Sorry, Gen. Mattis won't be running for President - We Are The Mighty
Intel

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President


Marines have long dreamed of the day beloved retired Gen. James Mattis ‘finally’ takes residence in the White House, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up this campaign season.

In true Mattis fashion, the former head of U.S. Central Command gave it to ’em straight during a speech at Columbia Basin College in Washington State, letting his fans know that despite their interest, he would not be competing in the upcoming presidential race.

The Marine Corps Times reports:

While many troops would love to see Mattis go up against the likes of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, he said he’d like to see others take on the challenge.

“[It’s] time for younger people, especially veterans, to run for office,” Mattis told Marine Corps Times.

That could leave many sporting “Mattis for president” T-shirts while drinking from their “Mattis in 2016” mugs disappointed. In 2012, one Marine veteran started a Facebook campaign to get voters to consider writing in Mattis’ name on their ballots.

Despite the promise of a rabid following in the veteran community, Mattis holds that he doesn’t have “a broad enough perspective” to be Commander-in-Chief, according to The Marine Corps Times.

For more on the story, check out The Marine Corps Times

To listen to Mattis’s speech at Columbia Basin College, listen to the SoundCloud recording below:

NOW:These new mini-drones could revolutionize ground warfare

OR: There’s going to be a ‘Top Gun 2′ — with drones

Intel

DARPA’s new drones show that robots are winning their war against us

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Photo: DARPA


Man is not required.

While most drones require an operator to control them, the ones in DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program fly themselves. Although not perfect in its current phase, the program’s first flight test exceeded expectations.

Related: 5 jobs future recruits will enlist to get

“We’re excited that we were able to validate the airspeed goal during this first-flight data collection,” said Mark Micire, DARPA program manager. “The fact that some teams also demonstrated basic autonomous flight ahead of schedule was an added bonus. The challenge for the teams now is to advance the algorithms and onboard computational efficiency to extend the UAV’s perception range and compensate for the vehicle’s’ mass to make extremely tight turns and abrupt maneuvers at high speeds.”

Advancing algorithms and extending perception range. That’s what we thought.

Now watch this video of DARPA’s first test flight:

Articles

The 13 Funniest Military Memes This Week

It’s Friday, you know the drill. Here are 13 military memes to make you laugh.


In Alien Guy’s defense, B-2’s are alien aircraft in most airspaces.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
And they can do nearly as much damage as those Independence Day aliens.

Hey, the weekend is here!

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Oh, um, I’m sure the weekend will be here soon.

 Now playing at your local recruiter’s office …

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
… the story of a hardened piece of metal and the M16 he loved. And yes, it’s “Twilight.”

That moment when a recruiter’s lies …

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
… are exposed by drill sergeant’s truths.

Loving civilian housing is a kind of mutual attraction.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Seriously, a few pastors must spend all their time officiating junior enlisted weddings.

I’m not playing video games, I’m practicing tactics.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Warning, no respawns in real life.

Fix your boot display.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President

Tall tower where your screens and windows will show you everything on base …

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
… except a single set of discharge papers.

I honestly believe he’s made this face in a firefight at least 1/2 a dozen times.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President

His girlfriend probably requested this costume.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Either that, or stolen valor is getting much easier to spot.

There is a way to motivate them!

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Then he took his fries back.

This is why the Army rarely “asks” for volunteers.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President

ISIS just keeps looking for soldiers and Marines.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
We could also fit you in between PT and breakfast chow.

NOW: The Best Military Meals Ready-To-Eat, Ranked 

OR: The 7 Coolest High-Tech Projects The Military Is Currently Working On 

Intel

‘Dr. Death’ discovered how to use blood from corpses in wounded troops

Best known as the doctor who pioneered doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill and elderly patients in the 1990s, Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s biggest breakthrough was engineering new sources of blood for transfusions to wounded troops in Vietnam.


