Author Elias Benda

DEFAERO SPOTLIGHT
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On August 20th, 1968, hundreds of thousands of Warsaw Pact troops and tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to end the liberalization of the “Prague Spring,” in what became the largest military action in Europe since the end of World War II. 

Czechoslovakia had been run by a pro-Soviet Communist government since 1948, imposing strict political, social and economic policies. By the 1960s, Czechoslovakia had been undergoing de-stalinization like many Eastern bloc countries, but proceeded more slowly and was accompanied by economic struggles.

In January 1968, following years of pressure for economic reforms and liberalization from academic, literary and student groups, the Czechoslovakian Central Committee unanimously elected Slovak Alexander Dubceck as first secretary. Dubceck quickly embraced popular calls for major reforms, advocating for a move towards personal, political and press freedoms, economic liberalization and increased autonomy for Slovakia in what he described as “socialism with a human face.”

These reforms proved too threatening to Soviet interests, and on orders from Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhniev, Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia overnight from Aug. 20th to 21st, 1968. Though facing no military resistance, citizens across the country protested and resisted, attempting to slow the invading forces with homemade barricades. Dozens of citizens were killed, and ultimately Dubceck and his policies were removed from office. It would take until 1989 for democratic reforms to finally take hold in the country. 

THINK TANK CENTRAL
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Timothy Walton and Adam Lemon of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, discuss their new study, “Leveling the Plying Field: Reintroducing U.S. Theater-Range Missiles in a Post-INF World,” with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian in Washington, DC.

VIDEOS
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Natalia Arno, president and founder of the Free Russia Foundation, discusses recent nation-wide demonstrations against Russian President Vladimir Putin, the arrest of thousands of protesters including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, prospects for political change in Russia and who could succeed Putin with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, DC. Arno was exiled from Russia in 2012.

Technology
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Annette McClelland, CEO and Co-Founder of Tekuma, introduce their new tactile controller for drones and robots that offers six degrees of freedom with one-handed control and discuss the technology, ease of use, flexibility and market potential with Defense & Aerospace Editor Vago Muradian at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC.

Technology
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Ben Hept, Senior Manager of Product at GravityFit, discusses their new body suit with Gravity Sensory Input (GSI) technology and power mesh aimed to decrease injury risk to be applied in athletics, military and more with Defense & Aerospace Editor Vago Muradian at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC.

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