California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine - We Are The Mighty
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California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine

The Coast Guard Cutters Munro and Bertholf out of Alameda, California seized over $156 million worth of cocaine from January 26 through February 1, 2021. 

The Coast Guard is the first line of defense against cartels and narcotics. On January 26, 2020, the crew of the Munro boarded a fishing vessel that was suspected of carrying narcotics. After creating a bilateral agreement with a partnering nation, they seized over 1,300 pounds of cocaine that had been concealed. Only a few hours later, a maritime patrol aircraft spotted another one. 

The Munro launched their helicopter crew and boarding team to intercept the potential drug smugglers. Working in tandem, they were able to stop what was called a low-profile vessel. It is a boat that cartels are specifically designing to evade detection, by riding low in the water but able to carry large amounts of illicit drugs and contraband. The Munro crew caught them and discovered the vessel was carrying 3,439 pounds of cocaine. 

“Having back-to-back cases lasting 31 hours pushed our limits, but our crew took on the challenge,” said Capt. Blake Novak, Commanding Officer of the Munro said in a  press release. “Cartels are cunning and sophisticated, and this is a dynamic environment, which required interagency and international coordination which yielded results. I am proud of our crew, but these successes would not be possible without our Central and South American partnerships.”

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) boarding teams discover contraband concealed within a fishing vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Jan. 25, 2021. Exercising a bilateral agreement with a partner nation, the boarding teams searched and discovered 1,300 pounds of cocaine concealed within the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro.

On February 1 the crew of the Bertholf intercepted a suspected smuggling vessel on the pacific. They seized over 4,380 pounds of cocaine. 

“The crew continues to impress me as they rise above challenges, stand a taut watch, and conduct themselves in a professional manner as we go about our business of stemming the flow of narcotics in the Eastern Pacific,” said Capt. Brian Anderson, Commanding Officer of the Bertholf in a press release. “I could not be more pleased with the overall teamwork between the aircraft, our small boats, and my crew in the interdiction of this drug laden vessel. Together we are making a difference.”

With the three separate seizures, nine drug smugglers were taken into custody. 

Both cutters are 418-foot National Security cutters which are able to operate globally in a variety of missions. The largest and most sophisticated of Coast Guard cutters, they boast crews of 150 or more. Counter narcotic operations are conducted with the Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, DEA, ICE and international partnerships. The law enforcement operations are led under the command of the 11th District of the Coast Guard. 

The Coast Guard is the only military branch with the power to make arrests, because they are under the Department of Homeland Security. They also don’t need reasonable cause to stop any vessels under United States jurisdiction. This is why you will find coasties aboard many U.S. Navy ships. 

Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) boarding teams interdict a low-profile vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, seizing more than 4,380 pounds of cocaine
Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) boarding teams interdict a low-profile vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, seizing more than 4,380 pounds of cocaine, Feb. 1, 2021. Bertholf is one of two Alameda, California-based cutters who’s crews interdicted a combined three suspected drug smuggling vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1 resulting in the seizure of more than 9,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $156 million. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf.

Each year, the Coast Guard accounts for over half of all U.S. government drug seizures. In 2019, they removed 207.9 metric tons of cocaine from smuggling vessels. It was the equivalent of 4.16 billion individual doses which is valued at $6.14 billion. 

The Coast Guard conducts counter-narcotic missions throughout the globe, every single day.

Intel

VIDEO: Ranger Up and Article 15 have fun watching 1980s military flicks

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine


From “Top Gun” to “Commando” to “Navy SEALs” and everything in between, the 1980s had a plenty of classic military movies. There were so many to love, but more often than not, cheesy special effects, “unlimited ammo,” and technical errors made these also quite funny for real service-members to watch.

In a video put together by BuzzFeed Video, Ranger Up‘s Nick Palmisciano and Article 15 Clothing‘s Mat Best and Jarred Taylor watched some military movies and offered colorful commentary. As you would expect, it’s pretty hilarious.

“How much baby oil was used to make this scene?”

