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December 19, 2014

Posts in "Technology"

December 18, 2014

A-10 Goes to War Against ISIS in Iraq, After Winning War in Congress

151274549 A 10 Goes to War Against ISIS in Iraq, After Winning War in Congress

A U.S. flight technician checks the body of a A-10 Thunderbolt parked on the tarmac at the Namest air force base near Brno where it is taking part in joint NATO military exercises in 2012.
(Radek Mica/AFP/GettyImages)

The A-10 was one of the biggest and most controversial weapons systems on the chopping block in Obama’s budget, and Congress refused to do the chopping last week. Now, the close air support plane commonly known as the Warthog is firing at ISIS in Iraq. Full story

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

December 16, 2014

The Army’s Future is in Leadership, Technology, McMaster Says

The Army of 10 years from now is, most of all, going to need leaders, according to any Army official charged with examining the future of the service. It’s going to need to be prepared for threats from countries, like Russia and North Korea, and non-state actors, like ISIS. It’s going to need to keep improving its technology and integrating it, and adjusting to the fact the enemy is getting better technologically, too.

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster kept returning to the “leadership” part Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. McMaster’s title is “Director, Army Capabilities and Integration Center and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.” He also happens to be one of Time‘s 100 most influential people this year.

“What we’re working on, really, is ways we can develop in leaders naturalistic decision-making,” he said.

And: “Once you give up land force capability, it’s not super-easy to regenerate it,” he said. And: “To grow an Army, you can grow privates fast,” he said, but above that, would-be leaders get formative experiences in combat “that give them the knowledge and the confidence to lead soldiers into battle. You can’t have that overnight.”

On technology, McMaster said adversaries are learning to counter U.S. technological advantages with such tools as cyber attacks or GPS jamming. They’re also “emulating our capabilities,” such as by obtaining access to technology with cyber theft. That means the Army needs to keep innovating, and one area of potential, McMaster said, is the ongoing growth of “autonomous and semi-autonomous systems,” beyond just weapons and into things like logistics. (That said, he’s warned of over-reliance on tech before.)

December 15, 2014

Navy Tests Underwater Spy Fish Drone

It’s called Ghostswimmer (or Project Silent Nemo) and it wiggles in the water like a fish.  It is pretty realistic, that Navy spy fish drone. Full story

December 12, 2014

Weekly Recap: Torture Report Times Infinity, Laser Cannon, ISIS

It was a bonkers week in the national security world. We had the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Bush administration-era detention and interrogation practices dominating the news to such a degree that the mammoth “cromnibus” spending bill for the Defense Department and other agencies was overshadowed. Even a video of a real life laser cannon – a laser cannon!!!! – couldn’t steal much of the spotlight. Full story

December 8, 2014

Arms Control, Human Rights, Afghanistan in the Week Ahead

armed services013 060513 445x293 Arms Control, Human Rights, Afghanistan in the Week Ahead

Kilmer attends a House Armed Services Committee markup of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill in 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional votes on Defense spending and policy bills are expected this week. Wait! That’s not all! Full story

November 19, 2014

A Republican Senator’s Missile Defense Wish List Post-Election

ayotte 05 030311 445x318 A Republican Senators Missile Defense Wish List Post Election

Kelley Ayotte listens to opening statements during a 2011 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

With Republicans in charge of the Senate, it could be a new day for missile defense, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire predicted Wednesday. Full story

November 17, 2014

Helicopters, ISR & NSA in the Week Ahead

NHPOL14 189 081814 445x334 Helicopters, ISR & NSA in the Week Ahead

Ayotte on the campaign trail in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s a week that’s loaded up in the middle even more than usual, with less happening on Monday and Friday than Washington, D.C.’s well-established tendency toward slow beginnings and sleepy endings.  Full story

November 14, 2014

Weekly Recap: Syrian Rebel Vetting, Defense Bills, Veterans

The video will make sense shortly. Here are some highlights from the week that was at Five By Five, and in reporting elsewhere. Full story

Popular Science’s Best of What’s New in Security Technology


Gadgetophiles — check out Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New” site. It even has its own section on security technology. Full story

October 31, 2014

Weekly Recap: Obama National Security Team in Turmoil, ISIS Fight Rolls On

It was an eventful week before the midterm elections, both around the globe and within the United States’ borders. Here’s some of what we covered, and some of what you might have missed elsewhere.

  • Important. We wrote about how ISIS continues to evolve as an organization, as well as how the cost of the war against the group is rising.  We also wrote about how anonymous administration officials keep shooting Democrats in the foot at exactly the time when they need it least.
  • Neat. We provided video of a super soldier suit, plus video of a ride in a U-2 cockpit.
  • Inside the Building. Technocrat had a talk with Chris Calabrese of the Center for Democracy and Technology about the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and dipped into how Orbital Sciences’ rocket explosion could impact military rocket procurement. The Container ran a number of items about airline security.
  • Outside the Building. The New York Times had a splashy story about the Obama administration’s national security and foreign policy team being under duress, filled with anecdotes that generated headlines in and of themselves. One of those was about Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel taking issue with the White House on Syria policy, which the Los Angeles Times then expounded upon in their own piece.

October 30, 2014

Video: In the Cockpit of a U-2 Spy Plane, Up High and Down Low

We recently wrote how it looked like the storied U-2 spy plane would likely avert retirement yet again this year, as well as about how the plane is difficult to land and flies so very, very high. Watch the video above to see what it looks like from the cockpit when the U-2 gets way, way up there, then check out the view from a chase car during the landing.

If you want to watch another U-2 landing as viewed from a chase car, here’s a taste. Then, for another view from 70,000 feet, try here or here, with the second link offering some testimonials from U-2 pilots.

And if you want to read about the U-2′s competition in the Obama fiscal 2015 budget, McClatchy recently penned a feature on the Global Hawk.

October 28, 2014

Super Soldier Exosuit Showing Improvement, According to Researchers

The Pentagon’s futuristic R&D wing, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, wants to construct a suit meant to give “superhuman” abilities to soldiers, although they’re more like “betterhuman”  qualities — reducing fatigue, increasing speed, boosting the ability to carry more weight, and doing it all with less risk of injury. The above video shows how testing is going for prototypes at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Full story

October 22, 2014

Globalization and ‘The End of the Military-Industrial Complex’

dw100928038 445x295 Globalization and The End of the Military Industrial Complex

Lynn, as deputy secretary of Defense, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in an undated photo. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

William J. Lynn III, the former No. 2 at the Department of Defense, has published a piece in Foreign Affairs headlined “The End of the Military-Industrial Complex.” It is not that his case should be ignored or otherwise discounted; it’s well worth reading. But it does require a caveat, which is mentioned at the end of this post. Full story

October 9, 2014

The White House Cybersecurity Czar Wants to Kill Your Password

186311493 445x296 The White House Cybersecurity Czar Wants to Kill Your Password

Daniel, Special Assistant to the President and the Cybersecurity Coordinator, listens during a discussion at the Reagan Building last October. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Daniel, the White House cyber czar, says he isn’t just worried about bad passwords as a security liability. He doesn’t even want the password around anymore at all as a big part of computer security.

“Frankly, I would really love to kill the password dead as a primary security method, because it’s terrible,” Daniel said Thursday.

The problem, then, is what takes its place. Among the possibilities: selfies. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 11:18 a.m.
Cyber, Technology

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