With the recent hack of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management affecting approximately 22 million people, there’s plenty of reason to worry about cybersecurity.
Adversaries are engaging the U.S. in cyber-war on hidden battlefields where they target military, government, banks and private businesses. The greatest threats come from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, according to The New York Times.
Sometimes hackers are backed by nation states. Sometimes hackers are individual actors — lone wolves who get their jollies from creating digital mayhem. This video picked out five hackers as “the most dangerous of all time.”
Russia is drastically stepping up its airborne exercises this summer, but its paratrooper training units have one battalion that stands out. The all-female battalion trains Russian women to take leadership positions in Russia’s elite blue berets. RT, a Russian news outlet, created this documentary following a group of the women through their combat training.
On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Army invaded Kuwait, igniting a crisis that led to an intervention by a massive US-led coalition.
At the time, Iraq possessed one of the world’s largest armies, with about 1 million troops. To defeat it, the US knocked on every diplomatic door in the region and elsewhere, successfully gathering 750,000 troops for Operation Desert Storm, which began on January 17, 1991.
As the coalition against him swelled, Hussein sought to divide the Babel-style alliance of nearly 40 countries, including several Arab nations and Israel, though Israel didn’t actively participate. By directly attacking Israel, the Iraqi leader hoped to provoke an Israeli response that would break the fragile coalition.
Hussein chose his Scud missile batteries as the instrument of his strategy. The Soviet-made tactical ballistic-missile system came in both fixed and mobile launchers, both of which were quite deadly. One Scud struck a US base in Saudi Arabia, killing 28 soldiers.
To stop the Scud threat, the Pentagon turned to its best: Delta Force, along with its British counterpart, the Special Air Service (SAS).
Following the invasion of Kuwait, the US’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) proposed several operations to the Pentagon, ranging from the rescue of American diplomats and citizens trapped in Kuwait City to direct-action operations in Iraq.
“Once we got word about the invasion, there were lots of ideas going around on how the Unit could respond,” a former Delta operator told Insider.
But one of the biggest hurdles for Delta Force and other US special-operations units during Desert Storm was the leadership of conventional military forces.
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the four-star commander of US Central Command and the overall boss in the war, was quite skeptical about special-operations forces and their strategic utility in nation-state warfare.
In the end, however, Schwarzkopf had to acquiesce to the White House and Pentagon and allow special operators to join the campaign. It certainly helped that his second-in-command, British Gen. Sir Peter de la Billière, had served in and commanded the SAS and was director of British special forces during the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980.
“Actually, believe or not, at one point, Saddam was pretty high on the target deck. Of course, the guys were all up for it, but in the end, it came to nothing. We couldn’t pinpoint him. We didn’t have enough or accurate intel to action an operation,” the former Delta operator said. “But looking back, even if there was enough intel, the higher-ups would have probably gone for an airstrike.”
“Some of the ideas, like going after Saddam himself, were pretty wild, but that’s the whole purpose of the brainstorming sessions. You gotta think big and explore all possibilities, no matter how outlandish they might seem,” the former Delta operator told Insider.
“In the end, we settled down to a few options, with Scud-hunting being the primary, and A got that, with C primarily doing CP [close protection] for ‘Storming Norman'” Schwarzkopf, the former Delta operator added, referring to Delta Force’s A and C Squadrons.
Scud-hunting in the desert
The Iraqis knew their business. They would move the mobile Scud launchers during the night and lay down during the day, camouflaging the trucks so well that they would perfectly blend in the desert landscape, making it near impossible for coalition aircraft to spot them.
The Delta and SAS patrols would be inserted by helicopters and roam alongside main supply routes, looking for signs of mobile Scud launchers. Some patrols entered the country on vehicles and others by foot.
The Delta operators used a mix of Humvees, motorcycles, and heavily armed Pinzgaeur trucks. Affectionately nicknamed the “Pig,” a Pinzgaeur could carry several crew-served weapons, such as the M2 Browning heavy and the M-240 medium machine guns, and great amounts of rations, water, and fuel necessary to support the patrols.
However, some Delta patrols were frustrated by mechanical issues — it’s hard to change a tire in the middle of the desert. But the commandos had to be wary of the weather as well. In one instance, a special-operations helicopter went down, killing its crew and three Delta operators.
There were several times when SAS and Delta Force patrols got into firefights with Iraqi forces, either because the patrols were compromised or had attacked targets of opportunity.
One of these patrols went terribly wrong. Codenamed Bravo Two Zero, it consisted of eight SAS troopers from B Squadron. Their mission was to conduct special reconnaissance deep behind enemy lines in an attempt to locate mobile Scud missiles.