The U.S. news media dubbed Kevorkian “Dr. Death” for his work in helping patients who wanted to end their suffering die with dignity — for it, he went to prison for eight years after being convicted of second-degree murder in 1999. This is where his notoriety began. Even though he paved the way for a later “right-to-die” legislation, helping create the right of voluntary euthanasia isn’t even his most astonishing accomplishment.

Kevorkian earned the “Dr. Death” moniker long before the media gave it to him.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
This is a face that says he’s very concerned about his nickname.

In his Biography.com story, Kevorkian is quoted as saying he found death very interesting extremely early in his medical career. More than that, he was fascinated because the subject of dying was so taboo. He went on to suggest that criminals on death row should give something back to society before being executed by being the subject of medical experiments. This fascination with terminal illness and death is where he earned the “Dr. Death” nickname — not from the media, but from his peers. This is why he was forced out of the University of Michigan Medical Center.

But he stayed in Michigan and went to Pontiac General Hospital in suburban Detroit. It was there that he heard of Russian teams who pioneered the transfusion of blood from corpses into live subjects, especially during World War II. So, he reproduced those experiments, publishing a paper on the subject in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology in 1961, thinking the technology could be used on the battlefields when no other source of blood was available.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Like this, except one of those people would be dead.

The Soviets, Kevorkian claimed, had been doing postmortem blood transfusions since the 1930s.

“The idea has an ostensible undercurrent of repugnance which makes it difficult to view objectively; but it also has obvious advantages,” he wrote.

Kevorkian’s method was to remove the blood from the corpse via the neck within six hours of death, a death that would have to be sudden and unexpected — such as one from combat — to avoid postmortem clotting. The dead would be held at a 30-degree angle, drawing the blood through standard equipment. The blood in Kevorkian’s experiments was thoroughly tested to be of a matching type, free of diseases, and clean for transfusion.

The only hitch was the owner had just died — a pretty big hitch. He conducted four experiments on infirm patients who were already looking pretty bad

His first transfusion donor was a 51-year-old male who died suddenly while mowing his lawn. The recipient was an 82-year-old woman who received three pints of donor blood over three days, dying after the third day.

The second donor died in a car accident, a 44-year-old white male. The recipient was a 78-year-old white male with heart disease, intestinal cancer, and congestive heart failure. He received two pints of donor blood but died nine days after being admitted.

Kevorkian’s third corpse donor was a 46-year-old white male who was dead on arrival at the hospital. The recipient was a 56-year-old female intestinal cancer patient with severe anemia. She was discharged from the hospital three days after receiving a pint of corpse blood.

His fourth donor was a 12-year-old boy who drowned suddenly. Two pints of his blood were given to a 41-year-old woman who left the hospital “alert, cheerful, comfortable.”

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Except for that weird urge to dance to pop music atu00a0midnight…

Kevorkian noted that the presence of increased sugar, potassium, and non-protein nitrogen in cadaver blood is less than optimal in — but not a major roadblock to — transfusions. He also noted that corpse blood is usually “washed down the drain” anyway and no toxins were present in the blood. He wrote:

“Most of these objections are more imaginary than real — a sort of emotional reaction to a new and slightly distasteful idea… Our 8 pints (on a short-term basis) and over 27,000 transfusions in Russia bear this out. Not a single hint of a reaction or other ill effect was observed by us personally on very close clinical observation, despite the fact that 2 of the patients were already moribund and very toxic and none of the 4 had any anti-allergic therapy.

His research and experiments found cadaver blood perfectly suitable for donation to living patients, so long as it was drawn less than six hours after death and used within 21 days. It is perfect for people with severe anemia or those requiring massive, continuous blood transfusions.

The Pentagon declined to fund his research grant.

Intel

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like

Earlier this week, defense officials from the United States and the United Kingdom signed an agreement that will allow the two nations to merge forces into a joint U.S./U.K. carrier strike group in 2021. The joint strike group will be led by the U.K.’s new flagship carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, and will include a U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, as well as a compliment of U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters.

