Topic A: Defense
U.S. Army Expands Use of Cognitive Development Training Tools

National Defense Magazine reports that "a wave of new simulation technologies is helping Army personnel improve their cognitive skills so they can make better decisions faster during battles."

“'We are taking a neuroscience approach to simulation exercises,' said Alison Rubin, executive vice president of business development at Conflict Kinetics. 'We teach your mind to take an image in quicker; your body to align with your decisions quicker; and your central nervous system to react in the appropriate way.'”

Technology: Mobile App Gives Commanders Front Row View of Battlefield

National Defense Magazine reports that "the concept sounds relatively simple: A team of special operations troops sees an area of interest, and aims their smartphones. Then software magically produces instant GPS coordinates of where the operators are looking, giving commanders the option to strike the target or watch a live-stream of events from their command center."

"It’s the type of technology that the U.S. Special Operations Command believes can help lift the fog of war."

New Advances in U.S. Army Training

Military.com reports that "waging war in today's complex world requires more than the ability to shoot straight or drop a bomb squarely on target."

"It means understanding the politics and culture that surround a battlefield. Criminal networks and shady characters can complicate a mission. Winning the war on Twitter and Facebook plays a role, too."

Pentagon's Robotic Exosuit Program Sees Progress

National Defense Magazine reports that "scientists and engineers are pushing forward a cutting-edge U.S. military robotics project that could reduce war fighter fatigue and ward off injuries."

"The Warrior Web program, spearheaded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, aims to significantly lower the “metabolic cost” — or energy expenditure — of troops operating in the field, and reduce the physiological burden of the gear that they carry, which can exceed 100 pounds."

U.S. to Increase Iraq Military Presence for Mosul Fight

Reuters reports that "Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Wednesday that Washington would send more U.S. troops to help local forces in the battle to retake Mosul from Islamic State that is expected later this year."

"'American President Barack Obama was consulted on a request from the Iraqi government for a final increase in the number of trainers and advisers under the umbrella of the international coalition in Iraq,' he said in a statement."

Congressional Deal Could Avoid Shutdown, Troop Pay Freeze

Stars and Stripes reports that "with three days to go, Republicans said Wednesday they have a plan to pass a temporary federal budget to keep the government open – and avert possible troop pay freezes and civilian defense furloughs."

"Republican leaders said the compromise could placate Democrats by adding emergency funding into separate legislation that they demanded for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday morning that his party is 'not there yet' and still had concerns with the GOP plan."

DARPA Launches Podcast

Matt Novak reports in Gizmodo that "DARPA, the agency that helped invent things like email in the early 1970s and the internet itself in the late 1960s, just launched a podcast. Podcasts have been around since the 2000s, but better late than never, I guess.

"DARPA, of course, is known as the 'mad science' wing of the US Department of Defense. They’re the ones constantly working on more efficient ways to kill people on the battlefield and save the lives of American soldiers, whether it’s through robots or new medical techniques. And sometimes those technologies are put to incredible use in the civilian sector. Again, just look at the internet and email."

U.S. Seeks to Accelerate South Korea Missile Defense Deployment

Military Times reports that "the U.S. intends to deploy a missile defense system in South Korea "as soon as possible" to counter the threat from North Korea despite opposition from China, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said Tuesday."

"Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said he believes South Korea is firmly committed to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD system. He told a congressional hearing the system is purely defensive and is not aimed at China but at North Korea."

Okinawa Villagers Sue Japan to Stop Construction of U.S. Helipads

Military.com reports that "citing noise concerns, residents from two Okinawan villages have filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government to end construction of U.S. military helipads in a remote northern training area."

"The landing zones are being built to relocate and consolidate the U.S. military presence in the northern Okinawa jungles so that 4,000 of the Northern Training Area's 7,542 hectares can be handed back to Japanese control in the largest land return since 1972."

U.S. Presidential Candidates Sharply Divided on Military Alliances

Voice of America reports that "U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump reiterated sharply opposing views on the issue of military support for American allies around the world, and for Japan and South Korea in particular, during their first televised debate on Monday."

"Clinton, the Democratic candidate, criticized past statements made by Republican nominee Trump that indicated he might withdraw troops from Asia unless allies more fairly compensate the U.S. for protection."

U.S., South Korean Missile Destroyers Show Force to North Korea

CNN reports that "the US and South Korean navies put on a show of force in the Sea of Japan on Monday, the latest in a string of displays of military might in response to North Korea's testing of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles."

"Monday's exercises saw the US guided missile destroyer USS Spruance join ships, submarines and planes from the South Korean navy in waters east of the Korean Peninsula."

Army Mission in Europe Increases

Stars and Stripes reports that "no service has been affected more than the Army, which has received the bulk of increased military spending in Europe to augment its presence along Russia’s periphery in places such as the Baltics."

"'The Army is really attached to the Russia threat, not just as a mission, but fundamentally as an opportunity,' said Michael Kofman, a security analyst with the Wilson Center think tank in Washington."

U.S. Military Could Get '2-in-1' Grenades

Tech Times reports that "Engineers at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) are designing a next-generation hand grenade, which will have two deadly modes and could offer more flexibility to U.S. soldiers."

"The U.S. military uses two types of grenades: fragmentation and concussion models. A fragmentation grenade explodes and it releases shrapnel and ball bearing that hits enemy combatants. Fragmentation grenades have a radius of about 49 feet.

Military Skills Part of College Experience at U.S. Military Academy

U.S. News & World Report writes: "Alex Werden's first impression of the U.S. Military Academy was right out of 'Harry Potter.'"

"'It's like showing up at Hogwarts,' he says. As a rising high school senior from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he had gone to the storied Hudson Valley campus to participate in a summer leadership camp."

Self-Driving Vehicles Could Boost Military’s Arsenal

Fox News reports that "self-driving cars are grabbing headlines lately, and the military is also making inroads with similar tech— but these vehicles are mounted with weapons like machine guns."

The "MUTT, aka Multi-Utility Tactical Transport, [helps] dismounted small units. This is a smart robot designed to help lighten the load for Marines and other warfighter."