Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY CULTURE

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

I was made aware of the stunning video below by my son Lorenzo, who’s a big LEGO fan. The footage has just been posted by the “Beyond the Brick” Youtube channel and shows the crazy cool MCAS Marine Corps Air Station that Paul Thomas put on display at Bricks by the Bay 2019, an annual gathering of LEGO builders, enthusiasts and fans held in Santa Clara in mid-July.

The LEGO diorama was inspired by Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms but it’s (obviously) not a replica: it is a fictional representation of a U.S. Marine Corps base with aircraft and vehicles that you could find at an MCAS. Thomas created the 10 x 7.5 feet diorama in modules (since his garage could not accommodate it all) in about 6 months.


Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

Another view of the Marine Corps Air Station by Paul Thomas.

(Screenshot from Beyond the Brick’s YT video)

Along with F-35B Lightning II jets, there are MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, CH-53E Super Stallion and AH-1Z Viper helicopters as well as a rotating radar, a security checkpoint at the gate of the base, hangars used for inspection and maintenance activities, various vehicles and much more.

Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

US Marines Air Base in LEGO | Bricks by the Bay 2019

www.youtube.com

This article originally appeared on The Aviationist. Follow @theaviationist on Twitter.

MIGHTY CULTURE

The 13 funniest military memes for the week of May 17th

I’ve already made up my mind that if the Space Force starts opening up its doors to include combat arms within my lifetime, I’d be at the recruiting office in a heartbeat. It doesn’t matter that knowing how I’d react, I’d probably be a random Red Shirt who’d have his back turned at the worst possible moment and say something ironic like “the coast is clear!” before getting eaten by something.

Then Senator Ted Cruz in a Senate hearing advocating the Space Force planted the ultimate idea in my head… Space Pirates. Sure, the memes were taken slightly out of context because he was referring to rogue nations attacking satellites and not the swashbuckling buccaneers we’re thinking of. But is it a bad thing that kinda makes me want to join the Space Force even more?

It’ll take far too long for us to make first contact with aliens yet it’ll only take a few decades for space travel to be affordable enough for us to get down on some Firefly or Babylon 5-type action. We’re counting on you, Elon Musk. Make this dream come true!


While we wait for the cold dark reality that the Space Force will probably be far less exciting in our lifetimes than pop culture expects, here are some memes.

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Not CID)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Air Force Nation Humor)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Team Non-Rec)

“I don’t know, Hanz, he said something about my mother being a hamster and my father smelling like elderberries.” 

Fun fact: The insult from Monty Python was actually implying that King Arthur’s mom reproduced fast like a small rodent and his father was a drunk who could only afford the lowest quality wine. The more you know!

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Infantry Follow Me)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Army as F*ck)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Coast Guard Memes)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Hooah My Ass Off)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Disgruntled Vets)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Valhalla Wear)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Pop Smoke)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Decelerate Your Life)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via U.S. Veterans Network)

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

(Meme via Weapons of Meme Destruction)

MIGHTY CULTURE

The difference between military funeral honors and ‘full’ military honors

Any eligible veteran who requests a military burial is guaranteed by law to have certain honors at his or her funeral. The Department of Defense is required by law to provide these services at no cost to the veteran’s family. 

The honors they receive at their funeral depends on the veteran’s service, but will always have certain baseline elements, which includes at least two honor guard members. Depending on their military achievements, however, the funeral can range from a simple, understated ceremony to something akin to the opening act of a Super Bowl.

For veterans to get military honors at their burial, the family must give the VA or the local military installation two days’ notice. This can be coordinated through a veteran’s funeral director. 

Any veteran’s funeral will have, at the least, the two-person honor guard, who will play “Taps” as well as fold and present the American flag to the veteran’s family. The Department of Defense will go out of their way to provide a real bugler, but in some cases, exceptions have to be made for a recording. 

Air Force members honoring a veteran at his funeral

Sometimes, a ceremonial bugle will be used, where the song comes from a speaker in the bell of the bugle, but the song isn’t actually being played live. 

The honor guard will then fold the flag draping the casket and present it to the family. If the veteran is cremated, the folding ceremony varies slightly, but is still presented to the next of kin. Burial flags are provided free of charge, but must be coordinated through a funeral director or VA office, after completing the required form.

Every veteran interred at Arlington National Cemetery will have a 17-person casket team, a firing party, a bugler and the folding of and presentation of the flag. 

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks
A Buckley Air Force Base Honor Guard bugler plays taps at the funeral for World War II flying ace, retired Col. John Smith Stewart at the Ft. Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colo., on Oct. 8. 2004. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Anika Williams) (RELEASED)

For members of the Coast Guard and the Navy, families can request a burial at sea. Families are responsible for transporting the remains to the port of embarkation and must know that the burial will take place during a routine deployment. It’s unlikely that the family will be able to be present at a burial at sea. 

