McNeill

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com.

We can’t give you a direct link for legal reasons, but we can tell you that the website TheDrive, which follows the defense industry, on Monday published an article by Tyler Rogoway and Joseph Trevithick headlined, “Mysterious drone incursions have occurred over U.S. THAAD anti-ballistic missile battery in Guam.” The subhead tells the story about the threat to the missile system assembled by Lockheed Martin in Camden, “It’s yet another reminder of just how vulnerable highly strategic assets, even air defense systems, are to low-end drones.” It seems that in two separate nighttime events, surface skimming drones – of the type anyone can buy off the shelf – popped up above strategic positions at Andersen AFB, shone bright spotlights on the positions, and disappeared. The article notes that the drones may just as well have been carrying small bombs of sufficient size to damage THAAD launchers. It’s not known who was controlling the drones but that matter is under active investigation. The writers said the incident highlights “how the Pentagon's fixation on high-end threats, and the huge gold-plated weapons programs that are put into play to counter them, have left even those very capabilities remarkably vulnerable to far less advanced attacks.”

Of course, the United States military is aware of the off-the-shelf drone threat and is working on counter-measures. But, the incident on Guam demonstrates that close-in defense hasn’t been perfected. The most promising defense involves high-energy lasers, but their effectiveness against what are essentially toy drones bought off Amazon has yet to be established. Cheap drones have been used in attacks on military installations and personnel elsewhere, especially in the Middle East.

We reported this week about Walmart’s plans to test deliveries of certain health and wellness products via drones starting early next year. It goes without saying that the ability to deliver medication to your door can also be perverted into nefarious uses.

Someone struck a cow on a Waldo roadway the other night. With a car. Not a drone.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last week that he planned only weekly news conferences dealing with COVID-19 related topics moving forward unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Apparently, circumstances dictate otherwise this week. The governor held a COVID press conference on Tuesday, and now plans another COVID press conference today in Batesville. The governor admitted frustration on Tuesday when he said that the state was adding an additional 139 deaths to its official death toll, per CDC guidelines on what should be counted as COVID deaths. Arkansas’ COVID death total may well surpass 1,200 by the end of the week.

No continuing education programs are planned at Southern Arkansas University this fall. Another COVID-19 victim.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. Email him at news@magnoliareporter.com or call 870-904-3865.

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