From September 2013 to April 2015, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Branden Baker stole nearly $100,000 in night vision equipment from Marine One, the helicopter used to ferry then-President Barack Obama to and from the White House, reported The Daily Beast. He then tried to sell everything on eBay and got caught.
Baker pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced on Aug. 11, according to a Department of Justice spokesperson. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Over those 18 months, Baker stole “at least fifty-one image intensifier tubes and other night vision parts worth approximately $94,392 from a department and agency of the United States, specifically from Marine Helicopter Squadron-One (HMX-l), a part of the Department of the Navy,” a statement of facts in Baker’s plea agreement reads.
Records provided to Military.com say Baker first joined the Marines in 2002 and deployed three times, once to Iraq in 2008 and to Afghanistan twice in 2009 and 2010, during his service.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Baker first began training as Naval air technician in 2003 and has a technical background and experience in electronics repair, which may explain why he had access to Marine One. The president’s helicopter was kept on Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, the same place where Baker serviced MV-22 Ospreys during his career in the Marine Corps.
Public records also indicate that Baker may have been reselling military equipment since 2014 as part of an under-the-table business he called “Covert Customs.” At this point, it’s unclear how much money Baker made selling the stolen equipment, though The Daily Beast suggests intensifier tubes can fetch thousands of dollars a piece.
Maybe he should have held onto some of that night vision gear. I hear prison is a pretty dark 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.