Some veterans are eligible to receive military honors with escort, also known as “full” military honors. What eligible veterans receive with full military honors also varies by availability and service.

According to Arlington National Cemetery, military honors with escort are available to any veteran who reached the ranks of E-9, CW-4, CW-5, or O-4 and above. Medal of Honor recipients, former prisoners of war and those killed in action – of any rank – are also afforded “full” military honors. 

Those receiving military honors with escort are provided with the standard military honors; the flag ceremony, playing of “Taps,” and an honor guard. They can also receive a marching escort of various sizes (dependent on rank), a firing party for a three-volley salute, a military band and a military team of pallbearers. 

If the veteran is being interred at Arlington, they are eligible to be driven to the gravesite by the cemetery’s caisson, a wagon driven by a team of six horses. 

General officers who served in the Army or Marine Corps can get full military honors that include a riderless horse and a cannon salute with the number of cannons dependent on the general’s rank. Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps officers of 0-7 and above are offered minute guns for their salute. 

Families can also request a military flyover, if the assets are available to the location of the funeral and the weather permits.

MIGHTY CULTURE

Veterans Affairs chaplain addresses holiday stress in sermon

Excerpts from a sermon by Chaplain Jonathan Landon, Eugene VA Health Care Center.

I’ve known for a long time that some men and women really don’t enjoy the holiday season. In recent years I’ve had encounters that really brought home to me how many people there are in this situation, and how deep is their pain.

I’ve been convicted that we – the VA – and we – the community of faith – really should find some way to address this deep, aching need that some of our brothers and sisters feel.

Planning this service brought home to me many reasons why people might suffer during the holidays.


  • The first one that comes to mind is grief — loss of a loved one or a friend — but it’s not the only reason.
  • Alienation from family or even geographic distance from them can do it.
  • Painful memories of events that happened in the holiday season might be a reason.
  • Some people are experiencing loss of a job or other economic difficulty.
  • Even good things might make the holidays difficult; think about retirement, empty nest, or moving to a new home.

Any big change that affects a strong part of your self-identity might cause loneliness and feelings of isolation.

Even the loss of what might have been can be so painful.

I’m supposed to say something helpful, here, but I don’t want to offer quick fixes or simple tips; What brings healing is going to be distinctive for each person. Still, there are some principles that can help many.

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

Chaplain Jonathan Landon.

We may suppress our painful feelings, because we don’t want to burden others, but giving ourselves freedom to acknowledge the pain may be helpful by itself. Concealing those feelings can leave us feeling lonelier, and leaves those who care about us helpless to comfort us. So if you need to cry, then cry. And if you need to be hugged, say that, and let your family members and friends reach out to you and meet your need.

I can’t be so presumptuous as to guarantee it, but if you acknowledge your pain, and people offer space to let it out, and make that giving of mutual support into a time for bonding, maybe you can let the pressure off a little bit. Maybe you can relieve the tension of those who care about you, who are trying to avoid stirring up painful feelings. Then you may just find that there’s some room for laughter, smiles, and enjoyment.

You see, what most of us really need is not the quick fix or the simple solution; it’s caring relationships. One of the key themes of the time leading up to Christmas is the prophecy that foretold the coming of Jesus, giving him the name or title of “Emmanuel”, which means, “God with us.” This Word teaches me that I am never alone in any loss or pain, no matter what my emotions may tell me.

But the message is not only about God being with us; we have the opportunity to show the presence of God to others, by living God’s love in truth and caring for them. Some people came here today because they’re struggling with the holidays. Some people came here because they care about who is struggling with the holidays. Some care because of their faith. Some of them just care because they see a human in pain and they don’t want anyone to suffer alone.

Don’t forget: in the midst of your own pain, you have opportunities to come alongside of others — to be with them, as God is with us.

In this fairly recent tradition, the Blue Christmas service usually happens on or close to the 21st of December, the night of the winter solstice, the longest and darkest night of the year.

It’s an appropriate symbol for a time when many people feel alone, lost and in pain. But that’s not the only meaning of the night of the 21st. Because what happens at sunrise on the morning of the 22nd?

The days begin to get longer. At first, it’s by tiny increments and you hardly notice it, and then it grows faster and faster and you can’t miss it. It’s inevitable. The light returns. That, too is part of the symbolism of this night and this service. The light returns. No matter how long the night will be — or has been — the light returns.

Chaplain Jonathan Landon is the chaplain at the Eugene VA Health Care Center.