“This deployment underscores the strength of our bilateral ties and demonstrates U.S.-U.K. interoperability, both of which are key tenets of the U.S. National Defense Strategy,” a Pentagon’s announcement on the agreement reads.

Carrier strike groups represent some of the most potent means of force projection in any nation’s military, made up of an aircraft carrier and assorted ships tasked with defending and supporting carrier operations. The standard U.S. Navy carrier strike group is led by one of America’s supercarriers from the Nimitz class of ships (with Ford-class carriers expected to enter operational service in the near future as well). Each carrier maintains a carrier air wing made up of as many as 70 aircraft, allowing a single ship to leverage more destructive power than some entire nations. The U.S. Navy operates F/A-18 Super Hornets and will soon fly F-35C Joint Strike Fighters from the decks of its flat tops.

That carrier is usually accompanied by at least one cruiser, two destroyers or frigates, and other ships that may support specific operations like nuclear submarines or supply ships. All told, a single American carrier strike group usually boasts more than 7,500 personnel and wields enough conventional firepower to achieve tactical and strategic objectives on a broad scale. At any given time, the United States maintains 10 such carrier strike groups around the world.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
U.S. Navy ships assigned to the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group sail in formation in the Atlantic Ocean (U.S. Navy photo)

The U.K. maintains only one carrier strike group, which is smaller in scale than any of America’s. Today’s UKCSG (U.K. Carrier Strike Group) is comprised of nine total ships, including the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, two frigates, two destroyers, one replenishment ship, and a solid support ship. The Queen Elizabeth, which is the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, is not nuclear powered like America’s Nimitz-class carriers and is notably smaller–displacing 65,000 tons compared to the Nimitz’s 100,000.

While the Queen’s carrier may not be as large as its American counterparts, it still packs one hell of a punch. The HMS Queen Elizabeth is capable of supporting more than 65 aircraft and intends to field between 24 and 35 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, alongside another 14 helicopters, at any given time.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray, an F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force test pilot, continues first of class flight trials (fixed wing) developmental test flights aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin by Dane Wiedmann/Released)

“Next year, HMS Queen Elizabeth will lead a British and allied task group on our most ambitious deployment for two decades,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “We shall forward-deploy more of our naval assets in the world’s most important regions, protecting the shipping lanes that supply our nation.”

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Pictured in formation are, RFA Tideforce (lead), HMS Northumberland (her right), USS Truxton (her far right), HMS Dragon (her left), USS Philippine Sea (her far left) with HMS Queen Elizabeth at the rear during Exercise Westlant 19. (UK MOD)

The UKCSG currently includes the HMS Diamond, HMS Defender, HMS Kent, HMS Richmond, at least one attack submarine, the RFA Fort Victoria supply ship, and a Tide-class tanker for fuel.

The HMS Diamond and the HMS Defender are both Daring-class air-defense destroyers with a suite of onboard weapon systems, including up to 48 Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles. The Kent is a Duke-class frigate with anti-submarine torpedoes, 8 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and 32 anti-air missiles, and the Richmond is an older Type 23 frigate with a similar loadout. The subs used in the carrier strike group hail from either the older Trafalgar or the latest Astute-class of nuclear attack submarines.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
This image of the UKCSG includes destroyers from the Netherlands and U.S. Navy, making it a reasonable approximation of what the joint carrier strike group will look like later this year.
(U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the Royal Navy)

In 2021, the UKCSG will be joined by the USS The Sullivans, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer homeported in Mayport, Florida. The 505-foot ship displaces around 6,800 tons and carries a crew complement of around 280. Each Arleigh Burke-class vessel can carry 56 Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missiles. Each Tomahawk can strike targets as far away as 1,550 miles.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey firing a Tomahawk cruise missile. (U.S. Navy photo)

The joint strike group will be bolstered in the air by 10 of the U.S. Marine Corps’ short take-off, vertical landing variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. While the U.S. Navy operates F-35C’s off the decks of its own flattops, the F-35B has been considered a better option for the Queen Elizabeth’s sloping deck. The F-35B is the only version of the stealth fighter that can land vertically, eliminating the need for arresting wires during landing. The U.S. Marine Corps has been operating F-35Bs off the deck of amphibious assault ships in recent years in a similar fashion, earning the colloquial name of “Lightning Carriers.”

