US Air Force one step closer to turning cargo planes into makeshift bombers | Breaking Defense


Next month the Air Force will conduct a capstone exercise for a program aiming to turn cargo planes into aerial bomb trucks, when a standard-looking pallet will be airdropped out of an MC-130J and launch a live cruise missile as it parachutes down through the air.

The demonstration will wrap up the first phase of the Air Force’s Rapid Dragon program, the service’s effort validating its “palletized munitions” concept, Dean Evans, the service’s Rapid Dragon program manager, told Breaking Defense today.

Source: US Air Force one step closer to turning cargo planes into makeshift bombers – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

DoD issues cloud solicitations to AWS, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle | Breaking Defense


The Defense Department today announced it has issued solicitations to Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle for its Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, or JWCC, an important development in what has been the Pentagon’s longer-than-expected journey to acquire enterprise cloud computing capabilities.

JWCC is envisioned to be the Pentagon’s premier enterprise multi-vendor, multi-cloud computing contract. The program is the follow-up to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), cancelled by DoD acting chief information officer John Sherman in July after years of delays due to legal battles. JEDI was envisioned as a single-vendor, single-cloud computing contract worth $10 billion dollars over 10 years, which Microsoft won in October 2019. But JEDI faced legal challenges from Oracle before the contract was even awarded. Amazon then challenged the award to Microsoft, and the contract languished in legal limbo for years.

Source: DoD issues cloud solicitations to AWS, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

Military researchers ask industry to develop tunable, controllable obscurants to hide from infrared sensors | Military Aerospace


U.S. military researchers are asking industry to develop smoke and other obscurants that degrade an enemy’s ability to see the battlefield, but that enable U.S. and allied forces to see the battlefield clearly.

Obscurants are for confined urban spaces to hide from an adversary’s digital infrared sensors and other night-vision systems. Despite decades of development, current obscurants continue to have three critical limitations: they degrade the visual capability of friendly forces and adversaries; their performance is fixed and cannot be tuned in real time; the serious health risks they pose often require using respirators.

Source: Military researchers ask industry to develop tunable, controllable obscurants to hide from infrared sensors | Military Aerospace

Democracies Bear Some Blame for Democracy’s Global Erosion


The week before Sudan’s military leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, arrested his country’s prime minister and seized power in a coup d’etat, U.S. President Joe Biden finalized the invitation list for his upcoming Summit for Democracy. The summit, claimed administration officials, aimed to counterbalance powerful autocracies such as Russia and China, and “galvanize democratic renewal worldwide.”

The world is a far cry from anything resembling democratic renewal. To the contrary, democracy is threatened on multiple fronts: not only by illegal seizures of power by military strongmen, as in Sudan, but by more subtle power shifts that subvert the will of the people. While Sudan did not make Biden’s summit guest list, countries such as Poland and the Philippines were included, despite experiencing dramatic democratic backsliding in recent years.

Source: Democracies Bear Some Blame for Democracy’s Global Erosion

On packaging recycling, EU aims to close the loop | EURACTIV.com


Not all recycling is equal. As the European Commission prepares to revise the EU’s packaging waste directive, policymakers want to remove degradation and waste from the process.

As consumers, when we put our recycling bags in the bin or out on the street, that’s the last we hear of them. We trust that the effort we’ve taken to sort and dispose of our waste means that this material will be recycled and used in another product.

But that’s not always how it works.

How effective the recycling is depends on how closed the recycling loop is.

Source: On packaging recycling, EU aims to close the loop – EURACTIV.com

EU plans single database to certify carbon content of hydrogen, low-carbon fuels | EURACTIV.com


The European Commission is preparing to launch an EU-wide database to certify the carbon footprint of hydrogen and other low-carbon fuels in a harmonized way.

The carbon certification of hydrogen production – currently 96% reliant on fossil fuels – is seen as crucial to introduce some transparency and traceability in the emerging EU market for low-carbon fuels.

To achieve this, the Commission is planning an EU-wide database, which is due to be unveiled in December as part of a package of EU laws aimed at decarbonizing the gas sector.

Source: EU plans single database to certify carbon content of hydrogen, low-carbon fuels – EURACTIV.com

Down in a hole: Bosnia miners fear green revolution | EURACTIV.com


For years, life in Bosnia’s Breza revolved around its coal mine, but the global shift from fossil fuels to renewables threatens the industry that was once the pride of communist Yugoslavia.

Armel Jekalovic and other miners, once hailed as local heroes who brought home steady incomes, now fear theirs could be the last generation to earn a living from Bosnia’s coalfields.

“This situation around the energy transition worries us,” says Jekalovic, 36, who oversees the operations at the mine northwest of Sarajevo.

“Production is constantly decreasing, as are the number of employees. People don’t feel safe and are looking for an alternative.”

Source: Down in a hole: Bosnia miners fear green revolution – EURACTIV.com

Heating homes with hydrogen fails on economic and climate merit: report | EURACTIV.com


As homeowners across Europe worry about the fate of their ageing gas boilers, some have pinned their hopes on switching them to hydrogen – but this may not be the way forward, a new study suggests.

The new ’12 Insights on Hydrogen’ report published by German think-tank Agora Energiewende gives a closer look at the “enormous hype” around hydrogen over past two years and tries to determine whether it is here to stay.

“The role of hydrogen for climate neutrality is crucial but secondary to direct electrification,” write the authors, who forecast that hydrogen will account for 16-25% of final energy demand in Europe by 2050.

Source: Heating homes with hydrogen fails on economic and climate merit: report – EURACTIV.com

The lure of progressive authoritarianism | Michael Bröning


The public debate on the threat to democracy typically focuses on the dangers from the right. When an ousted United States president still refuses to acknowledge his defeat, this seems only too justified.

But in their activist enthusiasm, progressive circles tend to overlook the inconvenient truth that alarming authoritarian tendencies have also taken hold on their side of the political spectrum. In a September edition, the Economist dedicated its cover to the ‘threat from the illiberal left’. So far, however, the progressive response has largely consisted of eye-rolling indignation, as opposed to reflective self-criticism.

Source: The lure of progressive authoritarianism – Michael Bröning

Globalisation, telemigrants and working conditions | Philippe Pochet


The potential risk of service-sector offshoring, against a backdrop of economic globalization, is nothing new. As early as 2007, the American economist Alan Blinder highlighted the risks offshoring posed to 46 occupations in the United States.

More recently, but before the pandemic, Richard Baldwin argued that ‘teleworking’, along with the emergence of artificial intelligence, would bring a major realignment with significant implications—a new wave of globalization, this time of the service sector. Baldwin used the term ‘telemigration’ to refer to individuals who would, as a result, be living in one country while working for a company based in another.

On the whole, though, these feared changes have yet to materialise—at least to the extent predicted.

Source: Globalisation, telemigrants and working conditions – Philippe Pochet