On April 26, Team Rubicon deployed a four-man recon team out of Los Angeles to Kathmandu. While most recon teams focus on gathering intelligence and providing input on further deployments, the Tenzing recon team has a slightly different focus.
While many agencies are focusing on search and rescue and life-saving operations, Team Rubicon is tackling the crippling lack of aerial imagery in the affected areas. Generally, disaster relief operations rely on satellite or fixed-wing aircraft imagery to provide up-to-date visuals of disaster zones, but storms and cloud cover are preventing good visuals.
To counter the weather and cloud cover, this team is equipped with unmanned aerial vehicles to provide wide-area visual assessments. With the support from a team of UAV operators and analysts from our partners at HaloDrop, we’re able to take critical imagery gathered by UAVs. Then with software and engineering support from our data platform partner, Palantir Technologies, we’re able to overlay the aerial imagery on top of existing map data, geo-rectify it, create an updated and detailed map of the disaster zone, and begin to quantify the scope of damage and drive resources to the areas of greatest need. Read more on how our team is coordinating with the Humanitarian UAV Network to utilize drones in Nepal here.
Members of Team Rubicon participated in a UAV exercise in Grand Junction, Colorado, February 2015. (Photo courtesy of Team Rubicon)
With updated maps, imagery, and real-time data, Team Rubicon’s medical teams will be able to identify which areas require immediate care, and most importantly, these maps and data will be shared with other relief agencies, improving the overall response to the people of Nepal.
Additionally, the recon team includes a Nepalese American physician and native speaker to assist with medical coordination and follow-on planning. Currently, 31 members are on the ground in Kathmandu, pushing teams to the outlying villages of Kalinchowk and Dhumthang to provide aid. Another 10 volunteers will be en route within the next 24 hours. Keep tabs on Operation: Tenzing by following Team Rubicon on Twitter.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."