FROM William Hennigan
Is it safe to transport nuclear warheads on long haul trucks? When nuclear warheads need to travel, they are loaded into old 18 wheelers and driven across the country on US highways. Drivers are underpaid and overworked. There are concerns about safety and security.
US Service Member Killed in Iraq For the third time since October, an American military "advisor" was killed in Iraq today. He was a Navy Seal serving 20 miles north of Mosul, a city held by the so-called Islamic State. William Hennigan, Pentagon correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, returned from Iraq just two weeks ago.
Aerospace Comes Back to the Antelope Valley Even by aerospace standards, the numbers are stunning: 100 new Stealth bombers to be built in the Antelope Valley, thousands of new jobs, and all paid for with $60 billion in federal funds -- with production cost overruns likely to push that much higher. That's the economic windfall from one of the biggest contracts in Pentagon history, won by Northrop-Grumman in competition with Boeing and Lockheed.
US Airstrikes a Boon for Defense Contractors America’s pull-backs from Iraq and Afghanistan have meant troubled times for defense contractors. But, daily airstrikes in Iraq and Syria have been good for business. The question is, how long will that last? With defense spending shrinking, major defense contractors have laid off workers, merged with one another and slowed production lines. But daily attacks in Iraq and Syria require bombers, fighters and drones to pour out tons of munitions. Wall Street is already paying attention. That’s according to Pentagon Correspondent William Hennigan in today’s Los Angeles Times .
Is America Ready for Unmanned Drones? Unmanned drones include Predators and Reapers able to carry missiles and 500-pound bombs. The new Switchblade weighs six pounds all by itself, fits into a soldier's rucksack, and can take out a rooftop sniper without destroying the building he stands on. Drones small enough to fly inside buildings will be available soon. Congress has ordered the FAA to develop new rules for the use of drones for civilian purposes inside the United States, anticipating that some 30,000 drones of all sizes will be using American airspace before 2020. In the meantime, the $6 billion drone industry has developed a voluntary Code of Conduct . What are the civilian applications? What are the risks? Can rules be developed quickly enough to keep up with a spreading technology?
Is America Ready for Unmanned Drones? The Obama Administration has made unmanned, remotely-controlled drones famous — or infamous -- for the targeted killings of enemies overseas. Predators and Reapers are able to carry missiles and 500-pound bombs. The new Switchblade weighs six pounds all by itself, fits into a rucksack, and can take out a rooftop sniper without destroying the building he stands on. In the next few years, the FAA says, tens of thousands of drones -- some small enough to fly inside buildings -- will be flying within the borders of the US. In the meantime, the $6 billion drone industry has developed a voluntary Code of Conduct . What will they be used for? Should law enforcement install weapons on board? Will surveillance violate privacy rights? What about sharing air space with airplanes big and small? We look at the benefits and the risks of a $6 billion industry that's just beginning to grow.
SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returns to Earth For the first time in history, a privately built and operated spacecraft has completed its mission. The Dragon capsule produced by Space X splashed down in the Pacific Ocean this morning after last week's rendezvous with the International Space Station. Bill Hennigan is aerospace writer for the Los Angeles Times .
Last Space Shuttle Flight Leaves a Southern California Legacy In the 1950's black and white sit-com The Life of Reilly, Reilly and his buddy, Gillis, drove on something called a freeway to get to their jobs in an airplane factory. It was there, where eventually Howard Hughes built his Spruce Goose. Those bits of news were just the tip of the iceberg. One could make the case that Southern California wouldn't really exist without aerospace. Now, consolidation, outsourcing and other factors have shrunk the local industry to a shell of its former self. Tomorrow, the Space Shuttle Atlantis will blast off for the final time. We look back at the central role played by aerospace industry in the growth of Southern California, and examine its potential resurrection.
Defense Department Eyes SoCal for Big Bomber Contract Defense contractors used to dominate the economy in Southern California, but in recent years they've moved operations to other states. Now, as Congress and the Obama Administration talk of reducing Pentagon spending, another big project may be in store for the Mojave Desert. W.J. Hennigan reports for the Los Angeles Times .
A Defense Contractor’s Dream in Southern California The Pentagon is spending big money these days on unmanned aircraft, the pilotless drones used for tracking al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Yemen. But unmanned aircraft can do more than that, and growing demand could be a boon for Southern California. Hennigan discusses Airbus, Boeing presence in California
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?