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August 29, 2014

Posts in "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.

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

June 23, 2014

Video: Ground-Based Missile Defense System Intercepts Target

The video comes from the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, which pushes for missile defense spending, although it is derived from footage taken directly from the website of the Missile Defense Agency. The Alliance released it Monday. Over the weekend, the Defense Department hailed the successful test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:43 p.m.
Air Force, Technology

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 16, 2014

Pentagon Waste on Table in Advance of House Spending Bill Consideration

The House is about to take up its annual bill for Defense spending. It’s a $491 billion measure, $570 billion if you count the war-related spending account, so there’s a lot of money to be scrutinized.

Some of the bill’s provisions take aim at withholding funds; some of the bill’s provisions increase funds for programs the Pentagon doesn’t want; and some provisions will be targeted for new cuts or increases when the bill comes to the floor. Full story

June 13, 2014

The New Stealth Bomber Is (Finally, Maybe) Coming

158859200 445x233 The New Stealth Bomber Is (Finally, Maybe) Coming

A stealth bomber flies over the parade route during the 124th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2013 in Pasadena, Calif. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The Air Force’s top acquisition chief said Friday that the department is “days away” from seeking proposals from industry on the mostly classified new Long-Range Strike Bomber, one of its three top procurement priorities. Unless it isn’t: “I’m learning in the Pentagon, ‘days away’ can go on for a long time,” William LaPlante joked.

Speaking at the Atlantic Council, LaPlante shared additional information on the timeline and expectations for the bomber that the Air Force plans to buy 80-100 of by 2026 at a cost of as much as $550 million each (although affiliated costs could drive the price up, and analysts suggest the total price could near $81 billion). Full story

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