Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 18, 2014

Posts in "Technology"

September 18, 2014

Missile Defense Test Was No “Softball Shot,” Says Boeing

That missile defense test from June, the first successful one in five years? It wasn’t “some softball shot,” as critics allege, according to Boeing officials managing the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program. And in so far as it was “scripted,” they said, it was only because fully simulating a nuclear missile attack isn’t easy. Full story

Rocket Launch Race Taking Off: Jeff Bezos Vs. Elon Musk

485517059 445x295 Rocket Launch Race Taking Off: Jeff Bezos Vs. Elon Musk

Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. in April. (Bruce Weaver/AFP/Getty Images)

The multibillion dollar battle pitting Elon Musk‘s SpaceX vs. defense industry giants Lockheed Martin/Boeing over Pentagon satellite launch contracts was already one of the most interesting in the national security world, if not all of the federal government. This week, it has gotten even hotter. Full story

September 16, 2014

Video: Jetpack Makes Guy Run Fast

Vroom vroom. Arizona State University has teamed with the Pentagon on a project to help soldiers run faster while carrying heavy loads — in the case of this jetpack, it adds 11 pounds but shaves off seconds — with the goal of running a four-minute mile. 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

Armored Vehicles That Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge

The above newly-released video is what the Defense Department’s futuristic technology shop hopes to see among the potential approaches to its Ground X-Vehicle Technology. The idea would be to use the rules of “Dodgeball” as spelled out by Patches O’Houlihan: dodge, duck, dip, dive and… dodge. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 11:35 a.m.
Technology

August 18, 2014

Defense Philanthropy, Ukraine Vs. Russia in the Week Ahead

This is the slowest week event-wise of the August congressional recess so far, at least as it pertains to defense and national security. There are, however, a few items of note. Full story

August 11, 2014

World War I, National Security Agency and Iran in the Week Ahead

It’s a week that’s heavy in the middle with defense and national security-related events. Full story

August 1, 2014

DARPA Wants to Chop Military Materials Development Time From 10 to 2.5 Years

Say you’re trying to design a hypersonic plane. It will have to deal with shell temperatures of several thousands of degrees of steel-melting heat.

That’s where the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to start — with an “outer aerodynamic shell for a hypersonic vehicle that would glide through the atmosphere” — in testing a new development concept for speeding up the deployment of new military materials into the field. Full story

July 23, 2014

DARPA Humanoid Robot Plan Going Too Well, Apparently

6jBFt 445x295 DARPA Humanoid Robot Plan Going Too Well, Apparently

Team ViGIR’s humanoid robot entry for DARPA. (via @darpa on Twitter, July 23)

Apparently the DARPA competition to build a humanoid robot is going so swimmingly that the Defense Department’s advanced research wing is pushing back the schedule — not the usual reason for a missed deadline at the Pentagon. Full story

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

July 7, 2014

Real-Life Transformers, Self-Healing Drones

BAE Systems has released a series of concept videos — compiled into one above — on the future of military aircraft. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 5:02 p.m.
Technology

July 1, 2014

Future Military Helicopters Program to Slim Down One Way, Not Another, Leader Says

451550778 445x295 Future Military Helicopters Program to Slim Down One Way, Not Another, Leader Says

U.S. Army soldiers stand next to a Black Hawk helicopter during a military exercise near the town of Gjakova, Kosovo on July 1. (Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images)

In about a month, the number of designs moving forward for the technology demonstration program that’s associated with a long-term plan for replacing the current fleet of military helicopters will be pared down, a top program official said Tuesday. And he’s not worried about the rug being pulled out from underneath the program because of budget pressures. Full story

Insert ‘War of Fog’ Joke Here

In Neal Stephenson’s nanotech-oriented novel The Diamond Age, microscopic “mite” robots are everywhere, sometimes forming clouds and waging war among themselves. That 1995 book was set in a relatively distant future; in 2014, the scale of warfare involving clouds isn’t quite so tiny.

Full story

June 30, 2014

Russia, Helicopters and Iraq in the Week Ahead

It’s a short week thanks to the July Fourth holiday. Yet even with Congress on recess, there are still events out there for the national security-minded. Full story

June 24, 2014

DIA Tries to Get Better, Faster, Stronger in Harder Times

reed 096 021114 445x286 DIA Tries to Get Better, Faster, Stronger in Harder Times

Flynn, left, speaks with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., before the start of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on current and future worldwide threats to the national security of the United States in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn has a three-fold problem: “We are in persistent conflict,” with ever-changing kinds of conflicts and ever-changing needs for what the DIA provides all over the world, he said Tuesday. Also: “Our defense programs and frankly our intelligence community programs operate at such a turtle’s pace that we have a challenge staying ahead of the adjustments that need to be made.” Also: Money is drying up as the federal government tries to rein in its budget.

What’s a spy/defense agency to do? Full story

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