February 16, 2018

News Briefs – February 16, 2018

Trump’s military parade could cost $10M-$30M

The White House budget director says a military parade envisioned by President Donald Trump could cost between $10 million and $30 million, although that money is not included in the administration’s new budget request.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told the House Budget Committee Feb. 14 that estimates are “very preliminary.” He said it’s “between 10 and 30 depending on the length” of the parade.

Officials such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have confirmed that Trump has pushed for a large-scale parade to trumpet the U.S. military but Mulvaney said the administration hasn’t decided to go forward with it.

Mulvaney says the administration would have to seek an appropriation from Congress or redirect existing funds to finance the parade. AP

Russia needs law on private contractors, lawmaker says

A senior lawmaker says the Russian parliament is working on a bill to regulate private military companies, amid reports about an unknown number of Russian military contractors killed in a U.S. strike in Syria.

Retired Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, head of the defense committee in the lower house of Russia’s parliament, said Feb. 14 in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that the state needs to oversee private military contractors.

Russian media said Russian private contractors were part of pro-government forces that advanced on oil fields in the eastern Deir el-Zour province and were targeted by the United States on Feb. 7. Associates and activists have confirmed the death of at least four Russian citizens there.

Russian and U.S. officials said they had no information on Russian casualties. AP

Coalition ramps down air support in Iraq, shifts to training

Iraq has claimed victory over the Islamic State group after a bloody 3 1/2-year war, and now the U.S.-led coalition is decreasing air support in the country.

It’s the latest indication of the coalition’s shrinking footprint amid a drawdown of U.S. forces announced earlier this month.

American and Iraqi air force commanders say the coalition will launch fewer airstrikes in support of Iraqi forces and instead focus more on training Iraqi airmen.

Iraq’s air force will assume more of the “missions, duties and responsibilities” to maintain the country’s hard-fought victories over IS, according to a statement released by U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

However, Iraq is struggling to fund the Air Force’s $1 billion budget as the country is faced with the enormous task of rebuilding in the wake of its military victories. AP

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Headlines – March 16, 2018

News How Did Astronaut DNA Become ‘Fake News’? – For a brief moment, NASA found itself at the center of a digital misinformation campaign.   Business Defiant undergoing rigorous testing prior to first flight this year – The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter demonstrator is now undergoing rigorous testing prior to its first flight expected...

News Briefs – March 16, 2018

F/A-18F crashes off coast of Florida An F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on final approach to Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, Fla., at approximately 4:30 p.m., EDT, March 14. Search and rescue crews were notified shortly after the crash where they recovered both the pilot and weapons systems officer from the water approximately...
NASA photograph by Lauren Hughes

NASA Armstrong successfully flies new subscale aircraft

The Subscale Research Lab at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California recently introduced a new addition to their fleet of miniature aircraft. The not-so-small MicroCub is a Bill Hempel 60-percent-scale super cub...