Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 22, 2014

Posts in "Drones"

July 15, 2014

DARPA Experimental Spaceplane Contracts a Go

The XS-1 Spaceplane would theoretically cut the cost of satellite launches down from hundreds of millions of dollars each to more like $5 million each, and would be capable of flying 10 times in 10 days. On Tuesday, the Defense Department’s high-tech Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded contracts to three companies to develop demonstration vehicles. Full story

June 26, 2014

Newest Drone Report Makes Recommendations on Military/CIA Control, Exports, FAA Rules

A group led by a former top general and high-ranking Defense Department official has produced a sweeping new report on the use of drones, making recommendations from who should be in charge of drone strikes overseas to what the Federal Aviation Administration should do to integrate unarmed drones over U.S. soil. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 12:01 a.m.
Drones, Foreign Policy

June 23, 2014

Cybersecurity, Drones and the Marines in the Week Ahead

The schedule is too jam-packed to just highlight one or two events each day. Full story

June 20, 2014

To Slow Armed Drone Spread, U.S. Should Set an Example, Report Finds

450509472 21 445x296 To Slow Armed Drone Spread, U.S. Should Set an Example, Report Finds

In this undated handout image supplied by Dassault Aviation on June 12, the technical team for the six European countries that have been working as a single unified team in Istres, France to achieve the nEUROn armed drone final assembly. (Dassault Aviation – Stroppa via Getty Images)

The United States is the most prolific user of armed drones in the world. That puts it in a position prevent widespread proliferation of them elsewhere, a Council on Foreign Relations report announced Friday concludes.

And it’s worth worrying about, because drones have the ability that some other technologies do not to contribute to strife. Full story

June 19, 2014

Effort to Block Military Equipment for Local Police Stifled

grayson 055 040414 2 445x294 Effort to Block Military Equipment for Local Police Stifled

Grayson leaves the Capitol following the last vote of the week on April 4. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A New York Times story on the military giving equipment like grenade launchers and M-16s to local law enforcement caused a stir when the newspaper published it earlier this month. The American Civil Liberties Union has an ongoing project to detail such militarization.

On Wednesday evening, Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., offered an amendment on the House floor to block military-to-police transfers of specific equipment. It didn’t make it very far. Full story

June 12, 2014

The Scary Iraq News, and U.S. Options

450480632 The Scary Iraq News, and U.S. Options

Iraqi police man a checkpoint in the capital Baghdad on June 12. (Ahmad al-Rubaye/Getty Images)

Iraq is reeling, with a terrorist group seizing the second biggest city, Mosul, and Kurds seizing another, Kirkuk. Yet no one agrees who’s to blame, or what can be done about it.

In Iraq

Besides taking Mosul and Tikrit, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria apparently just became the richest terrorist group in the world, stealing $425 million. And now the group is pledging to take the fight to Baghdad. (Iraqi state TV declared that the government has re-taken Tikrit.)

At the same time, Kurds have moved into Kirkuk. The city has been part of a regional dispute between the Iraqi government and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. Had the Kurds and the Iraqi government been on good terms, the Kurds said, they could’ve prevented the fall of Mosul.

The danger is of full-fledged civil war, and that the country could fracture along multiple lines, between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had proposed dividing the country into three parts back in 2006, as a senator.

The Administration

In brief remarks to the press Thursday, Obama said “I don’t rule out anything” and noted that the United States has been providing some assistance to Iraq in an ongoing fashion: Full story

June 11, 2014

Paul Ryan: Rebuild Military, Stay in Afghanistan Longer, Develop Lasers

ryan 054 050714 445x296 Paul Ryan: Rebuild Military, Stay in Afghanistan Longer, Develop Lasers

Ryan walks by reporters outside of the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on May 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Prospective GOP presidential candidate Rep. Paul D. Ryan offered up his vision Wednesday for the military and diplomacy, contrasting himself with President Barack Obama and perhaps some potential primary challengers. And in offering up that vision, he proposed some specific ideas for what the Defense Department ought to be doing. Full story

June 5, 2014

Stealth Burqas And Makeup: Surveillance Countermeasures In Fashion

At #PDF14 in New York City on Thursday — short for Personal Democracy Forum 2014, a gathering of politics enthusiasts (mostly from the left) and tech geeks — artist/designer Adam Harvey made an impression with demonstrations on how makeup can hide someone from facial recognition cameras and how specially designed burqas can evade surveillance by drone thermal-imaging cameras.

Harvey’s subversive fashion tips have generated headlines before. Perhaps because they were particularly visually compelling, they were an especially Twitter-able part of the forum, which also featured Edward Snowden appearing live via satellite from Russia on the anniversary of the first explosive news stories that were published based on his leaked documents.

Just know that the burqa will cost you multiple thousands of dollars.

By Tim Starks Posted at 5 p.m.

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