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February 5, 2013

News Briefs February 4, 2013

Navy sets cost controls at Maine sub shipyard

A U.S. Navy admiral says new cost-control measures will impact Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Foster’s Daily Democrat says Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, wrote in a Jan. 25 memo that the Navy is looking to reduce “base operating support” by 10 percent in the coming year. A recent report from the Navy Times says the cuts will reduce the Navy’s shipyard workforce by an estimated 3,000 employees.

The cost controls are part of a package being put in place by the Navy to address an “immediate budget shortfall” in fiscal 2013. They could translate into a civilian hiring freeze and termination of temporary workers at the Kittery, Maine, sub-repair installation.

With no new defense budget, the Navy is continuing to receive the same funding as it did last year. AP

 

Germany aims to acquire armed drones

Germany plans to join the ranks of countries that deploy armed drones on the battlefield – a move critics say would lower the threshold for foreign military interventions.

Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Feb. 1 that Germany would work with France to develop a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

“We have a gap in our capabilities that we would like to close,” he said.

Germany already has unarmed drones, including the Israeli-built Heron 1 model, which it uses for reconnaissance purposes in places such as Afghanistan. Officials said Germany might consider purchasing an armed version of the Heron 1 for use after 2014, to bridge the gap until 2020 when the system being developed with France becomes available.

Opposition lawmakers warned that Germany could end up sending armed drones into conflicts abroad even when there are political reservations about deploying troops.

Over the past 20 years, Germany has steadily abandoned its post-war reticence about foreign military missions. But the constitution requires parliamentary approval before sending troops abroad and each proposed mission prompts heated debate in the country deemed responsible for two world wars in the last century.

U.N. human rights experts also have criticized the use of armed drones because they are controlled by operators who are often thousands of miles away from the targets they attack.

Last week, the U.N. independent expert on counterterrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, announced he would launch a special investigation into drone warfare.

Emmerson, a British lawyer, said the use of armed drones isn’t properly regulated by international law. He also said that countries have an obligation to “establish effective independent and impartial investigations into any drone attack in which it is plausibly alleged that civilian casualties were sustained.”

Pakistan has been particularly critical of the use of armed drones by the U.S., which along with Britain and Israel is among the countries with the most sophisticated drone programs. AP

 




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News Briefs February 27, 2015

Ukraine will start pulling back heavy weapons in the east Ukraine’s military says it will start pulling back its heavy weapons from the front line with Russian-backed separatists as required under a cease-fire agreement. The Defense Ministry said in a statement Feb. 26 that it reserved the right to revise its withdrawal plans in the...
 
 

Northrop Grumman’s AstroMesh reflector successfully deploys for NASA’s SMAP satellite

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully deployed the mesh reflector and boom aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft, a key milestone on its mission to provide global measurements of soil moisture. Launched Jan. 31, SMAP represents the future of Earth Science by helping researchers better understand our planet. SMAP’s unmatched data capabilities are enabled...
 
 
NASA photograph by Brian Tietz

NASA offers space tech grants to early career university faculty

NASA photograph by Brian Tietz Tensegrity research is able to simulate multiple forms of locomotion. In this image, a prototype tensegrity robot reproduces forward crawling motion. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Director...
 

 
navy-china

USS Fort Worth conducts CUES with Chinese Navy

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) practiced the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy Jiangkai II frigate Hengshui (FFG 572) Feb. 23 enhancing the professional ma...
 
 

AEGIS tracks, simulates engagement of three short-range ballistic missiles

The Missile Defense Agency and sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), and USS Barry (DDG 52) successfully completed a flight test involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system. At approximately 2:30 a.m., EST, Feb. 26, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched near simultaneously from NASA’s Wallops...
 
 

DOD seeks novel ideas to shape its technological future

The Defense Department is seeking novel ideas to shape its future, and officials are looking to industry, small business, academia, start-ups, the public – anyone, really – to boost its ability to prevail against adversaries whose access to technology grows daily. The program, called the Long-Range Research and Development Plan, or LRRDP, began with an...
 




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