Reports on Wednesday that reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died undoubtedly caused some cheers in the Pentagon, but it has also raised deep worries that the death of the one-eyed Afghan commander could scuttle the most promising peace talks in Afghanistan in a decade, according to DefenseOne.
Omar’s direct role in day-to-day Taliban operations had been declining for years, according to Western diplomats in Afghanistan. Even if he is alive, the former leader of Afghanistan is believed to be severely ill.
But the myth that surrounds Omar is a key element in determining if peace talks can succeed. With the Islamic State and other jihadist groups vying for the loyalty of young Taliban fighters, it is unclear whether any leader except Omar can hold the movement together and then get its members to accept a peace settlement.
“The nightmare is if nobody respected the leadership anymore in the Taliban,” said Graeme Smith, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group who is based in Kabul, “because then you have no one to talk to.”
Plagued by huge cost over-runs, Boeing’s struggling KC-46 air tanker program has a new overseer to get production back on course, according to DefenseNews.
Scott Fancher, Boeing’s chief of development programs for commercial aircraft, has been tasked with righting a program that forms the backbone of Boeing's military aviation future and that is a top priority for the U.S. Air Force.
In a letter to employees, newly minted Boeing President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he was tasking Fancher to "provide senior executive oversight and increased management support to the tanker program."
Both Boeing and Air Force leaders have expressed concerns about the KC-46 program’s growing costs and whether it is on track to meet its Aug. 2017 requirement to have 18 tankers ready to go,
At the request of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Emergency Services, the California Air National Guard on Wednesday launched the unmanned aerial vehicle to help search for a missing motorcyclist, according to a press release.
The drone belonged to the 163rd Attack Wing and departed 10:20 a.m. from the March Air Reserve Base near Riverside. Equipped with infrared sensors, image-intensified cameras and laser illuminators, it soared over the central Sierra Nevada mountain range and provided detailed aerial pictures to ground crews and their civilian partners.
The missing person, Edward Kavanaugh, a 45-year-old teacher from San Francisco, was last seen July 17 in the El Dorado National Forest.
The Defense Department announced Monday that it has renewed its contract with the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, a federally funded research and development center chartered to study cybersecurity and software engineering, according to the website FedScoop.com
The funding comes in the wake of the OPM hacks that compromised the personal information of 22 million Americans, prompting a surge of cybersecurity awareness and multiple calls to ramp up efforts to protect government systems.
The five-year extendable contract, which has a ceiling of $1.73 billion, will enable SEI to continue its work seeking innovative solutions to cyberthreats, from basic vulnerability exploits to existential nation-state actor assaults.
Roger That is a regular feature by BND military reporter Mike Fitzgerald. Contact him at email@example.com or 618-239-2533.