This article originally appeared on the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

6 things you didn’t know about Chuck Yeager

The late, great legend was so much more than just the first human to break the sound barrier. Family man, Air Force officer, dedicated patriot – these are just some of the ways to describe General Chuck Yeager. Throughout his life, Yeager routinely avoided the spotlight and famously said, “You don’t do it … to get your damn picture on the front page of the newspaper. You do it because it’s duty. It’s your job.”

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

Here are 6 things you didn’t know about him.

  1. His early life was really typical for the era. 

You might know that Yeager was born in West Virginia to farmers. When he was 16 and then again when he was 17, Yeager served as a teen at the Citizens Military Training Camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana.  

After graduating high school in June, Yeager enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1941. Initially, he planned to become a mechanic but that got boring pretty quickly. Yeager had 20-10 vision and because of the ramp up of WWII, he was accepted to flight school. A year later, he was part of an enlisted pilot training cohort. After graduating, he earned the rank of Flight Officer. That’s the WWII Air Force equivalent of Warrant Officer. 

  1. He didn’t start out as a great pilot 

In his earliest days of flight school, Yeager infamously hit a tree in a field while on a P-39 training flight. That mistake grounded him for a week, which for Yeager, was probably a really long seven days. 

  1. But that didn’t last long 
Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

When he finally got his wings and was cleared for combat, there was no stopping Yeager. During his eight combat mission, his P-51 was hit by German fire and he had to bail out into occupied France. Injured, cut off from his unit, and absolutely enraged, Yeager was rescued by the French. In return for them saving his life, he taught them how to make bombs.  

Then, when he just happened to be in the right place at the right time, Yeager helped save a pilot’s life by amputating his injured leg with a penknife. Unwilling to leave the pilot alone, Yeager hoisted him onto his back and carried him over a mountain range until they reached neutral Spain.

  1. Ace in a Day Status 

For most people, that would be enough combat and they’d be happy to return home. Not Yeager, though. After mandatory R&R time in England, Gen. Eisenhower cleared him to return to combat. His first day back, Yeager hit five enemy aircraft in the same day, earning him the coveted fighter pilot status, “Ace In A Day.” 

Throughout his career in WWII, Yeager shot down 11 full enemy aircraft and one half of an aircraft (the half aircraft credit was because a fellow pilot helped assist him). 

Once the war ended, Yeager found himself twiddling his thumbs and looking for some new kind of adventure. 

  1. Breaking the sound barrier was just another day at the office 

Two days before his test flight, Yeager fell off a horse. He was unable to get medical treatment, so he had a veterinarian tape his ribs together. Then, when he realized he couldn’t close the hatch on his aircraft, he had his buddy rig a broom stick so he could close the door. 

He broke the sound barrier in October, 1947 at Edwards Air Force Base. Then, in 1953, he set two more altitude and speed records, hitting Mach 2.44 and reaching 74,700 feet.

During the 1953 flight, his aircraft, the X-1A started to spin out of control. It dropped to less than 24,000 feet in less than a minute. Despite his flight helmet cracking the roof of the aircraft, Yeager was undeterred. In an archival recording, he can be heard calmly stating his attitude level. 

  1. He helped train astronauts 

By 1962, Yeager was a colonel. He was the first commandant of the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School – the same school that produces the first round of astronauts for NASA. 

Later, and true to his nature, Yeager would say that his maneuvering during 1953 was just part of what he trained for. Never one to seek the spotlight, it wasn’t until the 1983 movie that the general public learned of his contributions to aviation. The movie received eight Oscar nominations and won four. 

In 1975, Yeager retired as a Brigadier General after serving 33 years of active duty. 

Sixty five years to the day after breaking the sound barrier, Yeager did it again – this time riding in the back of an F-15. 

Yeager’s contributions to aviation, his commitment to duty, honor, and country, and his unfailing bravery will always be remembered. 

MIGHTY TRENDING

Afghan forces lose key base after failing to resupply

The Afghan Army prioritized transporting captured ISIS fighters to Kabul over re-supplying one of its bases in the northern Faryab province that the Taliban had been besieging for weeks, according to a New York Times report.

The Taliban overran the base on Aug. 13, 2018.

Despite peace talks planned for September 2018 with the US State Department, the Taliban has racked up a string of victories in August 2018 against ISIS and the Afghan military.


In early August 2018, more than 200 ISIS fighters surrendered to the Afghan government after suffering a brutal defeat to the Taliban in the northern Jawzjan province.

Then, the Taliban launched several assaults on cities and Afghan military bases across multiple provinces. The most deadly assault was launched on the strategic city of Ghazni, about 50 miles from Kabul, where more than 100 Afghan security forces were killed along with at least 20 civilians.

