• Syrian opposition shoots down Israeli “spy” eagle near Idlib

    Opposition forces in Syria the other said they had captured a dead eagle which had a camera and surveillance equipment strapped to its belly. Arab neighbors of Israel have occasionally accused the Jewish state of using trained animals for surveillance and disruption purposes. In December 2010, the Egyptian tourism minister accused Israel of training sharks to attack European tourists at Egyptian Red Sea resorts in order to deter European tourists from coming to Egypt.

  • Breakthrough in countering deadly VX

    First developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1950s, VX is one of the most toxic chemical weapon threats facing soldiers on the battlefield – and civilians as well, as the use by VX by Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad shows. DoD currently uses the Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion (RSDL) for broad-spectrum agent elimination on unbroken skin, but a capability gap exists for treating chemical agent exposure to large affected areas or open wounds.

  • North Korean missiles can reach major U.S. cities beyond West Coast

    Based on current information, the recent missile test by North Korea could easily reach the U.S. West Coast and a number of major U.S. cities beyond the West Coast. News reports say that North Korea again launched its missile on a very highly lofted trajectory, which allowed the missile to fall in the Sea of Japan rather than overflying Japan. The reports also say the maximum altitude of the launch was 3,700 km (2,300 miles) with a flight time of about 47 minutes. If those numbers are correct, the missile flown on a standard trajectory would have a range 10,400 km (6,500 miles), not taking into account the Earth’s rotation.

  • “Time is running out” for diplomatic solution of North Korean problem: U.S. general

    General Mark Milley, the chief of staff of the Army, warned that North Korea’s ability to launch a missile capable of reaching the United States is advancing more significantly and faster than expected. Milley warned that “time is running out” for a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis. “North Korea is extremely dangerous and more dangerous as the weeks go by,” he said in a talk at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

  • Navy’s railgun ready for operational demos

    The U.S. Navy announced that its electromagnetic railgun is out of the laboratory and ready for field demonstrations. The revolutionary railgun relies on a massive electrical pulse, rather than gunpowder or other chemical propellants, to launch projectiles at distances over 100 nautical miles—and at speeds that exceed Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound. That velocity allows projectiles to rely on kinetic energy for maximum effect, and reduces the amount of high explosives needed on ships.

  • Young engineers pedal their way to underwater dominance

    What do a shark, coffin and ice cream cone have in common? They’re all student-built, human-powered submarines—and they competed in the 14th biennial International Submarine Races (ISR), recently held at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division, in Bethesda, Maryland. ISR is a biennial event where participants design, build and race one- or two-person, human-powered submarines down a 328-feet underwater course in the David Taylor Model Basin.

  • Is it ever a good idea to arm violent nonstate actors?

    In May, President Donald Trump authorized a plan to arm the YPG, a Kurdish militia in Syria. A month later, the YPG and their Arab partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces began the fight to take the Syrian city of Raqqa back from the Islamic State. Is the Pentagon right that the benefits of arming the YPG outweigh the risks? Is it ever a good idea to increase the lethality of violent nonstate actors? My own research suggests that the arms and ammunition supplied to a combatant in wartime can perpetuate a state of insecurity in the region long after the war has officially ended. A recent study concludes that security force assistance can achieve some limited goals, but only if states make aid conditional and intrusively monitor recipients. The reality is the conditions under which the U.S. trains, equips and advises armed opposition groups are seldom conducive to either.

  • New icebreakers to protect U.S. interests in the Arctic and Antarctic

    The United States lacks icebreaking capability in the Arctic and Antarctic and should build four polar icebreakers with heavy icebreaking capability to help minimize the life-cycle costs of icebreaker acquisition and operations, says a new report. Four heavy icebreakers would allow the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to meet its statutory mission needs at a lower cost, and would provide three ships for a continuous presence in the Arctic and one ship to service the Antarctic.

  • Israel to buy urban warfare drones meant to minimize casualties

    The Israeli military is purchasing an unspecified number of small, multi-rotor drones that can be armed and have sufficient mobility to perform well in urban combat situations. The TIKAD drone is made by Duke Robotics, a Florida-based company that was co-founded by Lt. Col. Raziel “Razi” Atuar, a 20-year IDF veteran.

  • Smart quadcopters find their way on their own -- without human help or GPS

    Phase 1 of DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program concluded recently following a series of obstacle-course flight tests in central Florida. Over four days, three teams of DARPA-supported researchers huddled under shade tents in the sweltering Florida sun, fine-tuning their sensor-laden quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during the intervals between increasingly difficult runs. The quadcopters slalomed through woodlands, swerved around obstacles in a hangar, and reported back to their starting point all by themselves.

  • Addressing the threat of vehicle-borne IEDs

    In July of 2016, a refrigerator truck packed with explosives detonated next to a crowded apartment block in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood. The blast killed 323 people and was one of the worst Vehicle–Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED also known as car bombs) attacks ever recorded. On 30 May 2017, a VBIED in a tanker truck ripped through the embassy quarter of Kabul, killing more than 150 people. DHS S&T has taken measures to address this threat directly.

  • House panel: DOD to regard climate change as a direct threat to U.S. national security

    During Wednesday’s markup of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee passed by voice vote an amendment which acknowledges that “climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States.” The amendment instructs the Department of Defense to “ensure that it is prepared to conduct operations both today and in the future and that it is prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on threat assessments, resources, and readiness.”

  • Upgrades at Sandia’s Tonopah Test Range help weapons testing

    It’s been a challenge for Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range to keep decades-old equipment running while gathering the detailed information required for twenty-first century non-nuclear testing. Over the past several years, the 60-year-old Nevada range has changed the analog brains in instruments to digital, moved to modern communications systems, upgraded telemetry and tracking equipment and updated computing systems.

  • As adversaries bolster their capabilities, U.S. naval technology must keep pace

    U.S. Navy leaders say that as adversaries move quickly to advance their technological capabilities, the pace of technology development and delivery in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps must accelerate in order to maintain the technological edge for U.S. warfighters. “We have a great opportunity to supercharge the engine of naval research,” says Chief of Naval Research (CNR) Rear Adm. David Hahn. “From discovery to deployment, innovative U.S. naval technology has been essential to mission success. We’re going to ensure that continues.”

  • U.S. warns Assad over planned chemical attack

    The United States has charged that the Assad regime was preparing to launch another large-scale chemical weapons attack on Sunni Syrians — warning that the Syrian regime would “pay a heavy price” if it went ahead with the attack. The White House, in a statement released late Monday, said that the United States had noticed Syrian military preparations similar to those the Syrian military had undertaken ahead of the 4 April chemical attack which killed eighty-seven Syrian civilians.