3 non-developed countries you never thought to have stronger military power than developed ones

1. Ethiopia: Ethioipia is currently ranked 41 (of 133 countries) according to the GFP review.

Air Power – Includes both fixed-wing and rotary-wing (helicopter) aircraft from all branches of service (Air Force, Navy, Army). Air power is just one important component of the modern military force. Attack Aircraft represents fixed-wing and dedicated forms as well as light strike types (some basic and advanced trainers fill this role). Some fighters can double as attack types and vice versa – this is how multi-role aircraft can be of considerable value. Transport and Trainer aircraft include both fixed-wing and rotary-wing types. z
Image result for ethiopia military

Army Strength – Tank value includes Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and light tanks (a few remain in service) as well as those vehicles considered “tank destroyers”. There is no distinction made between all-wheel and track-and-wheel designs. Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) value includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) as well as Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

Navy Strength – Aircraft Carrier value includes both traditional aircraft carriers as well as “helicopter carrier” warships (the latter growing in popularity worldwide). Cruisers are no longer tracked due to their declining value on the world stage. Submarines value includes both diesel-electric and nuclear-powered types. Total Naval Assets is not simply a sum of the presented navy ship categories – instead it includes all showcased types along with any known / recognized auxiliary vessels (not tracked individually by this site).

The military power of Ethiopia is still stronger than developed countries like Chile, Philippines, Finland.

2. Nigeria: Nigeria is currently ranked 43 (of 133 countries) according to the GFP review.
Image result for nigeria military

Air Power – Includes both fixed-wing and rotary-wing (helicopter) aircraft from all branches of service (Air Force, Navy, Army). Air power is just one important component of the modern military force. Attack Aircraft represents fixed-wing and dedicated forms as well as light strike types (some basic and advanced trainers fill this role). Some fighters can double as attack types and vice versa – this is how multi-role aircraft can be of considerable value. Transport and Trainer aircraft include both fixed-wing and rotary-wing types.

Army Strength – Tank value includes Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and light tanks (a few remain in service) as well as those vehicles considered “tank destroyers”. There is no distinction made between all-wheel and track-and-wheel designs. Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) value includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) as well as Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

Navy Strength – Aircraft Carrier value includes both traditional aircraft carriers as well as “helicopter carrier” warships (the latter growing in popularity worldwide). Cruisers are no longer tracked due to their declining value on the world stage. Submarines value includes both diesel-electric and nuclear-powered types. Total Naval Assets is not simply a sum of the presented navy ship categories – instead it includes all showcased types along with any known / recognized auxiliary vessels (not tracked individually by this site).
The military power of Nigeria is still stronger than developed countries like South Africa, UAE, Finland, Austria.

3. Bangladesh: Bangladesh is currentyly ranked 57 (of 133 countries) according to the GFP review.
Image result for bangladesh military

Air Power – Includes both fixed-wing and rotary-wing (helicopter) aircraft from all branches of service (Air Force, Navy, Army). Air power is just one important component of the modern military force. Attack Aircraft represents fixed-wing and dedicated forms as well as light strike types (some basic and advanced trainers fill this role). Some fighters can double as attack types and vice versa – this is how multi-role aircraft can be of considerable value. Transport and Trainer aircraft include both fixed-wing and rotary-wing types. EXTERNAL LINK: Aircraft throughout the military history of Bangladesh.

Army Strength – Tank value includes Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and light tanks (a few remain in service) as well as those vehicles considered “tank destroyers”. There is no distinction made between all-wheel and track-and-wheel designs. Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) value includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) as well as Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

Navy Strength – Aircraft Carrier value includes both traditional aircraft carriers as well as “helicopter carrier” warships (the latter growing in popularity worldwide). Cruisers are no longer tracked due to their declining value on the world stage. Submarines value includes both diesel-electric and nuclear-powered types. Total Naval Assets is not simply a sum of the presented navy ship categories – instead it includes all showcased types along with any known / recognized auxiliary vessels (not tracked individually by this site).

The military power of Bangladesh is still stronger than developed countries like Portugal, Belgium, New Zealand.

Secretive X-37B military space plane marks 700 days in orbit

Artist’s illustration of the U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane in orbit.  (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center)

The U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane has now been circling Earth for 700 days on its latest hush-hush mission.

Will a new router speed things up? The one I have now is a few years old.