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

Here’s a video of a soldier jumping out of an airplane and solving a Rubik’s Cube

Jumping out of an airplane can get kind of boring, so sometimes you need to bring along something to keep your mind occupied during the parachute ride down.


That’s what happened in a video posted to YouTube last month, which appears to show an airborne soldier solving a Rubik’s cube while under canopy. It’s strangely mesmerizing to watch as the ground nears, and the soldier manages to figure it out seconds before touching down.

The video description has very little detail however, so it’s hard to say where this came from or whether it’s even legit.

In the Washington Post, Dan Lamothe writes:

The video has generated a lot of questions. On the Facebook page “Do You Even Jump?” users questioned whether it actually could have been a jump by an active-duty U.S. soldier, considering he stays airborne for about 2 1/2 minutes. A traditional static-line jump carried out from a C-130 military transport plane from a height of about 2,100 or 2,200 feet would have been over much faster, they said. The jumper also appears to jump from a civilian plane using a European parachute, raising the prospect he isn’t American, others added.

The video also appeared on Reddit and YouTube, where one person questioned whether the video is fake.

Over in this Reddit thread, the poster says it was a British paratrooper. Whether that’s true or not, we’re not sure.

Either way, it’s a cool video. Watch (and learn):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.bev=Yojm0kzKKkAapp=desktop

NOW: 5 surprising facts you probably don’t know about the French Foreign Legion

Intel

Borne the Battle #235: VA Secretary Denis McDonough

On Feb. 8, 2021, Denis McDonough was confirmed by the Senate to be the United States’ 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He heads into the job with a rich background filled with experience navigating the government’s complex bureaucracy. Being a veteran of Capitol Hill, he aims to leverage his knowledge to better serve our nation’s military Veterans.

In this episode of Borne the Battle, McDonough touches on topics important to many Veterans:

While being VA Secretary is a new position for McDonough, he has taken steps to bridge the gaps in his knowledge by renewing a tradition that he followed as White House chief of staff. He reached out to as many former VA Secretaries he could to ask them for advice. In the interview, McDonough said the conversations have served him well so far and he intends to maintain these relationships moving forward.

And while McDonough is not a Veteran, he contacted multiple Veterans during his first weeks as secretary to solicit their advice and general thoughts on the state of VA. In doing so, McDonough said he has learned valuable information on what issues are important to Veterans and has used those discussions to shape his priorities.

Many of the comments McDonough made in this episode reflect the statements he made during his Senate confirmation hearing:

Being a lifelong civil servant, McDonough enters his new position with a vast wealth of knowledge about navigating the federal government to achieve goals. Whether he successfully leverages his extensive experience from Capitol Hill to effectively serve America’s Veterans – he says that will ultimately be decided by you.

In addition to listening to full episodes on your favorite podcatcher, you can also catch Borne the Battle interviews on YouTube:


Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:


Mentioned in this Episode:



Calvin Wong is an intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He studies History as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis.

This article originally appeared on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

Intel

Inside the covert mission that sent Delta Force and British SAS deep behind Iraqi lines in search of Saddam’s missiles

  • In January and February 1991, hundreds of thousands of troops in a US-led coalition pushed Iraqi forces out of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.
  • Amid that campaign, Delta Force and the British SAS went deep behind Iraqi lines to neutralize the Scud missiles that Saddam Hussein hoped would turn the tide of the war.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

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).

Skeptical leadership

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Delta operators from A Squadron. 

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.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and his Delta Force bodyguards. Sgt. 1st Class Earl Fillmore, the operator in the blue shirt, was killed in Mogadishu. 

“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

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
A Delta Force vehicle scanning for the enemy 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.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Military personnel examine a Scud missile shot down by an MIM-104 Patriot missile during Operation Desert Storm, March 26, 1992. 

