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
Adm. Jonathan Greenert testifies before the Senate on the Navy’s budget on Wednesday. US Navy Photo
The Chief of Naval Operations said the Ohio-class replacement is his “number one program of concern,” although it remains “on track with all the R&D” to begin construction in 2021, with delivery expected in 2029.
Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee on 24 April, Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus expressed concern about its cost, the impact of sequestration on the program and the impact of building it on the rest of the shipbuilding program.
Mabus said, “Sequestration holds the potential to impact this in a significant way.” Read More
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the U.S. Navy had no formal procedure for naming ships. It wasn’t until 1819 that Congress passed an act stating “all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy.” The secretary has fulfilled this role ever since, even though the passage expressly assigning authority for designating ship names was omitted when the U.S. Code was revised in 1925.
In addition to recommendations from Congress and the president, the secretary traditionally has been guided by a rather loose set of naming conventions—cruisers were to be named for battles, attack submarines for U.S. cities, destroyers for Navy and Marine heroes, and so forth. Controversy has erupted whenever the choice of a name strayed too far from those conventions, was seemingly swayed by politics, or deemed inappropriate for various reasons. Read More
Marine with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 12.2. US Marine Corps Photo
Marines are building on decades of experience in fielding responsive Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs)—embarked on board Navy Amphibious Ready Groups, (ARGs)—to deliver an even faster first punch.
The new Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response (MAGTF-CR), will operate in the Mediterranean to give the United States quicker response times to trouble in Africa and the Middle East. Instead of a ship-deployed force, the unit will be based around a company of infantry Marines, six MV-22 Ospreys, and two KC-130J Hercules fixed-wing aircraft. This is a surprising move for a Marine Corps that wants to return to amphibious roots. 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
A B-25 taking off from flight deck of USS Hornet (CV-8) which is carrying a load of Army planes for raid on Tokyo as seen from USS Enterprise (CV-6). 18 April, 1942. US Naval Institute Photo
On April, 18 1942 16 B-25 bombers flew from the USS Hornet on a mission to strike at the Japanese home islands following the Dec. 7, 1941 attack at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Navy. Read More
USS Freedom arrives in Singapore on April, 18 2013. US Navy Photo
The first Littoral Combat Ship has arrived in Singapore kicking off an eight-month deployment to put the LCS concept through its most comprehensive test since the advent of the program, the U.S. Navy announced Thursday. Read More