The Pentagon’s New Drone Swarm Heralds a Future of Autonomous War Machines

 

On Oct. 26, 2016, a pair of Hornets flying above an empty part of California opened their bellies and released a robotic swarm. With machine precision, the fast-moving unmanned flying machines took flight, then moved to a series of waypoints, meeting objectives set for the swarm by a human controller. The brief flight of 103 tiny drones heralds a new age in how, exactly, America uses robots at war.

The Pentagon’s worked with Perdix drones since 2013, with the October flight using the military’s 6th generation of the devices. F/A-18 Hornets, long-serving Navy fighters, carried the drones and released them from flare dispensers. The small drones were the subject of an episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes, and they move so fast they’re hard to film. Below, in a clip from the Department of Defense, the drones are barely visible as dark blurs beneath the fighters. Continue reading

Pentagon may ease recruiting rules for obese people, pot smokers and single parents

Trainees take part in Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, S.C. (Department of Defense) **FILE**

 

Ash Carter on ‘Force of the Future’ reforms: ‘We’re going to review and update these standards’

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter spoke on “Force of the Future” military reforms this week that may involve relaxed recruiting rules on everything from single-parent enlistees to drug use and obesity.

A Tuesday event at City College of New York featured Mr. Carter speaking on the challenges of recruitment in a nation that is fatter, increasingly at ease with smoking marijuana, and producing more single-parent homes. The result has been a fighting force that is gleaned from rural areas at twice the rate of urban environments. Continue reading

Washington is Quietly Reinforcing Europe’s Northern Flank

Norwegian soldiers, U.S. Marines, Dutch and U.K. Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16, March 3, 2016, around the city of Namsos, Norway.

Norwegian soldiers, U.S. Marines, Dutch and U.K. Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16, March 3, 2016, around the city of Namsos, Norway. (U.S. Marine Corps / Master Sgt. Chad McMeen)

 

 

Much is being done to counter Russian ambitions in the High North, and yet much more remains to be done.

The recent stream of senior U.S. defense officials to Nordic countries underlines American concerns about potential friction in northern Europe, and Washington’s efforts to boost defense and deterrence there. Defense Secretary Ash Carter stopped in Norway in early September, while his deputy Bob Work, who has been to the region three times over the last two years, paid an early-October visit to Finland’s capital, Helsinki. Shortly thereafter, Air Force Secretary Deborah James made her own trip across the region. (Go back to last year, and Senate Armed Services Committee chair John McCain was in Norway and Sweden to discuss regional security.)

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Tehran will fight Turkey’s role in Mosul operation

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The involvement of Turkish special operations, armored and artillery forces in support of the Kurdish Peshmerga battle to drive ISIS out of Bashiqa, 12 south of Mosul, marks a pivotal moment in the US-led coalition’s anti-ISIS offensive to free Iraq’s second city. The entire Mosul operation hangs in the balance since Turkey stepped into the fighting in Iraq, at the initiative of the US. Instead of fighting ISIS, the coalition’s partners are squaring off to fight each other.

debkafile’s military sources report that Turkey was allowed to gatecrash the fighting around Mosul after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited the KRG capital of Irbil Sunday, Oct. 23. He urged Kurdish leaders to bow to President Tayyip Erdogan’s demands for a role in the battle. Continue reading

Get Ready to Walk Away from Incirlik

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An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, lands at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Nov. 12, 2015. (U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Cory W. Bush)

 

As U.S.-Turkey relations cool, retaining access to the air base will require ending our dependence on it.

Turkey’s Incirlik airbase has supported America’s most vital strategic needs for more than a half century, first during the Cold War and more recently in the fight against terrorists. Now, as its host country becomes less stable and less friendly to the United States, the best way to ensure continued access to this large and well-located base is to prepare to do without it.

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Duterte to visit China in coming weeks, in sign alliances may be shifting in East Asia

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit China from October 19-21. Photo: AP

 

If Beijing and Manila can work together over such issues as fishing rights in the disputed Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines’ reliance on the US could erode further, analysts say

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte travels to China this month on a visit that could redraw alliances in East Asia after his incendiary comments about the United States and active courting of Washington’s chief rivals.

The friendly relationship between the Philippines and the United States has been one of the pillars of Washington’s strategic military rebalance to Asia under US President Barack Obama. But the alliance has been under strain since Duterte came to power three months ago and chafed at US criticism of his bloody war on drugs, which has led to the killing of more than 3,100 alleged drug users and dealers by police and vigilantes.

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White House tells the Pentagon to quit talking about ‘competition’ with China

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(Photo Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

 

The White House has barred Pentagon leaders from a key talking point when it comes to publicly describing the military challenges posed by China.

In February, Defense Secretary Ash Carter cited the “return to great power of competition” in the Asia-Pacific, “where China is rising.”