That mission — known as Orbital Test Vehicle 4, or OTV-4 — began on May 20, 2015, with a liftoff atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

As the name implies, the current mission is the fourth for the X-37B program. These orbital jaunts have been getting progressively longer: OTV-1 launched in April 2010 and spent 224 days in space, OTV-2 lifted off in March 2011 and orbited Earth for 468 days, and OTV-3 began in December 2012 and operated for nearly 675 days. [The Most Dangerous Space Weapons Ever]

Most X-37B payloads and activities are classified, so it’s unclear what exactly the space planes are doing as they zoom around our planet. But there’s nothing nefarious going on, Air Force officials have stressed.

“The primary objectives of the X-37B are twofold: reusable spacecraft technologies for America’s future in space and operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth,” Air Force officials wrote on an X-37B fact sheet.

Interestingly, that same fact sheet states that the X-37B is designed to operate for 270 days in orbit — a duration mark that the most recent three missions have blown past.

The Air Force is known to own two X-37B vehicles, both of which were built by Boeing. Each solar-powered space plane is just 29 feet (8.8 meters) long and 9.6 feet (2.9 m) tall, with a payload bay the size of a pickup truck bed. (For comparison, both X-37Bs could fit inside the payload bay of one of NASA’s now-retired space shuttle orbiters.) Each of the two X-37Bs has flown two missions to date.

The X-37B launches vertically atop a rocket and comes in horizontally for a runway landing. All four missions have launched from Cape Canaveral, and the first three landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

But OTV-4 may buck this latter trend and land in Florida. The Air Force has modified the old Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which is next door to Cape Canaveral, to accommodate the X-37B. And Air Force officials have said that they aim to consolidate the program’s launch and landing activities on Florida’s Space Coast.

The SLF last hosted a touchdown in July 2011, when the space shuttle Atlantis landed there to wrap up its STS-135 mission — the final one for the iconic shuttle program.

US military is developing Star Wars-style lasers

File photo: Actors in Storm Trooper costumes take part in the European Premiere of Star Wars Rogue One at the Tate Modern in London, Britain December 13, 2016. (REUTERS/Neil Hall)

The U.S. military has handed two engineers $3.2 million to create a Star Wars-style laser weapon.

Lasers are fast becoming the weapon of choice as the battlefield becomes increasingly hi-tech.

Sound weapons that deliver invisible ammo in spotlight…

Britain is already working on a laser which could slice aircraft like butter and the US has already begun testing the technology to shoot down incoming missiles and drones.

And now Clemson University researchers John Ballato and Lin Zhu, in South Carolina, have been tasked with advancing these terrifying high energy weapons.

They have been handed taxpayer dosh to improve the way light is channelled through an optic fibre and to engineer a highly powerful light beam that goes in just one direction – a tricky task.

Ballato is working on an optical fibre that channels a high energy light which is powerful enough to melt through drones and rockets.

Optical fibre is more commonly used to carry internet traffic.

His challenge is to figure out what materials should be used to make the optical fibre so that they do not decrease the laser’s power.

Zhu is working on diodes that convert electricity into light.

He has been ordered to create a highly powerful light beam that also goes in one direction.

Funding comes from the US government’s High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office, which was set up in 2000 to create weapons more akin to science fiction novels.

It’s not clear exactly how the lasers will be used – whether they could be installed in lightsaber-style beams or used in a gun to shoot at flying targets.

The US defense department has already been testing out high energy laser cannons.

Britain is expected to reveal its own laser weapon by 2019 after Defence Secretary Michael Fallon outlined £30million for the technology at the end of last year.

The Ministry of Defence recently revealed a video of a laser it’s working on which could be seen melting missiles.

It is hoped that within years the laser will be advanced enough to cut through larger missiles and rockets.

US military can shoot down trespassing consumer drones, Pentagon says

File photo – An airplane flies over a drone during the Polar Bear Plunge on Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York Jan. 1, 2015. (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

The military has permission to shoot down consumer drones that fly over and around its U.S. bases.

The Department of Defense sent guidance to the military on Aug. 4 about the use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, over and around U.S. military sites. In a statement released Aug. 7, DoD spokesman and Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, explained that the new guidance follows classified guidance that was sent out in July.

HOW ISIS IS TURNING COMMERCIAL DRONES INTO WEAPONS IN THE BATTLE FOR MOSUL

“Protecting our force remains a top priority, and that’s why DoD issued the specific, but classified policy developed with the Federal Aviation Administration and our interagency partners that details how DoD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat,” he said.

