June 22, 2017

Drones are Cheap, Soldiers Are Not

MQ-9 Reaper. (Photo by US Air Force)

Drones are viewed as the remedy in the age of shrinking defense budgets and high cost of human soldier. A typical $6.48 million worth reaper drone’s end cost is US$3250 per hour of flight time. In contrast, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter costs nearly US$91 million per unit, almost US$5 million per year to operate and $16,500 per hour of flight. Read More »

Cybersecurity Professionals Shortage Risk to US Security

(Photo via Free Press, Creative Commons License)

Demand for trained cybersecurity professionals who work to protect organizations from cybercrime is high nationwide, but the shortage is particularly severe in the federal government, which does not offer salaries as high as the private sector. This shortage — particularly for positions within the federal government — creates risks for national and homeland security, says a new study from the RAND Corporation. Read More »

8 Things to Know About EPA’s Climate Protection Rules

John E. Amos Power Plant coal-powered plant in West Virginia. (Pho†o by Wigwam Jones)

The new rules are the most significant move President Obama has made to address the direct causes of climate change. Under the new rules, each state would have a broad menu of carbon-cutting options, including energy efficiency improvements, adding clean energy sources, implementing a carbon tax, or instituting or joining a cap-and-trade system. Read More »

Drone Proliferation Tests Arms Control

Two Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicles are seen on the tarmac at a Northrop Grumman test facility in Palmdale, Calif. (Photo by cmccain202dc, Creative Commons License)

As the U.S. government winds up an interagency review of rules governing the export of large drones, the conflicting goals of nonproliferation and commerce are creating a new test of the 27-year-old Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).   Observers do not expect big changes to the MTCR, which seeks to prevent the proliferation of unmanned systems capable of delivering weapons ... Read More »

Environmental Impact of China’s Dam Rush

By 2020 China plans to have 430 gigawatts of installed hydropower capacity, more than Europe and the US combined (Image by International Rivers, via thethirdpole.net)

China plans to increase its share of non-fossil energy to 11.4 percent of total energy consumption through an additional 160 gigawatts (160,000 megawatts) of installed hydropower capacity by 2015, along with ambitious expansions in renewables and nuclear. By 2020, China plans to have 430 gigawatts (430,000 megawatts) of installed hydropower capacity, more than Europe and the United States combined.   A bilingual interactive map published by the Wilson Center’s China ... Read More »

A Silver Anniversary for the World Wide Web

(Image by  by Bull3t, Creative Commons License)

Exactly 25 years ago, the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee conceptually “invented” the World Wide Web — and set in motion a process that would rapidly make the online world an essential part of our daily lives.   By 1995, 14 percent of Americans were surfing the Web. The level today: 87 percent. And among young adults, the Pew Research ... Read More »

Pakistan Purchases F-16s From Jordan

(Photo I Wish I Was Flying, Creative Commons License)

According to Pakistani sources, Pakistan’s Air Force has purchased one squadron of F-16 multi-role fighter aircraft from Jordan. The 13 F-16s were in service in the Royal Jordanian Air Force and will be inducted into the Pakistani air force next month. The deal has been finalized, approved by both countries, as well as the United States. The 13 aircraft are the same ... Read More »

World’s Largest Solar Thermal Plant is Water Efficient

The Ivanpah  solar power project is located in the California Mojave Desert, 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas. (Photo by howardignatius, Creative Commons License)

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz marked the opening of the world’s largest solar thermal plant on Thursday (February 13) in the Mojave Desert near the border of California and Nevada. The 392-MW Ivanpah project, developed by BrightSource Energy Co, started operating last month after six years of construction.   With California struggling through one of the worst droughts on record, and Ivanpah ... Read More »

Talking Cars: Privacy Implications

(Photo via ACLU)

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Feb 3 that it is proceeding with an effort to reduce traffic accidents by creating a “Vehicle to Vehicle” wireless infrastructure (known as V2V) through which cars can communicate with each other while on the roads and automatically avert certain accidents. Details can be found in this story by the Associated Press, and in this in-depth ... Read More »

Drop in Global Arms Sales

Global arms exporters infographic. Data: Taken from the US Congressional Research Service report, 'Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations 2001-2008, Table 39', 4 September 2009. (Photo by by net_efekt, Creative Commons License)

Sales of arms and military services by the largest arms-producing companies totaled $395 billion in 2012, showing a 4.2 percent decrease in real terms compared to the companies in the Top 100 for 2011. The new data on international arms production launched January 31 by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Sweden’s  at the Munich Security Conference.   Arms sales ... Read More »