• Russia may be committing war crimes by using banned munitions, targeting civilians: Amnesty

    Russian air strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians and caused massive destruction in residential areas, striking homes, a mosque, and a busy market, as well as medical facilities, in a pattern of attacks that show evidence of violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International in a new briefing published on Tuesday. Evidence, including photos and video footage, gathered by Amnesty suggests that the Russians have used unguided bombs in densely populated civilian areas, as well as internationally banned deadly cluster munitions. Weapons experts who analyzed images of Russian air attacks said the nature of the destruction caused by the attacks indicated possible use of fuel-air explosives (also known as “vacuum bombs”), a type of weapon particularly prone to indiscriminate effects when used in the vicinity of civilians.

  • Better understanding of hybrid warfare needed: Experts

    In recent years, armed conflicts have increasingly been fought in a “hybrid” way, in which adversaries rely on a combination of conventional and non-conventional tactics to achieve their military and political objectives. Legal experts say it is essential that the MATO member nations gain a better understanding of the legal challenges posed by new methods of warfare.

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  • Assad’s future; Israel’s missile defense; U.S. overseas bases

    Israel’s chief-of staff said that the likelihood of the Assad-Hezbollah-Iran axis winning the war in Syria is “zero” (his words). The Alawite community is too small to continue and provide soldiers to Syria’s army; both Iran and Hezbollah appear to have concluded that the cost of maintaining Assad in power is just too high; and Russia has decided against sending ground troops. Israel has successfully tested the Arrow-3, its anti-ballistic system designed to intercept long-range missiles. The Pentagon proposes creating an architecture of hub-and-spokes military bases overseas to fight terrorists.

  • Fibers from natural fats make bulletproof vests stronger and greener

    Bulletproof vests and other super-strong materials could soon become even tougher and more environmentally friendly at the same time with the help of extra firm, or “al dente,” fibers. These materials, which are powerful enough to stop speeding bullets, can also be used for many other tasks that require strength.

  • Unmanned Maritime Systems 2015 conference: “Reliability, Economy, Endurance”

    The theme of the Unmanned Maritime Systems 2015 conference, being held 7-9 December 2015 in Arlington, Virginia, is “Reliability, Economy, Endurance: Requirements for Next-Generation Unmanned Surface and Undersea Systems.” The organizers note that there is a growing demand for Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMS) as today’s geopolitical environment poses a number of unique security challenges in the maritime domain. Advances in power, robotics, computing, sensors, and navigation technologies drive a growing DoD demand for unmanned systems that can provide increased autonomy, persistent resilience, and functionality with decreased risk and expense, showing their value across multiple applications, including otherwise dull, dirty, or dangerous missions.

  • U.K. attacks ISIS oil targets in first British military action in Syria

    In the first British military strikes in Syria, four British Tornados have dropped precision munitions on seven ISIS targets in eastern Syrian. All of the targets were part of the Islamist organization’s oil production and distribution system. The planes left on their mission from the RAF Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus less than an hour after the House of Commons authorized a U.K. military campaign to destroy ISIS targets in Syria. The United Kingdom has already been part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, but British military strikes were limited to attacking ISIS targets in Iraq.

  • Syria is continuing to use chemical weapons against its people: Diplomats

    Diplomats attending the annual meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, on Monday accused Syrian president Bashar al-Assad of continuing to use deadly gas munitions against his own people, although Syria committed to dismantle and remove all of its stocks of chemical weapons. U.S. and EU representatives charged that the regime may still has in its possession large quantities of chemical armaments like sulfur mustard and sarin, which it has concealed from international inspectors.

  • Israel-Russia communication: Straying Russian plane avoid being shot down

    Israel defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, on Sunday told reporters that a Russian jet recently entered Israeli airspace but was not shot down because Israel and Russia had established an effective open communication system between the two countries. Ya’alon said the plane, by mistake, entered about one mile into Israeli airspace and immediately turned around back to Syria when the Russians were notified.

  • Turkey’s, Russia’s official versions of jet shoot down scientifically impossible: Physicists

    Two astrophysicists show that the official versions of both Turkey and Russia about the circumstances surrounding the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet over Turkey should be taken with a grain of salt. Turkey’s insists that the Russian jet flew over Turkish territory for 17 seconds, but this is contradicted by the video of the shooting provided by the Turkish military. Russia’s claims that the jet made a 90-dgree turn in order to avoid Turkish airspace does “not correspond to the laws of mechanics.”

  • ISIS “trying to obtain chemical, nuclear weapons”: U.K. government

    British prime minister David Cameron said yesterday that the government security review has warned that ISIS and al-Qaeda are trying to get their hands on chemical and nuclear weapons. Cameroon referred to the security review in a speech in which he called on Members of Parliament to approve U.K. air strikes in Syria within a week. The British government pledged allocation additional resources for new equipment and the creation of within the Army of two new rapid response “strike brigades” of 5,000 soldiers each. The number of civilian jobs in the Ministry of defense, though, will be heavily reduced.

  • Most people object to fully autonomous weapons: Survey

    Public opinion is against the use of autonomous weapons capable of identifying and destroying targets without human input, according to a new survey. “It has been said that future wars will be fought with completely automated systems,” said one of the researchers behind the survey. “The survey results clearly show that more public discussion is necessary so that we can make intelligent decisions about robotic weapon technologies.”

  • Microwave absorber may advance radar cloaking for stealth missions

    Microwave absorbers are a kind of material that can effectively absorb incident microwave energy to make objects invisible to radar; therefore they are commonly used in aircraft cloaking and warship stealth. Recently, as radar detection devices have been improved to detect the near-meter microwave length regime, scientists are working on high-performance absorbers that can cloak objects in the equivalent ultra-high frequency regime (from 300 megahertz to two gigahertz). Conventional absorbers for the ultra-high regime, however, are usually thick, heavy, or have narrow absorption bandwidth, making them unsuitable for stealth missions. To solve this problem, researchers have developed an ultra-thin, tunable broadband microwave absorber for ultra-high frequency applications.

  • Climate change heightening the risk of conflict and war

    Thirty of Australia’s leading minds from defense, academia, policy think tanks, and other government agencies have joined together for discussions over two days last week for Australia’s first climate security summit. The summit participants agreed that increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events are heightening the risk of conflict and increasing the displacement of people. The summit organizers quote Brigadier-General Wendell Christopher King (Ret.), the Chief Academic Officer at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, who said: “[Climate change] is like getting embroiled in a war that lasts 100 years — there is no exit-strategy.”

  • ACLU lawsuit seeks disclosure of details of CIA drone program

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is continuing its campaign over CIA drone use with a lawsuit filed on Monday to force the CIA to turn over details about the U.S. clandestine drone war program. The ACLU lawsuit, coming a week after some of details of the program were leaked, asks for summary data from the CIA on drone strikes, including the locations and dates of strikes, the number of people killed and their identities or status.

  • Airborne networking capabilities for hostile environments

    Modern airborne warfare is becoming increasingly complex, with manned and unmanned systems having rapidly to share information in a volatile environment where adversaries use advanced, commercially available electronic systems to disrupt U.S. and allied communications. DARPA’s Dynamic Network Adaptation for Mission Optimization (DyNAMO) program. DyNAMO seeks novel technologies which would enable independently designed networks to share information and adapt to sporadic jamming and mission-critical dynamic network bursts in contested RF environments.