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

  1. #221
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    Default "Drones Make al Qaeda" or "Drone Kill al Qaeda"

    Thanks for your excellent comments.

    I've posted a question on the efficacy of drones, related to this post, if anyone is interested. Here's the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5JGSVMC

    Do "Drones Kill al Qaeda" or do "Drones Make al Qaeda"?

    http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=977

  2. #222
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Using drones: 450 UK drones lost in Iraq & Afgh

    To lose a weapons system is expected, this many is startling:
    Almost 450 drones operated by the British military have crashed, broken down or been lost in action during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last five years, figures reveal.

    The Ministry of Defence has disclosed for the first time the five Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems used in the conflicts and the number that have perished due to pilot error, technical faults or the undesirability of retrieving them from hostile areas.
    Link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/fe...ry-drones-lost

    An interesting contrast to CWOT's latest threads on using (American) drones.

    There is a long running main thread on drones, into which this will be merged one day: 'Using drones: principles, tactics and results':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=7385
    davidbfpo

  3. #223
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    Unhappy

    It's a bit misleading as the article user perished and crashed interchangeably. While at the large NATO Class II/III end of the scale these may be close to one and the same, in the Class I mini/micro/nano categories, a crash might be something from which the UAV is picked up dusted off and relaunched, possibly not even requiring any repairs.

    What this article chooses to ignore is the large number of hobbyist remote control air craft already operating freely in the UK, and most other Western nations, that have similar if not higher incident rates. Most military operated UAS are constructed to higher and more consistent standards than their hobby equivalents; and their operators are also trained to higher and more consistent levels.

    I think this article is yet more fear-mongering from those who just feel the need to fear-monger about anything.

  4. #224
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    Default

    I agree with this:
    I think this article is yet more fear-mongering from those who just feel the need to fear-monger about anything.
    I added the post as reliability of drones appears on SWC sometimes and it is part of the debate at home over drones.
    davidbfpo

  5. #225
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    Back in the 80's and 90's part of the sales pitch for drones was that they didn't need to have the super flight safety required for manned aviation. Less redundancy and less costs of testing were supposed to be major advantages of drones.
    The focus on being able to use tiny spotter drones and extremely long endurance drones (with Global Hawk as gold-plated example or giant proportions) is only about a decade old. Previously, drones were widely understood to be expendable, and I think we still understand the tiny ones are indeed still expendable.

  6. #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJPONeill View Post
    I think this article is yet more fear-mongering from those who just feel the need to fear-monger about anything.
    I don't know if it is fear mongering or not, but the article serves a useful purpose, to highlight the fact that drones crash a lot. They can't help but crash a lot given the limited view of the world the drivers have, the lag time between control input and response, what appears to me (viewing from the outside) to be limited control response, they are underpowered and the drivers have zero kinesthetic (sic) feedback. They are going to be crashing a lot until all those things are fixed.

    And of course sometimes they decide to go walkabout. I'll never forget the bemused look on the face of a battle captain once. I asked him what was up and he said "The drone." "Oh yeah. Where's it going?" "We don't know exactly, but it's on its way."
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  7. #227
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    Default Drone Pilots Are Shown to Have Stress Disorders

    A NYT article Drone Pilots Are Shown to Have Stress Disorders, which refers to a new DoD report:
    In the first study of its kind, researchers with the Defense Department have found that pilots of drone aircraft experience mental health problems like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress at the same rate as pilots of manned aircraft who are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The study affirms a growing body of research finding health hazards even for those piloting machines from bases far from actual combat zones.
    Note the DoD report is not readily found, that maybe because it is due to presented at a conference this week.

    Link to NYT article:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/us...it_th_20130223
    davidbfpo

  8. #228
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    In July 2012 the University of Surrey's Centre for International Intervention held a conference 'Hitting the Target?" How New Capabilities Are Shaping Contemporary International Intervention'; I am sure there are plenty of similar conferences elsewhere.

    There is something different about this as the principal academic comes from the 'Critical Studies on Terrorism' school:
    The workshop’s objective was to explore how new selective precision strike capabilities available to military and intelligence forces are shaping approaches to international intervention. It aimed to be a forum for dialogue between different academic disciplines, as well as between academia and policy-makers/practitioners.... it became apparent that the principal focus would be on the increasing offensive use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones”, a topic of increasing public debate as well as policy relevance.
    There are some PPT on a link.

