From the summary of the U.N. Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial,summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. The report calls for a suspension of lethal robotic technology until international rules can be drafted:
Lethal autonomous robotics (LARs) are weapon systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further human intervention. They raise far-reaching concerns about the protection of life during war and peace. This includes the question of the extent to which they can be programmed to comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law and the standards protecting life under international human rights law. Read More
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is transported on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). US Navy Photo
An April U.N. report calling for suspending the use deadly robotic weapon systems singled out two Navy systems, the Phalanx ship protection weapon system and the Navy’s test platform for carrier-based unmanned vehicles as part of a report recommending an international moratoria on so-called “lethal autonomous robotics.”
Report author Christof Heyns, a human rights professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, mentioned the Phalanx and the Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) X-47B as examples of weapon systems with at least some degree of autonomous operation. Read More
MQ-8B Fire Scout on the flight line at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, Calif in 2011. US Navy Photo
The Navy’s first aviation squadron that combines unmanned aerial vehicles and manned helicopters stoop up on Thursday at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., according to a release from U.S. Naval Air Forces. Read More
Commander Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy in 2008. US Navy Photo
Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command has a rare interview in the latest issue of Proceedings.
While at the helm of NAVSEA for an unprecedented five years McCoy was mostly media shy while he was a driving force to realign years of damage to the way the Navy fixed its surface ships. Read More
The following is from the introduction to the Congressional Research Service’s April, 24 2013 report: Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress.
Department of Defense (DOD) development work on high-energy military lasers, which has been underway for decades, has reached the point where lasers capable of countering certain surface and air targets at ranges of about a mile could be made ready for installation on Navy surface ships over the next few years. More powerful shipboard lasers, which could become ready for installation in subsequent years, could provide Navy surface ships with an ability to counter a wider range of surface and air targets at ranges of up to about 10 miles. These more powerful lasers might, among other things, provide Navy surface ships with a terminal-defense capability against certain ballistic missiles, including China’s new anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). Read More
A MC-12 Liberty surveillance aircraft in Iraq. US Air Force photo.
Four U.S. airmen were killed Sunday in a plane crash in Afghanistan, according to a release from the Pentagon.
The four airmen went down in a MC-12W Liberty surveillance aircraft in the south of the country, according to a release from the Department of Defense. Read More
From the document’s forward by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert:
The U.S. Navy is the world’s most lethal, flexible, and capable maritime force. As they have throughout our Nation’s history, every day our Sailors operate forward to provide American leaders with timely options to deter aggression, assure allies, and re- spond to crises with a minimal footprint ashore. Read More
Syrian protestors asking for a no-fly zone in 2011. European Pressphoto Agency
With the human toll mounting, the United States getting more involved in training, aid, and arms transfers, and continued calls for intervention, U.S. policymakers are grappling with the administration’s relatively non-interventionist stance on Syria. U.S. concerns about the increasing power of jihadist groups within rebel ranks, the possibility of loose chemical weapons, and the overarching desire to shorten the conflict remain. How has the course of events changed the logic of a no-fly zone, or intervention to secure chemical weapons? Read More
US Army MH-60 from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment taking off from USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44) during a training mission in 2011. US Naval Institute Photo
By June, the U.S. Army will open positions to women in its most elite Special Operations helicopter unit as part of a Pentagon push to include more than 6,000 women in previously closed jobs in the Army and U.S. Marine Corps, according to documents obtained by USNI News. Read More
The following is an April, 11 2013 notification to Congress from the Pentagon from Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright. The notifications outlines more than 6,000 positionsin the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, including postions with 160th “Night Stalkers,” Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), U.S. Marine Corps Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Companies (ANGLICO) and positions in Army Brigade Combat Teams. Read More