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December 19, 2014

Posts in "Drones"

December 17, 2014

Spy Blimp Opens New Front in Security Vs. Privacy Debate

The argument gets tiresome because it’s not necessarily either/or, of course, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t sometimes a conflict: “Security vs. privacy” is back at it with the media getting a peak Wednesday in Maryland at the new spy blimp (technically, aerostat) meant to detect incoming cruise missiles on the East Coast. Full story

November 18, 2014

Not Enough Drones? And Are More Coming, Or Not?

457656304 Not Enough Drones? And Are More Coming, Or Not?

A drone flies over Kobani, as seen from near the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border Oct. 22. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)

According to one story, there might be a military drone “shortage.” And the recently announced Pentagon “offset strategy” suggests an increased reliance on them in the future. But also, there might not be enough money or political will for them. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:30 p.m.
Budget, Drones, War

November 13, 2014

Video: Iranian Drone That America Thinks Is Stupid

Iran has been gloating this week about its replica drone of the American version downed in 2011. The Pentagon is not impressed. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:56 p.m.

October 10, 2014

Weekly Recap: Syria Air Strikes, Operation Blue Spoon, Hawk Vs. Drone

This week, we recap the subjects in the headline, plus some Guantanamo, some politics, some cybersecurity, some Iran and more. Full story

September 30, 2014

Homeland Security Drones Fly Away From Border, Coasts 1/5th of the Time

cbp drone 445x296 Homeland Security Drones Fly Away From Border, Coasts 1/5th of the Time

A Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), taxis towards the tarmac for a surveillance flight near the Mexican border in March of last year. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Customs and Border Protection drones operated along U.S. borders and coasts 80 percent of the time over the last three years — but strayed 20 percent of the time into restricted airspace due to things like malfunctions, or else entered into Federal Aviation Administration-approved airspace for things like disaster missions.

That’s according to the Government Accountability Office, which also found that the Department of Homeland Security’s CBP has put in place procedures for complying with civil liberties and privacy laws and standards. Full story

September 10, 2014

Brain-Controlled Drone? Yes, Brain-Controlled Drone

Freaky: The Department of Defense has awarded a research contract to the University of Texas at San Antonio for brain-controlled drone research. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Full story

September 9, 2014

Early Reviews, Clip of ‘Good Kill,’ First Major Film on U.S. Drone Strikes

Hollywood and the Pentagon might work symbiotically on some films, but “Good Kill,” a movie about about U.S. drone policy directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Ethan Hawke and January Jones, isn’t one of them. This clip hints at why.

Said Jones: “The fact that it even got financed was a miracle,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “When production went to ask for [Department of Defense] support, they very respectfully declined. They didn’t know if they wanted to lend their support. They’re just confused themselves as how to talk about it, so we’ll talk for them.”

So how well is doing at the talking as it makes the rounds at various festivals? Full story

August 26, 2014

Should Congress Authorize Air Strikes in Syria?

foreign006 040814 445x283 Should Congress Authorize Air Strikes in Syria?

Kaine, at an April Senate Foreign Relations hearing. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call)

A pair of senior senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee want President Barack Obama to come to Congress for authorization of any air strikes in Syria targeting the group popularly known as ISIS, which has made big gains in Iraq. Others? Not so interested in Congress getting involved. Full story

July 24, 2014

Did Pakistan Let Haqqani Network Slip Away on Purpose? (Official Says “No”)

187654961 2 445x298 Did Pakistan Let Haqqani Network Slip Away on Purpose? (Official Says No)

Pakistani schoolchildren stand at the spot where Nasiruddin Haqqani, a senior leader of the feared militant Haqqani network, was assassinated at an Afghan bakery in the Bhara Kahu area on the outskirts of Islamabad on Nov. 11. AAMIR QURESHI (Aamir Quereshi AFP/Getty Images)

Leaders in Pakistan have declared it of late, both publicly and privately: The country is going after all militants, even the Haqqani network, an organization that U.S. military officials have deemed a de facto arm of the Pakistan intelligence agency ISI.

Some have raised doubts about whether that’s actually happening, though, pointing to evidence that Haqqani network militants have merely shifted elsewhere, with the complicity of Pakistan. A senior Pakistani official insisted Thursday that Pakistan wants the Haqqani network destroyed, but that to a certain degree it’s in the hands of Afghanistan, NATO and the United States. Full story

July 23, 2014

State Department Official: ISIS Now ‘a Full-Blown Army’

451662328 445x296 State Department Official: ISIS Now a Full Blown Army

KHAZAIR, IRAQ — Iraqi families who fled recent fighting vs. ISIS near the city of Mosul prepare to sleep on the ground as they try to enter a temporary displacement camp but are blocked by Kurdish soldiers on July 3. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A State official offered a dire assessment Wednesday about the growing power of the group in Iraq that calls itself the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL): “It’s no longer a terrorist group,” said the department’s deputy assistant secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. “It’s a full-blown army.”

Given that, asked the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, why didn’t the United States conduct drone strikes earlier? Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 11:16 a.m.
Drones, Foreign Policy, War

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

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