18 February 2019

Pulwama attack: Why the new generation of Kashmiri youth is prepared to kill and die


Thursday’s attack at Lethpora, Pulwama, is a wake-up call. It could signal a more lethal phase of violence.

The nation must stand together in grief, and with resolve. The last thing the country can afford at this juncture is petty politicking. Indeed, the entire spectrum of Kashmiri politics should come together against this tide of violence and death.

For, make no mistake, it is a tide of death and nihilism that we face.

Precious lives lost, once again. (Photo: Reuters)

Stern steps must be promptly taken to stop the violence that erupted in Jammu on Friday. It will only make the cycle of hate go around faster.

Leadership crisis

Is the Taliban Making a Pledge It Cannot Keep?

By Tricia Bacon

In Doha in late January, the United States and the Afghan Taliban agreed in principle to the contours of a peace deal. Under its terms, the Taliban would guarantee that Afghan territory will never be used by terrorists. The concession is critical to the United States, but while some commentators have heralded the Taliban’s promise as a major breakthrough, analysts have noted that the group has made, and failed to keep, similar assurances in the past. Questions remain about whether the Taliban is genuinely willing to break with al Qaeda—the very prospect at which the group balked back in 2001, prompting the United States to invade.

The terrorist landscape in South and Central Asia extends far beyond al Qaeda. The Taliban has been fighting the Islamic State’s affiliate in the region, the Islamic State in Khorasan (ISK), inflicting serious losses without succeeding in eradicating this rival. Since 2002, the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan has been a unifying cause for militant organizations in the region. At least 18 terrorist groups operate in Afghanistan. The Taliban exercises some influence over the activities of 14 of them, providing entrée to the insurgency in exchange for manpower and expertise. These groups will expect a payoff in the event of a Taliban victory and will likely seek to continue using Afghan territory as a base for terrorist activities. If the Taliban proves unwilling or unable to prevent the country from becoming a free-for-all for militant organizations after the U.S. withdrawal, the United States, as well as Pakistan, India, and the Central Asian states, will be threatened.

Pakistan Has No More Excuses for Supporting Terrorism


On the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 14, a massive explosion rocked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. At least 40 personnel belonging to the CRPF—a 300,000-strong paramilitary force under the Ministry of Home Affairs involved in law-and-order and counterterrorism duties—were killed as a suicide bomber drove an SUV reportedly loaded with about 600 pounds of explosives into their bus. Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist organization based in Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the group’s role has been confirmed by Indian officials. The assault comes weeks before India’s general elections, which are expected to be held in March and April.

The next morning, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security—consisting of the prime minister and four senior ministers—held an emergency meeting and, as a first step, announced the revocation of “most favored nation” trading status for Pakistan. India had granted this status to Pakistan in 1996, although Pakistan had never reciprocated. But this is just one of the retaliatory measures likely to be taken after the worst act of Islamist terrorism in India since the Mumbai attacks in 2008.


The devastating suicide bombing at Awantipora in Jammu & Kashmir, inflicting the largest fatalities on Security Forces in a single incident across thirty years of insurgency in the State, will raise critical questions and new challenges for India. While it is never advisable to attempt to draw strategic implications from a single incident, whatever its magnitude, there are a number of elements in and around the Awantipora attack that suggest a potentially major strategic shift.

Several prominent political commentators have sought to characterize the attack as an "act of desperation" - this is, of course, part of the standard official response to major incidents, in addition to 'dastardly deed' and 'cowardly act', and is nothing more than flatulent rhetoric. It is crucial to note that the Pakistan-based and state-backed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) almost immediately claimed the attack. This fact, combined with the nature, target and scale of the attack, indicates that the Jaish has received clear directives from its Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) handlers to ramp up its visible activities in J&K.

The Polar Silk Road: China Comes to Greenland

China is investing in Greenland, and it’s making the U.S. nervous.

The U.S. Withdrawal From Syria Is an Opportunity for China

By Mollie Saltskog, Colin P. Clarke

The announcement that the United States will withdraw its remaining troops from Syria has clear implications for many players with interests at stake in the ongoing civil war. Attention has focused on what the U.S. withdrawal will mean for the Kurds, and whether Turkey will be less restrained, or how Iran and Russia might try to project influence farther east in rebel-held territories retaken from the Islamic State. Noticeably absent from these analyses has been how the withdrawal would affect another great power with vested interests in the Middle East—China.

