Big Hairy Issues Still Unresolved by US Congress, Days before Recess
- Negotiations between US House and Senate lawmakers failed yesterday to lead to an agreement on a bill meant to fix the Veteran Affairs’ egregious and urgent problems.
- The State department also reminds Congress that issuing more visas for Afghan interpreters – also a pressing life-or-death issue – is also on their plate. That’s a week from summer recess.
- The Ukrainian National Security Council says 325 troops died and 1,232 were wounded since operations against pro-Russian rebels started in mid-April.
- The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is looking for bids to provide turnkey UAV services in Ukraine.
Africa / Europe / Middle East
- From the American CSIS think tank, a report [CSIS] on a topic you’ll be hearing more and more about in years to come:
“When one thinks of the relationship between Europe and Africa today, two images that come to mind are of French military forces intervening in the Sahel region and Libyan immigrants attempting to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa on unnavigable vessels. While increased instability in Africa and migration from Africa to Europe are important dynamics, perhaps an even more profound driver of today’s evolving European-African relationship is the dramatically shifting demographic picture in both continents.”
- Seth G. Jones from the RAND Corporation testified [PDF] before the House Homeland Security committee on the implications for the US of Jihadist sanctuaries in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. One of his concerns is the increasing number of American and European citizens involved in these extremist insurgencies.
- Thousands of commercial flights are being delayed or cancelled in China where massive drills started for the summer. As good a reminder as any that China remains a military dictatorship.
New Tech for New Warfare
- Israel’s Rafael is working on Iron Beam, a tactical missile defense laser system meant to lower per-use costs. Based on the potential cost exchange of using missiles, this makes sense. It’s probably not that far off for cheap GPS to be added to rockets of the type Hamas uses. The only reason Iron Dome isn’t ruinously expensive is its silence if the missile won’t hit a protected area. Take that high miss ratio away, and the lasers had better be ready.
- In the meantime the Pentagon, with support from the Senate, wants $225M in emergency funding for Iron Dome.
- Today’s video continues coverage from the latest Aspen Institute event, with a panel on the future of warfare. Dawn Meyerriecks, who joined the CIA last year, talked about the commoditization of technology that used to be exclusive to intelligence services: