Senator McCain says U.S. national security depends on access to innovation

McCain, who over the last several months has proposed sweeping acquisition reforms, told the audience that “our Defense Department has grown larger but less capable, more complex but less innovative, more proficient at defeating low-tech adversaries but more vulnerable to high-tech ones.” He would go on to explain that “the Department of Defense must be able to access innovation in areas such as cyber, robotics, data analytics, miniaturization, and autonomy – innovation that is increasingly likely not to come from Washington or the defense establishment.”

U.S. military sees more use of laser, microwave weapons

The U.S. military has made strides in developing lasers, microwaves and other directed energy weapons, and could soon use them more widely, top armed forces officials and U.S. lawmakers told an industry conference on Tuesday. The officials described weapons that are in various stages of development and testing by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army, but said more work was needed to scale up the technology for larger weapons, develop tactics for their use, and ensure sufficient funding.

U.S. Army tests drone-blasting cannon

While drones becomes more prevalent, U.S. Army engineers are testing technology that can be used to blast potentially hostile unmanned aerial systems (UAVs) out of the sky. The Extended Area Protection and Survivability Integrated Demonstration program (EAPS ID) at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey has been developing a gun-based solution to defend against C-RAM (counter rockets, artillery, and mortars) technology, according to a U.S. Army press release.

US Navy eyes graphene nanoribbon for ultimate power control system

The U.S. Navy distributes electricity aboard most of its ships like a power company. It relies on conductors, transformers and other bulky infrastructure. The setup works, but with powerful next generation weapons on the horizon and the omnipresent goal of energy efficiency, the Navy is seeking alternatives to conventional power control systems.

US military's hypersonic jet could fly 5 times the speed of sound

The U.S. military is reportedly developing a hypersonic jet plane that could soar at up to five times the speed of sound — faster than a bullet, which generally travels at Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound. The new hypersonic vehicle, which could take flight by 2023, builds upon research from a 2013 test flight of an experimental hypersonic vehicle, the X-51A Waverider, according to

US Army Seeks Leap-Ahead Cyber Defense Tech

The US Army is seeking to equip its cyber warriors with cutting-edge networking hardware, and it is going outside the traditional acquisitions system to do it. The easily transportable "fly-away" kit of hardware and software would travel with the Army's cyber protection teams, whose job involves hunting inside the military's networks for intrusions and fighting off cyber attacks.

Students Take on Navy Missions and Prepare for Future Careers with STEM

Teams of middle school students deployed robots they built and programmed to complete fictitious Navy missions at the Virginia Demonstration Project (VDP) Summer Academy from June 22-26. The students - and their parents, teachers, and mentors - believe that the same science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills applied to the complex scenarios will give them control over their careers, income, and potential to make a positive impact for the United States and the Department of Defense.

Is US Defense industry still capable of innovation?

The effort to encourage greater innovation makes sense, up to a point. Unfortunately, there is a growing tendency for Pentagon officials and defense experts alike to view innovation and efficiency as increasingly the domains of commercial companies and to minimize and, on occasion, even disparage the ability of the U.S. defense industry to produce cutting edge capabilities.

U.S. Military's Rapid Reduction In R&D Is Causing A High Level Of Concern

The amount of money being spent each year by the federal government on defense research and development has declined to levels so low that they "are frightening," says Wes Bush, Chairman, CEO and President of Northrop Grumman. In the 1960s, the U.S. devoted about 1 percent of its GDP to defense-related R&D. That figure dropped to 0.7 percent of GDP in the 1980s and to 0.5 percent in the 2000s. "By the end of this decade, we expect it to drop to one-third of 1 percent of GDP," says Bush.

Ghost Fleet Depicts War Between China, U.S.

Tech like virtual reality, robotics and increasingly fast Internet is changing the way we live, but how will it evolve a generation from now, or even change the way we fight a global war? The new science fiction thriller “Ghost Fleet” takes on questions like that by drawing inspiration from real-life prototypes and emerging sectors of technology to depict how both war and everyday life look in the future just a few decades from now.

F-35 fighter jet nails Olympic-worthy 'ski jump' takeoff

When a fighter jet takes off from a runway the same way that a skier launches gracefully off a jump, the result can be surprisingly beautiful. Earlier this month, an F-35B Lightning II fighter jet performed one of these Olympic-worthy launches at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. The unconventional liftoff, which was a first for this kind of aircraft, was part of a series of trials designed to test the plane's "short takeoff" abilities.

Drone swarms join the Navy

Just like how locust swarms can cause devastating natural disasters, the U.S. Navy’s Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) drones could devastate adversaries. A fitting acronym, the Navy’s LOCUST is a new revolutionary technology where swarms of compact drones can work together and execute missions autonomously.

Senate passes $612B defense policy bill despite veto threat

The Senate passed an annual $612 billion defense policy bill Thursday, including extra war funding for the Pentagon that brought a veto threat from the White House. Senators voted 71-25 on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which lays out broad policy requirements for the Defense Department.

Practicing Innovation in the U.S. Navy

The message from leadership on the importance of innovation is clear, but what’s less clear is how we practically implement it. In particular, how does someone at the staff level with an innovative idea get traction in the bureaucratic world of DOD? How can that staff innovator overcome the inevitable obstacles that will come? The innovation experiences at U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet provide some insight.

House passes 2016 defense spending bill

The House on Thursday approved this year's spending bill for the Pentagon in a 278-149 vote. Republicans added $38 billion to the war fund to give the Pentagon spending above the budget caps created by the sequester, but they left the limits in place for nondefense spending. Democrats and the White House want the sequester lifted in full.


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