Watch:

Articles

Former Navy SEAL explains how civilians are evacuated from places like Afghanistan

In an August 19th news conference to address the events unfolding in the wake of U.S. troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby and U.S. Army Major General Hank Taylor referred on multiple occasions to the ongoing U.S. military operations in theatre as a “non-combatant evacuation operation.” This might sound like a bit of bureaucratic Pentagon-speak, or simply government jargon, but the term actually refers to an established military doctrine, and a systematic government (usually military) operation to evacuate Americans.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
South Vietnamese refugees aboard a U.S. Navy vessel after being evacuated as part of Operation Frequent Wind in April of 1975 (DoD photo)

Related: Up to 8,000 US troops back to Kabul as Taliban closes in

Typically shortened to NEO within the U.S. military, non-combatant evacuation operations are emergency military actions executed specifically outside of the continental United States (OCONUS), when crisis conditions in a particular country threaten American personnel located there. Those conditions thus necessitate that the American government mandates — or authorizes — the immediate evacuation of civilian and/or non-essential official U.S. government personnel from that country. In other words, it is what is happening in Afghanistan right now, as the U.S. military tries to get all Americans (and many Afghan non-combatants) out of Afghanistan. 

In a situation requiring a NEO, the U.S. government recognizes that conditions present an unacceptable threat to Americans in a particular country, and the U.S. government tells those Americans (via the State Department) that they must leave, or should leave (a voluntary evacuation) immediately. After announcing this order, the U.S. military in whichever theatre of operations the country is located, tasks appropriate units to execute the NEO.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
A Marine assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) escorts a Department of State employee to be processed for evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 15. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell)

Related: Exclusive: Spec Ops Vets on why we must save Afghan Interpreters

An example of a “typical” NEO (in reality, they are hardly typical, or common) — apart from the current situation in Afghanistan — would be political instability and a resulting crisis in a country in Africa. I am using this example because I was a member, for a time, of a designated NEO force for Africa while I was stationed in Europe shortly after 9/11. This was before the establishment of Africa Command, so European Command (USEUCOM) was tasked with executing any NEO that might occur in Africa. Our designated force consisted of a deployed Navy SEAL Platoon (my platoon), a deployed Marine Corps Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) company, various air and navy assets, as required, and then contingency military forces based in EUCOM, as events might necessitate.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
Family members disembark from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter Oct. 30, 2015, after a mock evacuation flight during noncombatant evacuation operation training exercise at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul (U.S. Army)

If Morocco, for example, politically imploded back in 2001, and all of the thousands of Americans located there — civilian, military, and official — were ordered to depart, some would make it out on commercial flights, some would no doubt choose to hunker down (whether the evacuation was voluntary or not), and the rest would likely attempt to find refuge at the U.S. Embassy or some other location deemed secure (an American consulate, for example, or a friendly, third-country embassy). The U.S. military (EUCOM) would then coordinate with U.S. Embassy personnel in Rabat, Morocco, to effect the evacuation via military assets of those remaining personnel.

My SEAL platoon and the FAST company would have arrived at the embassy, secured it, and held it until all Americans were evacuated. U.S. military aircraft, ground convoys, naval assets, and/or any other useful mobility platform would have been utilized for the evacuation. 

NEO is an inherently fast-changing and flexibility-demanding operation, and we trained for it extensively while stationed in Europe. We were on standby for quick response, as a NEO always demands rapid execution to have the greatest chance of success. Once completed, and all Americans are accounted for, senior American military and political leaders would then have decided if the NEO force would remain to hold the embassy/U.S. government facility, or exfiltrate the country and effectively terminate America’s official presence there.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division stand security at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 15 (Photo by Sgt. Isaiah CampbellU.S. Central Command Public Affairs)

We are still in the execution phase of the current Afghanistan NEO, as the U.S. military works to evacuate Americans and designated Afghans from the country. As is every NEO — by definition — the current operation in Kabul is fluid, challenging, and likely prone to escalate in risk at a moment’s notice. The American forces deployed as the NEO force there face a challenging task and no one should doubt that they will execute it to the best of their ability, in a manner they have likely trained for prior to this deployment. We should all wish them Godspeed in completing their mission.

This article by Frumentarius was originally published by Sandboxx News. Follow Sandboxx News on Facebook.

Intel

Here is (not) the US military’s answer to Russia’s flagship Armata tank

An animated video claiming to be a new U.S. military weapon concept to target T-90 and T-14 Armata tanks has gotten a lot of attention on the Internet. The video titled “US Military SNEAKY SURPRISE for T-90 Armata Tanks” was published on December 10, 2015, and has more than 1.2 million views on the popular YouTube channel ArmedForcesUpdate.