Davis noted that all drone activities in the US must follow FAA regulations and guidelines.

TERRORIST DRONE THREAT: US UNPREPARED FOR GROWING DANGER, EXPERTS SAY

“We support civilian law enforcement investigations in the prosecution of unauthorized UAS operations over military installations,” he said. “And though we do not discuss specific force-protection measures, we of course retain the right of self-defense. And when it comes to UAS or drones operating over military installations, this new guidance does afford us the ability to take action to stop those threats.”

These actions include tracking, disabling and destroying drones, depending on the circumstances and the type of installation where drone activity is detected, he added.

SECRET SERVICE WILL TEST SURVEILLANCE DRONE DURING TRUMP’S GOLF CLUB VISIT

Drones have become a source of security concern in recent years. In 2015, for example, a quadcopter drone sparked a security alert after it crashed onto the White House grounds.

Commercial drones can also be weaponized, as evidenced in Iraq where Islamic State militants modified commercial drones to drop 40 mm rifle grenades. Experts have warned that America is unprepared for the threat of terrorist drone attacks on targets within the U.S.

Trump restores police surplus military equipment scheme

Image captionAttorney General Jeff Sessions argued it is important for police to have the right gear they need to do their job
US President Donald Trump has lifted restrictions imposed by Barack Obama on the transfer of surplus military-style equipment to the police.

An executive order provides police with items including bullet-proof helmets and armoured vehicles.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the aim was to enhance public safety.

Mr Obama barred the military from handing over some types of military equipment to police after unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The story of Ferguson
The ban followed criticism that police were too heavy handed in dealing with the protests that followed the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in 2014.

The former US president was concerned about public reaction to images of heavily militarised police on the streets, saying it was important that police were perceived to be part of the community than being seen as an occupying force.

‘We have your back’

But Mr Sessions argued that Mr Obama’s restrictions went “too far”.

“We will not put superficial concerns above public safety,” he told a meeting of police officers.

Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Obama argued that it was important police were not seen to be occupying powers
“The executive order… will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal.

“We have your back and you have our thanks,” he told the police convention.

Under the terms of the executive order, government agencies are compelled to take prompt action to reverse President Obama’s rules.

But the order has been criticised by civil rights groups and some Republicans in Congress.

“It is one thing for federal officials to work with local authorities to reduce or solve crime, but it is another for them to subsidise militarisation,” Senator Rand Paul said in a statement.

Mr Paul said that he would work to introduce legislation to ensure there was transparency in relation to such transfers so that law enforcement agencies do not to gain possession of equipment which remains prohibited.

US military can now seize or destroy consumer drones it considers a threat

Drones are not allowed near airports and defence installationsPhoto by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The US Army can now shoot down drones, both private and commercial, that it deems a threat. Sanction to do so came after the Pentagon passed a policy on drones that encroach upon the airspace of military bases and fly over no-fly zones, the Military Times reported.

Drones that pose a threat can also now be seized. Until now, the use of civilian or commercial drones over no-fly zones only resulted in fines and/or jail time.

Details of this policy are classified, but Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said that it broadly deals with “rules of engagement” for bases when faced with civilian or commercial drones.

Unclassified guidance has been sent out to all branches of the armed forces on how they can communicate this message with local communities. Davis said all bases, “retain the right of self-defense when it comes to UAVs or drones operating over [them].”

“The new guidance does afford of the ability to take action to stop these threats and that includes disabling, destroying and tracking.”

This policy will be implemented across 133 bases around the country, according to the Department of Defense.

At this point it is not clear how each base will deal with drones that it considers a hazard. Exactly how each base will deal with a drone based threat, “will depend upon the specific circumstances” said Davis.

Lasers that can disable drones, radio jamming, nets, or actual bullets can all be used against UAVS. The French government is even training large birds of prey to bring down drones effectively.

FAA guidelines already restrict drones from several places. They are not allowed anywhere close to military installations, and cannot fly over national parks and large stadiums where events are under way. Besides, they are restricted from flying over a 5m radius around airports.

In order to comply with regulations, makers of drones have taken precautions like geo-fencing their UAVs. Drone enthusiasts also make use of maps that point out areas where drones are not allowed. However, these measures do not always work perfectly and the threat of hacking is ever present.