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

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Delta operators in a lay-up position in a wadi, or ravine. 

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.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Intel

Elon Musk’s SpaceX wins 2 Pentagon contracts for nearly $160 million to launch missions with its Falcon 9 rockets

  • SpaceX won two contracts for $159.7 million to launch US military craft with its Falcon 9 rockets.
  • The Department of Defense also awarded the United Launch Alliance two contracts for $224.4 million.
  • They are expected to be take place by the end of 2023.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that it had signed two contracts with Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX, for more than $159 million.

Under the agreements, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets will launch two separate missions, the US Department of Defense said in a statement.

The two contracts come to $159.7 million and are expected to be completed by the end of 2023, the Pentagon said. It did not disclose the cost of each individual mission.

The launches will take place in Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida, it added.

Another launch provider, the United Launch Alliance, was also awarded two Pentagon contracts Tuesday for $224.2 million, the DOD said.

The ULA, which is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, will also provide its Vulcan Centaur rockets for launch services.

The ULA launches are also scheduled before the end of 2023.

This is the third time SpaceX has signed an agreement with the Pentagon. In October, the company won a $149 million contract to make missile-tracking satellites for the DOD – SpaceX’s first government contract to build satellites.

In July, SpaceX won 40% of an agreement with the US military to launch new rockets for the Space Force. The other 60% went to the ULA.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Intel

Terrorists in Syria are using flying condoms as weapons

ISIS militants have begun deploying aerial mines made of condoms and small packages of explosives, according to a report from Russia Insider, a Pro-Russian volunteer media outlet. The prophylactics are filled with a lighter-than-air gas and floated into the sky near Idlib, Syria.


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

There’s speculation that the bombs are actually being deployed by other militant groups. Popular Science pointed out that Idlib is controlled by the al-Nusra Front, not ISIS. Rebel factions fighting against Assad like al-Nusra have been the primary target of Russia’s bombing campaign in the area and it may be them resorting to extreme measures to try and get out from under the constant airstrikes.

The mines would be largely ineffective against the jets that conduct most of the attacks since the bombers fly at such a high altitude. They may have better luck against Russian helicopters that fly close to the ground, but it’s still a desperate action that’s unlikely to be successful. Protection from STDs and protection from aerial attacks don’t normally require the same equipment.

There’s no news on how the militants ended up with all these extra condoms. Maybe jihadists don’t get all the wives ISIS keeps promising.

(h/t War Is Boring)

Intel

What the ‘Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation’ plan is all about

It seems like North Korea is always coming up with a new kind of threat to the South. It seems that way because it’s true. Threats are a constant reminder of the nuclear missiles and conventional rockets that would destroy the South Korean capital of Seoul within 30 minutes of a war’s outbreak.


Now South Korea is letting the North know just what will happen if Pyongyang tries to make good on any threats.

In short, the South says “bring it.”

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
KM-101 105mm artillery firing exercise of Republic of Korea Army 6th Division (ROK photo)

Related: Here’s what would happen in a war between North and South Korea

The Republic of Korea’s military developed a plan to destroy North Korea, starting with the Northern capital of Pyongyang, in the event of a nuclear attack, a ROK military source told Yonhap News Agency on Sept. 10th.

“Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon. In other words, the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map,” the source said.

When the North tested a nuclear device for the fifth time, the South released the descriptively-titled “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” plan.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
The cold weather traning of the ROK Army Special Warfare Force (ROK Army photo)

The South is trying to target the North Korean leadership, letting dictator Kim Jong-Un know just how his life will end if he launches a first strike.

South Korea has an arsenal of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles that can reach ranges up to 1,000 km. The weapons are intended to be a nuclear deterrent for South Korea, which doesn’t have its own nuclear arsenal.

Korean Missiles called Hyunmoo 2A and 2B are both ballistic missiles, meaning they deliver multiple warheads at predetermined targets. The Hyunmoo 3 is similar in design to the U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile, but carries half the conventional payload and has half the operational range.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
A Hyunmoo 3 cruise missile.

