The next generation of remotely-piloted aircraft could swarm enemy defenses, serve as wingmen for pilots, attack targets with lasers, or work as mobile weather radar, according to Air Force Times.
Aerospace experts say the technology is becoming advanced enough that drones can now take on a host of missions far beyond their normal reconnaissance and ground-strike roles. The Air Force is even looking at developing drones that could serve as wingman for pilots flying fighters.
“We’re just at the very early stages of what robotics and autonomous systems might do,” said Paul Scharre, a retired Army Ranger who helped craft some of the Pentagon’s drone policies while at the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
During discussions on the future of drones at the Sept. 14-16 Air Force Association national convention, Scharre compared the state of RPAs with aircraft after World War I: Everyone knew they were changing warfare, but no one was certain how to use them or what the extent of their capabilities would be.
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The Air Force is rapidly deploying and fielding cyber capabilities and defenses, but at the same time the threats are increasing, says Maj. Gen. Ed Wilson, head of 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber, according to Air Force Times.
“The biggest challenge is clearly the pace, the sophistication and the proliferation of cyber threats, against not just the Department of Defense but really against the nation,” Wilson said.
The Air Force needs to emphasize both offensive and defensive capabilities to remain competitive in the cyber sphere, he said.
The Air Force is working with other military branches to protect cyber systems for networks and installations, as well as weapons systems such as planes and missiles.
Wilson estimated about 1,700 airmen are directly involved with the cybersecurity mission, but he said basic skills need to be learned by every service member.
The next season of the podcast “Serial” will focus on the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Army soldier who went missing from his base while deployed in Afghanistan in 2009 and held prisoner by the Taliban, a person familiar with the project said, according to the New York Times.
The season will be co-produced by Page One, the journalistic film company owned by the screenwriter Mark Boal (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and run by Hugo Lindgren, a former editor of the New York Times Magazine, the person added.
Freed in a 2014 prisoner exchange, Sgt. Bergdahl has claimed he was abducted, but the Army has charged him with desertion and endangering troops who searched for him. The Army is holding apreliminary hearing to decide whether Sgt. Bergdahl should face a court-martial.
A spokesman for “Serial” would not confirm that a topic has been chosen, saying only, “Over the last few months they’ve been reporting on a variety of stories for both Seasons 2 and 3 of ‘Serial,’ along with other podcast projects.”
Two top Army generals reportedly tried to kill an article running in the New York Times about concussions occurring frequently at the U.S. Military Academy West Point, N.Y.
Back in June, the Times made a Freedom of Information Act request for data on concussions “resulting from mandatory boxing classes at the United States Military Academy.” The paper also apparently asked for similar data from the Air Force and Naval Academies, according to Popular Miltary.
During a mid-September meeting at the Pentagon, Lt. General Patricial Horoho reportedly recommended to the superintendent at West Point that “the Army delay responding to the Times’ request.”