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Thread: Using drones: principles, tactics and results (amended title)

  1. #261
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mark Bowden adds

    A lengthy article by Mark Bowden in The Atlantic magazine:http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...ngle_page=true

    For followers of this thread probably not much new, nevertheless well-written.
    davidbfpo

  2. #262
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    Default Drones: Actually the Most Humane Form of Warfare Ever

    Drones: Actually the Most Humane Form of Warfare Ever

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  3. #263
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Air Force General Says Drones Are Useless!!!

    Link to Foreign Policy magazine article iwhere a US Air Force General says in future conventional wars drones will be worthless due to their susceptibility to Anti Aircraft Missiles.

    http://killerapps.foreignpolicy.com/...e_general_says

  4. #264
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Link to Foreign Policy magazine article iwhere a US Air Force General says in future conventional wars drones will be worthless due to their susceptibility to Anti Aircraft Missiles.

    http://killerapps.foreignpolicy.com/...e_general_says
    We didn't need a general to know this, right?
    Predator A is basically a motorglider on autopilot.

    The USAF required long ago that a successor shall be survivable in less permissive environments. I forgot the exact words, but I remember the tender said something about medium threats.


    On the other hand, the U.S. military developed plenty drones which were not of the motorglider pattern; plenty low observability designs with turbofans, for example.
    The drones which seemed to have primetime before 2003 were drones meant for a European battlefield (KZO Brevel, Cl 289, Caracelle etc.); such as the ones used over Kosovo '99. This kind of drones is very compact with a small wing span, has relatively robust and typically encrypted radio links, and was meant for minutes or few hours of endurance.

    Other drones are too small to justify the expense of a missile, and some are so very small even a Shilka would be a poor weapon against it, calling rather for shotguns.

    The motorglider category of drones is really specialised on wars of occupation, assassinations and peacetime spying over borders. We knew this, right?

  5. #265
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Dual post.

    A U.S. command and control center in Yemen, used to direct drone strikes against al Qaeda havens in the country, was the target of a massive terrorist attack in the country late last month.

    The Sept. 30 attempted assault on the military base in Mukalla on the country's southeastern coast was initially seen as an attempt by al Qaeda's Yemen faction to establish new strongholds in the country.

    But the terrorist group, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), now claims the attack was an attempt to take out the U.S. command node in Mukalla and hamper American drone strikes in the country.
    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill...#ixzz2hnq0xqry
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
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    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


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  6. #266
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG View Post
    Going after the pilots or the ground radio links, good move. This should complicate things.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  7. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    The USAF required long ago that a successor shall be survivable in less permissive environments. I forgot the exact words, but I remember the tender said something about medium threats.
    That's true, but it's not just about air defense. The C2 link is the critical node in any remote controlled system.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  8. #268
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    Default Emmerson UN Report

    Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (by Ben Emmerson, 18 Sep 2013):

    The present report is the third annual report submitted to the General Assembly by the current Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

    The key activities undertaken by the Special Rapporteur between 10 January and 8 August 2013 are listed in section II. Section III is an interim report to the General Assembly on the use of remotely piloted aircraft in counter-terrorism operations. The Special Rapporteur intends to submit a final report on this subject to the Human Rights Council in 2014.
    The salient conclusion of the report is simply this:

    77. If used in strict compliance with the principles of international humanitarian law, remotely piloted aircraft are capable of reducing the risk of civilian casualties in armed conflict by significantly improving the situational awareness of military commanders.
    The devil is always in the details; and the question here is what does Mr Emmerson (who is a practitioner and not a foggy academic) mean by the term "in strict compliance" with international humanitarian law (aka Laws of Armed Conflict; aka Laws of War).

    He delineates "strict compliance" in two earlier paragraphs. The first reads (in pertinent part):

    23. Section B provides an overview of the capabilities and deployment of weaponized remotely piloted aircraft and the levels of reported civilian casualties.[4]

    4 Differences of view about the forms of activity that amount to direct participation in hostilities under international humanitarian law will almost inevitably result in different assessments of civilian casualty levels. The Special Rapporteur adopts herein the interpretative guidance on direct participation in hostilities promulgated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nils Melzer:http://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files...c-002-0990.pdf (Geneva, ICRC, 2009); see paras. 69-72.
    Thus, Mr Emmerson has adopted the most restrictive test for "combatants" (and, conversely, the most expansive test for "civilians"). The 2009 ICRC's "Interpretive Guidance" was and still is controversial; e.g., as per these snips from pp. 65, 67:

    Measures preparatory to the execution of a specific act of direct participation in hostilities, as well as the deployment to and the return from the location of its execution, constitute an integral part of that act.
    ...
    A deployment amounting to direct participation in hostilities begins only once the deploying individual undertakes a physical displacement with a view to carrying out a specific operation. The return from the execution of a specific hostile act ends once the individual in question has physically separated from the operation, for example by laying down, storing or hiding the weapons or other equipment used and resuming activities distinct from that operation.
    The 2009 ICRC "guidance" wholeheartedly endorses the concept of the "transitory guerrilla" (aka "freedom fighter"), which has morphed the Laws of War since the 1977 APs to the GCs.

