"The problem is all these vehicles are effective... →
There’s an AEI report circulating today about problems with US defense budget. A few thoughts: 1. Like the quote above highlights, our military strangely enough adapted procurement to *the wars we were actually fighting* as opposed to the cross-pacific superpower competition AEI wants us to gear up for. 2. I agree in full that defense acquisition has serious problems, but the Army buying land...
Drone War Isn't →
” To imbue a weapons system with the political properties of the policy employing it is fallacious, and to assume its mere presence institutes new political realities relies on a denial of facts and context. This remains the case with drones. The character of wars waged with drones is different – the warfare is different – but the nature of these wars do not change, and very often this...
“The all-volunteer force has fought two brutal wars for over a decade while a (guilty or thankful) American population has stood by with very little involvement. There have been no war bonds, no victory gardens, no bandage wrapping drives, no air raid drills—nothing to make them feel a part of the conflict other than the human interest stories about killed and wounded veterans and the...
How to Disassemble an Atomic Program: reliable... →
“What keeps a potential proliferator (henceforth state B) from taking the concessions offered by the other state (henceforth A) and then turning around and developing nuclear weapons anyway? Well, according to the formal model that William analyzes, it’s the promise of receiving a better outcome in every period coupled with the desire to avoid the costs of actually building the weapons. ...
Selected Wisdom on threat labelling →
” For those that continue to charge there is an al Qaeda and it continues to get stronger by the day, I ask but one question: “Under what conditions would you declare al Qaeda defeated?” If you can’t describe those conditions when al Qaeda is defeated, then why should we listen to your analysis that al Qaeda is stronger?”
The officials said the idea of establishing a buffer zone between Syria and...– A buffer on the Jordan/Syria border, you say? Well, that’s weird, it’s almost as though that is one of two Assad government strongholds. And, oh, what’s this? The United States military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to...
Joshua Foust on drones in FATA →
” Furthermore, the Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP), a Pakistan-based research group, consistently finds in its surveys within the FATA that the most pressing security fear among residents is bomb blasts by terror groups, followed closely by the Pakistani military. When asked open-ended questions about their greatest fears, very few ever mention drones. That’s not...
J.M. Berger on the complexity and interconnection... →
“On the other hand, there’s a rapidly growing need for someone to articulate the overarching principles that guide national policies — both domestic and foreign — so that we are not (justly) accused of continually applying double and triple standards that inequitably allow some people to do some things while preventing other people from doing the same things based on...
Nils Gilman responds to Jay Ulfelder about... →
” It might be true that the benefits to collective problem solving that democracy offers is what works best in a smokestack economy, but that in a few decades, when computing power can directly “read” minds (obviously I’m speaking both speculatively and metaphorically) it will be possible to aggregate preferences without the mediating step of the ballot. Post-democratic...
In which Selected Wisdom points to a new study... →
Roach drones are great for all those times you... →
” According to assistant Professor Alper Bozkurt, the team hopes that it will be able to create a mobile web of smart sensors using these remote-controlled cockroaches. The bugs could help with tasks such as finding survivors in buildings destroyed by earthquakes according to the professor. “
New Development in Pyongyang as seen by Satellite →
Indonesian trimaran missile boats. →
New winged sailing ships. They're possible. →
“At the University of Tokyo, researchers are working on a design for a ship that uses rigid framework and fiber-reinforced plastic instead of canvas for sails. These high-tech sails can be flown, much more like an airplane wing, increasing the efficiency with which they propel the ship. And, when the vessel reaches port, the sails telescope down upon themselves, to allow free access to the...
Via Will McCants, this article on the FSA has a... →
Abu Muquwama on academia, social media, and a... →
” One of the most effective — and without a doubt quickest — ways I have discovered to identify weaknesses in my own arguments has been through social media. I am constantly wrestling with the comments on my blog or the tweets people send back in my direction. Some of them are silly, and others are ugly, but many more are valuable. I can also observe how other policy proposals...
I'm all for algea farms as new energy production,... →
” The company harvested its first crop in June without any system difficulties and has since harvested 21 million gallons of algae biomass totaling 81 million tons. Next, the Green Crude Farm is preparing to transition its operations to a winter variety of algae while continuous cultivation, harvest and extraction activities continue.”
On what distinguishes military service from all... →
” Police forces may be authorized to use force in the execution of their functional imperative (maintain law and order), but it is not their primary or most desired tool. USAID workers are exposed to the same (or at least similar) risks and traumas as soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan, but society not only does not expect them to inflict risks and traumas upon others, society forbids them...
China is developing a drone fleet. →
Standard issue rats? →
” If the training can be automated, it would erase the need to develop a bond between handler and animal, so the rats could become standard issue for soldiers. If costs are lowered, they could be sent downrange en masse, to fit in every backpack.”
” If government surveillance performs as advertised and yields a substantial security benefit, there’s a debate to be had over how much government intrusion we’re prepared to countenance as the price of that security. But that security benefit has to be proven, not assumed.”
” But the fact that the US government does many horrible things does not mean that it would be inappropriate for scholars to bracket off those behaviors while studying the behavior of violent non-state actors.”
6. Keep in mind that terrorists seek publicity and exploit the media and the...– From Schmid’s list of 12 terrorism prevention rules. This one I think is what America is worst at.
Fortification is something of a lost art, but it was up until recent history, a...– Megacities are already built like empires, with prosperous cores, pockets of discontent, semi-feudal fringes, and garrisons dispersed throughout. Reading this Zen Pundit piece, I’m tempted to contrast the deterioriting conditions in King’s Landing with Bane’s Gotham and civil war...
