• LandminesDrones, Machine Learning to Detect Dangerous “Butterfly” Landmines

    It is estimated that there are at least 100 million military munitions and explosives of concern devices in the world, of various size, shape and composition. Millions of these are surface plastic landmines with low-pressure triggers, such as the mass-produced Soviet PFM-1 “butterfly” landmine. Nicknamed for their small size and butterfly-like shape, these mines are extremely difficult to locate and clear. Using advanced machine learning, drones could be used to detect these dangerous “butterfly” landmines in remote regions of post-conflict countries.

  • Hemispheric securityVenezuela Failed Raid: U.S. Has a History of Using Mercenaries to Undermine Other Regimes

    By Andrew Thomson

    In early May, the Venezuelan military intercepted a group of dissidents and American mercenaries. These events in Venezuela echo past U.S. secret sponsorship of private armies to overthrow governments elsewhere. The U.S. has an extended history of sponsoring insurgents and mercenaries to undermine unwanted foreign regimes.

  • Ethnic cleansingRussian, Syrian Forces Continue a Campaign of War Crimes in Syria: Amnesty

    In a new report, Amnesty International offers details of a continuing Syrian and Russian campaign to destroy hospitals, clinics, and schools in the Sunni-majority province of Idlib, in order to drive as many Sunnis as possible out of Syria. Since 2011, the Assad regime has conducted the largest ethnic cleansing campaign since the Second World War, aiming to change the ethnic composition of Syria. “Even by the standards of Syria’s calamitous nine-year crisis, the displacement and humanitarian emergency sparked by the latest onslaught on Idlib has been unprecedented,” said Amnesty.

  • PPESecond Skin Protects against Chem, Bio Agents

    Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of chemical weapons in the Syria conflict have provided a stark reminder of the plethora of chemical and biological threats that soldiers, medical personnel and first responders face during routine and emergency operations. Researchers have developed a smart, breathable fabric designed to protect the wearer against biological and chemical warfare agents. Material of this type could be used in clinical and medical settings as well.

  • IranIran Pulling Military Out of Syria in Response to Intensified Israeli Attacks

    Israeli defense officials told reporters Tuesday that Iranian forces are pulling out of Syria and closing military bases, arms depots, arms manufacturing facilities, and military research labs there. In recent months, Israel has intensified its air attacks against Iranian forces, and against Hezbollah targets, in Syria, as well as against the Assad regime forces protecting Iranian and Hezbollah targets.

  • CybersecurityPredicting and Countering Cyberttacks

    The U.K Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) announce nearly £1m to further develop technology that predicts and counters cyber-attacks. “This work will develop, adapt and merge the novel approaches explored in Phase 1 of the competition, to proactively defend deployed U.K. military systems and networks from the rapidly growing threat of offensive cyber action from aggressive adversaries,” DASA said.

  • PerspectiveThe Department of Defense Should Not Wage Cyber War Against Criminal Hackers During the Coronavirus Crisis

    Politicians and pundits in the United States have frequently described the challenge of controlling the COVID pandemic with the language of waging war. Erica D. Borghard writes that given this terminology, it can be tempting to look to the Department of Defense (DOD) to solve problems it was not meant to address. While nefarious actors in cyberspace are seeking to capitalize on scared and vulnerable individuals during the pandemic for criminal gain and national strategic objectives, “any efforts to leverage DOD capabilities in combating these efforts must distinguish between nation-state and criminal activity,” she writes.

  • Military expendituresGlobal Military Expenditure Reaching $1917 Billion in 2019

    Total global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The total for 2019 represents an increase of 3.6 percent from 2018 and the largest annual growth in spending since 2010. The five largest spenders in 2019, which accounted for 62 percent of expenditure, were the United States, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia. This is the first time that two Asian states have featured among the top three military spenders.

  • PerspectiveHow Will the Pandemic Affect National Security Innovation

    The second week of March was an inflection point for many across the world. Rachel Olney writes that as a founder of a tech company with commercial and defense customers, she has concerns for the early-stage companies with defense applications. With the massive economic downturn came panicked investors trying to determine which companies in their portfolios would survive. “They reached out to learn how much cash we have, if we can do layoffs, and if we would ultimately survive,” she writes. “My experience was not unique.”

  • PerspectiveNational Security in the Age of Pandemics

    For the first time since the Second World War, an adversary managed to knock a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier — USS Theodore Roosevelt — out of service. Only this time the enemy was a virus, not a nation-state. Gregory D. Koblentz and Michael Hunzeker write in Defense One that the fact that we “lost” the ultimate symbol of American military power to an invisible opponent should send shock waves through the national security community, because in its race to prepare the country for renewed great power competition with Russia and China, it has largely ignored a potentially greater threat: pandemic disease.

  • PerspectiveWhy China's Coronavirus Lies Don't Matter If It Plays the Long Information Game

    The world will never be the same after COVID-19 –but Mark Payumo writes that this will not be because people sheltered in place and reacquainted themselves with traditional family bonding, but because China opened a new front in information warfare. “This front is global in scale and one that Beijing has laid the groundwork for a decade prior to the pandemic,” he writes. “As it unravels, it underscores one fact that we already know: that the world, especially truly-functioning West democracies, continues to fail in responding to Chinese global statecraft that may threaten civil liberties as we know it.”

  • Climate & conflictClimate-Related Disasters Increase Risks of Conflict in Vulnerable Countries

    The risk for violent clashes increases after weather extremes such as droughts or floods hit people in vulnerable countries, an international team of scientists finds. Vulnerable countries are characterized by a large population, political exclusion of particular ethnic groups, and low development. The study combines global statistical analysis, observation data and regional case study assessments to yield new evidence for policymakers.

  • PerspectivePandemics and the U.S. Military: Lessons from 1918

    The novel coronavirus will hit the U.S. military and its allies hard — how hard will depend on a number of variables, some having to do with the virus itself (how and to what extent it mutates, whether it comes back in subsequent waves, etc.) and others having to do with what measures militaries take to protect themselves. Michael Shurkin writes that, fortunately, we have a historical example that could offer some clues on how the virus might affect the military, and the policy choices that at some point today’s military leaders may face. He is referring to the 1918 influenza epidemic — commonly referred to as the Spanish flu.

  • Bomb disposalWater Cannon Technology Disarms IEDs

    Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are a constant and ever-changing threat to the security of our nation. Their extreme destructive potential demands innovative solutions. That’s where the Reverse Velocity Jet Tamper (ReVJeT) comes in. ReVJeT breaks apart IEDs by targeting a stream of high-velocity liquid, such as water. It does not detonate the device, but rather disarms it from a distance and allows bomb technicians do their jobs faster, safer, and more effectively.

  • DronesIdentify, Track, Capture: Addressing UAS Threats

    Sandia National Laboratories robotics experts are working on a way to intercept enemy unmanned aircraft systems midflight. They successfully tested their concept indoors with a swarm of four unmanned aircraft systems that flew in unison, each carrying one corner of a net. Acting as a team, they intercepted the flying target, trapped it in air like an insect caught in a web and safely lowered it to the ground.