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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Chester County, PA
Rise of the Drones
This is a follow-up to a post I made in response to an item called "Fully Integrated Military" and is focused on the use of drones and a changing military. Last evening PBS had a segment on called "Rise of the Drones" and it was, to me anyhow, a revelation in terms of what the future holds for our miltary and how we, and our foes, fight wars. Right now the USA has the marked cornered on drone technology and certainaly on their use. But, given that this technology is releatively cheap and there are a lot of bright engineers all over the planet I don't think we will be in the cat-bird seat forever. A few things come to mind. One is how this technology is changing our military, especially the USAF, where the construct has been that being a fighter pilot is the major qualifier for being a general officer. With the drones coming on line more and more, that old paradime just ain't 'gonna fly much longer. Pun is intended. It would be like the US Navy no longer having tha hidden requirement that an admiral needs to have commanded a flat-top battle group. Sure, that's not official, but it's there. Second, the vast make up of the drones in terms of size, mission, cost, capabilities and operations is phenominal and lends them to such a broad array of uses that, from my perspective, we have just scratched the surface. Reconnisance, reconnisance / killer, are just two that are fascinating and good greif I wish we had them when I was in the Marines! Third, I hope that somewhere in our vast military-industrial complex someone is considerieng what we are going to do in terms of anti-drone operations. As sure as Iran and N Korea are developing nuclear weapons they, and probably a ton of other countries, are looking at drones to deliver them. Consider the capability of the Predator to fly thousands of miles, loiter on station, identify a target and take it out. What if our Iranian pals had that capability? I would be very worried about how they would use it to attack Israel, Washington D C or an obscure cartoonist in France who has somehow wronged Allah. What this technology will bring to how we fight wars is pretty evident. But on a larger scale it impacts "why" we fight wars in a deeper way. War, to me, is a waste, but it is a necessary waste that we hope will bring about a change in an enmeies' actions that are favorable to us and our interests. In the past we were able to hammer our foes and through direct intervenion (boots on the ground) in their country, politics and social structure "won the war". However, our major enemy now is not so much a country as it is a shapless pahntom, a thought, a deep unabiding hatred based in a major religion that has become hijacked by uncomprromising fanatics with blood on their teeth and hands. Thoes characteristics of the enemy do not lend themselves to us having a "victory" in the traditional sense of the word. This is going to be an ongoing conflict that already has become part of the American fabric. Us pulling out of Afghanistan soon, although it is not soon enough, will not end this war. It will continue and it will continue at many levels which will require a change in our military to effectively combat it. We will need more Special Operations resources at the expense of large forces. Traditional roles and mission capabilities will need retention but on a smaller scale. More technology to detect threats, identify the enemy and kill them immediately at the political / strategic level and tactical level is needed. A major restructuring of our military, devoid of traditional and historical bounds and perceptions is needed. We need to ask questions like: Why do we need a Marine Corps? - Is the USAF capabilities and missions better accomplished by breaking up this branch and deviding the capabilities between the US Army and US Navy? These are just a few that come to mind but they represent what I think should be considered if we are going to respond to modern threats in an effective way. The use of drones is just the beginning.
Good night Chesty, wherever you are......