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Posts in "Technology"
August 18, 2014
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
It’s a week that’s heavy in the middle with defense and national security-related events. Full story
August 1, 2014
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
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
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
July 1, 2014
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
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.
June 30, 2014
June 24, 2014
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
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.
June 20, 2014
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
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
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 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