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Archive for June, 2012
From Wired’s Danger Room:
…earlier this month, the Army issued a stop-work order — one step away from termination — to the drone’s developer Boeing. The reason? A high “probability of continued technical and schedule delays,” costs and risks that have “increased so significantly that program continuation is no longer in the best interest of the government,” said Donna Hightower, the Army’s acting product manager for unmanned aerial systems modernization.
By George Friedman
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Israel on June 25 for his first state visit since retaking the presidency. The visit was arranged in mid-May, and so at least part of the agenda was set, given events in Syria and Egypt. The interesting thing about Israel and Russia is that while they seem to be operating in the same areas of interest and their agendas seem disconnected, their interests are not always opposed. It is easy to identify places they both care about but more difficult to identify ways in which they connect. It is therefore difficult to identify the significance of the visit beyond that it happened.
An example is Azerbaijan. Russia is still a major weapons provider for Azerbaijan, but the Israelis are now selling it large amounts of weapons and appear to be using it as a base from which to observe and, according to rumors, possibly attack Iran. Russia, which supports Armenia, a country Azerbaijan fought a war with in the late 1980s and early 1990s and technically still is at war with, ought to oppose Israel’s action, particularly since it threatens Iran, which Russia does not want attacked. At the same time, Russia doesn’t feel threatened by Israeli involvement in Azerbaijan, and Israel doesn’t really care about Armenia. Both are there, both are involved and both think Azerbaijan is important, yet each operates in ways that ought to conflict but don’t.
The same is true in the more immediate case of Syria, where its downing of a Turkish plane has created an unexpected dynamic for this visit. To think about this we need to consider Russian and Israeli strategy and its odd lack of intersection in Syria. Read the rest of this entry »
From The Cato Institute:
By Scott Stewart
In recent weeks, insurgent forces in several countries have been forced to withdraw from territories they once held. Somalia’s al Shabaab, which was pushed out of Mogadishu in October 2011, was ejected from Afmadow on May 30. The group now runs the risk of losing its hold once again on the port city of Kismayo, an important logistical and financial hub for al Shabaab.
Meanwhile in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been forced to retreat from towns it took control of last year in southern Abyan province, including Jaar, Shaqra and Zinjibar. The organization controlled the area it seized from the government through its Ansar al-Sharia front organization. AQAP was able to capitalize on the infighting that began in Yemen in 2011 and successfully diverted the government’s focus away from AQAP and other militant groups. But in February, the election of new Yemeni President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi allowed the rift created by the infighting to be slowly healed. As a result, a combination of Yemeni soldiers and local tribesmen, backed by U.S. intelligence and fire support, have been able to push back AQAP and Ansar al-Sharia in recent weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
From the Chicago-Sun Times:
Der-Yeghiayan, in a 30-page ruling, called that part of the Chicago Firearm Ordinance “unconstitutionally void for vagueness,” and said it violated Shawn Gowder’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
This site has a everything a police/military working dog trainer or handler will need. The toy section might also be a good place for someone with a large breed to checkout.
The military has decided to cancel any additional purchases of the IED resistant MRAPs. Military.com reports on why the military no longer needs the MRAP:
President Obama’s military strategy, announced in January, envisions a lighter, more agile military focused on action in the Pacific. The heavy, lumbering Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) truck — the principal troop carrier in combat for the last five years — is a poor fit for that future.
…the military no longer intends to fight long-term occupations that it was designed for after the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan ends in 2014.
In a prime example of not learning from history, these are the things people were saying before 9/11 and the invasion of both those countries. Our military was supposed to be fast, nimble, and overwhelming, then we got bogged down in two countries and had to develop an ad hoc program to up-armor humvees and develop new vehicles. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
After his video on gun salesmen MrColoinNoir now reviews gun customers.
Public worries about drones began mostly on the political margins, but there are signs that they’re going mainstream.
Jeff Landry, a freshman Republican congressman from Louisiana’s coastal bayou country, says constituents have stopped him while shopping at Walmart to talk about their concerns.
Boeing plans to start building components for the first Air Force KC-46A tanker this fall and is looking to begin assembling the first aircraft one year from now.
The Pentagon’s KC-46A selected acquisition report, a document that provides extensive details of the program’s cost and performance, said the company projects the tanker development phase to cost $5.1 billion, which is $300 million above the Defense Department’s $4.8 billion contract ceiling price.
By Scott Stewart
A video recently posted to the Internet depicting an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Syria has garnered a great deal of attention. A Syrian militant group called the Hawks Brigade of the Levant claimed the attack, which targeted a Syrian government armored troop bus as it traveled along a road near a rebel stronghold in the Idlib governorate. According to the group, the attack depicted in the video employed a type of IED called an explosively formed penetrator (EFP). Though the video was shot from a fairly long distance away, it does appear that the IED punched a substantial and focused hole through the armored bus — precisely the type of effect that would be expected if an EFP were employed against such a target.
EFPs are a logical tool for militants to use against superior government forces that are heavily dependent upon armor. EFPs pose a significant threat to armored vehicles, which the Syrian military has utilized extensively, and quite effectively, in its campaign against Syrian rebel groups.
Studying the IED technology employed by a militant group is an important way to determine the group’s logistics situation and trajectory. It can also be a way to discern if a group is receiving outside training and logistical assistance. Read the rest of this entry »