It’s bad enough when the enemy is attacking you. It’s even worse when you have to watch your back for friendly fire. In the convoluted war zones the United States often finds itself in, there are challenges distinguishing between friends and foes.
The Pentagon wants to fix this problem and they’re asking for solutions. They’ve commissioned a call for personal identification technology that will allow friendly soldiers and their vehicles to be easily identified from a distance while not making them easier targets for the enemy.
Phase I of the project will be a feasibility study to determine what current technology is capable of providing. Phase II will call for a prototype Partner Force Identification Friend or Foe device. SOCOM says there could be spin-off applications for U.S. law enforcement, border patrol and search and rescue teams.
Unfortunately, this project may only solve part of the problem, as shown by a recent incident in which a U.S. general was wounded by an Afghan government soldier who apparently was a Taliban sympathizer. This device may protect allied troops from American fire, but it won’t protect American soldiers from the fire of their “allies.”
It isn’t just about cost-savings. Arguably more important is the technology’s ability to be implemented quickly with a low level of technical understanding. Some of our allies are not accustomed to having identifying technology on them.
As noted in the story, we will have an easier time with technology that helps us identify friends than generating solutions to allow friends to identify us. One problem at a time, I suppose.
ISIS bombing in Syria makes no sense
A terrorist bombing in Manbij, Syria, caused many casualties, including U.S. troops. ISIS-affiliated al-Amaq Agency has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Manbij, which is 20 miles from the Turkish border in northern Syria, has troops from multiple nations and groups regularly on the streets. The restaurant where the bombing took place was reported the venue for a meeting between U.S., French, and Kurdish troops at the time of the attack.
BREAKING: @NBCNews' @RichardEngel reports American forces are among the casualties after an explosion in Manbij, Syria. A senior Kurdish security official tells NBC the forces were on foot in the center of the city when they were approached by a suicide bomber, claimed by ISIS.
— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) January 16, 2019
Here is a video of the attack. Warning: Graphic.
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) January 16, 2019
Terrorism in general doesn’t make sense, but this attack seems especially strange. Why would ISIS plan an attack now when the United States is close to leaving the region?
National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have indicated the troop withdrawal will happen more slowly and methodically than President Trump initially indicated when he announced the move. But this attack is not going to prompt our exit to speed up. If anything, it gives the President justification to keep troops in Syria against the wishes of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Not that he needs it, but apparently he thinks he does.
It’s futile to try to make sense of any acts of terrorism, or more specifically, the inhumane motivations for committing them. But they usually serve a purpose, at least in the eyes of the terrorists. This one seems out of place.
Iran’s first satellite launch goes up in flames
Iran’s space program is all about national pride and has absolutely nothing to do with the weapons program they may or may not be engaging in that runs contrary to the agreement they made with the United Nations in 2015. That’s their story, at least.
The reality, according to United States officials, is that both the technology they’re using to attempt to put satellites in orbit and possible the satellites themselves are easily weaponized. Their contention is Iran can continue their nuclear weapons ambitions unabated by hiding behind the guise of “national pride” to fuel weapons research and testing.
Their first attempt went spectacularly wrong.
“I would have liked to make everybody happy with good news but sometimes life doesn’t go forward the way we anticipate,” he said on Twitter.
Another satellite, named Doosti, was waiting to be launched.
“We should not come up short or stop,” Azari-Jahromi wrote. “It’s exactly in these circumstances that we Iranians are different than other people in spirit and bravery.”
There is no date set yet for the second or third attempts.
There is absolutely no reason for Iran to spend the money on their own satellites if not for weapons research and/or implementation. Space has been considered the next great battleground as the United States, China, Russia, and others continue exploring ways to rain down terror from orbit. Considering how badly Iran’s economy is doing lately, they should spend more money on keeping their nation functioning and their people fed instead of wasting it on national pride.
Between the money President Obama gave them and the growth of their oil markets, it’s unlikely Iran will stop until they’ve achieved their goal of having nuclear weapons capable of striking anywhere in the world. They can already reach a large chunk.
Israel, Great Britain air forces to conduct first joint drill
The RAF and IAF will participate in joint air defense exercises for the first time history. Both are considered to be among the most advanced air forces in the world, combining American aerial technology and equipment with their own homegrown technologies.
The IAF was invited to take part in the Cobra Warrior exercises later this year. Here is video from last year:
This continues a trend of both cooperation between Israel and Great Britain as well as the British trend of inviting new allies to participate. Last year, both Germany and Italy took part.
According to The Tower:
In a sign of intensified military and defense relations, a team of Israeli combat pilots last year held a joint training seminar with the RAF Typhoon aircrew at a base in Lossiemouth in Scotland, but on that occasion did not arrive with their own aircraft. In 2017, the RAF and IAF completed three days of joint exercises to test sea rescue capabilities in stormy conditions. The two air forces have also exchanged experience they gained operating the new F-35 stealth fighters.
It’s important for Israel to expand its military relationships to countries other than the United States. While we’re experiencing strong relations with Israel under President Trump, we learned with his predecessor how quickly the relationship can sour. If the next Democratic President (or possibly even a moderate Republican) decides to turn our backs on Israel, they’ll need backup from other nations.
Israel is our only true ally as well as the only actual Democracy in the Middle East. We must support them militarily, but if that ever changes, Israel needs to be ready with other friends to help her.
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