security officials have become increasingly concerned about the national security implications of an ice-free Arctic. The Arctic will become ice-free during the summer by mid-decade. In a strategy document, the Pentagon says: “Melting sea ice in the Arctic may lead to new opportunities for shipping, tourism, and resource exploration, but the increase in human activity may require a significant increase in operational capabilities in the region in order to safeguard lawful trade and travel and to prevent exploitation of new routes for smuggling and trafficking.”

     

  • Coast Guard to discuss new U.S. Arctic strategy

    The future of the Arctic has become a hot topic in U.S. national security, energy, and policy circles. The Washington Homeland Security Roundtable (WHSR) has organized a forum for private-sector leaders in which Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, deputy commandant for operations of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and Captain Jon Spaner, USCG director of emerging policy, will discuss the ramifications of climate-driven changes in the Arctic for U.S. national security and maritime operations, and share insights on the role of the USCG in meeting the challenges posed by a new ocean created by rapidly melting ice.

  • The Red Cross wants video games to incorporate the Geneva Convention

    Approximately 600 million video-gamers worldwide may be violating the laws of war – at least virtually. For the past two years, a unit of the ICRC has been working on discouraging video game creators from allowing players to disregard the rules of war – that is, disregard the rules of war while playing a video game, not in real life — without consequences. ICRC calls for gamers to be “rewarded for respecting the law of armed conflict and there should be virtual penalties for serious violations of the law of armed conflict, in other words war crimes.”

  • Russia to improve image by developing patriotic video games

    The Russian government has complained that the videogame is “Company of Heroes,” which is popular among Russian teenagers, distorts history by depicting a Second World War Russian soldier as a criminal and arsonist. The government is considering banning the game – and has also launched its own videogame project to produce games which contribute to “patriotic education.” In the meantime, a Belgian videogame developer is set to release a mobile game, titled “You Don’t Mess with Putin,” which depicts Russian president Vladimir Putin and a fictional sidekick, an alcoholic American named Mike, battling zombies who attack a Putin news conference.

  • U.K. launches cyberwarfare reserve force

    U.K. defense secretary Philip Hammond announced that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has begun this month to recruit the country’s top IT specialiststo join the Joint Cyber Reserve Unit (JCRU). “In response to the growing cyber threat, we are developing a full-spectrum military cyber capability, including a strike capability, to enhance the U.K.’s range of military capabilities,” Hammond said.

  • DOD policy drives militarization of local police departments

    The adoption of military gear by local police departments across America – some call it the “militarization” of American police – has been going on for a while. Now, observers ask whether this trend might have repercussion which should make citizens uneasy. Police department receive the equipment for free – all they have to do is pay for the shipping. The gear being sent to local police includes planes, helicopters, armored vehicles, grenade launchers, assault rifles, bullet-proof helmets, night-vision goggles, and more. A few sheriff departments ordered tanks.

  • USAF partners with national labs to improve aircraft component design

    Working with national laboratories, universities, and industry, the Air Force is ensuring it stays on the cutting edge of global security by creating a new engineering paradigm to improve the safety and fuel-efficiency of aircraft.Materials research engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have partnered with national laboratories to model defects and study materials at their grain level in an effort to develop and advance the design of systems used by the military personnel, including aircraft.