China has gradually become more involved in the Syrian civil war since the conflict started in 2011, a divergence from China’s traditional approach to foreign policy, which mostly eschews external intervention and promotes state sovereignty. A more hands-on approach to Syria was evident in August 2016, when Rear Admiral Guan Youfei of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pledged not only increased humanitarian assistance but also military-to-military cooperation between Damascus and Beijing, effectively siding with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his international allies, Russia and Iran. Prior to this, China was a significant player in the conflict but mostly through arms sales—Guan’s offer represented an escalation of support and involvement. Although the extent of Sino-Syrian cooperation remains ambiguous due to Beijing’s firm denial of any active military presence, the cooperation has reportedlyonly deepened, with China supplying intelligence personnel, strategic advisors and special forces in 2017.

Why Turkey Is Finally Speaking Out on the Plight of China’s Uyghurs

By Ankit Panda

The Diplomat‘s Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) speaks to Shannon Tiezzi, The Diplomat‘s editor-in-chief, about a recent statement from the Turkish government vocally criticizing China’s treatment of ethnic Uyghurs in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Read Tiezzi’s recent article on the issue here.

Click the arrow to the right to listen. If you’re an iOS or Mac user, you can also subscribe to The Diplomat’s Asia Geopolitics podcast on iTunes here. If you use Android, you can subscribe on TuneIn or on Google Play Music. If you like the podcast and have suggestions for content, please leave a review and rating on iTunes and TuneIn.

China, Russia Building Attack Satellites and Space Lasers: Pentagon Report


The DIA says Chinese lasers could be ready to disable U.S. satellites in low Earth orbit by next year.

China and Russia are developing lasers and a host of other anti-satellite weapons, according to a new Defense Intelligence Agency report that fleshes out concerns that Pentagon leaders have been highlighting for years.

“Both states are developing jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities, and ground-based anti satellite missiles that can achieve a range of reversible to nonreversible effects,” the report said.

Both also maintain networks of telescopes, radars, and satellites to track, characterize — and perhaps even target — U.S. satellites that watch enemy movements and missile launches, the report said.

Chinese State Media Warns of Impending ‘High-Tech Cold War’ Fueled

by A.I. Competition

U.S President Donald Trump’s executive order instructing the American government this week to prioritize the development of artificial intelligence (AI) could trigger a “new high-technology Cold War” between the United States and China, the Beijing-run Global Times cautioned on Tuesday.

Beijing’s warning comes on the same day that Adm. Philip Davidson, the top American top in the Indo-Pacific region, told lawmakers that China’s “massive effort to grow and modernize” its military, including endeavors to manufacture “artificial intelligence-equipped weapons,” is “eroding” America’s “relative competitive military advantage” in Asia.

In its latest move to maintain leadership in the high-tech sector, the US on Monday rolled out a plan to give artificial intelligence (AI) more priority and resources, a move that Chinese observers warned may represent the formal launch of a new high-technology Cold War.

The Learning Curve: How Communist Party Officials are Applying Lessons from Prior “Transformation” Campaigns to Repression in Xinjiang

By: Sarah Cook

A "transformation through education" compound in the city of Hotan, Xinjiang Province. The Chinese characters on the building read: "Study Bilingually, Study the Law, Study Technical Skills."


A 45-year-old seamstress is arbitrarily taken away by police for detention at a “transformation through education” session held at an old munitions factory guesthouse, where she is pressured to renounce her religious beliefs. Nine days later, her husband is informed that she has died in custody and see signs of abuse on her body, but is pressured by local officials to permit rapid cremation.

For those following the current campaign of detentions, indoctrination, and torture in Xinjiang, such a scenario may sound familiar. But this incident did not occur in Xinjiang in 2019, and the victim was not Uighur—this happened in Hebei province in 2010 to Yuan Pingjun, a Han Chinese and an adherent of the Falun Gong spiritual practice (Human Rights in China, September 2011). However, there is a link to current events in Xinjiang: Hebei’s deputy party secretary at the time was a rising star in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) named Chen Quanguo (陈全国), now party secretary in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

A Reality Check on Trans-Atlantic Relations in the Trump Era

Spencer P. Boyer

Through most of the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency, there have been competing prisms through which to view the current state of trans-Atlantic relations. Is the glass half-full, or half-empty? Both perspectives still present a fairly grim picture of dysfunction and confusion between the United States and Europe, largely fueled by Trump—featuring interpersonal friction, provocative rhetoric and U.S. policy choices that have upended the established liberal international order.