Grey areas exist in the Pentagon’s latest guidelines on drone movement. While it is clear that drones will not be allowed over bases, there is no clarity regarding installations that are not strictly bases, but land leased by the army for use from civilians. Such areas, specifically the ones around farmland that contain missile silos are not no-fly zones and farmers use drones to monitor their farms and cattle. It is still not clear if such areas will also be included in the no-fly zone going forward, the report says.

Trump signs directive banning transgender military recruits

© JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/AFP/Getty Images A protester displays a placard during a demonstration against US President Donald Trump, in front of the US Army career center in Times Square, New York, on July 26, 2017.

President Donald Trump on Friday directed the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban transgender people from serving.

The presidential memorandum also bans the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.

Trump also directed the departments of Defense and Homeland Security “to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant,” the White House official said.

The White House official who briefed reporters on the memo on Friday evening declined to say whethercurrent transgender troops would be allowed to remain in the military under those policy guidelines.

The official signaled that the administration was returning to the military’s pre-2016 policy under which no transgender individuals were allowed to serve openly in the armed forces,but said Trump was giving the secretaries of defense and homeland security leeway to determine the policy on currently serving transgender troops.

The official rejected any notion that Trump’s directive amounted to discrimination against transgender individuals, and insisted that Trump was not walking back his rhetoric from the 2016 campaign when he vowed to fight for LGBT Americans.

“The President is the President for all Americans, and during last year’s campaign he was the first GOP nominee to talk about LGBTQ issues at the GOP convention, but he also was critical of the Obama administration’s change in that longstanding DOD policy,” the official said.

“He’s going to continue to ensure that the rights of the LGBTQ community, as well as all Americans, is protected,” the official added. “This policy is based on a series of national security considerations.”

The guidance comes a month after Trump said on Twitter that he would reinstate a ban on transgender troops, an announcement that took many in the military’s leadership — including the joint chiefs of staff — by surprise.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

“Thank you,” he added.

The White House offered no guidance at the time as to how the ban would be implemented, leaving transgender service members wondering about their future in the military.

Trump’s decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review, that would have allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the military. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced in June that he was delaying a decision on whether to allow the military to recruit transgender individuals.

Trump’s July announcement was met with widespread rebuke by members of both parties and civil rights advocates, who argued that Trump’s decision reversed years of progress for LGBT rights and flew in the face of studies showing minimal impacts on the military.

A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force.

The study put the number of transgender people in the military at between 1,320 and 6,630. Gender-change surgery is rare in the general population, and the Rand study estimated the possibility of 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members annually. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year, an amount that would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditures, the study found.

CNN’s Elizabeth Landers contributed to this report.

Killer Robot Drones are Coming to a Military Near You

Weaponized drones aren’t new. The US military, and more recently that of other countries, have been using large, expensive, missile-equipped models for remote strikes for many years. But lightweight drones have been limited by the amount of gimbal required to deal with recoil, and the weight of a weapon plus ammunition. Startup Duke Robotics says it is changing all that. Its TIKAD system combines a remote-control weapon system with a purpose-built, eight-rotor drone. The combination is designed to be operated with a slick-looking, ruggedized tablet from a remote location.

Weaponized drones aren’t new. The US military, and more recently that of other countries, have been using large, expensive, missile-equipped models for remote strikes for many years. But lightweight drones have been limited by the amount of gimbal required to deal with recoil, and the weight of a weapon plus ammunition. Startup Duke Robotics says it is changing all that. Its TIKAD system combines a remote-control weapon system with a purpose-built, eight-rotor drone. The combination is designed to be operated with a slick-looking, ruggedized tablet from a remote location.

TIKAD: Born From a Need for Better Asymmetric Warfare Tools

The founders of Duke Robotics had decades of experience in the Israeli Defense Forces, and were involved in many troop-intensive campaigns to hunt down terrorists in civilian areas. They became focused on the possibility of reducing or eliminating the casualties among their own troops in that situation, and decided weaponized drones offered the best option. Its first efforts used an off-the-shelf drone, but subsequently they have developed their own model that uses a system of interlocking plates to gimbal up to 22 pounds of payload and allows accurate automatic firing.