Despite contradictory reports from the ground and US and Afghan authorities over the weekend, the fighting in Ghazni appears by Aug. 15, 2018, to have been quelled, with Operation Resolute Support saying on Aug. 14, 2018, that US aircraft had killed more than 200 Taliban fighters from the air.

But there was no help for the approximately 100 Afghan soldiers and border officers at a remote base in the northern Faryab province called Chinese Camp, which about 1,000 Taliban fighters had been attacking for three weeks before mounting heavier attacks in concert with the other assaults it launched across the country, the Times previously reported.

“Since 20 days we are asking for help and no one is listening,” one Afghan officer at Chinese Camp, Capt. Sayid Azam, told the Times over the phone. “Every night fighting, every night the enemy are attacking us from three sides with rockets. We don’t know what to do.”

Azam was killed on Aug. 12, 2018, the Times reported.

Before his death, Azam was apparently irate over the Afghan Army’s decision to use three helicopters to transport the ISIS captives from Jawzjan province to Kabul instead of re-supplying his base, the Times reported.

Azam said that one Army helicopter brought Chinese Camp “three sacks of rice” on Aug. 3, 2018, one day after the ISIS captives were taken to Kabul.

“Can you imagine? For 100 men?” he added.

Afghan politicians had also been taking military helicopters for their own use instead of re-supplying Chinese Camp, which angered Azam as well, the Times reported.

The Times reported that it was difficult to glean if the ISIS captives were being treated as “Prisoners or Honored Guests of the Afghan Government.”

“We lost everything to Daesh, and now the government sends helicopters for them from Kabul and brings them here and gives them rice and meat and mineral water, and provides them with security, and we are not even able to find food,” a resident of Jawzjan province, Abdul Hamid, told the Times in early August 2018.

Chinese Camp finally folded to the Taliban on Aug. 13, 2018, after dozens of Afghan soldiers and border officers were killed and several more surrendered to the Taliban.

The Afghan Defense Ministry, Resolute Support and Pentagon didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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

MIGHTY TRENDING

The Army’s cyber force is now fully operational

All 133 of U.S. Cyber Command’s cyber mission force teams achieved full operational capability, Cybercom officials announced on May 17, 2018.

Having Cybercom achieve full operational capability early is a testament to the commitment of the military services toward ensuring the nation’s cyber force is fully trained and equipped to defend the nation in cyberspace.


To reach full operational capability, teams met a rigorous set of criteria, including an approved concept of operation and a high percentage of trained, qualified, and certified personnel. As part of the certification process, teams had to show they could perform their mission under stress in simulated, real-world conditions as part of specialized training events.

“I’m proud of these service men and women for their commitment to developing the skills and capabilities necessary to defend our networks and deliver cyberspace operational capabilities to the nation,” said Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, Cybercom’s commander.

Cybercom leaders emphasize that while this is an important milestone, more work remains. Now, the focus will shift toward readiness to perform the mission and deliver optimized mission outcomes, continuously.

“As the build of the cyber mission force wraps up, we’re quickly shifting gears from force generation to sustainable readiness,” Nakasone said. “We must ensure we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available to generate cyberspace outcomes when needed.”

The cyber mission force has been building capability and capacity since 2013, when the force structure was developed and the services began to field and train the force of over 6,200 Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians.

The mission did not wait while teams were building. While they were in development, or “build status,” teams in the cyber mission force were conducting operations to safeguard the nation.

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks
(Georgia Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tracy J. Smith)

“It’s one thing to build an organization from the ground up, but these teams were being tasked operationally while they were growing capability,” Nakasone said. “I am certain that these teams will continue to meet the challenges of this rapidly evolving and dynamic domain.”

The cyber mission force is Cybercom’s action arm, and its teams execute the command’s mission to direct, synchronize and coordinate cyberspace operations in defense of the nation’s interests.

Cyber mission force teams support this mission through their specific respective assignments:

— Cyber national mission teams defend the nation by identifying adversary activity, blocking attacked and maneuvering to defeat them.

— Cyber combat mission teams conduct military cyberspace operations in support of combatant commander priorities and missions.

— Cyber protection teams defend DoD’s information network, protect priority missions and prepare cyber forces for combat.

— Cyber support teams provide analytic and planning support to national mission and combat mission teams.

Some teams are aligned to combatant commands to support combatant commander priorities and synchronize cyberspace operations with operations in the other four domains — land, sea, air and space — and some are aligned to the individual services for defensive missions. The balance report directly to subordinate command sections of Cybercom, the cyber national mission force, and Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Network.

The cyber national mission force plans, directs and synchronizes full-spectrum cyberspace operations to deter, disrupt and if necessary, defeat adversary cyber actors to defend the nation. National mission force teams are aligned to support the cyber national mission force.

Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Network, which also achieved full operational capability in 2018, provides command and control of DoD information network operations, defensive cyber operations and internal defensive measures globally to enable power projection and freedom of action across all warfighting domains.

This article originally appeared on the United States Army. Follow @usarmy on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

Global military spending just saw its biggest spike in a decade, but the US outspends everyone else by far

Global military expenditure was $1.917 trillion in 2019, rising 3.6% from 2018 and 7.2% from 2010 to reach the highest level since 1988, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

World military spending decreased steadily in the years after the 2008-2009 global financial crash but has risen in each of the five years since 2015, the latest in what SIPRI researcher Nan Tian described as four phases in military spending over the past 30 years.


The post-Cold War years saw spending decline in what many saw “as a peace-dividend period,” Tian said Tuesday during a webcast hosted by the Stimson Center and SIPRI.

That decline bottomed out around 2000, when the September 11 attacks prompted years of defense-spending increases that peaked around 2010 and 2011, Tian said. Spending fell again in the early 2010s.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F5ea9cc83e3c3fb04701f1eb7%3Fwidth%3D1300%26format%3Djpeg%26auto%3Dwebp&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.insider.com&s=138&h=b8ba75f6feb075a141c3f82ca326f4c7cf8f8ed7a52ec643c136a6b663bf8500&size=980x&c=3357143293 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F5ea9cc83e3c3fb04701f1eb7%253Fwidth%253D1300%2526format%253Djpeg%2526auto%253Dwebp%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.insider.com%26s%3D138%26h%3Db8ba75f6feb075a141c3f82ca326f4c7cf8f8ed7a52ec643c136a6b663bf8500%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3357143293%22%7D” expand=1]

World military expenditure by region from 1988 to 2019. Rough estimates for the Middle East are included in the world totals for 2015-2019.

SIPRI Military Expenditure Database

“But more recently, in the last three years, we really see that spending has really picked up,” Tian said. “The reason is the US announcing really expensive modernization programs … and also the end of austerity measures in many of the world’s global spenders.”

US military spending grew by 5.3% in 2019 to a total of 2 billion — 38% of global military spending. The US’s increase in 2019 was equivalent to all of Germany’s military expenditure that year, SIPRI said.

Military spending in Asia has risen every year since 1989, with China and India, second and third on the list this year, leading the way. (Tian said SIPRI’s numbers for China are higher than Beijing’s because SIPRI includes spending it defines as “military-related.”)

“In the case of India and China, we’ve seen consistent increases over the last 30 years,” Tian said. “While India and China really [were] spending in the early 1990s far less than Western Europe … Chinese spending really starts to pick up since about 2000.”

China’s spending, now several times that of France or the UK, and India’s growing expenditures point to “a change in the global balance,” Tian said.

“Whereas a few years ago we saw … [for] the first time that there are no Western European countries in the top five spenders in the world, this is the first time where we see two Asian countries, in India and China, being within the top three spenders, followed by Russia and Saudi Arabia.”

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F5ea9cd64fc593d06686147a4%3Fwidth%3D1300%26format%3Djpeg%26auto%3Dwebp&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.insider.com&s=566&h=2403d32f8b656503cf50023b55983a25e5cc1f8f293d115a590d7841fa200f9b&size=980x&c=180385284 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F5ea9cd64fc593d06686147a4%253Fwidth%253D1300%2526format%253Djpeg%2526auto%253Dwebp%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.insider.com%26s%3D566%26h%3D2403d32f8b656503cf50023b55983a25e5cc1f8f293d115a590d7841fa200f9b%26size%3D980x%26c%3D180385284%22%7D” expand=1]

Military spending as a share of GDP by country in 2019. The countries with military spending of 4.0% or more of GDP are listed.

SIPRI Military Expenditure Database

Data is not available for all the countries in the Middle East, but Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest spender for which SIPRI could estimate totals. In terms of arms imports, the Middle East “has now the largest share it has ever had since 1950, as a region,” SIPRI senior researcher Siemon Wezeman said on the webcast.

“That’s partly related to ongoing conflicts [and] very strong tensions, Iran vs. the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia. It is a very strong driver of arms imports, especially by the Gulf States,” Wezeman added, noting that Iran, under arms embargo, is not a major weapons importer.

Most of Africa’s military spending, 57%, is done by North African countries. “They have the money,” Wezeman said, “especially Algeria, and Morocco to a lesser extent, are basically the big ones buying there.”

“Many of the other African countries buy a couple of armored vehicles — a helicopter here, a little aircraft there — and do that every few years. That’s basically their armed forces,” Wezeman said, adding that fighting insurgencies, like Boko Haram, or peacekeeping, as in Somalia, also drove increased military spending.

Sub-Saharan Africa has seen “extremely volatile spending” in recent years, related to the many armed conflicts there, Tian said.