With the early start of a lengthy U.S. presidential election season, and the possibility of a hard Brexit in March and European parliamentary elections in May that could cause additional disruption, there are several paths the relationship could still take. The likelihood of positive movement over the next two years, however, is slim due to domestic political distractions and leadership weaknesses on both sides of the Atlantic. 

How the US has hidden its empire The Greater United States as it was in 1941

By Daniel Immerwahr

There aren’t many historical episodes more firmly lodged in the United States’s national memory than the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is one of only a few events that many people in the country can put a date to: 7 December 1941, the “date which will live in infamy,” as Franklin D Roosevelt put it. Hundreds of books have been written about it – the Library of Congress holds more than 350. And Hollywood has made movies, from the critically acclaimed From Here to Eternity, starring Burt Lancaster, to the critically derided Pearl Harbor, starring Ben Affleck.

But what those films don’t show is what happened next. Nine hours after Japan attacked the territory of Hawaii, another set of Japanese planes came into view over another US territory, the Philippines. As at Pearl Harbor, they dropped their bombs, hitting several air bases, to devastating effect.

Poland’s Historical Revisionism Is Pushing It Into Moscow’s Arms


After a decisive electoral victory in October 2015 by the conservative Law and Justice party (known by its Polish acronym PiS), the politics of memory became a policy priority in Poland.

Following more than two decades of negligence and avoidance when it came to the nation’s past, in which nearly all of Poland’s post-communist governments deemed it politically unrewarding to rouse historical demons and risk partisan support, the PiS government undertook an unprecedented project: re-narrating Poland’s recent history.

It definitely helped that PiS became the first party in post-communist Poland to rule without a coalition partner. Governing with no impediments, it was capable of not only producing its own narrative of Polish history but also using that historical revisionism as a tool to exacerbate the country’s already profound political polarization. Internally divided, with a society segmented into political tribes and a public space brimming with hatred, ever more distant from the core of European Union, and at loggerheads with almost all its neighbors, Poland today appears to be the antithesis of its own post-transitional success. Once a powerhouse of democratic institutions and liberal change, it is now slowly descending into a mafia-like state

Iran’s Economy Is Crumbling, but Collapse Is a Long Way Off


Since last year, the United States has been ramping up economic pressure on Iran and has plans to redouble the pain later this spring with even tighter sanctions. Will that financial chokehold be enough to strangle the Iranian economy and bring America’s bête noire to heel?

The balance of expert opinion is that there is still a lot of resistance left in Iran’s oft-proclaimed “resistance economy.” While it is hurting badly and is more vulnerable today than during the last period of prolonged U.S. sanctions, from 2012 to 2015, Iran’s economy is not nearly as dysfunctional as that of Venezuela, another target of U.S. sanctions meant to weaken the longtime ruling regime. U.S. sanctions there threaten to absolutely cripple Venezuela’s ability to pump and export oil, essentially cutting off all government income.

Forget Bitcoin, Try Your Mattress


Bitcoin, its advocates keep saying, is the future. But in practice, it looks a lot like the distant past. Back then, you could lose your savings if your banker ran off with your money or died without revealing where it was stored. Today, there’s numerous protections in place for consumers—unless, that is, your cash is in bitcoin.

In Canada, the Quadriga cryptocurrency exchange has gone into bankruptcy protection, leaving its customers bust. An exchange is roughly like a bank for bitcoin; they make your money easier to use in practice. But unlike a bank, there’s usually no guarantees, protections, or reassurances that your money and its holder won’t disappear to a remote island. Quadriga’s founder, Gerald Cotten, apparently died in December. Quadriga finally revealed the news in January, and shortly after the exchange applied for protection from nearly $190 million in outstanding liabilities as it scrambled to find any lurking assets.