Similarly, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson characterized China and Russia as rivals in this “great power competition” in his maritime strategy. Continue reading

US and India sign deal for using each other’s bases

In a step towards a defense pact, the US and India have signed an agreement to allow the use of each other’s land, air and naval bases – initially for repair and re-supply. The agreement will “make the logistics of joint operations so much easier and so much more efficient,” US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a news briefing with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday. Continue reading

The Pentagon’s controversial plan to hire military leaders off the street

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Lateral entry, if approved, could open a door for civilians to join the military’s senior officer ranks. Some leaders want to explore this idea for enlisted military jobs, too.(Photo: John Harman/Staff)

 

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to open the door for more “lateral entry” into the military’s upper ranks, clearing the way for lifelong civilians with vital skills and strong résumés to enter the officer corps as high as the O-6 paygrade.

The idea is controversial, to say the very least. For many in the rank-and-file military, it seems absurd, a bewildering cultural change that threatens to upend many assumptions about military life and traditional career paths. But while it’s not universally embraced, there is interest in Congress and among some of the military’s uniformed leaders — even, they say, in exploring how the services could apply this concept to the enlisted force.

This is a key piece of Carter’s “Force of the Future” personnel reform. Unveiled June 9, it aims to help the military bring in more top talent, especially for high-tech career fields focused on cyber warfare and space. Advocates say it will help the military fill important manpower shortfalls with highly skilled professionals and, more broadly, create greater “permeability” between the active-duty military and the civilian sector. Continue reading

Not Ready for a Real War

While on his way to the African Land Forces Summit in Tanzania last weekend, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, complained that “Today, a Major in the Army knows nothing but fighting terrorists and guerrillas, because he came into the Army after 9/11. But as we get into the higher-end threats, our skills have atrophied over 15 years.” According to the New York Times, the Army’s top commander expressed concern over whether his forces could fight a large land war where an “established adversary” (meaning a rival national power) could bring sophisticated air defenses, tanks, infantry, naval power and even cyber-weapons into battle. He apparently left out the threat of enemy air power, though both Russia and China are capable of challenging the U.S. and its allies in that arena as well. Continue reading

Pentagon Warns of Conflict Over Chinese Buildup on Disputed Island

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Beijing asserts Scarborough Shoal is Chinese territory

China’s plans to build up a disputed island near the Philippines could lead to a regional conflict, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress on Thursday.

Carter was asked about the strategic significance of China’s plan to add military facilities to a disputed island known as Scarborough Shoal located about 120 miles—within missile range—of Subic Bay, Philippines, where U.S. warships will be based. Continue reading

Document 17: The smoking gun which links Saudi Arabia to 9/11

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Image: Ghassan Al-Sharbi bio – excerpt from Document 17

 

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Image: Two Questions for US government – excerpt from Document 17

 

 

(TRUNEWS) While reviewing 9/11 documents previously declassified in July 2015, blogger Brian P. McGlinchey discovered a new link between Saudi Arabia and the 2001 terror attacks.

In the seventeenth of the 29 documents released under the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) appeal 2012-48, McGlinchey uncovered that the FBI had located the flight certificate for Ghassan Al-Sharbi — a known al-Qaeda member who trained with the 9/11 hijackers. The report said the Embry Riddle certificate was buried in an underground cache in Pakistan, and was inside an official envelope marked from the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

McGlinchey noted on his blog, 28pages.org that its not uncommon for people to re-use envelopes or to correspond with their nations embassy while living in a foreign country. But did say nonetheless, that this — and the rest of Document 17 — directly indicates another possible connection between the Saudi government, al-Qaeda, and the 9/11 terrorist attack.

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China Flight Tests New Multiple-Warhead Missile

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DF-41 launch comes amid heightened tensions over S. China Sea

China conducted another flight test of its newest and longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile last week amid growing tensions with the United States over the South China Sea.

Pentagon officials told the Free Beacon the flight test of the new road-mobile DF-41 missile took place Tuesday with two multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, that were monitored in flight by U.S. military satellites and other regional sensors. Continue reading

China deploys fighter jets to South China Sea island as tensions grow

TENSIONS are mounting after satellite images revealed China has deployed two fighter jets to a hotly contested island in the South China Sea.

The images, taken from ImageSat International, show two Chinese Shenyang J-11 fighter jets on Woody Island and have been authenticated by US defence officials.

The island, in the Paracel island chain, is in the South China Sea, which sees more than $5trillion in global trade pass every year.

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U.S. General: Military Will Face ‘Great Pressure’ to Lower Standards for Women in Combat Roles

Current and future U.S. military leaders will face immense pressure to lower standards in the services in order to allow more women to serve in combat roles, a top general recently warned.

Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command and a Marine for 45 years, told reporters on Friday that his “greatest fear” is the easing of the military’s stringent training standards as a result of the new policy of integrating women into combat and infantry posts. Continue reading