The U.S. Air Force is developing new computer algorithms to allow fighter pilots to control armed drones from inside their own cockpits, according to the War Is Boring blog.
The goal of the so-called “Loyal Wingman” initiative is to pair up manned, fifth-generation stealth fighters with unmanned versions of older jets — to boost the lethality of both in air combat.
“You take an F-16 and make it totally unmanned,” deputy defense secretary Bob Work told an audience in Washington, D.C. on March 30. “The F-16 is a fourth-generation fighter, and pair it with an F-35, a fifth-generation battle network node, and have those two operating together.”
But the Loyal Wingman concept could also work with other fighters and drones — some already in service, other still on the drawing board. Work said that manned-unmanned teaming is the way of the future. “It is going to happen.”
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How many troops will it take to destroy the Islamic State? Around 50,000 or so, according to the Army’s recently retired chief, but they don’t necessarily all have to be American, according to Foreign Policy.
That’s the assessment retired Army Gen. Ray Odierno gave Wednesday at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy’s Washington Forum. He added that U.S. troops would have to direct these forces.
Odierno has said ground forces are needed to defeat the extremists, although this appears to be the first time he suggested 50,000 troops would be enough to do the job.
Navy Times is reporting that the White House officials are pushing Congress to overhaul the appeals process for veterans benefits claims this year, noting the shrinking legislative window and calling the system a disaster.
“We’re failing veterans,” said Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson. “This process is failing veterans. Nobody can defend the status quo here.”
More than 440,000 veterans have appeals cases pending in the benefits system, a caseload that has risen steadily in recent years as officials have focused on pulling down the number of backlogged first-time claims.
But VA officials have insisted the two aren’t connected, noting the percentage of cases appealed has remained steady. Instead, the problem has been the rising number of total claims from veterans, as more troops deal with issues from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Vietnam.
The U.S. Navy on Tuesday became the first branch of the U.S. military — the world's single-largest user of fossil fuels — to say it will start requiring big vendors to report their output of climate-changing greenhouse gases and work to lower it, according to ABC News.
"We've got skin in this game," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told a Silicon Valley conference on tech, government and climate change, noting that the Navy is facing rising ocean levels and a surge of interest as ice melts in the Arctic.
The U.S. military has characterized climate change as a threat to national security since at least 2014, saying drought and other natural disasters can foster instability, conflict and extremism.
The move seeks to leverage the Navy's $170 billion budget to encourage contractors to cut their overall output of climate-changing carbon.
The policy announced by Mabus did not immediately commit the Navy to cutting off companies with high emissions Companies and governments typically use such emissions reports as a factor in choosing suppliers.
Today, the average completion time for appeals cases decided by the Veterans Benefits Administration is three years, the average for cases decided by the Board of Veterans Appeals is five years. Officials have not seen increases in the rate of success among the appeals, but have noted that the process is frustratingly cumbersome for both veterans and staff.