Assessing Trump’s artificial intelligence executive order

Darrell M. West

Yet most of the current AI impetus in the United States comes from the private sector. America has many of the most innovative technology firms in the world and our talent pool is quite strong. Our system of higher education is the envy of the world and thousands of foreign students come to the United States every year to learn science, math, and engineering.

But those achievements should not lull Americans into a false sense of complacency, or a false sense of security. There is considerable concern the U.S. federal government is not doing enough to support AI research and deployment. As an illustration, OpenAI co-founder Greg Brokerman has testified before Congress that our national government invests only $1.1 billion in non-classified AI technology. That is far lower than the $150 billion being committed by China over the next decade. It also is worth noting that in addition to this Chinese investment and as a result of the 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping has called for China to surpass the U.S. technologically by 2030. That kind of strategic vision, continuity of leadership, and nearly unlimited resources do not augur well for us.

What if the internet suddenly stopped? Russian tests raise devastating prospect of cyber war

Jamie Seidel

What if the world wide web suddenly went dark? No Netflix? No YouTube? No Facebook? While this may sound like bliss for some, the full extent of our reliance on internet would quickly become evident. And it would be catastrophic.

And this may be why Russia has suddenly become so interested in ensuring its internet is isolated, entirely internal - and resilient.

It’s no secret that Moscow has one of the most effective cyber-attack capabilities in the world. It has been blamed for a recent spate of incidents, such as the hack of the US Democratic Party server and sabotage of Ukrainian power plants and businesses Recently, four Russian intelligence agents were expelled from the Netherlands after being caught attempting to hack a chemical weapons analysis facility investigating the Novichock nerve-agent attack on the UK city of Salisbury.

The United Kingdom wants a drone swarm by 2022

By: Kelsey D. Atherton  

The question is not if the drones will swarm, but when. Drones are touted as labor-saving devices, but few of the remotely controlled piloted vehicles in service presently can actually match that claim, since it still takes at least one pilot per drone. In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute Feb. 11, UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the United Kingdom was ready to develop and deploy a swarm of drones by the end of 2019.

Should such a thing come to pass, it would be a remarkable development in military drones. Swarms, built on autonomous software and communicating with each other and possibly a human supervisor, would be an evolutionary change, a whole airborne host of flying machines lightly monitored and mostly empowered to execute missions on its own. Presently, swarms are the domain of showy spectacle and entertainment, but militaries around the globe are deeply interested in swarming robots of their own.

Russia’s Hybrid Strategy in the Sea of Azov: Divide and Antagonize (Part Two)

By: Alla Hurska

Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan stated, on February 1, that “Russian’s most recent actions in the Sea of Azov have resulted in Ukraine losing $360 million” (RBC, February 1). The announcement pointedly contrasted with comments from several weeks earlier by Mikhail Sheremet, a deputy in the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament). Specifically, the Russian lawmaker defiantly claimed that “sanctions will not change Russia’s policies in the Sea of Azov,” adding that “threats and aggressive rhetoric will do nothing but deepen the rift between the two countries [Russia and Ukraine] and hinder bilateral trade and understanding” (RIA Novosti, January 16).

In spite of its limited geographic scope, the Sea of Azov is crucial for the Russian side for three main reasons. First, it provides Russia with economic leverage against Ukraine. Second, the Azov Sea serves as an operational theater from which to deepen the political and economic rift between Ukraine’s southeastern regions and Kyiv. And third, Russian activities in the Azov Sea contribute to expanding Russia’s military power in the wider Black Sea region.

The Global Battle Over 5G: Trump And Huawei


CAPITOL HILL: President Trump may be about to ban Chinese companies from selling high-speed 5G network tech to the US. But the real war against global giant Huawei – and the Chinese spies it serves – is being waged worldwide, two former House intelligence staffers said here today. What’s more, one told me, in order to get wavering governments to pass on Huawei’s lowball prices, the US may have to make concessions on trade and other matters. That, Bryan Smith went on, is the kind of hardball art of the deal that the Trump administration may be ideally suited to make.

“We expect an executive order to come out any minute, actually, ahead of the Mobile World ConferenceFebruary 25 in Barcelona,” said Andy Keiser, a former senior advisor to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who co-wrote a recent National Security Institute study on the threat with his old colleague Smith. “It won’t have a huge impact on our market because they’re such a small player here” – thanks in part to a seven-year crusade in Congress — “but it sends a huge message to the rest of the world that these guys are not to be trusted.”