Related: The Russian military actually used this hilarious video to recruit paratroopers

While cool in concept, we were more surprised by the video’s creators, RT News—Russia Today—who’s logo and spinning globe appear at 3:16 of the video. The video’s animation, music and naming convention is also strikingly similar to the Russian transformer video WATM published in November 2015 called “Russian military NASTY SURPRISE in a box for US Military.” RT is a Russian government-funded television network directed to audiences outside of its federation. The network is based out of Moscow and broadcasts around-the-clock programming in different languages across the world.

It’s unclear why would Russian state media make a video destroying its new main battle tank. In the meantime, check out the video. (Russia paid good money for it.)

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55fBmn2y2-s

Articles

From shoot to BOOM! This is the deadly science behind the RPG

What started as a way for Soviet ground troops to take out German tanks in World War II has since turned into a global weapons phenomenon: The rocket-propelled grenade.


California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine

Related: This is how the Sabot round turns enemies into a fine mist

While the original anti-tank technology was meant to have a one-off use, the modern RPG is a reloadable weapon, with a shaped-charge explosive used by militias and official military forces alike.

“The Russians were extremely impressed by the panzerfaust,” said Will Fowler, an explosives expert, in the video below. “It was the basis for their RPG-2 program which went on to the now-famous RPG-7.”

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
With varying degrees of celebration.

When an RPG is fired, it leaves the barrel at 383 feet per second. An additional rocket fires and deploys stabilizing fins as the shell spins toward a target.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine

The RPG’s cone shape forms a jet of explosive energy outward when the shell strikes its target. That’s where the weapons gets its armor-penetrating power.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine

The RPG is a simple, cheap, and efficient system that can completely destroy a soft-skinned vehicle and can cause grievous harm to some up-armored ones.

Troops who encounter an RPG round in combat are lucky to survive to tell the tale.

“When I was in Iraq, the RPG was a deadly weapon,” Staff Sgt. Matthew Bertles, a U.S. Army M240 gunner, told the show Weaponology. “An RPG struck my 240, blew me back, destroyed our vehicle, and injured me.”

Watch the history of the RPG in the video below:

Intel

Reddit users freak over Cold War coincidence

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
Photo: U.S. Air Force Richard B. Keener


Reddit users freaked out this morning as they got to watch two users, JustGimmeSomeTruth and menace2impropriety, learn that their grandfathers were best friends in Greenland during the Cold War. JustGimmeSomeTruth placed the initial thread with a photo of his grandfather, Warrant Officer Northcutt, stationed at Thule Air Base, Greenland. menace2impropriety saw it and responded that his grandfather, Warrant Officer Mays, was also at Thule, Greenland and was likely the photographer.

A little later, menace2impropriety responded again saying that he had just spoken with his grandfather, who was the normal pilot of the helicopter in the photo. Mays said that not only did he know Northcutt, but Northcutt died in a crash in Mays’s helicopter. Mays had been grounded due to injuries he sustained while saving other service members, actions that earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross.

The whole story is pretty impressive, assuming it’s all true. See how the story played out at Reddit.

NOW: This top-secret operation was the World War II Version of ‘Weekend At Bernie’s

AND: The US military took these incredible photos in just one week-long period

Intel

11 things you didn’t know about North Korea

You’ve probably heard of North Korea, but there are probably a few things about the totalitarian nation you didn’t know.


Despite having its borders closed to prevent its people from leaving and outsiders from coming in, there is actually a great deal known about the country. The U.S. and South Korea have gathered intelligence about the hermit state since the 1950s from defectors, undercover reporters, activists, and many other ways.

The country has made it illegal to watch “The Interview” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, possessing Bibles, watching South Korean movies, and distributing pornography, which are all punishable by death. Yet, smoking weed is no big deal.

This video shows these and other crazy facts about the infamous country:

NOW: The 9 most ridiculous North Korean propaganda claims

OR: North Korea now has a nuclear-capable missile that can hit the US

Intel

The Army found cannons and other Revolutionary War artifacts in the Savannah River

The Army Corps of Engineers was dredging the Savannah River in Georgia when a historic discovery was made. The dredging pulled up an anchor, a piece of ship timber and three old cannons. At first, they were assumed to be from the Civil War. Army archaeologists examined the artifacts with the help of the British Royal Navy to try and identify them.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
The cannons appear to be from the 18th century and predate the Civil War (Army Corps of Engineers)

The bustling coastal city of Savannah was crucial to the British effort during the Revolutionary War. The British hoped to gain the support of colonial loyalists in the American south. To do this, they occupied Savannah in 1778. However, less than a year later, the city fell under siege. In need of support, the Royal Navy dispatched the HMS Rose to relieve the beleaguered Redcoats at Savannah.