    The second major point made by Mr Emmerson is this:

    24. The Special Rapporteur does not use the expression “targeted killing” herein because its meaning and significance differ according to the legal regime applicable in specific factual circumstances. In a situation qualifying as an armed conflict, the adoption of a pre-identified list of individual military targets is not unlawful; if based upon reliable intelligence it is a paradigm application of the principle of distinction. Conversely, outside situations of armed conflict, international human rights law prohibits almost any counter-terrorism operation that has the infliction of deadly force as its sole or main purpose (A/HRC/14/24/Add.6, paras. 28 and 32-33). The threshold question therefore is not whether a killing is targeted, but whether it takes place within or outside a situation of armed conflict (see paras. 62-68 below).
    Again, drawing "a line" between what is and what is not an "armed conflict" (aka "war") has its restrictive proponents and its expansive proponents. The logic tends to be a priori - which some admit, and others do not.

    Specific legal points made by Mr Emmerson (in parts C & D) belong to the thread, The Rules - Engaging HVTs & OBL.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-23-2013 at 08:40 AM. Reason: Amend link at author's request

  9. #269
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    Default The Future of Counterterrorism: Fewer Drones, More Partnerships

    The Future of Counterterrorism: Fewer Drones, More Partnerships

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  10. #270
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    Default The NGOs chime in ...

    with Ben Emmerson's UN report; though in a more strident manner.

    Amnesty International, “Will I Be Next?” - US Drone Strikes in Pakistan; investigates nine drone strikes in North Waziristan between January 2012 and August 2013.

    Human Rights Watch, “Between a Drone and Al Qaeda” - The Civilian Cost of US Targeted Killings in Yemen; examines six drone strikes in Yemen, one from 2009 and the remaining five from 2012 and 2013.

    Both reports employ restrictive definitions of "combatants", and expansive definitions of "civilians", in those limited situations where the Laws of War (Laws of Armed Conflict; International Humanitarian Law) are believed by the two NGOs to be possibly applicable. In general, they prefer International Human Rights Law (i.e., the absence of an armed conflict). In any event, both reports apply standards which would be very restrictive of drone usage.

    By now, this thread's readers should be more than capable of deciding between the various policy-military-legal paradigms, without need for lengthy sermons by this writer.

    Regards

    Mike

    PS: I disagree with Ben's legal positions, which I think are ill-chosen (see prior post); but, if one chooses those positions, one would have to follow Ben's logic . The two NGO reports are "special pleadings"; in short, agitprop.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-23-2013 at 08:41 AM. Reason: Correction made 4 author in previous post, so text removed

  11. #271
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    Default World of Drones to Get Wilder and Wider

    World of Drones to Get Wilder and Wider

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  12. #272
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    Default Predators: The CIA’s Drone War on al Qaeda

    Predators: The CIA’s Drone War on al Qaeda

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  13. #273
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default More on drones

    There is a double bargain today on SWJ Blog, a review of Dr. Brian Glyn William book 'Predators: The CIA’s Drone War on al Qaeda':http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...ar-on-al-qaeda

    The first comment by a RAF officer, Keith Dear, points to an article in the journal Defence Stuies he wrote 'Beheading the Hydra? Does Killing Terrorist or Insurgent Leaders work', which is currently fully available for free: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...3#.UrnPJfsXluh

    Yet more to read one day.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-24-2013 at 11:25 PM.
    davidbfpo

  14. #274
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    Default Drones and Apaches Are the Army’s New Aerial Scouts

    Drones and Apaches Are the Army’s New Aerial Scouts

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  15. #275
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    Default SecDef Should Crack Whip On Cyber, Drones, & Training Foreigners

    SecDef Should Crack Whip On Cyber, Drones, & Training Foreigners

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  16. #276
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    Default Do Drones Present New Military Opportunities

    Do Drones Present New Military Opportunities

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  17. #277
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator adds

    I have merged several SWJ Blog posts to this thread. Several threads exist on specific topics related to drones, including targeting, use in rain forest Africa and more.
    davidbfpo

  18. #278
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Targeting: gathering information

    A curious article on how targeting works, in particular the role of the NSA and from authors with an agenda. The title is: The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program:https://firstlook.org/theintercept/a...s-secret-role/

    Already one author, the BBC's Mark Urban, have questioned the claim to be a revelation as he had written on this theme in 2010 (via Twitter).
    davidbfpo

  19. #279
    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default U.S. Debates Drone Strike on American Terror Suspect in Pakistan

    NY Times article Feb 10, 2014: "WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is debating whether to authorize a lethal strike against an American citizen living in Pakistan who some believe is actively plotting terrorist attacks, according to current and former government officials.

    It is the first time American officials have actively discussed killing an American citizen overseas since President Obama imposed new restrictions on drone operations last May." Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/wo...stan.html?_r=0

    A subject which in my opinion does not draw enough attention considering the targeting of one's own citizens.
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

  20. #280
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    What's the legal position?


    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    NY Times article Feb 10, 2014: "WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is debating whether to authorize a lethal strike against an American citizen living in Pakistan who some believe is actively plotting terrorist attacks, according to current and former government officials.

    It is the first time American officials have actively discussed killing an American citizen overseas since President Obama imposed new restrictions on drone operations last May." Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/wo...stan.html?_r=0

    A subject which in my opinion does not draw enough attention considering the targeting of one's own citizens.

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