An artist's depiction of the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) in action. (Courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

The Navy is scared to death that rival countries like China, Russia and Iran might sink its multibillion dollar surface ships with powerful cruise missiles and waves of cheap drones. But while ship-mounted lasers could be the Navy's most effective response to these threats, a new Congressional Research Service report on directed energy weapons indicates many of the Navy's newest destroyers might not have enough power to fire them.

The Navy "will have to either remove something or look at 'very aggressive power management,'" in order to install one 60 kilowatt laser system, called the high-energy laser with integrated optical dassler and surveillance (HELIOS), onto the newest flight of Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the report said, citing Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, director of Navy Surface Warfare, who was quoted in several news articles.

"[W]e are out of Schlitz with regard to power," Boxall said, noting that the Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers are already strapped powering the new AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar. "'We used a lot of power for that and we don't have as much' extra for additional functions."

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In this artist's sketch, Col. Russell Williams appears in court via a video link in Belleville, Ont., Thursday, Feb.18, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Alex Tavshunsky)

If you need a good podcast to pass the time on your long tedious road trip home for the holidays (or to share with your more bloodthirsty relatives), the new Military Murder Podcast is here for you.

Written, researched and hosted by an anonymous active-duty service member who goes by the pseudonym 'Margot,' the podcast skillfully recounts gruesome murders, mysterious disappearances and other crimes involving military members, veterans, or their families. Each episode is based on a true story, and some of the crimes remain unsolved to this day.

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Lt. Gen. Lee Levy II, Air Force Sustainment Center commander, looks out from the cockpit of a Department of the Navy C-130 undergoing maintenance at Robins on June 25, 2018 (U.S. Air Force/Tommie Horton)

There are good leaders and bad leaders, and then there are leaders whose command climates are so toxic and humiliating that they make deployments seem like a cakewalk. Air Force Lt. Gen. Lee Levy II was in the third category, according to a recent Inspector General report.

The 80-page report was unwavering in its condemnation of Levy, who, as head of the Air Force Sustainment Center based in Tinker Air Force Base, was responsible for nearly 43,000 airmen, multiple supply chain wings and air base wings, and nearly two dozen operating locations both within and outside the continental US. But all that authority couldn't stop those directly under his command from hating his guts.

"I think if he was in the battlefield, he probably would've been shot in the back," said one witness, whose sentiment "was expressed by virtually every member of Lt. Gen. Levy's [redacted]," the report said. In total, 35 of Levy's subordinates and other witnesses were interviewed.

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Retired Brig. Gen. Jim Mackey presents the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor citation to Lt. Col. Anthony Roe, a flight commander with the 303d Fighter Squadron, during a ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Nov. 2, 2019 (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Alex Chase)

The A-10 Warthog and its brave pilots solidified their reputation as the infantry's guardian angels earlier this month when two Missouri-based airmen received one of the military's most prestigious medals for their role in saving dozens of grunts, engineers and special forces under heavy fire in Afghanistan.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is rarely awarded, let alone awarded twice on the same day to two members of the same fighter squadron, Lt. Col. Rick Mitchell, commander of the 303rd Fighter Squadron, told more than 200 onlookers at the ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base on Nov. 2.

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Salman Rashid (Facebook photo)

Over the past five years, we've been swamped with stories of ISIS recruiting Americans, but leave it to Florida Man to flip the script by personally attempting to recruit ISIS fighters to assassinate two local college deans who'd suspended or expelled him.

Emphasis on "attempting": both of the supposed ISIS members to whom 23-year-old Salman Rashid reached out were actually confidential FBI sources who were already keeping an eye on him.

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The number of people killed by the Global War on Terror now stands at 801,000, nearly half of which were likely civilians, according to new research conducted by Brown University's Costs of War project.

Though the numbers are staggering, it may not tell the whole story, researchers warn. Since the study only tallied the number of direct war deaths (including drone strikes and IEDs), the real death toll may be much higher. Indirect deaths, such as veteran suicides or deaths caused by lack of access to food, water, medicine and/or related infrastructure, remain uncounted; and some direct combat deaths just haven't been recorded, researchers said.

"Indeed, we may never know the total direct death toll in these wars," Brown researchers observed in a 2018 paper. "For example, tens of thousands of civilians may have died in retaking Mosul and other cities from ISIS but their bodies have likely not been recovered."

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