Quantum science breakthroughs could change face of national securit

Quantum science builds on the governing hypothesis of how nature works at atomic and subatomic levels. However, quantum science accounts for two important phenomena that differentiate it from classical physics. The first is particle superposition. The second is entanglement.

Classic physics says two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time or be wholly present in more than one place at a time. Quantum physics, however, says that the world is held together by objects that exist in two distinct states simultaneously — a condition called superposition.

For example, a molecule consists of two atoms “glued” together by an electron. This electron could be associated with either atom, but quantum theory holds that the electron must be associated with each atom at the same time for them to be properly joined. This is how we understand everything from photosynthesis to lasers.

Why it’s time to make cybersecurity a national priority

By: Eric Trexler

The space race that took place between the United States and the Soviet Union during the ‘50s and ‘60s did much more than put Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. The United State’s achievements in space inspired important scientific advances, created a new generation of workers and captured American’s imaginations. As a nation, we took the lead in exploring the final frontier.

We have a similar opportunity today in cyberspace. Federal agencies possess the right combination of knowledge, capabilities and technologies to allow for the creation of a strong cyber defense system that is the gold standard for the world. We have the chance to create successful cybersecurity programs that can be used both across the government and by industry. Like Armstrong, we can plant a flag that claims our leadership in this area.

The Army's upgunned Strykers have some serious firepower — and one critical weakness

Jared Keller

The Army may have festooned its Stryker fighting vehicles with a slew of new armaments as part of the Pentagon's relentless pursuit of lethality, but the upgunned infantry carriers are apparently hobbled by a major deficiency that makes them especially vulnerable in a fight against Russia or China.

The Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle - Dragoons that are currently flexing their muscles with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in eastern Europe remain vulnerable to cyber attacks, so far that "adversaries demonstrated the ability to degrade select capabilities of the ICV-D when operating in contested cyber environment," according to the Pentagon's operational testing and evaluation report released last month.

Even worse, the report notes that "the exploited vulnerabilities predate the integration of the lethality upgrades," suggesting that the the Army spent too much time slapping new weapons systems like Stryker ICV-D's 30mm autocannon onto the new vehicles and not enough time fixing a major design flaw.

Artificial Intelligence: Will Special Operators Lead The Way?


WASHINGTON: The Pentagon’s new artificial intelligence strategy shows how the military is shifting from old-school heavy-metal hardware – tanks, ships, planes – to a world where software makes the difference between victory and defeat. And the bigger this shift becomes, several experts suggest, the bigger the role for Special Operations Command in pioneering new technology. Then the new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center can cherry-pick the successes and scale them up for wider use.

Sure, SOCOM has a long tradition of innovation in general, but with a $14 billion budget, it can’t build aircraft carriers or stealth fighters. (It gets its aircraft from the larger services and modifies them for special missions). What SOCOM can test-drive for the services is the smaller stuff, from off-road vehicles to mini-drones to frontline wireless networks – but in the information age, the small stuff is a big deal.

What the Pentagon’s new AI strategy means for cybersecurity

By: Justin Lynch  

The new Pentagon artificial intelligence strategy serves as a roadmap for how the American military will embrace machine learning in future cyber operations, which could be a boon for companies who invest in the technology.

Released Feb 12, the Pentagon’s strategy shows how the American military will rely on artificial intelligence as a defensive tool.

“We will increase our focus on defensive cybersecurity of hardware and software platforms as a precondition for secure uses of AI,” the Pentagon’s new strategy states. “ In order to ensure DoD AI systems are safe, secure, and robust, we will fund research into AI systems that have a lower risk of accidents; are more resilient, including to hacking and adversarial spoofing.”

Cyber Deterrence Done Right: The Coordinated Actions Against Huawei


By marshalling the collective power of its allies, the U.S. may have finally found a model for imposing costs on cyber adversaries.

An arrest in Canada. Another in Poland. Government bans in Canberra, Wellington, and Tokyo. Corporate snubs and ostracism in South Korea, Britain, Germany, and France. The loss of purchase orders by one of the world’s largest wireless providers. And now a 13-count indictment by the U.S. Justice Department. It has been a bad few months for Chinese telecommunication titan Huawei. Unleashing the collective power of its democratic allies, the United States may have finally found the formula for imposing real costs on its cyber adversaries. 