    The conference is in partnership with RUSI, with an event next month in London, to launch a report and is decidedly optimistic that:
    Military action in Mali, Libya and elsewhere have demonstrated the continuing, critical reliance on advanced technological capabilities in modern Western intervention.
    Link:http://www.ias.surrey.ac.uk/workshop...ion/report.php

    Link to RUSI event (for members):http://www.rusi.org/events/ref:E511BB3D16FB0F
    davidbfpo

  9. #229
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    Default Drone Capabilities

    Video of what some of the new capabilites are.... identifyitng your cell phone from 20,000 feet and theses are only the ones that they are admitting to..


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGxNy...layer_embedded

  10. #230
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Video of what some of the new capabilites are.... identifyitng your cell phone from 20,000 feet and theses are only the ones that they are admitting to..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGxNy...layer_embedded
    A million terabytes a day? The Intelligence Community is apparently drafting a 1:1 map of the world.

    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  11. #231
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A NYT article Drone Pilots Are Shown to Have Stress Disorders, which refers to a new DoD report:
    The article says that the primary thing stressing the drone drivers is schedules. That is exactly the same thing the most bugs any commercial pilot. The article hinted the person doing the study was a bit disappointed by that because this person seemed to be looking for a more dramatic reason, angst about taking life anonymously, touchy-feely stuff like that.

    The reason pilots are almost always stressed about schedules is two fold. First, unless you're lucky it isn't a 9-5, or 3-11 or 11-7 job. It always varies and it makes it hard to fit into a 9-5. Monday to Friday world.

    Second, (and I don't know how much this goes for drone drivers) flying is a lot more fatiguing and fatiguing in a different way than people think. Prepping the plane, figuring the weather, delaying for two hours for weather and then flying two hours dodging weather to land in a snowstorm at an airport with moderate braking wears you out and then the day may only be half done. The suits don't see that. They only see you've been on duty for 7 hours. Dealing with an attitude, year after year, that equates 7 hours of blue skies and calm winds with 7 hours of blizzards stresses a guy.
    Last edited by carl; 03-01-2013 at 06:05 PM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  12. #232
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    Default Drones, Covert Action, and Counterterrorism: Why UAV Strikes should be Exclusively Mi

    Drones, Covert Action, and Counterterrorism: Why UAV Strikes should be Exclusively Military

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  13. #233
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    Default Are Drone Strikes Strategically Counterproductive in Yemen?

    The link is to a short article by a US law professor, on a blog I've heard of, but do not visit:http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/03/a...5nDLls.twitter

    Greg Johnsen, author of 'The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Queda, and America’s War in Arabia'...often read as arguing that American drone strikes in Yemen do more harm than good, because they spawn increased membership in the jihadi forces there....Based on his experience, he believes that a more refined drone program remains necessary — not that the US should end its drone program altogether. In particular, he believes that targeted killing in Yemen of high-level figures in AQ and associated forces does not tend to generate greater support and membership for these forces. Most Yemenis do not support these figures, are not outraged when they are killed, and do get mobilized against the US or the Yemeni government as a result.
    The key point is, using Yemen as an example, that drones strikes should be concentrate on high-level figures.
    davidbfpo

  14. #234
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    Default Ex-USG lawyer ponders credibility of a drone court

    Via FP a report of a speech by the Pentagon's former top lawyer, Jeh Johnson:
    Our government finds itself in a lose-lose proposition: it fails to officially confirm many of its counterterrorism successes, and fails to officially confirm, deny or clarify unsubstantiated reports of civilian casualties. Our government's good efforts for the safety of the people risks an erosion of support by the people. It is in this atmosphere that the idea of a national security court as a solution to the problem -- an idea that for a long time existed only on the margins of the debate about U.S. counterterrorism policy but is now entertained by more mainstream thinkers such as Senator Diane Feinstein and a man I respect greatly, my former client Robert Gates - has gained momentum... But, we must be realistic about the degree of added credibility such a court can provide."
    Fuller remarks and the speech are on:http://e-ring.foreignpolicy.com/post...ft_to_military
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-20-2013 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Add link
    davidbfpo

  15. #235
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    From my humble point of view the economics and the bigger technological trends are strongly in favour of drones&Co and their use. It will be quite interesting to watch how it evolves.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

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    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  16. #236
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    Default Before and After - Rand Paul's Filibuster

    We start with Fox News Poll: Majority supports use of drones (by Dana Blanton, March 04, 2013) (interviews conducted 25-27 Feb 2013, before Rand Paul's filibuster) (poll internals):

    Do you approve or disapprove of the United States using unmanned aircraft called drones:

    To kill a suspected terrorist in a foreign country?

