Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
By far most interesting are developments across the various US programs. And China’s test of a hypersonic vehicle.
Capability / Strategy / History Publications
Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan is taking the x out of DIUx
“I’ve never seen a Congress more on our side than it is today,” Griffin said. “In every meeting on the Hill, I am asked, ‘what relief do you need? What legal remedies do you require? What can we do to help you move faster?’ So if you are bound by legal impediments…I need bring those forward, because I am perfectly willing to go to Congress.”
WASHINGTON: How does Trump’s Defense Secretary feel about one of the Obama Pentagon’s more controversial acts, the outreach to tech start-ups known as DIU(X)? “I don’t embrace it,” Jim Mattis told reporters en route to Silicon Valley yesterday. “I enthusiastically embrace it, and I’m grateful that Secretary Carter (Ash Carter, Obama’s last SecDef) had the foresight to put something in place to anchor the Department of Defense out there.” “I want to see results. I want to see what they’re doing with their location and the ideas that they’re bringing, they’re harvesting — what are we getting out of it?” Mattis continued when pressed by a skeptical press. “Absolutely, I want to see them in their mission. I’m not coming out here questioning the mission.” (Emphasis ours). Mattis’s embrace of this Obama-era idea is just the latest sign that there’s a lot more continuity at the Pentagon in some policy areas than President Trump’s Twitter barrages would suggest. Trump blasted the F-35 stealth fighter; Mattis committed to continued production. Trump called NATO “obsolete” and said South Korea should pay for US missile defenses; Mattis reached out to allies. Trump campaigned on pledges of a Reaganesque defense buildup; his actual budget proposal has been modest. Trump promised new Navy ships and Army units; Mattis has prioritized better training and maintenance for the forces we already have. Trump said he’d made US nuclear forces stronger but they’re actually still shrinking under Obama-era arms control treaties. All modernization to nuclear delivery systems was started under Obama. In this context, Mattis keeping his predecessor’s Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental) isn’t so surprising. Congressional Republicans have been ambivalent about DIU(X), which has offices in three strongholds of Democrat-leaning techies: Palo Alto, Austin and Boston. (Note the persistent attacks by the far right on Google and other tech companies.) House Armed Services chairman Mac Thornberry has worried aloud that DIU(X) duplicates longstanding high-tech efforts such as DARPA. But there were more powerful forces at work for continuity. No less a figure than the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Paul Selva, told reporters last month that the Pentagon was giving DIU(X) additional funding (“reprogramming”) because it was doing deals so quickly for innovative tech. Then there was Carter’s deputy secretary, the equally technophilic Robert Work, who stayed in the job for months under Mattis until Trump’s nominee could be confirmed. One of Work’s last acts, on July 14, was to give DIU(X) new legal authorities. One of the most significant is rapid hiring authorities that let DIU(X) bypass cumbersome federal regulations and bring tech expert onboard in as little as a day. (Similar authorities have been proposed in Congress) Another expanded the unit’s ability to set up Cooperative Research & Development Agreements (CRADAs) with private companies. Still other authorities gave DIU(X) new abilities to advertise, run prize competitions, host conferences, all methods of getting geniuses’ attention for its projects. What has DIU(X) done to deserve more money and power? The unit’s signature achievement so far is new planning software for Air Force flight operations previously run with Microsoft Excel and markers on whiteboards. The new software cost $1.5 million, but by scheduling sorties more efficiently, it will save an estimated $131 million year in fuel and maintenance for tanker aircraft, DIU(X) says. The DIU(X) project also delivered in 120 days what a multi-year, $745 million dollar Air Force program could not. Other DIU(X) contracts range from robotic sailboats (“saildrones”) to collect data on the ocean – vital for naval planning – to military simulations derived from commercial games. All told, after a rough start which prompted Carter to reboot the unit, DIU(X) has spent $100 million on projects from 45 companies. These are not traditional defense contractors but commercial tech companies, mostly small ones, backed by about $1.8 billion in venture capital. The whole idea is to reach beyond the often stodgy military-industrial complex to the thriving, innovative tech sector, especially to start-ups that lack the time, connections, or specialized manpower to penetrate the defense procurement labyrinth. [UPDATE: Mattis also visited Google on Friday, but the tech giant has been leery of military contracts.] This strategy lets the military ride a train whose locomotive is massive private investment the Pentagon doesn’t have to pay for. Now Mattis is publicly embracing this approach. In the words of a press release the Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental) put out to celebrate the secretary’s visit, it looks like “DIU(X) is here to stay.”
Facing criticism, Pentagon signals to Silicon Valley the military isn\’t going anywhere.
A former NASA official is joining the Pentagon to help lead the office that repurposes existing technology for new missions.
Will U.S. defense leaders want a seventh force in the future?
The two fighter jets are set to demonstrate their capability during an airshow outside of Moscow this month.
Is this a weapon we can do without?
Multiple news reports claim that China’s Type 1103 CIWS has a 90% success rate against hypersonic missiles. The problem: no nation has ever deployed hypersonic weapons.
So, I asked, could a sufficiently high-powered neutron beam not just detect a nuclear warhead from a distance, but actually disable it? Dent, who worked on the Safeguard missile defense system as a young Army officer and later on Reagan’s Star Wars initiative for SAIC, pondered a moment. Then he said: “Could it fry the electronics ? Yes, it could.”
Some 35 years after Ronald Reagan’s famous Star Wars speech, the Pentagon’s R&D chief said that space-based missile defenses are technically feasible and reasonably affordable.
Defense & Aerospace Report Published on Aug 3, 2018 Lt. Gen. David Deptula, USAF Ret., dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, discusses the US Air Force’s “Next Generation Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Dominance Flight Plan,” and next steps for achieving ISR superiority during an Aug. 2, 2018 interview with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian in northern Virginia. Lt. Gen. VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson, USAF, the service’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, unveiled the document at the Air Force Association earlier that day.
The U.S. Strategic Command commander said the biggest focus for missile defense has to be sensor development to see missile threats earlier and the only way to get the sensor coverage capable of detecting and defeating threats early enough is in space.
Aerospace Corporation announced that two of its CubeSat satellites had successfully completed communications system and proximity testing.
And for a very important reason.
The Air Force wants more AI, cloud computing, autonomous drone swarms and thousands of tiny satellites. But most of these projects are only now getting off the ground at the Pentagon, making the service’s new “Flight Path” a little cloudy.
Vice President Mike Pence, citing threats from Russia and China, has presented details of plans to create a U.S. Space Force by 2020 that would become the sixth branch of the military.
The Red Arrow 10 missile debut at the Zhuhai Air Show 2016 along with images of the Hong Jian Red Arrow 9A, 10 and 12 anti-tank missiles or ATGM’s.www.hybridwarfare.blogspot.ca
Artificial Intelligence is the key to future warfare. We already know potential adversaries want to swarm our defenses at every level of warfare, in every domain, using every element of national power. What is missing from this article is warfare being waged against the West by Russia at this very moment. We are engaged in an information war which is part of a hybrid war campaign as a part of political warfare. Russia knows we do not have and will probably not establish firm thresholds to respond. Think we’re not in a hybrid war against Russia? Dr. Igor Panarin just pushed this article, today: Europe as the main front of the hybrid war. Panarin is stating Russia is in a state of hybrid war against the United States. Part of the Russian information war against the West is the use of Artificial Intelligence to automatically generate narratives, messages, Tweets, articles, even fake videos of leaders giving speeches, to split us along emotional and caustic divides in our society along existing fault lines. Pro this and anti that. Where people march, when people get angry, how people begin to hate and distrust their leaders, in order to cause massive fractures underlining our society. In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along”? The short answer is, Russia hopes not. Russia has stated that developing Artificial Intelligence is their number one priority. This should be a clear indication that we should be working against that future in warfare. We need a whole-of-nation, whole-of-government, comprehensive, holistic program, backed by Artifical Intelligence of our own. </end editorial>
To bolster cyber defense, Defense Department leaders are exploring options to modernize military networks.
Several tech trends will make tomorrow’s tanks harder to spot — and that may have strategic implications.
The Pentagon is already embracing software-based network technologies of the future for more agile network solutions.
The Department of Defense is eager to embrace nonstop actionable data on the battlefield, but current network infrastructure may not be able to support it.
Together with Finland and Latvia, Estonia is looking to fund the development of military robots that will carry sensors, supplies, and people, but not weapons of its own … yet.
Darpa has demonstrated algorithms that could enable small commercial drones to become autonomous scouts in urban battle zones or searchers for survivors inside buildings damaged by natural disasters.
The device-agnostic policy applies to smartphones, tablets, fitness trackers, smartwatches and all other applications with geolocation features.
The consequences of Internet-of-Things insecurity on national security should now be clear.
AUSA: The Army is giving its electronic warfare force more troops, more training, and a more prominent role in combat headquarters, senior officers said here Thursday, pushing back on criticisms that the service neglects EW even as Russia and China pull ahead. The number of EW troops has increased from 813 (both officers and enlisted) in 2015 to 940 today and it’s growing. While just a fraction of the formidable Russian EW force, that’s still a 15 percent increase in three years, remarkable at a time when the Army as a whole shrunk by 4 percent. What’s more, it reverses a stark decline in previous years when the Army decided to get rid of EW specialists because it no longer needed to jam radio-controlled roadside bombs in Iraq. EW training is being expanded. All new Army electronic warfare officers (EWO) will start with the same 14-month course as cyber operations officers, but the EWOs will then get an additional three months of training specifically in electronic warfare. Enlisted EW specialist training will probably quadruple in length from nine weeks to 36, equal in length to the new enlisted cyber operator course. EW officers will lead new combined cyber/EW cells on Army headquarters staffs at every echelon from brigade to division, corps, and regional Army Service Component Command. Many units had some form of Cyber/Electromagnetic Activity staff before, but these CEMA cells are now being enlarged, standardized, and put without exception under leaders drawn from the EW force. Now, even when complete, these reforms won’t fix all the Army’s problems, much of which comes down to hardware. The service is racing to field the kind of robust communications network that can get orders and intelligence through in the face of high-end jamming. It’s still years away from fielding the kind of high-powered, long-range offensive radio jammers that the Russians put to lethal effect in Ukraine, although it has been testing shorter-ranged systems in Europe. And there’s no clear timeline to develop a drone-mounted offensive jammer that would free the Army from its current reliance on a small number of manned aircraft from other services, particularly Navy EA-18G Growlers and Air Force EC-130H Compass Calls. Also unnerving to some electronic warriors is how their specialty is being merged into the larger and better-funded cyber branch. But that merger, Army leaders say, is about elevating electronic warfare, not subsuming it. The goal, they say, is integrating electronic warfare with cyber warfare, information operations, and other high-tech functions in a new kind of electromagnetic combined arms as essential to 21st century warfare as Panzers, Stukas, and the radio were to the German blitzkrieg. While cyber warriors can hack landline networks on their own, they need signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic warfare to help them find and penetrate wireless networks. (Fast-moving tactical units rely on wifi for command, control, and communications because they can’t be tied to fiber optic cables).
Researchers have developed a smart material that can match the temperature of its surroundings, while hiding the body heat of the wearer.
Nobody has ever disposed of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier before. Turns out it’s not easy.
TOKYO — U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin has approached Japan with plans for a next-generation fighter jet based on its elite F-22 stealt
Getting there won’t be easy, but an updated F-22 is, in theory, a formidable concept.
Geopolitical trends, security concerns, and industrial and combat aircraft capability needs, could give birth to an American-Japanese Raptor 2.0.
U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp plans to offer Japan a stealth fighter design based on its export-banned F-22 Raptor and advanced F-35 Lightning II aircraft, two sources said.
The external weapons configuration tested by the Dutch F-35 is also known as CAS (Close Air Support) “Beast Mode” (or “Bomb Truck”) configuration.
The debate regarding how best to cultivate military leaders to meet America’s challenges often centers around professional military education. War on the
Indo-Pacific leaders fear that the United States is not wholly committed to a role in the region.
As people who have dedicated our careers to national security issues, we are deeply concerned about the Army’s imminent decision to eliminate the
A military professional reading this sentence today will confront a national security dilemma in the next ten years. They may find themselves developing
Military and cargo carriers will fly without pilots first, but commercial airlines will follow.
SOON, it will become too dangerous to refer to anyone in the third person at all.
Russia and the former Soviet Union promised lots of things—not all of them became reality.
Authorities are being challenged while finding the cause of the crash of a 79-year-old propeller plane that killed all 20 people on board Saturday in the Swiss Alps.
Of all the various searches for iconic female pilot Amelia Earhart and her right-hand man, Fred Noonan, a new theory has emerged, with tangible evidence and eyewitness accounts to back it up.
A recent scholarly article seems to show that a Norse (Viking) settlements in Greenland supplied much of medieval Europe’s ivory. But the settlements disappeared ca. 1400 CE. Why?
The library’s remnants were discovered beneath the city of Cologne and date back to the Roman era.
Ancient Rome was a dangerous place to be an emperor. During its more than 500-year run, about 20 percent of Rome’s 82 emperors were assassinated while in power. So, what led to their downfalls?