As the team was laying up in a small ravine during the day following their insertion, they were spotted by Iraqi civilians. There are conflicting reports about what happened next, with some patrol members saying that Iraqi mechanized infantry started pouring into the area.
The patrol members started escaping and evading toward Syria but were separated in the night. After an adventurous few days, four SAS troopers fell into Iraqi hands, three were killed (two by hypothermia, one by enemy fire), and one successfully escaped to Syria.
Weeks of fighting
During Operation Desert Storm, the SAS operators had returned to their roots.
The SAS was created during World War II to fight Nazi Germany’s Africa Korps, led by well-known Gen. Erwin Rommel, in North Africa. The force’s bread and butter was long-range reconnaissance and direct-action operations, such as raids and ambushes, deep behind enemy lines.
From forward-operating bases in the middle of the Sahara Desert, the SAS troopers — and some additional special-operations units, like the Long Range Desert Group — used heavily armed trucks and jeeps to devastating effect, destroying more planes on the ground the entire Royal Air Force did in the theater.
The Delta and SAS operators in the field during Desert Storm faced a different kind of opponent.
Coalition aircraft ensured air superiority from Day One, and conventional Iraqi ground forces were quickly overwhelmed. But US and British special operators did have a strategic impact on the war, reducing Scud launches against Israel by more than 80%.
Desert Storm ended on February 28, 1991, six weeks after it began. Just weeks after starting their hunt for Iraq’s Scuds, Delta and SAS completed their mission.
Simo Häyhä, also known as “The White Death,” was a Finnish sniper who is credited with killing more than 500 enemy troops within 100 days during the Winter War against the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1940.
Häyhä accomplished this incredible feat with a Russian-made Mosin-Nagant M91 rifle and iron sights. He preferred the iron sights as opposed to the scope because it allowed him to shoot from a lower, less visible position. The sights also didn’t fog up in the cold or glare in the sun, which could give away his position, according to Special Forces Sniper Skills by Robert Stirling.
His career ended when he was shot in the face, blowing off part of his cheek and lower jaw. He survived the shot, becoming one of Finland’s most legendary heroes. He died in 2002 of natural causes.
DARPA has been hard at work on the Mission Adaptive Rotor program, a system allowing helicopters to land on sloping, uneven, craggy, or moving surfaces by lowering robotic legs that bend to accommodate the terrain.
While helicopters can already land in plenty of locations other aircraft can’t, there are still a lot of places where landing is tricky or impossible because of the terrain.
The system worked successfully in a recent flight demonstration, but engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology will continue working on it. Beyond allowing for easier and safer takeoffs and landings, the gear is expected to reduce the damages from a hard landing by as much as 80 percent, according to a DARPA press release.
To see the system in action, check out the video below:
Some senior citizens retire to Florida. Marine Lt. Col. Art Nalls retired to the cockpit of his privately-owned AV-8B Harrier “jump jet.”
Once a naval aviator and test pilot experienced in roughly 65 different types of aircraft, Nalls made a fortune in the real estate development business after he left the service. But he never forgot his love of flying or the first aircraft he flew in the Marine Corps — the Harrier.
After attending an air show and rediscovering his passion for flight, Art purchased a Russian Yak 3 (Yakovlev Yak-3), only to soon realize that the enormous Soviet Star on the plane wasn’t exactly attracting the eyeballs at airshows. What the people wanted to see were our nation’s greatest planes. He noticed that the biggest star at any airshow was the Harrier Jump Jet, so beginning in 2010 Art Nalls began his quest to own one himself. Everything finally came together after discussing the possibility of owning one with the FAA (and receiving approval), and then finding a British Harrier Jump Jet for sale after Great Britain took them out of commission.
Although the video doesn’t mention the price he paid, the going rate for a Harrier is around $1.5 million. Then of course there’s the insane price of gas, which Nalls makes up by performing at air shows.
Apple’s biggest smartphone competitor also makes tanks, self-propelled howitzers, and jet engines.
Billed as promoting peace and stability, Samsung Techwin is the South Korean manufacturer’s defense branch. It makes surveillance, aeronautics, automation, and weapons technology. Since its launch into the defense industry in 1983, Samsung Techwin has developed and produced artillery systems like the 155mm self-propelled Howitzer M109A2, K9 Thunder, K10 ammunition resupply vehicle, fire directions center vehicles, amphibious assault vehicles and other weapons, according to Samsung.
Samsung Techwin’s flagship K9 is currently used by Poland, Turkey, and South Korea. Watch its impressive agility at 3:40 in the video below. The K9 becomes even more impressive when combined with the K10 ammunition resupply vehicle (5:00). The K10 pulls up behind the K9 and automatically feeds more ammunition into the K9, eliminating the need of resupplying the vehicle by hand, which minimizes the risk of troop exposure. Together they create an automated weapons system for the field.
