In Brief: New FBI Chief Chosen; Hagel in Asia Talks; Navy’s Unmanned Boat

Mike O'Brien

PRESIDENT OBAMA is poised to nominate a former Justice Department official under President George W Bush as the next FBI director.

The endorsement of Republican James Comey is a bipartisan move at a time when Mr. Obama is under pressure from Republicans in Congress.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Comey will replace Robert Mueller, who is retiring in September.

Mr. Comey was Deputy Attorney General in the Bush administration before working as general counsel for a hedge fund.

DEFENSE SECRETARY Chuck Hagel will discuss the Asia Pivot when he joins the huge Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) conference in Singapore on Friday.

Military chiefs, defense ministers and senior government officials from 31 countries will be at the event, which is officially known as the 12th Asia Security Summit.

Mr. Hagel is expected to be quizzed on the proposed U.S. AirSea Battle strategy, with scores of Asia-Pacific allies desperate to know how it will impact their own security, reports.

Tim Huxley, executive director of International Institute for Strategic Studies-Asia, said: "More than ever this year, there will be ample opportunities to discuss and debate ‘hard security’ concerns, such as the implications of maritime disputes, military modernization programs and missile defense against the backdrop of the contentions in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Korean Peninsula, and over Taiwan."

THE U.S. NAVY is developing a new mine-detecting Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) which will sweep across the ocean in search of mines using magnetic and acoustic technologies.

The service is planning to award a contract to up to two industry teams to start building the boat next year The draft Request for Proposal was released in December 2012.

Capt. John Ailes, Mission Modules program manager, Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), said: "We have an Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) which consists of a boat with no people on it with a magnetic and acoustic device that it tows, called the Unmanned Surface Sweep System (US3). Together, this will allow us to replace the MH-53 helicopters that we use today in the legacy fleet to do these kinds of mine sweeps."

The service plans to carry out formal testing of two initial production units from 2015 to 2017, to be followed by Initial Operational Capability in 2017, writes.