HMS Rose had already developed a reputation among American sailors. With her 20 guns and crew of 160, HMS Rose began her colonial tour intercepting smugglers around Rhode Island. She then patrolled the New York waterways and along the east coast where she clashed with Continental Navy ships before she was redeployed south.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
The anchor that was recovered from the Savannah River (Army Corps of Engineers)

With the patriot siege of Savannah intensifying, the French military dispatched reinforcements to sail up the river and join the colonists. In an incredible strategic decision, British commanders determined that the best way to halt the French was to scuttle HMS Rose and block the river. On September 19, 1779, the ship was sunk in the Savannah River east of where River Street runs in the city today. The ship’s sacrifice paid off for the British who broke the siege and retained control of Savannah for the majority of the war.

The five-foot-long cannons that were dredged up were determined to be of 18th century origin and coincide with HMS Rose‘s fate. The anchor and ship timber require further investigation before any conclusions are drawn. “We are looking at whether they came from a single context, or if the anchor came from a later ship,” said Corps of Engineers district archaeologist Andrea Farmer. The Savannah District Corps of Engineers has experience temporarily preserving historical artifacts after the recovery of the CSS Georgia Civil War ironclad from the river in 2015.

It is also believed that HMS Rose may have been partially salvaged after she was scuttled. The question remains, how many more artifacts from the 18th century ship remain hidden on the riverbed? “I think it’s fantastic and interesting when artifacts from maritime history come to light,” said Cmdr. Jim Morley, the British assistant naval attaché in Washington. “It just gives us an opportunity to look back at our common maritime history and history in general.” Archaeologists and historians continue to study the recovered artifacts and search for more to uncover the stories that they hold.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
One of the recovered cannons (Army Corps of Engineers)
Intel

Russia scrambles fighter jet to shadow US B-1B bombers over the Baltic Sea

KYIV, Ukraine — A Russian Su-27 “Flanker” fighter scrambled to intercept a pair of US Air Force B-1B Lancer supersonic bombers on a training mission over the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, underscoring Moscow’s discontent with a more assertive American airpower presence in the Arctic and on NATO’s eastern flank.

According to Moscow, the US bombers approached but never violated Russian sovereign airspace. The scrambled Su-27 “shadowed” the two B-1Bs over the Baltic Sea, Russia’s National Defense Control Center announced Wednesday.

“The flight of the Russian fighter jet took place in strict accordance with international airspace rules,” the Russian military said in its statement.

The US Air Force acknowledged the incident in a statement to Coffee or Die Magazine.

“Yesterday, U.S. B-1B aircraft were conducting operations in international airspace exercising our freedom of navigation and overflight when the aircraft had routine interaction with the Russian aircraft operating in the region,” a representative for US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa wrote in an email, adding that the US bombers obeyed all international air traffic rules.

Highlighting how the Arctic region has risen to the top rung of the US military’s geographic priorities, B-1B bombers from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas are currently deployed to Norway’s Ørland Air Station for a month of training exercises; this is the first time US bombers have operated out of Norway.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off from Ørland Air Force Station, Norway, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Colin Hollowell.

Two of the deployed American bombers took off from Norway on Wednesday as part of Bone Saw, a NATO training mission over the North Sea and Baltic Sea. (The B-1B is commonly known among US pilots as the “Bone.”) Danish and Polish F-16s, as well as Eurofighter Typhoons from Germany and Italy, also participated in the flight, the US Air Force said in a release.

“This mission sends a clear message that our commitment to our NATO allies is unshakeable,” Gen. Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, said in a statement. “We’re in this together to get after the mission and pursue our shared goal of regional security.”

Russia has also stepped up its military presence in the Arctic with reopened Soviet-era bases, new radars, an expanded Northern Fleet, and the redeployment of airpower assets farther north. This week, for example, Russian Tu-22M3 “Backfire” supersonic, long-range bombers conducted training missions in the country’s northwestern Murmansk Oblast. Located on the Kola Peninsula extending into the Barents Sea, the oblast’s capital city of Murmansk is located only about 60 miles from the border with Norway.

