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Showing posts from December 13, 2012

Is Boko Haram More Dangerous Than Ever?

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis On Nov. 25, Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group from northern Nigeria, attacked a church in Jaji, Kaduna state, using two suicide bombers during the church's weekly religious service. The first bomb detonated in a vehicle driven into the church, and the second detonated approximately 10 minutes later, when a crowd of first responders gathered at the scene. About 30 people were killed in the attacks; the second blast caused the majority of the deaths. The incident was particularly symbolic because Jaji is the home of Nigeria's Armed Forces Command and Staff College, and many of the churchgoers were senior military officers. In the wake of the Jaji attacks, media reports quoted human rights groups saying that Boko Haram has killed more people in 2012 than ever before. The group has killed roughly 770 people this year, leading many to conclude that Boko Haram has become more dangerous. However, it is important to look beyond the sheer…

Thailand: The Evolving Conflict in the South

Asia Report N°24111 Dec 2012

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS After a decade of separatist violence in Thailand’s Malay/Muslim-majority southern provinces, insurgent capabilities are outpacing state counter-measures that are mired in complacency and political conflict. While Bangkok claims to make a virtue of patience, more sophisticated and brutal insurgent attacks increase the death toll. Successive governments have opted to muddle through South East Asia’s most violent internal conflict, their responses hostage to outmoded conceptions of the state, bureaucratic turf battles and a bitter national-level political struggle. In 2012, a new security policy for the region acknowledged for the first time the conflict’s political nature and identified decentralisation and dialogue with militants as components of a resolution. But fulfilling this policy demands that Thai leaders depoliticise the South issue, engage with civil society, build a consensus on devolving political power and ac…

The Gulf of Guinea: The New Danger Zone


Within a decade, the Gulf of Guinea has become one of the most dangerous maritime areas in the world. Maritime insecurity is a major regional problem that is compromising the development of this strategic economic area and threatening maritime trade in the short term and the stability of coastal states in the long term. Initially taken by surprise, the region’s governments are now aware of the problem and the UN is organising a summit meeting on the issue. In order to avoid violent transnational crime destabilising the maritime economy and coastal states, as it has done on the East African coast, these states must fill the security vacuum in their territorial waters and provide a collective response to this danger. Gulf of Guinea countries must press for dynamic cooperation between the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), take the initiative in promoting security and adop…

Lockheed Martin sees strong outlook for unmanned market

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market has grown sharply due to military purchases throughout the course of the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Lockheed Martin is banking on the UAV trend continuing despite the pending drawdown in those regions. George Barton, Lockheed Martin vice president of ship and aviation systems business development for the company's Mission Systems & Sensors (MS2) business, told  IHS Jane's that "time is definitely on the side of UAVs". "In the near term, companies like Lockheed Martin come up with innovative ideas on how to increase those capabilities while decreasing costs for the customer," Barton said on 6 December. Other industry executives have said they expect the drawdown in the Middle East and South Asia to bring about a correction in the UAV market. Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing's military aircraft business, said recently that Boeing analysts foresee "at least a 20% reduction" in the …

Fire Scout to begin live-fire assessment in March 2013, frigate integration continues

By Geoff Fein 12/12/2012 The US Navy (USN) intends to conduct a live-fire assessment of an MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing unmanned air vehicle (UAV) armed with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) in March 2013.
The assessment is part of an urgent operational request to arm the MQ-8B with six APKWS. The plan is to deploy the UAV in the March-April 2013 time frame.
The MQ-8B airframe is based on Schweizer's 333 airframe, which was rebranded as the Sikorsky S-333 in 1999.
The navy is also in the midst of integrating Fire Scout aboard USS Perry-class frigates in response to an urgent operational need to support maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations, Captain Patrick Smith, programme manager for the navy and marine corps multimission tactical unmanned aerial system programme office, said during a 4 December briefing.
Integration of Fire Scout ISR data onto a frigate is tied in three different ways, Capt Smith noted: Full Motio…