“As countries need to fight … they need to allocate resources to the military. But conflicts, of course, are extremely destructive on a country’s economy,” Tian added. “So we see that countries are increasing spending one year, decreasing spending another year.”

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F5c9befc5dc6767144455c3cd%3Fwidth%3D1300%26format%3Djpeg%26auto%3Dwebp&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.insider.com&s=879&h=1102db4bf56fe6e4cc32554dde73a62a1a880e36b84e840aaed3973c59ad5805&size=980x&c=2901287497 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F5c9befc5dc6767144455c3cd%253Fwidth%253D1300%2526format%253Djpeg%2526auto%253Dwebp%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.insider.com%26s%3D879%26h%3D1102db4bf56fe6e4cc32554dde73a62a1a880e36b84e840aaed3973c59ad5805%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2901287497%22%7D” expand=1]

A Croatian army Hedgehog Battery conducts a Vulkan M-92 Mobile Multiple Launch Rocket System live-fire training at Bemowo Piskie, Poland, December 5, 2018.

Sgt. Arturo Guzman/US Army National Guard

Overall military expenditures by Western European nations fell slightly between 2010 and 2019, but Eastern European countries have increased their military spending by 35% over the past decade.

“Some of this is really down to a reaction to the perceived threats of Russia,” as well as the replacement of Soviet-era equipment and purchase of US and NATO equipment, Tian said.

“European countries, aside from seeing a bigger threat from Russia, also are going through a cycle of replacing their fourth-generation combat aircraft with fifth-generation combat aircraft. So there is a big load of new combat aircraft, mostly or almost all of them US-exported weapons, going to Europe,” Wezeman added.

But an economic contraction sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is likely to bring down military expenditures.

“We’ve seen this historically following the ’08-’09 crisis, where many countries in Europe really cut back on military spending,” Tian said, noting that military spending as a share of GDP might increase if “GDP falls and spending doesn’t decrease as much as GDP.”

This time around, spending in Europe may “be stronger in the coming years” despite the coronavirus, Wezeman said, “because the contracts … in many cases have been signed.”

Below, you can see who the top 10 defense spenders were and how much of the world’s military expenditures they accounted for in 2019.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F5caca477862913648176a9b3%3Fwidth%3D1300%26format%3Djpeg%26auto%3Dwebp&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.insider.com&s=915&h=2636bbf47332d35491c6070d742eb3df42a88cd2afae6b4c66a4dcc945754fc4&size=980x&c=1108699002 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F5caca477862913648176a9b3%253Fwidth%253D1300%2526format%253Djpeg%2526auto%253Dwebp%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.insider.com%26s%3D915%26h%3D2636bbf47332d35491c6070d742eb3df42a88cd2afae6b4c66a4dcc945754fc4%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1108699002%22%7D” expand=1]

The first operational F-35A Lightning II is welcomed to the Japanese Self-Defense Force’s 3rd Air Wing, at Misawa Air Base, February 24, 2018.

US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F576d3fb28e91c6997c4b8722%3Fwidth%3D1300%26format%3Djpeg%26auto%3Dwebp&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.insider.com&s=503&h=551903533c4c597fef84b232798817fec2750834779dc116f003d99061a7ca4e&size=980x&c=1382637305 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F576d3fb28e91c6997c4b8722%253Fwidth%253D1300%2526format%253Djpeg%2526auto%253Dwebp%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.insider.com%26s%3D503%26h%3D551903533c4c597fef84b232798817fec2750834779dc116f003d99061a7ca4e%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1382637305%22%7D” expand=1]

A British paratrooper prepares to load a helicopter in a simulated medical evacuation during the Swift Response 16 exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, June 17, 2016.

Sgt. Seth Plagenza/US Army

5. Saudi Arabia, .9 billion — down 16% from 2018 and 3.2% of the world total.

Saudi Arabia’s 2019 defense spending and its share of the world total are estimates by SIPRI.

2. China, 1 billion — up 5.1% from 2018 and 14% of the world total.

China’s 2019 defense spending and its share of the world total are estimates by SIPRI.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F5dc336f23afd373c040e3b84%3Fwidth%3D1300%26format%3Djpeg%26auto%3Dwebp&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.insider.com&s=508&h=f46a5337bcf85a56ef99e8c9b82f794a99ae2c88531f4ad6b7c5c41438a3a7b0&size=980x&c=3316358981 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F5dc336f23afd373c040e3b84%253Fwidth%253D1300%2526format%253Djpeg%2526auto%253Dwebp%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.insider.com%26s%3D508%26h%3Df46a5337bcf85a56ef99e8c9b82f794a99ae2c88531f4ad6b7c5c41438a3a7b0%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3316358981%22%7D” expand=1]

The future US Navy aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy as its dry dock is flooded three, October 29, 2019.

