A NATO ally dismissed as fake news claims that a U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle accidentally ran down and killed a child during a road march through Lithuania in early June, Reuters reports, citing the rumor as an effort to undermine the Saber Strike 2018 joint military exercises currently underway in eastern Europe.
The allegations emerged after four Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles from the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment collided near the Lithuanian border city of Prienai on June 7. While 13 American soldiers were injured, local blogs quickly asserted that the "obstacle" that caused the crash was, in fact, a Lithuanian child.
According to an EU report on the rumor, the information "was specially fabricated to look as if it was announced from the real (and very popular) Lithuanian news portal," with the main image clearly photoshopped.
A screencap of the Lithuanian news article alleging a U.S. Army Stryker killed a child during a road march as part of Saber Strike 2018Screenshot via Gelezinisvilkassite
"This is a very typical example of the hostile information, and proves we are already being watched and are at informational war," Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said during a meeting of NATO defense officials on June 8th. "We have no doubt that this was a deliberate and coordinated attempt aiming to raise general society’s condemnation to our allies, as well as discredit the exercises and our joint efforts on defense strengthening."
Some 18,000 personnel from 18 other countries are currently engaged in Saber Strike 18 across Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in order to keep NATO forces fresh and ready, an especially critical exercise given the rising tension with Russia following the 2014 annexation of Crimea and subsequent launch of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
While other Lithuanian officials have publically debunked the rumor as part of a broader disinformation campaign, Task & Purpose reached out to U.S. Army Europe and U.S. European Command for comment.
"The only injuries from the accident were military, no civilians were involved," U.S. Army Europe public affairs director Col. Kathleen Turner told Task & Purpose in an email. "The report of a civilian child killed was an erroneous report that was debunked by actual Lithuanian media outlets.
"I prefer not to comment further on that report so we don’t bring additional attention to it," she added. "If we keep talking about, some people may actually think it happened and question the factual reporting that has taken place."
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.