President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Robert Wilkie, the current acting VA secretary, to oversee the Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday — an announcement that, as USA Today notes, will likely be a surprise to Wilkie.
“He doesn’t know this yet," Trump stated during a May 18 White House event. "I’m sorry that I ruined the surprise."
Who he is: Wilkie, previously the undersecretary for defense personnel and readiness, has served as acting VA chief since March following the ouster of Dr. David Shulkin and amid the fraught nomination of Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician who withdrew his name from consideration amid allegations of improper and toxic behavior during his time on the job.
No surprises? Wilkie was first nominated for and confirmed to a senior DoD position back in 2006, when thorough vetting for political appointees was still standard operating procedure in the executive branch. In light of the Jackson debacle, the White House was reportedly examining three potential nominees, including Wilkie, in a significantly more thoughtful research process, per The Hill.
Jackson was an aberrationanyway: It's likely that Wilkie will get a far more rigorous vetting than Jackson did: According to a March 29 report from The Washington Post, the White House had originally planned to announce Wilkie as Shulkin's temporary replacement, but Trump "preempted the plan when he tweeted that he intended to nominate Jackson, administration officials."
A VA 'finally on the same page' ... "Under Acting Secretary Wilkie’s leadership, senior VA officials are now on the same page, speaking with one voice to Veterans, employees and outside stakeholders, such as Congress and veterans service organizations, and are focused on a number of key priorities in the short term," VA press secretary Curt Cashour said in a statement.
... about privatization? As T&P;'s James Clark previously reported, veterans' organizations circled the wagons during Shulkin's twilight months over concerns about the privatization of the country's largest medical provider.
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.