The Tu-22M3 is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and strike bomber developed in the 1960s. A staple of the Soviet Union’s air force, the Tu-22M3 has a maximum speed of about Mach 1.88 and a combat range of roughly 1,500 miles. Based on its performance and general mission set, the Tu-22M3 is roughly analogous, although technologically inferior, to the US B-1B.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=coffeeordiemag&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1367019410892988416&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fcoffeeordie.com%2Frussia-fighter-shadowed-us-bombers%2F&siteScreenName=coffeeordiemag&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=500px

The B-1B Lancer is a Cold War-era, supersonic heavy bomber. As America’s vanguard long-range bomber, the B-1B carries the largest conventional payload of guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory. On Friday, B-1B bombers conducted a joint mission with Norwegian F-35s and naval units, marking the first mission of the historic American bomber deployment to Norway.

“This type of interoperability is especially critical in the Arctic where no one nation has the infrastructure or capacity to operate alone,” Harrigian said.

Norway shares a 122-mile border with Russia. The headquarters of Russia’s Northern Fleet in the port city of Severomorsk is situated along the Murmansk Fjord less than 70 miles from Norway’s border.

California Coast Guard cutters seize over $156 million in cocaine
A US Marine with Kilo Company, Marine Rotational Force Europe 21.1, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, provides suppressive fire during a live-fire range in Setermoen, Norway, Feb. 23, 2021. US Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Patrick King, courtesy of DVIDS.

James Stavridis, a retired US Navy admiral who formerly served as NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, warned that the Arctic is a “zone of competition” that could devolve into a “zone of conflict.”

To bolster its military reach in the Arctic, the Pentagon has cultivated closer ties to Norway, including plans to use the country’s northern port city of Tromsø to service US nuclear submarines. According to an Air Force statement: “Department of Defense cooperation with allies and partners in the Arctic strengthens our shared approach to regional security and helps deter strategic competitors from seeking to unilaterally change the existing rules-based order.”

Some 1,000 US Marines deployed to Norway in January for extreme cold-weather training. However, due to coronavirus concerns the Norwegian government canceled what was to be an international Arctic warfare training exercise.

For its part, the Kremlin has pushed back against America’s defense relationship with Norway. According to Moscow, the US has unnecessarily increased tensions by pre-positioning military hardware closer to Russia’s borders.

“One can hardly talk about ‘tranquility’ when tensions are increasing near Russian borders, and when an extremely powerful bridgehead for conducting hostilities against Russia is being established,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a Feb. 11 press briefing.

Zakharova added: “We believe that such activities on the part of Oslo threaten regional security and put an end to Norway’s traditional policy not to deploy permanent foreign military bases on its territory in peacetime.”

Today, Russia has at least 34 military installations in or near the Arctic.

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

Intel

This Crazy First-Person Footage Shows Korean Navy SEALs Taking Down Somali Pirates


If you have a problem with Somali pirates, South Korean Navy SEALs know how to solve it.

Case in point comes in this remarkable footage captured by one of the operator’s helmet-mounted cameras, while rescuing the crew of a hijacked freighter. The recently uploaded video shows how the Somali pirates’ chances of getting away quickly decimate once the team boards the ship.

Also Read: Here’s How US Navy SEALs Take Down A House

The footage is just over four minutes long, but the mission began long before boarding the ship. A South Korean destroyer chased the Samho Jewelry – an 11,500-ton chemical carrier – for eight days before it was safe enough to carry out the pre-dawn rescue. Once on board, another five hours would pass until the operation was over.

Officials in Seoul said all 21 members of the crew – 11 Burmese, eight Koreans, and two Indonesians – were safe after the rescue mission, according to The Guardian.

Here’s the footage captured from the helmet-mounted camera. Check it out:

NOW: This Awesome New Movie Is Shot Entirely Like A First Person Shooter

AND: How Navy Special Ops Survive Training Missions In Freezing Water

H/T: Funker 350 

Intel

The Pentagon’s New Concept Vehicle Ditches Armor For Speed

This new ground vehicle concept is way outside the box.


For over 100 years, protection for ground vehicles has always meant adding more armor, but that’s not the case with DARPA’s new concept vehicle. While the practice of adding armor yields more mass, cost, and protection, this vehicle’s approach is to be much faster and utilize interesting technology to stop potential threats.

Also Read: DARPA Is Making A Real-Life Terminator (Seriously)

Meanwhile, modern weapons have significantly outpaced armor improvements. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to break the “more armor equals more protection” cycle by introducing the Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program.

