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The five-domains update

Posted By , , and on April 2, 2019 @ 14:17

Sea state

Unforeseen problems repairing USS Gerald R. Ford will push the aircraft carrier’s delivery back [1] by three months, US Navy officials told a House Armed Services Committee panel. The delay has occurred because the ship’s nuclear propulsion system and advanced-weapons elevators are in need of repairs. The initial 12-month ‘post-shakedown availability’ is intended to resolve problems identified by the crew when the carrier is first put to sea.

NATO warships in the Black Sea are being escorted by [2] two Russian naval vessels on their way to Ukraine. Dutch, Spanish, Canadian, Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian frigates entered the Black Sea [3] on Thursday before NATO’s Sea Shield exercises begin. The escort isn’t surprising as it comes after Russia released a statement [4] criticising ‘frequent visitors’ to the Black Sea.

The US Navy and Marines have just finished a training exercise [5] in Southern California known as ‘Pacific Blitz’ to test new island warfare methods. This year, the exercise’s focus shifted to give the navy greater control over littoral operations. Pacific Blitz’s strategic importance has been heightened by China’s announcement [6]that it will build another base in the South China Sea.

Flight path

Russia has flown reconnaissance aircraft [7] over California and Nevada, including Area 51, under the Treaty on Open Skies. The treaty allows [8] countries to conduct short-notice observation missions over other countries’ territory. Air force bases and other military installations were along the route of Russia’s most recent mission. In December 2018, the US flew over Ukrainian territory [9] under the treaty as a response to an incident in the Sea of Azov in which Russia captured three Ukrainian vessels.

The Italian Air Force has deployed [10] Eurofighter Typhoons to the Ahmed al-Jaber airbase in Kuwait. It’s reported that the Typhoon aircraft will be carrying out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in the Middle East, which is an interesting choice for this type of aircraft. The UK has also shifted its Typhoons [11] to ISR missions. Ground operations require more specific intelligence on individuals and groups, which the Typhoon’s laser designator pods can provide.

The US mainland missile defence system has successfully intercepted [12] a mock intercontinental ballistic missile launched from the Marshall Islands with two ground-based interceptors. It has taken 14 years of effort and development to reach this point, and according to program director Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, this is the first time an ICBM has been destroyed outside the earth’s atmosphere using multiple ground interceptors. Previous trials [13] had been conducted using only one interceptor.

Rapid fire

In Geneva, the United Nations held talks on the future of lethal autonomous weapons [14] and restricting their use under international law. The secretary-general and a number of developing states called for a total ban. Some countries—including Australia—oppose regulation [15] of these weapons, arguing that a ban would be pre-emptive when a number of key definitions are yet to be agreed on, and would stifle the ability to integrate artificial intelligence into military equipment.

The US Army has announced upgrades [16] including laser weapons and a ‘hunter killer’ drone system to its fleet of Stryker armoured vehicles. The inclusion of a laser weapons system will give the Stryker a significant advantage as they are quiet and cheap compared to interceptor missiles. The drone system will also offer a significant advantage because it can both track and attack enemies at a distance.

Beleaguered Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will reportedly resign [17] on 28 April. The decision, which was announced in a statement from the president’s office, comes after pressure from the country’s army chief. Algeria’s army has played a key role in upholding Bouteflika’s position and without its continued support, his presidency was considered untenable. Last week, The Strategist published a piece [18]examining the country’s past and possible futures.

Zero gravity

Vice President Mike Pence says the US is in a new space race and intends to put astronauts back on the moon [19]by 2024. In a speech at the US Space and Rocket Center, Pence said China’s landing of its Chang’e-4 explorer [20] on the far side of the moon and the US’s continued reliance on Russian Soyuz rockets for accessing the International Space Station showed the need to assert US capability in space.

At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, scientists tested a helicopter [21] capable of flying on Mars. The drone-like helicopter has been built and tested to withstand both the freezing temperatures and the thin atmosphere on Mars. The helicopter is set to accompany the Mars 2020 Rover and will help it further study the Martian surface and test its habitability.

After much excitement and anticipation, the first all-female spacewalk did not take place [22] due to a lack of adequately sized spacesuits on the International Space Station. NASA was heavily criticised after the spacewalk was cancelled but responded [23]by saying that the time it would have taken to reconfigure the spacesuits wouldn’t have been an effective use of astronauts’ time.