The name “Hyunmoo” in Korean means “Guardian of the Northern Sky.” Fitting for such a defensive and deterring strategy.

“The KMPR is the utmost operation concept the military can have in the absence of its own nuclear weapons,” the South Korean military source told Yonhap.

Articles

How the Viet Cong managed to avoid being victims of their own booby traps

The booby trap was one of the signature tactics the Viet Cong used against American troops in Vietnam. Punji sticks, snake pits, and hidden grenades are as synonymous with the Vietnam War as the song “Fortunate Son.”

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Seriously, is it even a Vietnam movie if there’s no CCR?

But even for the Viet Cong, the dense, dark jungle canopy of what is supposed to be their home turf can get confusing and disorienting. So how can a retreating VC know how to find the booby traps they laid for the GIs after a few days or weeks away from that area? It seems impossible, but the VC thought of that.

In order to avoid falling victim to their own simple but effective traps, they created a system to clandestinely mark the traps. So whether it’s the “Grenade in a Can,” “the Mace,” or even a simple snake pit, they developed a way to warn themselves and other VC as well as show them a route to avoid the trap. 

Luckily for American troops, Marine Corps engineers established the Demolitions and Mine Warfare School to use captured mines, bullet traps and other deadly devices captured from the VC to teach soldiers how to avoid them. If possible they might even teach Marines how to rewire them. 

Viet Cong fighters would set traps in the places they believed the American troops would actually walk. If they thought the American GI would notice the trap, the VC would place a secondary trap to get anyone who avoided the first one. These are the lessons taught by the Marines at the Demolitions and Mine Warfare School.

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Day one of class (…probably)(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ryan C. Mains/Released)

Markings used by the VC who laid these booby traps would indicate what kind of trap it was, the location of it and which way the trap would explode, where applicable. Some of them were fairly obvious, such as rectangles or pyramids made of bamboo. Others were not as noticeable, such as formations of broken sticks on the ground, bamboo spikes pointed a certain way or palm leaves on the ground, either specially folded or with a stick wound through it. 

Just like they learned about the VC’s secondary booby trap, U.S. engineers eventually picked up on these signals too. Not only did they pick up that special code, they learned how to use it against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese as well. 

Using the code, Americans could change how the VC moved through an area and even make them walk headlong into their own booby traps. 

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President
Seriously… the stones on these guys. (U.S. Army)

The VC noted how effective their traps were by returning to the sites where they all were set and noting how many had been triggered. They could adapt the most effective ones to other areas by reusing the styles already triggered. If American GIs got wise to the pit traps, for example, the Viet Cong would just start using arrow traps or cartridge traps instead. 

The booby traps of Vietnam were psychologically difficult for the soldiers and Marines on search and destroy missions in the bush. So even though the VC had the market cornered on hidden booby traps in the jungle, it’s nice to know there were some American troops out there turing the tables on these terrible weapons. 

Feature image: Wikimedia Commons

Intel

This tradition has two churches fighting a holy rocket war

The Greek town of Vrontados on the island of Chios has an Easter tradition they call Rouketopolemos, which literally means Rocket War.


This annual event pits two rival parishes against each other by firing tens of thousands of home-made rockets at the opposing side’s bell tower. The next day, both congregations count the direct hits to determine the winner, but no matter the results, each parish claims victory. Since both sides end in disagreement, they agree to settle the score next year, thus perpetuating the rivalry.

The origins of this tradition are unclear, but one popular story states that it was born from the Turkish occupation of Greece. People from the island were prohibited from celebrating Easter the way they used to. So, the Christians from the churches of San Maria and San Marco decided to have a fake war with rockets to keep the Turkish away. Frightened by the sudden violence, the Turkish kept their distance. In the meantime, the communities celebrated Easter they way they were accustomed to, according to Rocketwar.

The midnight rocket war is truly a spectacle, the action begins at 3:40 of this video:

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