    Approve 74%
    Disapprove 22
    (Don’t know) 4

    To kill a suspected terrorist in a foreign country if the suspect is a U.S. citizen?

    Approve 60%
    Disapprove 36
    (Don’t know) 5

    To kill a suspected foreign terrorist on U.S. soil?

    Approve 56%
    Disapprove 40
    (Don’t know) 4

    To kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?

    Approve 45%
    Disapprove 50
    (Don’t know) 5
    However, three weeks later, we have Gallup with In U.S., 65% Support Drone Attacks on Terrorists Abroad - Less than half of Americans are closely following news on drones (by Alyssa Brown and Frank Newport, March 25, 2013) (after Rand Paul filibuster) (poll internals):



    (much more in article).

    Two factors are probably at play here: (1) The legislative hearings re: drones, including the Rand Paul filibuster; and (2) The methodological variation in the two polls - Gallup ran two separate polls.

    Regards

    Mike

  17. #237
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Every drone strike is an execution?

    Steve Coll comments on drone policy via reviewing two books:
    The return of Presidentially sanctioned assassinations is described in two new books of investigative journalism, “The Way of the Knife” (Penguin), by Mark Mazzetti, a Times reporter; and “Dirty Wars” (Nation), by Jeremy Scahill, of The Nation.
    He concludes, referring to issues we have discussed here a CIA official:
    America’s drone campaign is also creating an ominous global precedent. Ten years or less from now, China will likely be able to field armed drones. How might its Politburo apply Obama’s doctrines to Tibetan activists holding meetings in Nepal?

    Mazzetti closes his narrative with an interview with Richard Blee, a retired C.I.A. operations officer who worked aggressively against Al Qaeda at the Counterterrorist Center before and after September 11th, and who, like the Shin Bet directors in “The Gatekeepers,” has since developed doubts about tactics he once embraced. “In the early days, for our consciences we wanted to know who we were killing before anyone pulled the trigger,” Blee told the author. He continued:

    Now, we’re lighting these people up all over the place. Every drone strike is an execution. And if we are going to hand down death sentences, there ought to be some public accountability and some public discussion about the whole thing. . . . And it should be a debate that Americans can understand.
    davidbfpo

  18. #238
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    Default Drones Are [Are Not] Ethical And Effective

    Oxford Union Debate

    The Proposition: This House Believes Drone Warfare is Ethical and Effective.

    Speaking for the proposition were Benjamin Wittes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Kenneth Anderson, law professor at the American University, and journalist and author David Aaronovitch. Opposing the motion were Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK; Naureen Shah of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, and Jeremy Waldron, legal and political theorist of Oxford and NYU.

    The YouTube presentation will take you about an hour.

    Regards

    Mike

  19. #239
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Oxford Union Debate

    The Proposition: This House Believes Drone Warfare is Ethical and Effective.

    Speaking for the proposition were Benjamin Wittes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Kenneth Anderson, law professor at the American University, and journalist and author David Aaronovitch. Opposing the motion were Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK; Naureen Shah of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, and Jeremy Waldron, legal and political theorist of Oxford and NYU.

    The YouTube presentation will take you about an hour.

    Regards

    Mike
    Great post Mike.

  20. #240
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    Default Thanks, Slap

    I'm gratified that you liked the debate. The presenters - both pro and con - brought their very different positions home without getting too far down into the legal weeds.

    For the most part, the "targeted killing" materials (like the "indefinite detention" materials) tend to the academic and are more than a bit tedious. In fact, the best source, Lawfare's Targeted Killing Resources: A Bibliography, is to me quite overwhelming.

    That bibliography covers five major areas which are material here:

    I. Articles/Books About International Law Implications of U.S. Government Targeted Killings.

    II. Articles/Books Analyzing U.S. Government Targeted Killings Under U.S. (Domestic) Law.

    III. Articles/Books Making Policy-Related Arguments About U.S. Government Targeted Killings.

    IV. (omitted)

    V. Proposals To Enhance Oversight of U.S. Government Targeted Killing Policy.

    VI. Articles/Books Related to Civilian Casualty Rates Associated with U.S. Government Targeted Killing Policy.

    Regards

    Mike

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