I found this PR image from Duke with the soldier, the small child, and the weapon system a little spooky

From reading what the company has published, there doesn’t seem to have been nearly as much attention paid to reducing collateral damage or civilian casualties. I expect that to become a very large point of contention when any of these systems are actually deployed — just like civilian casualties from US drone strikes are already quite a controversial subject. In particular, as I can attest from flying my own drones, viewing the world from a tablet connected to a single camera doesn’t provide anywhere near the situational awareness of actually being there.

Up until now Duke has operated on a shoestring budget of bank loans and preliminary orders from the IDF. To bring TIKAD to market, it’s looking to raise $15 million through a crowd-funded equity drive. Anyone with $450 or more to shell out can get in on the action. There are rules about how openly the company can tout the stock itself, but clearly this stylish TIKAD launch video is aimed more at potential small investors than possible customers:

 

TIKAD: Born From a Need for Better Asymmetric Warfare Tools

The founders of Duke Robotics had decades of experience in the Israeli Defense Forces, and were involved in many troop-intensive campaigns to hunt down terrorists in civilian areas. They became focused on the possibility of reducing or eliminating the casualties among their own troops in that situation, and decided weaponized drones offered the best option. Its first efforts used an off-the-shelf drone, but subsequently they have developed their own model that uses a system of interlocking plates to gimbal up to 22 pounds of payload and allows accurate automatic firing.

From reading what the company has published, there doesn’t seem to have been nearly as much attention paid to reducing collateral damage or civilian casualties. I expect that to become a very large point of contention when any of these systems are actually deployed — just like civilian casualties from US drone strikes are already quite a controversial subject. In particular, as I can attest from flying my own drones, viewing the world from a tablet connected to a single camera doesn’t provide anywhere near the situational awareness of actually being there.

Up until now Duke has operated on a shoestring budget of bank loans and preliminary orders from the IDF. To bring TIKAD to market, it’s looking to raise $15 million through a crowd-funded equity drive. Anyone with $450 or more to shell out can get in on the action. There are rules about how openly the company can tout the stock itself, but clearly this stylish TIKAD launch video is aimed more at potential small investors than possible customers:

8 Ways The National Science Foundation Supports The Military

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is usually associated with supporting scientists who go on to win Nobel Prizes, leading exploration of the planet’s polar regions and enabling discoveries about the universe, from the subatomic world to distant galaxies. But the foundation also has ties to national defense that go back to its beginnings, as a product of the U.S. government working to enhance security during and after World War II. The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 called for the creation of an agency to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.”

And so NSF began.

“It was a time when many — including NSF’s founder, Vannevar Bush — recognized the value of science and the need to foster its growth,” said NSF historian Leo Slater. “Fundamental scientific research was important then, as it still is today, in fostering innovation and driving new applications that help the entire nation, including the military.”

NSF’s federal partners, like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Army Research Lab, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research and the Naval Research Laboratory, focus on security-related research with an eye toward specific applications. That applied research, however, relies on a steady supply of basic research — work that expands the scientific community’s understanding of fundamental phenomena. Basic research is where NSF serves as an important asset for national security, laying the groundwork for later applications.

Long ago, Vannevar Bush wrote something that remains true today: “It has become clear beyond all doubt that scientific research is absolutely essential to national security.”

NSF continues to fund fundamental research that benefits U.S. troops — from new materials for more protective Army flak jackets to novel approaches for addressing post-traumatic stress disorder. The following is a list of eight ways NSF-funded research supports the military:

Building a stronger bulletproof vest

Kit Parker is an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who has served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan. He is also a bioengineer at Harvard University. With NSF funding, Parker studies the strength and elasticity of spider silk fibers to build a lighter, more flexible bulletproof vest without compromising protective features.

Countering violent extremism

Many dismiss extremists as psychopaths. But, based on interviews with extremists in war zones, University of Michigan anthropologist Scott Atran and psychologist Jeremy Ginges from The New School in New York City have found the truth is more complicated. With NSF support, Atran and Ginges conducted studies across six continents, observing, interviewing and studying people in war zones, as well as peaceful neighborhoods, to learn what drives a person to violent extremism. The work led to findings that could help with the development of strategies to disrupt recruitment. The Department of Defense and other agencies are now using this research to better counter violent extremism.