According to DARPA, the program’s mission is to:

  • Reduce vehicle size and weight by 50 percent
  • Reduce onboard crew needed to operate vehicle by 50 percent
  • Increase vehicle speed by 100 percent
  • Access 95 percent of terrain
  • Reduce signatures that enable adversaries to detect and engage vehicles

To accomplish these goals, DARPA will develop advanced technologies in the following areas:

  • Stealth – Reducing all traces that a vehicle is present. This includes visibility and other detection methods such as infrared and electromagnetic traces.
  • Augmentation – This technology is what pilots have been using in cockpits for decades. It overlays graphics over their line of sight to enhance situation awareness. Augmentation technology has also found its way to cell phones and tablets, here and example of augmented reality in mobile devices.
  • Agility – Naturally, anything that’s lighter can move faster. But, DARPA plans to take it a step further by implementing technologies that will deploy without driver assistance, such as active repositioning of armor (0:30 of video) and dodging maneuvers (0:35 of video).
  • Enhanced Mobility – The ability to navigate through rough terrain.

The following video of DARPA’s concept vehicle focuses on agility rather than armor and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIzU4bU9DcA

NOW: DARPA Is Building A Drone That Can Tell What Color Shirt You’re Wearing From 17,500 Feet

OR: The US Military Once Considered Making A ‘Gay Bomb’

Intel

This hilarious video shows the ‘hype vs. reality’ of Marine life

There’s a common misconception of life in the Marine Corps being filled with action-packed activities and explosions. However, reality doesn’t always live up to expectations. For instance, there are things that sound awesome, like the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), which one would expect to be filled with roundhouse kicks and other Street Fighter moves.


And then there’s reality, which involves no roundhouse kicks and a lame peer evaluation.

The boys of Terminal Boots put together this short video with four scenarios showing what Marines expect in a situation followed by what really happens.

Watch: 

NOW: Here’s the way-funnier version of what the Marine PFT is really like

OR: Here’s a hilarious look at what life is like for Marines on a Navy ship

Intel

Spies can now use modified DNA to send secret messages

The world of espionage requires two equally important things: access to information and a means of getting that information back to the other side. Modified DNA might make that a little easier.

Throughout history, spies have concocted many different means of secret communication. In the earliest days of modern spycraft, ink and paper had to be concealed from prying eyes. Spies wrote with anything that could be used as a kind of invisible ink, everything from lemon juice to semen. Hey, sometimes spycraft is just stressful. 

As technology advances, using biology to enhance the ability to send covert messages is only increasing, but in a very different way.

Transmitting secret messages via radio or morse code carries risks. Israeli spy Eli Cohen ascended to a high rank in the Syrian Defense Ministry over four years by befriending important people in the Syrian government. The entire time he was transmitting information back to the Mossad through radio. He was caught red-handed during a transmission. 

Being able to deliver information will always be the most secure means of communication. Over time, complex cyphers, micro-dots that can hold thousands of documents on a mark the size of a period, and dead drops of actual documents were solid means of getting that information back to handlers. Spy agencies developed incredible technology to obtain information. 

A new biological means is taking that technology a step further, using specially-modified strands of DNA to imprint messages on a molecular level. 

Though the process is complex for the layman (at the moment, don’t sleep on the CIA’s technological engineers) anyone looking to send a secret message can create a strand of DNA with the coded message. Only the receiver will be able to decode it, and possibly even know it’s there.

Like the microdot, the hidden DNA message can be pasted on a dot in a standard letter and simply mail it to whomever is intended to receive it. 

A strand of modified DNA
DNA can be used to store information, but in very tiny pieces.

According to the New York Times, the procedure was developed by a civilian, Dr. Carter Bancroft, professor of physiology and biophysics at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. 

The idea is to arrange the four nucleotides that comprise DNA into a simple encryption cypher using the letters that denote the nucleotides: A,C, G, and T, then marking them with “primer” DNA. It would be mixed with human DNA and sent off. The receiver would have the key to the cypher.

DNA manipulation can be a useful way to send messages because of the complexity of human DNA. It can be “chopped up” into 30 million different strands. 

The Mount Sinai researchers then hid the DNA onto a microdot in a regular letter and mailed it through the U.S. Postal Service.

Once received, a spy agency would then use techniques common in DNA laboratories to replicate the strand containing the hidden message, so long as they know the “primer” sequence. If an intercepting agency suspects a DNA microdot but doesn’t know that sequence will have 30 million possibilities to sift through.

Until the Alan Turing of DNA cyphers is born, that is. To get the general idea of how it works, watch the video below.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information