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The Department of Defense is hoping to tap into the East Coast’s cutting-edge technology by opening a new office in Cambridge.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement Tuesday the new office will create a hub for collaboration between the Defense Department and innovative companies to identify and develop pioneering technologies and business practices.
Carter says the office, known as a Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, will complement the work of a similar unit established last summer in Silicon Valley.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker says the decision to locate the office in Massachusetts reflects what he calls the state’s competitive climate and dedication to academic and industrial innovation.
Massachusetts is already home to six military installations with $13 billion in economic activity.
By 2023, the US Army says it will be able to blast drones out of the sky using lasers.
In a step towards that goal, It recently conducted an early trial of a truck-mounted laser cannon at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Soldiers used the laser system, also known as HELMTT, to successfully destroy a quadcopter drone, completely melting its casing and internal circuit.
'We did a lot of preparation…seeing if we could track the airborne targets among ground clutter,' Adam Aberle, the program manager in charge of the High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck, or HELMTT, said. 'We absolutely blew lots of stuff up.'
The team also used the laser to 'completely destroy' a laptop as a demonstration of how the system might be used to disable enemy command and control systems.
'It melts all the plastic, fractures the screen, and basically renders the laptop unusable,' said Aberle.
HELMTT includes a 10-kilowatt laser - equivalent to about 10 million handheld laser pointers.
As 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache stood at attention during the commencement ceremony at West Point, N.Y., on Saturday, he was overcome with emotion. Tears rolled down both cheeks, but his gloved left hand held firm on his white, gold and black “cover,” the dress headgear that Army cadets wear.
The photograph of Idrache, by Army Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant, was published Tuesday on the Facebook page of West Point’s U.S. Military Academy, and it almost immediately went viral. Part of that is Idrache’s background: He worked his way through one of the nation’s most prestigious military schools after immigrating to the United States from Haiti, earning his citizenship and serving for two years as an enlisted soldier with the Maryland Army National Guard, according to Army records.
“I woke up this morning and found my face all over Facebook and with it myriad of amazing comments about my accomplishments,” Idrache wrote Tuesday on Facebook. “I am humbled and shocked at the same time. Thank you for giving me a shot at the American Dream and may God bless America, the greatest country on earth.”
Eric Fanning was sworn in, May 18, as the 22nd secretary of the Army during a small Pentagon ceremony.
Fanning was confirmed, May 17, by the U.S. Senate. He was nominated by President Barack Obama for the position, Nov. 3, and served briefly as acting secretary of the Army until voluntarily stepping aside in January until the nomination process could be completed.
"It has been a long process to get here," Fanning said, "one that I don't think even the writers from 'House of Cards' could have scripted if they tried."
"But it's worth it," he continued. "This is a tremendous honor for me -- not just the appointment, but the opportunity to be secretary of the greatest Army in the history of the world."
As secretary of the Army, Fanning has overall responsible for organizing, training and equipping Army forces.
"It's a responsibility I take seriously," Fanning said. He defined his job as making "sure you're recruiting the best, that you're training them properly and then equipping them with what they need to do the job right and to get them home."
A primary benefit to participation in Pacific Pathways, said 1st Sgt. Christian E. Lopez, is that it provides for Soldiers ample opportunity to develop for the future.
"We set conditions at the Soldier level, and going into Pacific Pathways, it helps build future leaders," said Lopez, who serves in 5-1 Calvary Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. "Our Soldiers were able to train on live-fire exercises with the Japanese and Koreans. Noncommissioned officers conducted small-unit tactics with the Japan army, and we were also able to conduct force-on-force operations with both Japan and Korea."
Lopez participated in Pacific Pathways 2015-3. For that Pathways deployment, some members of his unit went to Mongolia to participate in exercise Khaan Quest, while he and others went instead to Japan to participate in Orient Shield, as well as Korea, to participate in Hoguk. He discussed the effects of participation in Pacific Pathways on his Soldiers, May 18, in the Pentagon.
"The reason why this is important is because it accelerates our Soldiers' development," Lopez said. "Those young Soldiers and leaders will be the key principals going forward into Pacific Pathways in the future."
On May 19, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings (21CSI) hosted Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) to address major reforms to the organization of the Department of Defense, the defense acquisition system, and the military health system included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which is planned for consideration by the Senate as soon as next week.
Given his role as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain also addressed ongoing budget challenges for the Department of Defense and the military and his views on what needs to be done. Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow and co-director of 21CSI, moderated the discussion.
The U.S. conducted an airstrike Saturday against Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, the Pentagon said, and a U.S. official said Mansour was believed to have been killed.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said the attack occurred in a remote region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He said the U.S. was studying the results of the attack.
But a U.S. official not authorized to discuss the operation publicly said Mansour and a second male combatant accompanying him in a vehicle were probably killed.
The official said the attack was carried out by unmanned aircraft operated by U.S. Special Operations Forces. The official said the operation occurred at about 6 a.m. EDT southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal, and was authorized by President Barack Obama.
Mansour was chosen to take the helm of the Afghan Taliban last summer after the death several years earlier of the organization’s founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, became public. Mullah Omar’s longtime deputy, Mansour had actually been the Taliban’s de facto leader for years, according to the Afghan government.
