Drone of the Day:  Shadow

William M. Arkin · 07/22/15 11:15AM

If one drone could be a tank, it would be the Shadow. A hardy and known king of the battleskies, the Shadow is one of the few combat drones that demands its own unit to operate, and it’s assigned as standard equipment to every brigade-sized formation, just like artillery.

Drone of the Day: Fire Scout

William M. Arkin · 07/16/15 08:30AM

Just because something works, we don’t necessarily need it. Such is the case with Fire Scout, a Navy unmanned helicopter that operates from small ships, though it can fly 115 miles or so from its mother ship. But is there any reason to have an unmanned helicopter that operates at sea? One that, in the era of a fully networked global intelligence system, is redundant. One that would be highly vulnerable in a real war with a peer adversary. Is it just because we can? That unmanned everything is now within reach? There’s nothing wrong with Fire Scout per se, but in its story is an interesting parable: That just because something isn’t attracting Washington enemies bellowing about cost or “fraud, waste and abuse,” doesn’t mean we should keep using it.

Army Plans to Cut 57,000 Positions by 2018

Sultana Khan · 07/13/15 01:51PM

The Army announced last week that budget cuts would necessitate the reduction of the regular army from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2018. An additional 17,000 civilian positions will be cut during the same time period. Citing “strategic factors, to include readiness impacts, mission command and cost,” the Army already has a vocal legion of lawmakers lined up ready to call foul. But this position shouldn’t fool anyone. Through their continued investments in unmanned aerial vehicles, automated weapons, and a host of other technological advancements, the Army is doing exactly what it has strategically planned to do all along—take the human component out of warfare.

American Kids, Too Weak for War, Cost Taxpayers $1.7 Billion A Year 

William M. Arkin · 07/13/15 12:20PM

Some bracing facts for Monday: Only one-third of America’s youth meet the minimum qualifications to even join the military and once the recruits are enlisted, another one-third of them wash out before they complete their term of enlistment.

Drone of the Day: Hunter

William M. Arkin · 07/02/15 11:20AM

Ancient by information age standards, Hunter is an Army drone that’s been in use since the Kosovo War in 1999. At 2,000 pounds, it’s neither sleek nor personal, more of a family car that’s hardy enough to have abundant cup holders than a hot rod. But with a heavy fuel internal combustion engine that allows it to operate from unimproved airstrips, Hunter can fly for over 18 hours, giving it the endurance and range necessary to support ground operations out to some distance.

The Army's Latest Disaster Is Its Own 240th Birthday Cake

Sultana Khan · 06/11/15 11:25AM

The Army is turning 240 this year, and like anyone celebrating a birthday in the three figures, it has combined an elaborate cake with elaborate delusions. This official photo is from the 240th Army Birthday Capitol Hill Cake Cutting Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Visitors’ Atrium.