- January 15, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Doubts About SpaceX Reliability Persist As Astronaut Missions Approach (From Forbes)
On January 7, a U.S. spy satellite launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket failed to reach orbit. We may never know precisely why the billion-dollar spacecraft was lost, but it is a bad omen as Boeing and SpaceX prepare to carry NASA astronauts later this year. The Atlas V that will lift Boeing’s Starliner capsule into orbit has never [ Read More…]
- January 12, 2018
- Paul Steidler
- International Mail And Postal Practices: A Recap Of Notable Recent Developments
There have been several significant developments on international mail and postal delivery in the past year. Opioids in the Mail Due to the opioid epidemic in the United States, there is significant and growing pressure to scrutinize all in-bound mail from China via advanced electronic data (AED). In Congress, a bipartisan measure, the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Protection Act, a.k.a. [ Read More…]
- January 11, 2018
- Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- Paladin: What’s Right And Wrong With Army Modernization (From RealClearDefense)
In 1963, the U.S. Army introduced the M109A1 155mm turreted self-propelled howitzer, called the Paladin. The Paladin has seen service in every American conflict from the Vietnam War to the present. It is currently the primary fire support system for the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams. To an Army determined to change the way it pursues modernization, the history of [ Read More…]
- January 10, 2018Constance Douris, M.A.
- Surprise: Nuclear Power Maximizes Environmental Benefits Of Electric Vehicles (From Forbes)
The sources of energy that power the grid to charge electric car batteries matter just as much as vehicle emissions. Nuclear power is a clean and efficient power source, but its availability is at risk due to cheaper sources of energy, such as natural gas and renewables. I have written a commentary for Forbes on this subject here.
- January 9, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Combat Vehicle Fire Extinguishers Pose Threat To Service Members (From RealClearDefense)
During the Cold War, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps installed highly pressurized Automatic Fire Extinguisher Systems in their tanks and troop carriers to protect crews from flash fires caused by incoming rounds. After 9-11, the same systems were installed in many other vehicles potentially vulnerable to attack. Unfortunately, training for vehicle maintainers did not keep pace with the additional installations. The tragic result is that maintainers are now dying or being seriously injured because the extinguishers are not being [ Read More…]
- January 9, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Electronic Warfare: The Part Of The F-35 Fighter Story You Haven’t Heard (From Forbes)
The tri-service F-35 fighter program was designed from its inception to evade detection by radar and heat-seeking missiles. Combined with speed, agility and onboard weapons, these “stealth” features make the F-35 a highly survivable aircraft even in heavily contested air space. However, there is another potent contributor to the plane’s survivability that seldom gets discussed much in public: its highly automated electronic-warfare system, which can jam or deceive virtually any enemy sensor while also suppressing other electronic systems such as [ Read More…]
- January 9, 2018Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- Why America Needs A New Upper Stage Rocket More Than a Russian RD-180 Replacement (From The National Interest)
Space launch vehicles usually require both first and upper stages to accelerate the spacecraft to speeds necessary to place payloads in their intended orbits. The workhorse of U.S. space launch is the Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V uses a Russian-designed and produced first stage engine, the RD-180. In recent years, attention and resources have been focused on developing an alternative to the RD-180. In 2016, the Air Force awarded contracts to four companies to develop new first stage rocket [ Read More…]
- January 8, 2018Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- Building A Bigger Navy Means Buying Ships In Bulk (From RealClearDefense)
While experts may differ as to the overall composition of the future U.S. Navy, they are nearly unanimous in their judgment that the Navy is too small to meet its current missions with the current number of ships. This means that the Navy also fails to meet the requirement set by the NSS for a military adequate to meet the global threats and challenges the nation confronts today. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act states that “it shall be the [ Read More…]
- January 3, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Five Reasons The U.S. Army Must Modernize Faster To Avoid Catastrophe (From Forbes)
The U.S. Army hates begging Congress for money, but its new management team has figured out that begging is a lot better than being unprepared when the next war begins. So Army Secretary Mark Esper and Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy are stepping up efforts to explain to the political system why the Army must modernize its equipment faster. The core of their message comes down to this: (1) Army equipment budgets were starved during the Obama years; (2) likely enemies [ Read More…]
- December 21, 2017Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- The Trump National Security Strategy In One Word: Sovereignty (From RealClearDefense)
The central animating principle of President Trump’s new National Security Strategy (NSS) is American sovereignty. But the exercise and defense of national sovereignty under the banner of “America First” is not isolationist. Throughout his campaign for the Oval Office and over the past year, President Trump grounded his arguments for continuing America’s engagement in the world, its participation in international organizations and security alliances, the need to oppose Russian and Chinese efforts to overturn the current international order and the [ Read More…]
- December 20, 2017Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- F-35 Ascending: The Pentagon’s Biggest Program Had Its Best Year Ever In 2017 (From Forbes)
The tri-service F-35 fighter program is wrapping up 2017 in better shape than it has ever been before. Deliveries to three U.S. military services and overseas allies are up 43% from last year, and expected to continue rising steadily in the years ahead. The program has largely completed developmental testing without any major mishaps, while meeting all of its performance requirements. Eleven countries have signed on to buy the fighter, and six more have signaled interest. The cost of F-35s [ Read More…]
- December 20, 2017Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- Will Proposed Reforms Really Make Army Acquisition Faster? (From The National Interest)
The Army’s set of five interlocking reforms will make its acquisition system faster and more efficient. Just by using CFTs it hopes to reduce the time needed to develop requirements from 60 or more months to 12 or less. The overall goal, according to Secretary Esper, is to shorten the acquisition cycle to between 5 and 7 years. But how fast can any acquisition system go when asked come up with cutting edge capabilities that can operate in any environment, [ Read More…]
- December 18, 2017Constance Douris, M.A.
- Electric Vehicle-To-Grid Services Can Feed, Stabilize Power Supply (From Forbes)
Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology allows electric vehicles to charge and discharge electricity to and from the grid. V2G can improve the power system’s resiliency and reliability and make customers money. Studies have been conducted to understand how V2G service can be implemented, but more are necessary before it becomes widely available. I have written a commentary on this subject for Forbes here.