Wired watchtower

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has written an opinion piece [24] in the Washington Post calling for ‘better regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability’. He suggests a ‘common global framework’ instead of a patchwork of domestic regulatory activity in order to achieve these goals. In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced [25] plans to introduce legislation to crack down on terrorist content and violent material on social media platforms.

The body that oversees Huawei’s operations in the United Kingdom has released [26]a report identifying significant technical issues with the company’s operations. It revealed [27]issues with Huawei’s networking equipment, large parts of which rely on a system that has reached the end of its life, as well as a lack of consistency in the use of software.

The Intercept [28] reports that Google has been conducting secret reviews of its Dragonfly search platform. Dragonfly is a censored search engine developed for the Chinese market and came under heavy criticism [29] when it was uncovered in August last year. Google now claims work on the project has been stopped.

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URLs in this post:

[1] push the aircraft carrier’s delivery back: https://news.usni.org/2019/03/26/uss-gerald-ford-delivery-delayed-due-extensive-nuclear-propulsion-weapons-elevator-repairs-carrier-wont-ready-october

[2] escorted by: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/29/russian-navy-escorts-nato-ships-black-sea-a65008

[3] entered the Black Sea: https://twitter.com/BoudewijnBoots/status/1111300057423405058

[4] released a statement: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/01/21/russian-senator-says-us-warship-in-black-sea-should-stay-away-a64212

[5] training exercise: https://thediplomat.com/2019/03/us-navy-and-marine-exercise-tests-new-island-warfare-concepts/

[6] announcement : https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/03/article/china-envisions-an-island-city-in-south-china-sea/

[7] flown reconnaissance aircraft: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/27206/the-russians-just-did-a-fly-by-of-area-51

[8] allows : https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/openskies

[9] flew over Ukrainian territory: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-ukraine/u-s-military-carries-out-open-skies-flight-over-ukraine-idUSKBN1O51SS

[10] deployed: https://theaviationist.com/2019/03/28/italian-typhoons-deployed-to-kuwait-to-replace-amx-jets-and-carry-out-isr-missions-in-support-of-air-war-on-daesh/

[11] UK has also shifted its Typhoons: https://www.janes.com/article/83025/uk-raf-typhoon-aircraft-shift-to-isr-for-operation-shader

[12] successfully intercepted: https://www.stripes.com/news/icbm-destroyed-during-milestone-missile-test-achievement-1.574288

[13] Previous trials: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/10902/test-icbm-was-successfully-intercepted-according-to-missile-defense-agency

[14] future of lethal autonomous weapons: https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2019/03/stop-killer-robots-190330201622415.html

[15] oppose regulation: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/mar/29/uk-us-russia-opposing-killer-robot-ban-un-ai

[16] announced upgrades: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/here-comes-heat-army-wants-new-laser-weapons-kill-enemy-50002

[17] reportedly resign: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/algeria-bouteflika-resign-april-28-state-media-190401161527257.html

[18] piece : https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-end-of-bouteflikas-algeria/

[19] put astronauts back on the moon : https://www.space.com/us-astronauts-moon-return-by-2024.html

[20] landing of its Chang’e-4 explorer: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-03/china-lands-on-the-far-side-of-the-moon-change4/10681620

[21] tested a helicopter: https://www.spaceflightinsider.com/missions/solar-system/nasas-mars-helicopter-completes-flight-testing/

[22] did not take place: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/science/female-spacewalk-canceled.html

[23] responded : https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/435845-nasa-responds-to-criticism-over-cancelling-all-female-spacewalk

[24] written an opinion piece: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mark-zuckerberg-the-internet-needs-new-rules-lets-start-in-these-four-areas/2019/03/29/9e6f0504-521a-11e9-a3f7-78b7525a8d5f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.40ef0a5a12bc

[25] announced: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-29/social-media-executives-jail-fine-terrorist-material-new-laws/10955208

[26] released : https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/28/huawei-chinese-firm-poses-national-security-risks-says-uk-watchdog

[27] revealed : https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/03/uk-cyber-security-officials-report-huaweis-security-practices-are-a-mess/

[28] The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2019/03/27/google-dragonfly-china-review/

[29] heavy criticism: https://theintercept.com/2018/08/16/google-china-crisis-staff-dragonfly/

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