The Dept. of Defense is taking action to protect military families from the Zika virus, which can cause microcephaly and brain damage in babies if a mother contracts Zika while pregnant.
Department of Defense (DoD) labs are enhancing techniques to test mosquitoes for Zika. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is offering voluntary relocation out of affected areas to all pregnant DoD employees and beneficiaries, and all Army medical facilities have been notified of the concerns surrounding Zika infections and are prepared to assist patients who may have been infected.
The Armed Forces Pest Management Board recommends wear of permethrin-treated uniforms/clothing, use of approved insect repellent, and removal of standing water that may serve as mosquito breeding sites to prevent bites.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden told U.S. Military Academy graduates Saturday “it’s your time to write history” and thanked their parents for “teaching them to put something before self” — a message that parallels the story of Alexandra Baker, a graduating company commander from Hartsdale whose West Point dream began to emerge when her father took her to parades as a child.
Biden, addressing the 218th West Point graduation, praised the parents for “molding such patriots” and instilling in them values that are “the essence of who we are” as Americans. Baker knows something of the importance of influences.
She knew she wanted to go to West Point when she was an Ursuline School sophomore in New Rochelle. But in some ways, she said, it all goes back to a childhood tableau: Father and daughter watching local parades that included tribute to Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish-Lithuanian who fought as a colonel for the American Colonies in the Revolutionary War. He played a role in designing part of what became West Point.
"He's the reason I got in, pushing me to finish my application and just pushing me to do better," Baker said of her father.
The black female West Point cadets who took a photo with hands raised in fists — provoking questions about whether it was a political statement — were cleared Tuesday following a probe by the academy.
The 16 cadets — members of the U.S. Military Academy's Class of 2016 — did not violate any code of conduct regulations, and the April 26 photo was one of several that the young women took in a spur-of-the-moment shot, the prestigious military academy said.
"It was intended to demonstrate 'unity' and 'pride,' according to the findings of the inquiry," according to a statement.
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Recent Fallen Grads
- COL Kendrick B. Barlow Jr. USA (Retired), USMA1946: 02 Jul 1924 - 23 May 2016
- COL Edwin F. Rumsey USAF (Retired), USMA1955: 31 Oct 1932 - 21 May 2016
- LTC Harold D. Frear USA (Retired), USMA1955: 01 May 1930 - 20 May 2016
- Mr. Daniel V. James Jr., USMA1966: 20 Jun 1944 - 20 May 2016
- Mr. Frank G. Penney, USMA1951: 19 Jan 1927 - 20 May 2016
- Mr. Jerome Michael Ledzinski, USMA1965: 01 Jul 1943 - 19 May 2016
- COL Howard C. Jelinek USA(Retired), USMA1952: 27 May 1930 - 18 May 2016
- LTC Walter B. Russell Jr USA(Retired), USMA1951: 24 Jul 1929 - 17 May 2016
- Mr. Thomas L. Wright, USMA1964: 11 Apr 1942 - 17 May 2016
- LTC John W. Fletcher Jr. USA (Retired), USMA1945: 05 Jan 1922 - 17 May 2016
- Mr. Henry J. Berthelot, USMA1967: 26 Oct 1942 - 16 May 2016
- LTC Robert A. Adams USA(Retired), USMA1968: 25 May 1946 - 16 May 2016
- LTC Robert K. Nicholson USA(Retired), USMA1956: 10 Jun 1932 - 14 May 2016
- LTC Leo P. Hobbs USA (Retired), USMA1954: 02 Apr 1931 - 13 May 2016
- COL Clyde A. Selleck Jr. USA(Retired), USMA1952: 23 Dec 1930 - 12 May 2016
- Mr. John R. Shelley, USMA1950: 10 Jan 1927 - 12 May 2016
- COL Walter R. Hylander Jr. USA(Retired), USMA1945: 22 Jul 1924 - 09 May 2016
- CPT George H. Alsfelder USA, USMA2012: - 08 May 2016
- Mr. Robert Kruger Jr., USMA1981: 01 May 1958 - 08 May 2016
- Mr. Frederick H. Niedermeyer II, USMA1980: 10 May 1958 - 04 May 2016
- COL Edward P. Hart USA(Retired), USMA1954: 21 Dec 1932 - 04 May 2016
- COL Cecil L. Shrader USA (Retired), USMA1958: 16 Dec 1935 - 03 May 2016
- Mr. Lew S. Robinson, USMA1951: 08 Jun 1928 - 03 May 2016
- LTC Bruton B. Schardt USA (Retired), USMA1944: 15 Oct 1922 - 02 May 2016
- Mr. William S. McDaniel, USMA1959: 20 Feb 1936 - 01 May 2016
- COL William F. Reilly USA(Retired), USMA1952: 11 Aug 1930 - 30 Apr 2016
- BG James C. Donovan USA (Retired), USMA1950: 22 Nov 1928 - 29 Apr 2016
- COL Joseph T. Griffin Jr. USA(Retired), USMA1950: 13 Jul 1927 - 29 Apr 2016
- COL Clarence E. Talley USA (Retired), USMA1953: 05 Jul 1931 - 27 Apr 2016
- GEN Robert C. Mathis USAF(Retired), USMA1948: 03 Jul 1927 - 27 Apr 2016