Drones, drones, everywhere. Maybe. In the future →
Similar to the range of tasks that can be assigned to PAK DA, missions that can...– A dense and informative read on the current state of Russia’s air force.
Clint Watt has been studying radicalization and... →
“Teaching of militant Islamic extremism should end and in its place should be a broader set of training on radicalization and extremism encompassing those indicators potentially precipitating violence for any and all ideologies.”
Before concluding that the FSA will inevitably win... →
The security transition in Afghanistan is not... →
” One dynamic that can be observed here as well as elsewhere is that as soon as insurgent pressure reaches a certain threshold, the ANSF tend to cave in and cede ground. The bottom line is, once ground is ceded, insurgents almost immediately filter back in and take control, rendering any venture into the territory a dangerous mission for the ANSF and coalition forces. No matter how smoothly...
The L-39 jet trainer being used by Syria for... →
Specifically, it shot down Georgian drones over Abkahzia.
A map and database of every bomb the US has ever... →
If the goal is innovation, a 15 year development... →
“Given the cost of building new platforms and the need to keep them in service for 30 to 50 years or even longer, Admiral Greenert wants them to be more like “trucks”: with plenty of space and power to accommodate different payloads. Some of the Pentagon’s oldest platforms have turned out to be much better trucks than their successors.”
The Strategic Logic of Suicide Termites →
The future is home-printed guns. →
“…global file sharing of designs for serviceable weapons, from pistols on up to ?, that can be printed at home. What you can print — from the materials to the size/quality of the object to the completeness (snap together construction) — is already moving forward quickly. The weapons effort will just be along for the ride. “HaveBlue” has tested the first...
Myth debunking and clarification on Navy Green... →
” The Navy is planning to use the DPA to ensure that it has a reliable, cost-competitive supply of military fuels. DPA-invested production capacity will be, by contract, providing fuels at a cost-competitive price and with a dedicated supply to the military. The US Navy, like everyone else, is determined not to repeat the mistake of recent years and buying renewable fuels in the open...
From Hammer and Fly, a discussion of Irish... →
” It is interesting to note that the Irish insurgency was almost always dependent on either Irish-American aid or in some cases, waging insurgency on American soil as the Fenians did following the American Civil War. America often served Britain in the same way that Pakistan has served America in the past decade. By turning a blind eye to Irish revolutionary movements, the Americans enabled...
The Free Syrian Army is setting up institutions of... →
” As the Syrian state recedes, the people in this village and villages around it are filling in the blanks with their own institutions and, for better or for worse, their own ideas about how a country should be run. The rebels started taking control of these villages and towns a few months back, as the Syrian army focused on holding major cities. The first thing the rebels do is take...
Tyrell Mayfield got to go to a game design... →
Here, just read this takeaway: “Both options provide unique opportunities to let the players interact with the Haitians, but I feel that there are several reasons why Haitian people should be represented as an actual player in the game. First, the Haitians are a very resilient group of people and many took actions to “self-recover” from the earthquake requiring little to no help from the...
Amid the muddle over the state of the regime, the state of the Free Syrian Army...– A history of the FSA, probably through their Valley Forge days. From a purely academic standpoint, will be fascinating to see where they go from here.
While we snarked: in the DPRK, a power struggle... →
Update: Tim Shorrock informs me “the extreme right-wing and highly unreliable chosun ilbo. no independent verification whatsoever,” so apologies for getting that wrong. “Citing South Korean government officials, it said the gun battle erupted when vice marshal Choe Ryong Hae, director of the People’s Army General Political Bureau, tried to detain Mr Ri while carrying out...
Soldiers seek sea shells who knows what for. →
Tyrell Mayfield questions Afghanistan's need for... →
We shall troll them on the forums, we shall troll... →
“The program, called Viral Peace, seeks to occupy the virtual space that extremists fill, one thread or Twitter exchange at a time. Shahed Amanullah, a senior technology adviser to the State Department and Viral Peace’s creator, tells Danger Room he wants to use “logic, humor, satire, [and] religious arguments, not just to confront [extremists], but to undermine and demoralize them.” Think...
Peacetime drones to save the planet? It's more... →
“Unlike the drones that have been causing so much controversy, this robot is designed to operate underwater, and instead of seeking out enemy targets, it will search for and destroy something equally sinister–ocean garbage. Horrified by the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and its identical twins forming in oceans all over the world, Ahovi and his classmates from the French...
16 year old Egyptian girl figures out a catalyst... →
Brett Friedman on why hypothetical opponents are... →
“Even when the scenario is more involved, it may not be up to date. In one simulation I participated in, enemy units were still labeled as Soviet tank divisions. This was in 2006. When students complained about the outdated exercise, the simulated enemy units were renamed as insurgent tank divisions. Someday I will tell my grandkids or my local VFW about how I defeated the 347th Insurgent...
Gunpowder & Lead returns, with a serious... →
“It is certainly possible that the election of Islamists will ultimately be a good thing — both for the people of the region, and also from a perspective of U.S. interests — but the U.S. will be hard pressed to play a positive role if its policymakers do not understand the challenges posed by the new players.”
DroneCon 2013 →
Or: several varieties of nerdy hacker types gathered together in the Catskills and experimenting with robots
Iranian morality police shut down coffee shops. →
Theory: rather than doing this just to be jerks, it’s a way to reduce awareness of shortages caused by sanctions. Of course, it could just be morality police being jerks.