The crypto-patches of Five Classified Aircraft are covert, “in-house” advertisements. They are best viewed as “industry” marketing tools, as each of these occluded, unmentionable, quiveringly secret crafts is the product of a given contractor.
on artist/cultural geographer Trevor Paglen
's Five Classified Aircraft
Will it fly?
The Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapons system ever developed. It is plagued by design flaws and cost overruns. It flies only in good weather. The computers that run it lack the software they need for combat. No one can say for certain when the plane will work as advertised. This Vanity Fair article investigates.
"As I made clear in Australia, we'll be strengthening our presence in the Asia-Pacific, and budget reductions will not come at the expense of this critical region," President Obama and Sustaining US Global Leadership (pdf) [more inside]
How two American kids became big-time weapons traders
- "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via
; previously on arms contractors
From the Pentagon to the private sector
- In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs [more inside]
The Korean DMZ (pdf)
has been a hot tourist
attraction for years
, featuring must-see sites like the Third
, Dora Observatory,
the Dora Mountain Train Station
, the Freedom Bridge
and the Imjingak
Tourist Site, complete with its statue of Harry Truman
. And now, South Korea's border with North Korea -- the most heavily militarized border on Earth,
-- will be patrolled by killer robots
. [more inside]
"There is no conventional or chemical or biological threat out there that we cannot counter with our overwhelming conventional forces." ~ US President Barack Obama
The US 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) has been announced. (pdf) For the first time,
the United States is explicitly
committing not to use nuclear weapons except in "extreme circumstances"
, pledging not to develop new ones and limiting the use of those in storage -- even for self defense. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
, even in response to a hypothetical biological or chemical weapons attack, or a crippling cyberattack. The new focus will be deterrence
. [more inside]
is a website launched
this month by the Oxford Research Group
"to be an important platform for promoting a better understanding of the real threats to global security in the 21st century and the policies that should be implemented to address those threats at their root cause." It highlights "four interconnected drivers of global insecurity: climate change; competition over natural resources; global militarism; and poverty and marginalisation. Prof. Paul Rogers makes the case for a rethink of the security paradigm
The aircraft carrier, a majestic and grand symbol of American naval might... susceptible to swarming small-boat assault
and weak against ballistic missiles, nevermind an anti-ship ballistic missile
. Is it time to reevaluate the role
of the aircraft carrier in a modern naval strategy
That was too close.
RAF Tornado comes within 30ft of mid-air collision.
Learning from history's mistakes?
In the summer of 2002, the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment (ONA)
, run for 35 years by a man nicknamed Yoda
, published an 85-page report titled "Military Advantage in History
" (PDF). Drawing on Sun Tzu, Jared Diamond and Roman historian Titus Livius
, the book analyzes the rise & fall of the empires of Alexander the Great, Imperial Rome, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon's France and attempts to plot a course for a Pax Americana that can avoid the pitfalls that led to the collapse of those earlier kingdoms. (via
It sounds a lot like science fiction.
It moves at the speed of light and it can penetrate walls. The U.S. military has firepower that uses electromagnetic energy to blind, stun or kill targets. Defense contractors are eager, but the weapons
are not yet being deployed.
The Intelligence Resource Program
from the website of the Federation of American Scientists
is a lovely nugget of information about the intelligence field. It has intelligence budget data
, threat assessments
, imagery information
, and more. But, in a little-known unlisted directory
you can find intelligence and security related .pdf manuals for all four combat branches
of the DOD
and even a few others. Check it out, and don't worry because everything there is technically unclassified, it's just hard to find.
"And the 'Soldier Kicking Asshat of the Month' award goes to..." Rep. Duncan Hunter
(R - San Diego), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who stripped a bipartisan-approved amendment out of the defense budget which would have given America's 1.1 million reservists the ability to pay $75 a month / $233 per family for healthcare insurance. Hunter claimed that the extra cost would blow the DoD's budget. The cost? About $770 million a year over five years... approximately .0018% of the yearly defense budget, or about 2/3rds the cost of a single stealth bomber.
$127 Billion Army Modernization Project Sidesteps Oversight.
A nice story about how a system designed to streamline simple and small commercial purchases is being used to avoid congressional oversight while spending $127 Billion USD in taxpayer funds.
Red, White and Blue Dogs of War
Just found this story in The Nation
about a decision by the Bush administration to hire Aegis Defense Services
to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The trouble is, its boss, ex-British Lt. Col. Tim Spicer, who is responsible for actually starting a coup in Papua New Guinea in 1996, among other things. Perhaps Bush, the free market disciple, is beginning to think that he needs to hire some mercs to make up for all the reserve and Guard guys quitting. If the Army needs more help and advice, they could hire this
homegrown "consulting firm."
"All this costs money. It costs more than we have."
One year ago today, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned of a "subtle and implacable" adversary whose "brutal consistency...stifles free thought...and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk." It wasn't freedom's obvious foes
; he was referring to waste in the Pentagon. The DOD uses so many different financial systems and interfaces it won't have auditable books for another five to 10 years
. It still manually enters purchases
made with electronic purchase cards. It fires whistleblowers
who call attention to shady missile defense deals. And every year, it completely loses track
of a quarter of the world's biggest military budget
The pursuit of permanent military supremacy.
"The question facing all Americans, therefore, is whether the expenditure of hundreds (later thousands) of billions of dollars to defend against hypothetical enemies that may not arise until thirty or forty years from now is a sensible precaution, as contended by the President and Defense Secretary, or whether it eventually will undermine US security by siphoning off funds from vital health and educational programs and by creating a global environment of fear and hostility that will produce exactly the opposite of what is intended by all these expenditures."
The Few, The Proud, the Geeky
"U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has called for the creation of the technology equivalent of the National Guard: 'That's what I'd like to propose. What this country needs is essentially a technology equivalent of the National Guard: a National Emergency Technology Guard - NET Guard - that in times of crisis would be in a position to mobilize our nation's information technology, or IT, community to action quickly, just as the National Guard is ready to move during emergencies.'" Akk! Volunteer geeks on patrol!
Percent of World Military Spending.
The US and its allies dwarf the rest of
the world in what it spends on defense. On the one hand I see the need to
bring overwhelming force in a conflict and I think just having it is in
itself stabilizing. But I can also see money and resources put to better
use elsewhere (e.g. healthcare, education, basic research) the effects of
which I think might even do more to affect global peace and prosperity than
any loss that may obtain from a reduced defense budget.
(other Thoughts of the Fortnight
by J. Bradford DeLong including this draft
he presented with Larry Summers! at the Fed symposium in Jackson Hole :)
$100 million well spent or the first steps on the road to hell? (via matt drudge
It worked in the Super Bowl... it can work as our military strategy!
The main quote in this article is, "I think our allies need to look at the Baltimore Ravens. They'll realize good defense wins. A good defense is one which adjusts to the times. A good defense is modern. A good defense is clear."
So let's build lots of missles!