The indictment unsealed on Jan. 28 alleges that Huawei willfully violated U.S. sanctions on Iran and repeatedly lied to U.S.financial institutions and federal authorities about Huawei’s business in Iran. The sanctions violations began in 2007 and continued after investigative reporters revealed Huawei’s involvement in human rights abuses in Iran and its transfer of U.S. technology products to Iran in violation of U.S.sanctions and export controls. Reporting earlier this year revealed that Huawei is also operating in Syria

The American AI Initiative: Bluster or Gangbuster?

President Trump signed an executive order (EO) yesterday outlining the American AI Initiative, a five-part national strategy to maintain U.S. leadership in artificial intelligence (AI). While long overdue, this is a critical first step in developing a concrete and coherent approach to building the technological foundation of the next generation of economic growth. The EO is notably short on specifics, and does not include any actual funding for implementation, but hits the right notes and emphasizes most of the important policies needed to support AI development and U.S. leadership. With a detailed implementation plan and strong leadership, the American AI Initiative could prove to be the most important policy initiative of the Trump administration.

Below we answer a few key questions about the EO and the American AI Initiative.

Q1: What is and is not in the EO?

No, the Pentagon Is Not Working on Killer Robots—Yet

The U.S. Department of Defense on Feb. 12 released its roadmap for artificial intelligence, and the most interesting thing about it might be what’s missing from the report: The military is nowhere close to building a lethal weapon capable of thinking and acting on its own.

As it turns out, the military applications of artificial intelligence today and in the foreseeable future are much more mundane. The Defense Department has several pilot projects in the works that focus on using AI to solve everyday problems such as floods, fires, and maintenance, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, who heads up the Pentagon’s new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

“We are nowhere close to the full autonomy question that most people seem to leap to a conclusion on when they think about DoD and AI,” Shanahan said during a briefing Tuesday.

Why pick on Huawei when all advanced technologies, including those from the US, carry security risks?

Peter Kammerer

Apple and Samsung smartphones, voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, Facebook and Google, among so many others, collect and store and even share endless amounts of data about us whenever we activate them.

Those big tech companies often also work with governments and militaries and it’s anyone’s guess what gets passed on, as whistle-blower Edward Snowden so helpfully revealed in his leak of United States spy agency documents. To trust one and not the other, simply because one is Western and the other Chinese, is nothing but xenophobia and, dare I say, racist. 

We all know by now that Huawei is being targeted by US President Donald Trump’s administration because it’s a large chunk of the Chinese threat to American superpower dominance. Arrest its officials, ban its products and make people scared to have anything to do with it, and US firms and those of American allies can continue to dominate.

Marines have been personally downloading this software that helps coordinate air support. How that error and big cyber flaws are putting lives at risk.

By: Shawn Snow  

Maj. David Cybulski, a UH-1Y Venom helicopter pilot with Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1), plots targets on a tablet in support of an instructor pilot warm up exercise during Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-19 at Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, California, Sept. 14, 2018. 

A Navy inspector general report has concluded that a series of popular software used in Android tablets that aid Marines and Navy personnel in coordinating precision air powerand battlefield situational awareness had significant cyber vulnerabilities.

The software, known as Kilswitch and APASS, was developed by Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Digital Precision Strike Suite for use in small tactical handheld Android tablets.

Those tablets and software are in the hands of thousands of Marines and other service members, some who have been using it in real-world operations.

The Army is buying this pocket-sized drone in bulk for recon at platoon and below

By: Todd South  

A pocket-sized helicopter drone that’s been used by a select number of soldiers in real-world operations now might become standard kit across a multitude of platoons in the Army.

The Army awarded a $40 million contract to FLIR Systems to provide the “Black Hornet” personal reconnaissance systems under the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor program.

It was first purchased by the Army in small quantities to meet recon needs of troops in Afghanistan in 2016. It weighs 18 grams, can shoot video and take snapshots with its camera, and previous versions had about a 25-minute flight time.

The Black Hornet mini-drone has been in use by soldiers and Marines since 2016. This most recent contract brings a next generation version to soldiers and could become a common squad-level sensor across infantry units.