DARPA Wants to Make Artificial Life As Robust As BRICS
- DARPA intends to spend [FBO] about $42M on its Biological Robustness in Complex Settings (BRICS) program, whose purpose is to make synthetic life viable outside of strictly controlled lab environments. Though there are many potential applications – including in the medical field – what they really intend to eventually do with artificial life is left to the reader’s imagination. There’s a proposer’s day on August 21 in Arlington, VA.
- The US Air Force is organizing an industry day [FBO] on Sept. 22 in Ogden, UT about a possible Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract for landing gear components used in all models of C-130s, KC-135s, and E-3s.
- The US Navy’s SPAWAR wants to extend its Global C4ISR Installation contract (GIC) by 3 years, and will hold an industry day on Friday 15 in San Diego, CA. The draft RFP and other relevant material are available on their ecommmerce site (N00039-14-R-0400).
When to Best Test Programs?
- US Defense Acquisition Secretary Frank Kendall is advocating [National Defense] an increased emphasis on earlier developmental tests as opposed to the current focus on later, operational tests that tend to be controversial. But if you have a fever, do you blame the thermometer?
Autonomous != Unmanned Systems
- Missy Cummings, a professor at Duke and former US Navy pilot, thinks [AvWeek] the US government doesn’t have the staff to tackle the challenges of truly autonomous aerial systems, and is burdening innovation [Wired] with its regulations:
“The qualified people in government that can design an effective test-and-evaluation program do not exist. There are not enough people to staff the FAA’s six UAS test sites; not in the military, not in the government. [...]
The government does not understand the difference between autonomous systems and unmanned. They know nothing about test and evaluation for autonomous systems. A deterministic approach will not work. Meanwhile China is pouring billions into the development of probabilistic and stochastic software systems.”
Future of Afghanistan
- The US Institute for the Study of War offers a backgrounder [PDF] on the political process underway in Afghanistan and what that entails for the country’s security. The current situation in Iraq shows how acutely relevant that is.
- The PKK is fighting the Islamic State and helping Yazidi civilians flee violence in northern Iraq. Problem: PKK is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organization, and NATO member Turkey would object to taken them off that list. WaPo.
- Great Britain is adding Chinooks to the assets they’re putting to work in Iraq. But why help Iraq and not Syria? The BBC video below asks what is the West’s strategy in the region, followed by another video from the conservative American Enterprise Institute asking pretty much the same question: