Headlines – September 13, 2019

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News

China and the U.S Are Fighting a Major Battle Over Killer Robots and the Future of AI-
Russia started sabotaging the discussion from the very first session. Throughout the morning of Aug. 21, its diplomats at the United Nations in Geneva took the floor, nitpicking language in a document meant to pave the way for an eventual ban on lethal autonomous weapons, also known as killer robots, an emerging category of weapons that would be able to fight on their own and decide who to target and kill.
 
Trump says he’s hitting the Taliban ‘harder than ever before’-
Eighteen years after a jihadi attack on the Pentagon killed 184, President Trump told the crowd at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony for survivors, family members and first responders that the U.S. is striking back harder than ever before.
 
Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall-
Senate Democrats are threatening to withhold their votes on a spending bill for the Pentagon unless Republicans agree to block President Trump from repurposing defense funds for his wall on the Mexican border, a tactic he’s employed in recent months.
 
 

Business

Poland cleared to buy F-35 fleet-
The U.S. State Department has cleared Poland to buy the F-35, America’s most advanced fighter, setting up the country as the newest customer for the fifth-generation jet.
 
Raytheon anticipates international boom in counterdrone sales-
Raytheon is expecting a boom in international sales of its counter-UAS system already battle-tested with the U.S. Army.
 
Unleash the hornets: Combat vehicles and robots get new kit to increase standoff-
A FLIR System that deploys tiny unmanned aerial vehicles from a ruggedized container affixed to the front of a vehicle is helping to shape how advanced teaming can be used on the tactical edge against near peer threats.
 
British, Italian defense companies jump on Tempest-
BAE Systems and Leonardo on Sept. 11 formalized a partnership agreement to cooperate on the Tempest next-generation combat aircraft, following a pact signed between the U.K. and Italian governments late afternoon Sept. 10.
 
UK’s Warrior fleet upgrade about 18 months away from kickoff-
Negotiations are underway on a production contract to update the British Army’s fleet of Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, according to the Ministry of Defence official running the program.
 
Britain kicks off competition to manage ground stations for next Skynet satellite program-
Britain’s defense secretary has fired the starting gun on an industry competition to manage the ground station element of the £6 billion Skynet 6 communications satellite program.
 
Sweden’s second overhauled Gotland-class sub in sea trials as Saab anticipates more upgrade needs-
Saab’s Kockums shipyard is wrapping up the second of two midlife overhauls for Sweden’s Gotland-class submarines, with the second boat going through sea trials now, a company executive said Sept. 10.
 
Titan robot test-fires Javelin anti-tank missile-
Imagine Russia’s armored legions rolling into the Baltic States. T-90 tanks lead BMPs packed with infantry through the rolling fields of Latvia.
 
 

Defense

U.S. Air Force restricts KC-46 from carrying cargo and passengers-
In a move that could have major impacts on the already-delayed tanker program, the U.S. Air Force has indefinitely barred the KC-46 from carrying cargo and passengers, Defense News has learned.
 
Trump says U.S. military has super weapons that are even bigger, better than its nuclear arsenal-
President Donald Trump has appeared to double down on his claim that the U.S. military’s arsenal includes conventional weapons that are more powerful than nukes.
 
Esper approves troop deployments along U.S.-Mexico border through 2020-
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has authorized up to 5,500 servicemembers to continue missions along the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2020 to provide infrastructure and operational support as well as detection, monitoring and air support.
 
Navy EOD exercising in Alaska to test unmanned systems in frigid temps-
The Navy’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) community is looking to leverage nearly two decades of expertise gained in the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts in Iraq and apply them to helping the Navy gain sea control and beach access in a future high-end, near-peer adversary type of fight.
 
America’s non-nuclear bomber could someday carry hypersonic weapons-
The Air Force has just proved that the B-1B Lancer bomber can be modified to hold more ordnance — a step that may pave the way to future hypersonic weapons payloads.
 
Armored reconnaissance vehicle prototypes to be evaluated by Marines by end of 2020-
The Corps plans to have a replacement for one of its oldest combat vehicles, the light armored vehicle, or LAV, by the end of the next decade.
 
Senate bill includes $1B in new money for hypersonics-
A spending bill making its way through the Senate includes at least $1 billion more for hypersonics and hypersonics defense than what the Pentagon requested in March.
 
House members seek NDAA language to force light-attack aircraft buy-
A handful of congressmen are pushing hard for the House-Senate Conference Committee on the 2020 NDAA to include a provision that would transfer procurement authority for the Light-Attack Aircraft (LAA) to Special Operations Command if the Air Force does not proceed with a buy.
 
 

Veterans

Veterans with PTSD, anxiety turn to beekeeping for relief-
Researchers are beginning to study whether beekeeping has therapeutic benefits.
 
Court orders VA to cover veterans’ emergency room debts-
A federal court this week ordered Veterans Affairs officials to reimburse veterans for all expenses at non-department emergency medical centers, a move that could mean payouts of tens of thousands of dollars to patients facing financial distress because of their hospital bills.
 
After a long wait, VA finally has a deputy secretary-
Senate lawmakers on Sept. 11 confirmed James Byrne for the second-highest post at the Department of Veterans Affairs, officially filling a key leadership vacancy after an absence of more than a year.
 
Caregivers of wounded vets have unique job needs. These new projects aim to help-
Two new projects aim to make employment easier for what their creators said is an often-overlooked group: military veteran caregivers.