US Navy/Mass Comm Specialist 3rd Class Adam Ferrero

1. United States, 2 billion — up 5.3% from 2018 and 38% of the world total.

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

MIGHTY CULTURE

Check out incredible images of Earth in NASA’s new eBook

Earth has many stories to tell, even in the dark of night. Earth at Night, NASA’s new 200-page ebook, includes more than 150 images of our planet in darkness as captured from space by Earth-observing satellites and astronauts on the International Space Station over the past 25 years.

The images reveal how human activity and natural phenomena light up the darkness around the world, depicting the intricate structure of cities, wildfires and volcanoes raging, auroras dancing across the polar skies, moonlight reflecting off snow and deserts, and other dramatic earthly scenes.


“Earth at Night explores the brilliance of our planet when it is in darkness,” wrote Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in the book’s foreword. “The book is a compilation of stories depicting the interactions between science and wonder. I am pleased to share this visually stunning and captivating exploration of our home planet.”

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

This new NASA ebook includes more than 150 images of our planet in darkness as captured from space by Earth-observing satellites and astronauts over the last 25 years.

(NASA)

In addition to the images, the book tells how scientists use these observations to study our changing planet and aid decision makers in such areas as sustainable energy use and disaster response.

Earth at Night is now available online.

NASA brings together technology, science, and unique global Earth observations to provide societal benefits and strengthen our nation. The agency makes its Earth observations freely and openly available to everyone for use in developing solutions to important global issues such as changing freshwater availability, food security and human health.

Articles

Netflix won’t block movies and shows for deployed US troops

Not too long ago, We Are The Mighty listed the awesome movies and television U.S. troops would not be able to watch on Netflix while deployed due to the streaming company’s decision to actively enforce its ban on users who access the site via Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs.


Because of restrictions in licensing certain content to certain countries, Netflix has to block users who attempt to access its U.S. servers while overseas. Netflix would even ban users who attempt to circumvent its geographic restrictions. This included U.S. troops who deploy all over the world but still watch streaming content from the good old U.S. of A. Understandably, they were very upset, as Netflix can give troops the feeling of being at home (at least for 22 minutes an episode), but that’s not the end of the story.

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks
Yes, 10 seasons of Futurama are on Netflix. That’s also not the end of the story.

Netflix wants to remind U.S. troops that cheap, online, streaming content exists in the Land of the Free because of the brave. It exempts military bases from the geo-restriction policy and, according to Netflix, always has.

“Netflix always exempts U.S. military bases around the world,” Anne Marie Squeo, a spokeswoman for Netflix, told Stars and Stripes. “They will still be able to access the U.S. catalog.”

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks
The Avengers is not available on Netflix.

Certainly good news for everyone on base, but many troops overseas live off-base. Those troops will have to suck it up and accept the catalog of the country in which they live. It is important to note that while Netflix has a catalog in 192 of Earth’s 196 countries, some catalogs are more diverse and expansive than others.

The service is not yet available in China, probably due to the Chinese government’s myriad restrictions on media. Syria, North Korea, and the Crimean Peninsula do not get Netflix service because they are currently facing U.S. government sanctions. That’s too bad because North Korean cinema is really, really something else.

The company says it will spend $5 billion in the next year in hopes that eventually all its content will be available to all its subscribers, regardless of location.

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

MIGHTY CULTURE

Watch the USS Constitution fire a cannon for the Marines birthday

The United States Marine Corps turned 244 on Nov. 10, 2019. To celebrate, the Devil Dogs probably did whatever it is Marines do after their respective Marine Corps Balls. The U.S. Navy, often called the Marines’ Taxi Service, laid aside sibling rivalry for the day, and fired a shot from the oldest warship in the Navy and the only active ship to have sunk an enemy in combat, the USS Constitution, in their honor.

They even let a Marine pull the trigger.


The Constitution was first laid as a 44-gun frigate in 1794, outfitted with 24-pound long guns and 32-pound carronades. In combat, she would carry around 54 guns. The carronades would be on the spar deck, a long 18-pound “chase” gun would be mounted forward, and 30 24-pounders would be loaded on the gun deck. The guns on her gun deck, like the one fired by the Sergeant of Marines in the above video, are not her original guns. In 1883, Constitution became a housing ship for sailors in the port of Boston, and her guns were removed. They were soon replaced, however, with replica guns.

Her centennial refit saw 55 replica guns made for the ship by the end of 1931. Cast in the Charleston Navy Yard in 1929, these are the guns aboard her today. Two War of 1812-era carronade replicas were placed aboard in 1981. All her guns were restored and refurbished during Constitution’s 21st-Century restoration.

The only problem with the ship’s new guns is that they were never intended to be fired. It wasn’t until 1976 that the Constitution’s commanding officer decided it would be a novel idea for the oldest active warship in the U.S. Navy to be able to give a salute from its era. Two of the 24-pound long guns were sent to the Naval Ordnance Station in Louisville, Ky. to be retrofitted to fire a saluting charge in time for the United States Bicentennial Celebration.

The Marines aren’t the only ones who receive a salute from the USS Constitution. Past recipients include anyone from Chief Petty Officer selectees to Queen Elizabeth II. The day after the Queen received the salute, she boarded Constitution for a tour with Prince Philip. It was the only time a reigning British monarch ever stepped foot aboard the ship.

It seems we’ve been forgiven for the whole HMS Guerriere incident.

MIGHTY TRENDING

North Korea reportedly behind South Korean cyptocurrency hack

North Korea’s involvement in major hacking offensives appears to be growing.


The country has been linked to a recent attack on South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, according to cybersecurity experts.

Researchers from the U.S. cybersecurity firm Recorded Future say a new hacking campaign targeting South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinlink employed the same malware code used in the 2014 attack on Sony Pictures and last year’s global WannaCry attack.

Beginning in late 2017, hackers attempted to collect the passwords and emails of employees at Coinlink, but were unsuccessful.

Recorded Future released a full report on Jan. 16 analyzing the methods used in the recent Coinlink attack versus methods used in previous cyberattacks. The firm found what it called strong evidence that a cybercrime unit called the Lazarus group was behind the Coinlink attack, as well as several previous large-scale campaigns, based on the type of code they have used in previous attacks.

According to the report, the Lazarus group operates under a North Korean state-sponsored cyber unit.

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks
Advertisement for Bithumb (Image Bithumb Twitter)

The group has been conducting operations since at least 2009, when they launched an attack on US and South Korean websites by infecting them with a virus known as MyDoom, the report said. The group has mainly targeted South Korean, U.S. government, and financial entities, but has also been linked to the major attack on Sony Pictures in 2014.

In recent years, researchers noticed a change in North Korean cyber operations as they began to shift their focus to attacking financial institutions in order to steal money to fund Kim Jong Un’s regime, the report said.

In 2017, the group began targeting cryptocurrencies, and their first offensive was aimed at Bithumb, one of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges. Lazarus hackers stole $7 million in the Bithumb heist at the time, according to the report.

The WannaCry attack in 2017, which affected computer systems at schools, hospitals, and businesses across 150 countries, also used malware code that was linked to Lazarus.

Check out this crazy impressive Marine Corps Air Station made of LEGO bricks

Additionally, a December attack on the South Korean bitcoin exchange YouBit reportedly mirrored previous North Korean offensives, leading experts to suggest that groups associated with the North were behind that attack as well.

Recorded Future’s report comes amid recent allegations that North Korea has begun mining and hacking cryptocurrencies in order to sidestep crippling economic sanctions.

“This is a continuation of their broader interest in cryptocurrency as a funding stream,” Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic-threat development at Recorded Future, told the Wall Street Journal this week.

The U.S. has released statements blaming North Korea for several recent attacks. North Korea still denies any involvement, despite mounting evidence.

MIGHTY TRENDING

That time an F-16 flyby lit up a highway patrolman’s radar

A California patrolman’s radar apparently flipped out on an empty stretch of highway in March 2019, which was odd because there wasn’t another car in sight, but then an F-16 Fighting Falcon came flying low and fast past his location.

A video taken by Officer Chris Bol and shared by California Highway Patrol station in the California desert suburb of Bishop shows the F-16 making a pass — not the first, as the officer filming has his camera ready to catch the fighter flying by his Ford Explorer.


The video, first reported by Popular Mechanics, was captioned: “When the radar in your patrol car is going crazy but you don’t see any cars on the road, look up!”


When the radar in your patrol car is going crazy but you …

www.facebook.com

An F-16 can fly at speeds greater than Mach 2, more than two times the speed of sound. That means the fighter jet can hit in excess of 1,500 mph. The fighter in the video, however, was not going that fast.

These low-altitude flybys occur regularly in the area where the video was taken and are often picked up on radar. One California Highway Patrol officer at the Bishop station told Business Insider his radar once read out at more than 300 mph.

As for the video posted on March 9, 2019, Bol’s radar was going in and out, but it read 250 mph at one point. Several F-16s flew past his spot repeatedly while he was out there.

Popular Mechanics said that while the video was taken in Bishop, the aircraft in the video may have originated from the Arizona National Guard or Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, although it is hard to know for sure because there are a number of air bases nearby that use the area for training.

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

Do Not Sell My Personal Information