Nearly a year before a gunman burst into the Century Aurora 16 movie theater and murdered 12 people in Aurora, Colorado, police in the Denver suburb prepared for the worst. Along with police across the Denver region, they scrambled to respond to simulated terrorist attacks during an exercise modeled on the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, where coordinated bombings and shootings by militants killed 164 people.
Archived posts from category ‘Robert Beckhusen’
Earlier this year, the spy satellite industry was hit hard by defense budget cuts. For the top two commercial satellite companies, which survive largely by providing imagery to the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies, the cuts left only enough money for one to survive. Now budget austerity has forced the companies to merge together and create a new space monopoly with control over what we see from orbit.
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Insurgencies are amongst the hardest conflicts to predict. Insurgents can be loosely organized, split into factions, and strike from out of nowhere. But now researchers have demonstrated that with enough data, you might actually predict where insurgent violence will strike next. The results, though, don’t look good for the U.S.-led war. And [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Ignore its proximity to the border, and the Texas fracking boom is like many others around America. Trucks hauling construction supplies barrel down country highways. Boom towns, sprawling networks of new private roads and hundreds of drilling sites have popped up. But the boom for Texas tea — oil and gas, that is [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Dictatorship is a hereditary business, because in a dictatorship, it’s all about you. And if you can’t succeed yourself, at least some of your DNA can, which can work out pretty great for your kinfolk — though that doesn’t always play well with the peasants. That’s probably why Belarus’ authoritarian president wants [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN This month, the Army planned to deploy to Afghanistan an unusual new drone: an unmanned eye-in-the-sky helicopter programmed to use high-tech cameras to monitor vast amounts of territory. But now the drone might be lucky to be deployed at all, as the Army has moved to shut down production — possibly ending [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN In recent years, the US government has created research agencies for homeland security, intelligence, and energy — all modeled on the Pentagon’s mad-scientist arm, Darpa. Now Russia has gotten the bug, too. Russian industry and defense leaders announced plans last week to bankroll the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Twitter is where you hang out with friends and meet new people. Now you can hang out with brutal pro-Kremlin warlord Ramzan Kadyrov. According to Russian news wire RIA Novosti, the Chechen president created a Twitter accountWednesday after meeting with Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister and former president. (Medvedev is an advocate of social media.) Kadyrov [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN A transport ship the U.S. believes is carrying attack helicopters to Syria is now heading back to Russia. Ostensibly, the MV Alaed turned around after its insurance coverage was pulled. But the ship’s return coincides with a meeting between Obama and Vladimir Putin — a sign the two leaders may be starting to cooperate on [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Russia’s fleet of rusty strategic bombers has seen better days. For one, they haven’t seen significant upgrades in decades. For two, the fleet is less than half the size of America’s combined force of conventional B-52s, B-1Bs and B-2 stealth bombers. And with plans by the U.S. to build a stealthy new [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN It can be hard to tell which announcements from Iran are true, which ones are wish-fulfillment, and which ones are simply Iran trying to keep up with the Joneses. Consider that when you hear the news that Iran is planning to build nuclear submarines. According to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency, Rear Adm. [...]
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Leaving home while carrying a phone, an iPad and a laptop might also mean lugging along several tangled power cords. Now add radios and GPS devices. Now strap them to your person and wrap the cords around your body beneath your 30-pound armored vest. Oh, and you’re on patrol in Afghanistan, which [...]