Samsung Techwin is just one subsidiary of the 80 businesses the tech giant is involved in.
Here’s a video of Samsung Techwin’s defense program:
“Rambo” is one of the most recognizable military movie series of all time. The indestructible, bow-wielding Special Forces soldier was adapted for video games, comic books, animation, and much more. The series was a permanent fixture of the action movie genre during the 1980s and served as the inspiration for Chuck Norris’s “Delta Force,” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Commando” and countless others.
Rambo is a guy’s guy with skills in all things badass: survival, weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, and guerrilla warfare.
As you may recall, Rambo is pulled back into war on two occasions by Col. Trautman and saved the day in both films. Key and Peel made this hilarious comedy sketch depicting what the Trautman/Rambo meeting would be like if it happened today.
Sometimes landing a plane looks much different than a smooth glide in until the wheels touch down.
During a “combat landing” that U.S. pilots perfected in Vietnam, the plane basically nose-dived in at a high-rate of speed and pulled up at the last second. The maneuver helped them avoid enemy fire. Now, it’s known as the “Sarajevo Approach” — so named for a similar landing pilots had to make in the war-torn nation of Bosnia so they could avoid missile strikes, according to Der Spiegel.
It sounds pretty terrifying, and it looks that way from the ground. But seeing it from the pilot’s perspective is even worse. In a video posted to the Facebook page Airplane, we get a sense of what one of these approaches looks like, which takes only about 30 seconds:
We know. War is nothing to joke about. However, we also know that laughter is simply the best medicine… ever. COMEDY WARRIORS is both a funny and poignant look into the lives of five wounded warriors turned comedians. Get a snippet of how these five veterans use comedy under the guidance of professional comedy writers and comedians Lewis Black, Zach Galifianakis, BJ Novak, and Bob Saget among others. Humor heals.
The medieval series of wars between the House of York and the House of Lancaster for control of England’s throne inspired HBO’s hit TV series “Game Of Thrones.” These squabbles became known as the “Wars of the Roses” because both sides used roses to symbolize their family. The House of York was represented by a white rose and the House of Lancaster by a red rose.
Although the fighting officially lasted from 1455 to 1487, there was so much drama that related fighting broke out before and after this period. This short video describes the power struggle, complex motives and shifting loyalties between the two families.
We’ve all heard the stories of people who get stranded out in the middle of nowhere and go to some crazy lengths to survive. Since most people don’t prepare for getting get stuck out in the elements, they typically don’t bring a complete collection of survival gear with them.
If you find yourself marooned somewhere that doesn’t get cell-phone service and you’re unable to contact a lifeline, things start to get a little stressful. Luckily, most people have enough materials either on their person or nearby to send out a signal that just might save their life.
Send out smoke signals
This is probably the most universally known last-ditch-effort signal to send to rescue crews. Smoke can billow up and be seen for miles. Since you’re using a fire source to create the smoke, always keep your surroundings in mind. Yes, you want to be rescued, but don’t burn down the forest around you to do it. It can get real dangerous real quick.
Unfortunately, this type of signal is best when the material you use to spell out a message is nearly the opposite shade of the material on which it lays. After all, you don’t want to distress signal to become camouflaged with the environment. That will kill any hope of being located.
Make any message short and big. Writing “SOS” is the most popular and is widely recognized.
Most of the population enjoys a relaxing day, chilling on a boat as it sails in a large body of water. But what if you’re out in the ocean and that boat sinks? Should that terrible event come to life, most boats are outfitted with survival cases, containing extra water, some rations, and dye used to signal overhead planes.
Typically, the dye is a bright-green color, which contrasts greatly with dark seawater. The dye is dissolves bit by bit, creating a trail that leads to the boat or life preserver as it drifts.
Eye-level ground markers
Since you can’t be everywhere at once to spot incoming rescue, creating eye-level ground markers is a great idea. Even in your absence, these are clear indicators that someone’s around.
The eye-level tags can be clothes or any other material as long as it stands out against the surroundings.
Sounds travel fast and far, but yelling for long periods is rough on your throat. If you just so happen to have a whistle in your car or in your pocket, that’s great. Since you probably don’t, you can construct a temporary one by cutting out a wedge in a hollow piece of wood.
Aim right for the eyes.
Reflect light with a mirror
Extremely bright lights can be seen from several miles away. Now, you can’t generate generate a light as bright as that fiery ball in the sky, but you sure can reflect that f*cker. Using a mirror or a makeup compact you can reflect and redirect the sun’s rays to capture a rescuer’s attention from afar.