- ISIS has reportedly gained control [Reuters] of part of Ayn al-Arab/Kobani [CNN], a Syrian town near Turkey that Kurdish forces have been defending for weeks.
- The jihadists are also gaining ground in the Anbar province west of Bagdhad: McClatchy | Institute for the Study of War.
- Ayn al-Arab is about 690 km (430 mi) away from Ramadi (near Fallujah), but they’re both close to the Euphrates river. ISIS’ operations have consistently followed the region’s two main rivers: NYT | New Scientist.
- Daily Beast: VP Biden Apologizes for Telling Truth About Turkey, Saudi and ISIS. Here’s the speech by Joe Biden that infuriated [Hurruyet] President Erdogan.
- AP: Shiite rebels are Yemen’s new masters. It’s back to the failed state list for Yemen, if it ever deserved to leave it in the first place.
- China’s Xinhua really wants you to know their fleet is executing escort missions in the Gulf of Aden, with another series of pictures taken just after a Chinese naval taskforce visited Iran.
Acquisition Reform Redux
- Here we go again: a US Senate committee released another massive compendium [PDF] on acquisition reform. You’ve heard these arguments before: the acquisition workforce needs to be better incentivized and trained, requirements need to be contained to realistic expectations, and service chiefs should be more involved. Good points, but nobody seems to question the tenet that the biggest bureaucracy in the world can somehow be made effective. Of course participants in the system will tend to downplay its built-in diseconomies of scale.
Naval Protoss-Zerg Hybrid
- Today’s video comes from the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) and shows their work on “autonomous swarms” of small vessels that can used to escort a friendly ship or destroy an enemy ship without directly exposing humans to potential threats. ONR says their mission hardware and software can be retrofitted on existing vessels: