The Air Force Will Start Work on Flying Cars This Fall | Defense One


If you thought that flying cars were just for Marty McFly or maybe Rick Deckard, the U.S. Air Force has some good news for you. This fall, service officials will kick off Agility Prime, an effort to harness the commercial world’s work on flying cars and, eventually, replace the V-22 Osprey.

Will Roper, the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition, described the program at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber conference on Tuesday as “a low-hanging opportunity” to “look into where commercial innovation is going in flying cars.”

Source: The Air Force Will Start Work on Flying Cars This Fall – Defense One

Extra-Long Sustainment Contracts Are Lockheed’s Latest Bid to Cut F-35 Costs | Defense One


Lockheed Martin is pitching the Pentagon on a new idea for reducing the cost of the F-35 combat jet: sign a five-year maintenance deal instead of negotiating a new contract every year. There’s also a performance-based twist: the company would provide enough spare parts to keep 80 percent of the world’s F-35s battle-ready — or face penalties.

Currently, Lockheed and the Pentagon’s F-35 program office negotiate new deals every year to maintain the hundreds of F-35s flown by U.S. and allied forces. The negotiations often take most of the year and by the time a contract is signed, it’s time to begin negotiating the next one.

Source: Extra-Long Sustainment Contracts Are Lockheed’s Latest Bid to Cut F-35 Costs – Defense One

Strikes on Saudi oil disrupt global supply

The oil-processing plant of Abqaiq is located 60 km (37 miles) southwest of Aramco’s Dhahran headquarters. It handles crude from the world’s largest conventional oil field, the supergiant Ghawar, and exports to terminals Ras Tanura — the world’s biggest offshore oil loading facility — and Juaymah. It also pumps westwards across the kingdom to export terminals on the Red Sea.

While the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put the blame squarely on Iran, writing on Twitter that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Source: Strikes on Saudi oil disrupt global supply

Is Iran Escalating Gulf Energy Attacks? | Council on Foreign Relations


Iran has at its disposal an impressive range of capabilities. It has a sophisticated arsenal of missiles that can accurately target Saudi Arabia and has upgraded its drone capacity over the years.

In Iraq, Iran has trained and armed Shiite militias, it has penetrated Iraqi security services, and it has its share of political allies there. If the attack was made by the Houthis in Yemen, the missile capabilities had to come from Iran.

As more evidence comes in, the nature of this attack will become clearer.

Source: Is Iran Escalating Gulf Energy Attacks? | Council on Foreign Relations

Mozilla, Creative Commons and Coil Launch $100 Million Web Fund | Fortune


Tech entrepreneur Stefan Thomas wants to create a version of the Internet that frees creative types from relying on ad money from YouTube or Instagram to support themselves. Instead, creators would be paid directly by their fans.

To this end, Thomas’s blockchain company, Coil, along with the non-profit groups Mozilla and Creative Commons, will distribute $100 million in grants to creators and others who embrace ad-free business models. On Monday, the groups said the money would be awarded through a fund called Grant for the Web over the next five years.

“The internet has gone from a place rewarding creativity, invention and substance, to one dominated by a few advertising dependent platforms that promote and incentivize anything that grabs and holds the public’s attention,” the groups said in a statement, explaining the new fund will focus on funding creators in a way that doesn’t undermine privacy.

Source: Mozilla, Creative Commons and Coil Launch $100 Million Web Fund | Fortune

Sustainable Development Takes Center Stage at the U.N.


In September 2015, the member states of the United Nations unanimously endorsed a blueprint to guide global development efforts through 2030, known as the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. Next week, world leaders will evaluate progress on the guidelines, together known as the “2030 Agenda,” when they convene in New York for the annual opening of the U.N. General Assembly.

Their assessment will be bleak. No country is on track to achieve all of the SDGs, and the United States, a traditional leader on global development, has abdicated this role under President Donald Trump. Those seeking inspiration will need to look beyond—and below—sovereign governments, to global cities and the world’s youth.

Source: Sustainable Development Takes Center Stage at the U.N.

Von der Leyen assigns defense challenge to France | EURACTIV.com


France’s former defense minister, Sylvie Goulard, has been proposed as the EU’s internal market Commissioner. But her new portfolio also includes a strengthened European defence file, which analysts say will be her biggest challenge.

The post, formally called Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, deals with free movement of goods and services within the bloc as well as innovation and start-ups, previously run by Poland’s Elżbieta Bieńkowska.

Source: Von der Leyen assigns defense challenge to France – EURACTIV.com

A new team to defend Europe’s economic sovereignty | EURACTIV.com


Achieving a “more assertive” Europe that can improve its competitiveness and sovereignty in an increasingly hostile world. These are the main guidelines of President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to the new College of Commissioners, unveiled on Tuesday (10 September).

Europe is losing ground in the digital race that is reshaping the economy and society at large. China is now considered a “systemic rival”, while the US is no longer a reliable partner since the election of Donald Trump, with preparations underway in Washington to step up the trade war against Europe.

According to Ursula von der Leyen, this is why the protection of Europe’s sovereignty – and its economic might – has to be top of the agenda for her new team of commissioners.

Source: A new team to defend Europe’s economic sovereignty – EURACTIV.com

Why multilateralism matters | EURACTIV.com


This September, world leaders will gather at the UN in New York to reiterate the need to speed up action on the global promise to build a more equitable and sustainable world, which is the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), write Ulrika Modéer and Ahunna Eziakonwa.

Today’s global challenges – be they climate change, poverty and inequality, or migration – are growing and they affect rich and poor countries alike. It is estimated that by 2050 climate change will generate 143 million more migrants in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia alone.

Natural disasters, terrorism, cyber-warfare, and health pandemics are increasing at unprecedented levels.

Source: Why multilateralism matters – EURACTIV.com

EU defence funding far too small for big ambitions: report | EURACTIV.com


EU’s objective to increase defence spending to €22.5 billion over the next decade is insufficient for its ambitions in the sector, the European Court of Auditors said Thursday (12 September) in its annual review paper on the bloc’s defence cooperation and policy.

If the EU tried to defend itself without help from its big NATO ally, the United States, “it is estimated that an investment of several hundred billion euros would be needed to overcome the current capabilities gap,” the report underlined.

“Significant and uncoordinated cuts in member states’ defence budgets, together with underinvestment, have affected their military capabilities,” the report highlights.

Source: EU defence funding far too small for big ambitions: report – EURACTIV.com