Fundamental physics for better GPS

Whether it’s mapping to a rendezvous point, keeping a fighter jet on course or developing missiles with precision accuracy, GPS is an essential tool for today’s military that relies on fundamental physics. Einstein’s theories of relativity provide the relativistic corrections that ensure the kind of accuracy the military has come to rely on in its GPS devices. Without those corrections, GPS localization would accumulate errors at a rate of 10 kilometers a day. NSF-funded theoretical and experimental physics research helped provide the foundation for those more accurate systems. The agency continues its support today, funding work to enhance GPS accuracy through means such as improved atomic clocks.

Improving prosthetics with brain-computer interface

If you can think it, you can do it — at least, that could be the adage for Jose Contreras-Vidal, a professor formerly with the University of Maryland, College Park and currently with the University of Houston. He and his team have created a non-invasive, sensor-lined cap that forms a brain-computer interface that could one day control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorized wheelchairs and even digital avatars. This advance could significantly improve how vets adapt to prosthetics of the future.

Minimizing blood loss in battle wounds

Treating traumatic wounds on the battlefield poses incredible challenges. Controlling bleeding is one of the first priorities, but when medics are dealing with torso injuries, they can’t use traditional compression methods. To address this life-threatening problem, small business Remedium Technologies is using NSF funding to develop a product called Hemogrip, a biopolymer foam in a handheld, lightweight canister. The sprayable foam would expand in a wound, adhering to tissue and sealing it, thereby minimizing blood loss and saving soldiers’ lives.

Software helps military veterans with PTSD, depression and other issues

As much as 77 percent of returning military personnel don’t get the treatment they need due to a lack of adequate available resources, combined with a fear of stigmatization inherent in seeking face-to-face treatment. With support from NSF, former Navy pilot Rich Gengler, former Army Sgt. Justin Savage and the team at Prevail Health Solutions have built and tested an online screening and counseling program called VetsPrevail. Optimized through careful research, the program helps service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan make a more successful transition back to civilian life.

Detecting explosives using a tip from nature

With funding from NSF, Tak-Sing Wong and his team of Penn State University researchers have developed a versatile technique to detect very small numbers of molecules from chemicals and biological species in gaseous, liquid or solid samples. Their sensor platform combines laser-based Raman spectroscopy — a technique used for identifying substances by finding their molecular “fingerprints” — with a slippery surface based on that of the carnivorous Asian pitcher plant. The slick surface allows users to concentrate samples, making the target molecules easier to find. This technology opens the door to improved detection of environmental contaminants, biological agents and chemical explosives, offering many potential applications in national security.

Predicting conflict

What if we could more accurately predict where conflict will arise next? What if we could tease apart the variables most likely to lead to war? A team of researchers, including political scientists Skyler Cranmer of Ohio State University, Bruce Desmarais of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and statistician Shankar Bhamidi of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, developed a new method of modeling international conflict. The researchers say their technique can predict where conflicts will occur five and even 10 years into the future — better than any existing model.

How Does Depression Relate to Military Service?

Depression and Military Families

Mood disorders are a group of mental illnesses characterized by a drastic change in mood. Depressionis one of the most common mood disorders that can affect anyone at any time. However, military service members are at a particularly high risk for developing these conditions. Recent studies show that depression is seen much more often in military service members than in civilians.

It’s estimated that up to 14 percent of service members experience depression after deployment. However, this number may be even higher because some service members don’t seek care for their condition. Additionally, about 19 percent of service members report that they experienced traumatic brain injuries during combat. These types of injuries commonly include concussions, which can damage the brain and trigger depressive symptoms.

Multiple deployments and trauma-related stress don’t just increase the risk of depression in service members. Their spouses are also at an increased risk, and their children are more likely to experience emotional and behavioral problems.

Symptoms of depression in soldiers and their spouses

Military service members and their spouses have higher rates of depression than the general population. Depression is a serious condition characterized by persistent and intense feelings of sadness for extended periods. This mood disorder can impact your mood and behavior. It may also affect various physical functions, such as your appetite and sleep. People with depression often have trouble performing everyday activities. Occasionally, they may also feel as if life isn’t worth living.

Common symptoms of depression include:

irritability
difficulty concentrating and making decisions
fatigue or lack of energy
feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or self-hate
social isolation
a loss of interest in activities and hobbies that used to be pleasurable
sleeping too much or too little
dramatic changes in appetite along with corresponding weight gain or loss
suicidal thoughts or behaviors
In more severe cases of depression, someone may also experience psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations. This is a very dangerous condition and requires immediate intervention by a mental health professional.

Symptoms of emotional stress in military children

The death of a parent is a reality for many children in military families. Over 2,200 children lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan during the War on Terror. Experiencing such a devastating loss at a young age significantly increases the risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and behavioral problems in the future.

Even when a parent returns safely from war, children still have to deal with the stress of military life. This often includes absentee parents, frequent moves, and new schools. Emotional and behavioral issues in children may occur as a result of these changes.

The symptoms of emotional problems in children include:

separation anxiety
temper tantrums
changes in eating habits
changes in sleeping habits
trouble in school
moodiness
anger
acting out
social isolation
The mental health of an at-home parent is a major factor in how children deal with the deployment of their parent. Children of depressed parents are more likely to develop psychological and behavioral problems than those whose parents are dealing with the stress of deployment positively.

The impact of stress on military families

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 1.7 million soldiers served in Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of 2008. Of those soldiers, nearly half have children. These children had to face the challenges that come with having a parent deployed overseas. They also had to cope with living with a parent who may have changed after going to war. Making these adjustments can have a profound impact on a young child or teenager.

According to a 2010 study, children with a deployed parent are particularly susceptible to behavioral problems, stress disorders, and mood disorders. They’re also more likely to experience difficulty in school. This is largely due to the stress that children experience during their parent’s deployment as well as after they come home.

The parent who stays behind during a deployment may also experience similar issues. They often fear for their spouse’s safety and feel overwhelmed by increased responsibilities at home. As a result, they may begin to feel anxious, sad, or lonely while their spouse is away. All of these emotions can eventually lead to depression and other mental disorders.

Studies on depression and violence

Studies of Vietnam-era veterans show the devastating impact of depression on families. Veterans of that war had higher levels of divorce and marital problems, domestic violence, and partner distress than others. Often, soldiers returning from combat will detach from daily life due to emotional problems. This makes it difficult for them to nurture relationships with their spouses and children.

More recent studies of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans have examined family function in the near-term after deployment. They found that dissociative behaviors, sexual problems, and sleep troubles had the greatest impact on family relationships.

According to one mental health evaluation, 75 percent of veterans with partners reported at least one “family adjustment issue” upon returning home. Additionally, about 54 percent of veterans reported that they had shoved or shouted at their partner in the months after returning from deployment. The symptoms of depression, in particular, were most likely to result in domestic violence. Service members with depression were also more likely to report that their children were afraid of them or lacked warmth towards them.

Getting help

A counselor can help you and your family members address any issues. These may include relationship problems, financial difficulties, and emotional issues. Numerous military support programs offer confidential counseling to service members and their families. A counselor can also teach you how to cope with stress and grief. Military OneSource, Tricare, and Real Warriors can be helpful resources to get you started.

In the meantime, you can try various coping strategies if you’ve recently returned from deployment and you’re having trouble readjusting to civilian life:

Be patient.

It can take time to reconnect with family after returning from war. This is normal at the beginning, but you may be able to restore the connection over time.

Talk to someone.

Even though you may feel alone right now, people can support you. Whether it’s a close friend or family member, talk to someone you trust about your challenges. This should be a person who’ll be there for you and listen to you with compassion and acceptance.

Avoid social isolation.

It’s important to spend time with friends and family, especially your partner and children. Working to reestablish your connection with loved ones can ease your stress and boost your mood.

Avoid drugs and alcohol.

It may be tempting to turn to these substances during challenging times. However, doing so can make you feel worse and may lead to dependence.

Share losses with others.

You may initially be reluctant to talk about losing a fellow soldier in combat. However, bottling up your emotions can be detrimental, so it’s helpful to talk about your experiences in some way. Try joining a military support group if you’re reluctant to talk about it with someone you know personally. This type of support group can be particularly beneficial because you’ll be surrounded by others who can relate to what you’re experiencing.

These strategies can be very helpful as you adjust to life after combat. However, you’ll need professional medical treatment if you’re experiencing severe stress or sadness.

It’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor or a mental health professional as soon as you have any symptoms of depression or another mood disorder. Getting prompt treatment can prevent symptoms from getting worse and speed up recovery time.

What should I do if I think my military spouse or child has depression?
If your spouse or child demonstrates sadness related to your deployment, it’s quite understandable. It’s time to encourage them to get help from their doctor if you see that their sadness is getting worse or it’s impacting their ability to do things they need to do throughout the day, such as their activities in the house, at work, or at school.
– Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PMHNP-BC