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Meghan Garnett Instructor: Malcolm Campbell English 1103 December 5, 2012

War of the Drones: Are UAVs Beneficial or Dangerous for the USAs Future?

Ever since my brother was little, he wanted to fly planes. He grew up wanting to be a jet fighter pilot and to be up in the sky. My parents always gave him the remote controlled toy planes and helicopters for him to fly around the house. Everyone could just see how happy he was watching the plane soar around the ceiling. As he got older, he started to play video games that simulated flying a jet. With a joystick and a computer screen, Joe could sit there for hours fully absorbed into another world. Today, he has his pilots license and is making his way to become a fighter pilot for the Marines. Since he was little, a lot of things have changed. His childhood toys have grown up just as fast as he has. Toy remote planes have enlarged into todays most dangerous pieces of government equipment. These extremely high tech and dangerous machines are changing everything we have come to know about fighting. P.W. Swinger, author of Wired for War, states that UAVs are, rewriting the rules of the game, (Drone). The way people have fought for hundreds of years is changing quicker than we know it. And its all starting with one remote controlled plane.

These machines are called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones. Drone aircrafts are computer wired jets controlled by the US government anywhere on the

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ground (Cole). UAV planes are flown by pilots stationed at military bases with monitors in front of them to remote control the aircraft on its mission (Schogol). They were used to mount bomb attacks from ten miles high (CIA). The use of drones has grown quickly in recent years because unlike manned aircraft, they can stay aloft for many hours. They are also much cheaper than military aircrafts, smaller, and less detectable. Drones are flown by remote so there is no risk of danger to the pilot (Alessi). Overall, drones are safer, cheaper, more cunning, and tactically better in war. These new kinds of aircrafts are the future in fighting, intelligence, and surveillance for the United States and the rest of the world.

Unmanned aircrafts first became common after the 9/11 attacks by Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq terrorists. The USAs mission was to hunt down and kill Al Qaeda leaders that were a threat to the United States (CIA). These leaders were in hiding and would use guerilla war tactics to fight. The USA needed a secret weapon to track down their enemies. This is where UAVs came into the picture and were first used as surveillance for areas overseas. The US soon started arming the aircrafts for stealth bombing missions (Cole). This is how we conduct the war against terrorism today (CIA). Since then, arguments have risen concerning drones in America.

People have asked many questions about our militarys Air Force drones, questioning their purpose in the US. Is robotic technology, like unmanned aircrafts, good or bad for the future? What if our planes fall into the wrong hands? Are Drone Pilots treating this live simulation as a fictional video game or taking full responsibility for their actions? Overall, the main question asked is are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles a step in the right direction for the United States or are they a dangerous threat to our nation?

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In this document, experts and undeniable evidence prove drone aircrafts to be beneficial for America and our governments military. UAVs will help the USs military because they are a smarter weapon, safer for pilots, and more under-the-radar. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will quickly become the future of warfare around the world. These weapons have already greatly helped America deal with its enemies. Of course not everyone agrees with this statement. There are reasons for doubt in the UAVs since they run the risk of killing innocent people and being used against the US by our enemies. People are also controversial on robots being used in todays war tactics and how it affects the pilots controlling them (Singer). Experts, real drone pilots, and up-to-date information will determine just how useful and effective drone aircrafts are to the United States Military. UAVs are one of the most high tech weapons in the skies today.

Drones are easily more evolved than most vehicles flying in the air today. Joby Warrick, a National Security Reporter for the Washington Post talked about the UAVs adaptability on a Nation Geographic special on the drone wars. Its missiles and laser-guided bombs can strike targets from ten miles high, proving its accuracy, (CIA). The Drone aircrafts adapt to every environment with heat sensors, infrared, and regular optical cameras. When waiting out certain situations, these machines can stay in orbit until their target is locked in on or until there is another one sent out to replace it. Waiting out their prey are what makes them the ultimate hunting weapon (CIA). Along with the drones dominant weapon abilities, they are also safer for pilots.

The pilot calls, Lock up target, rifle, over the speaker as he completes his mission by taking out his mark (CIA). This pilot was sitting in his cockpit looking down at his bombing on the ground of Afghanistan. He was thousands of miles away in a military base room in the US.

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Actual fighter pilots use multiple computer screens and keyboards to remote control drones without having the risk of getting hurt in battle (Alessi). P.W. Singer gave a lecture on military robots and the future of warfare. In his speech, Singer talked about a how a drone pilot never runs the risk of being harmed in battle:

"What one Predator drone pilot described of his experience fighting in the Iraq war while never leaving Nevada: Youre going to war for 12 hours, shooting weapons at targets, directing kills on enemy combatants. Then you get in the car and you drive home, and within 20 minutes youre sitting at the dinner table talking to your kids about their homework. (Singer).

UAVs have already helped us take care of a good amount of our problems with foreign terrorist leaders proving that they have a positive affect on the US. The CIA has been using drones in Pakistan and other countries to assassinate terrorist leaders. While President Bush initiated the drone war, Obama increased it and there have been 41 known drone strikes in Pakistan since Obama became President. A report by the Brookings Institution on drone attacks in Pakistan shows that there have been 10 civilian deaths for every targeted military leader (Cole). Civilian casualty accidents are not always likely but do sometimes happen. Elements like this are a risk in any mission that tries to be avoided at all costs.

After drones were announced for the first time as being used to attack terrorists, many arguments arose. President Obama was interviewed by CNN on the issues regarding drone warfare use to clarify some of those arguments. In his most comprehensive public comments yet on the US covert drone war, President Barack Obama laid out the rules he says the United States uses to target and kill alleged terrorists (Woods). He started off by stating that the target has to be

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authorized by our laws. It also has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. He continues by saying that it must be a situation where the US cant capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against them. President Obama lastly talks about how in every operation they conduct, they are very careful about avoiding civilian casualties (Woods). The President takes very precautious actions when carrying out missions that involve drones. Obama and the rest of his administration know how serious drone missions are. That is why they never use drones for senseless reasons. In his interview, President Obama Stated:

Our most powerful tool over the long term to reduce the terrorist threat is to live up to our values and to be able to shape public opinion not just here but around the world, that senseless violence is not a way to resolve political differences. And so its very important for the president and the entire culture of our national security team to continually ask questions about Are we doing the right thing? Are we abiding by the rule of law? Are we abiding by due process? And then set up structures and institutional checks so that you avoid any kind of slippery slope into a place where were not being true to who we are. (Woods)

He realizes how powerful UAVs are and how dangerous they could become if used against the United States. Some people worry that drones are not being used for the right reasons. When in actuality, the US government takes every precaution necessary to make sure drones follow the United States standard of war. Every mission carried out has a purpose concerning Americas safety.

There was also a study, by the New America Foundation, stating there have been 350

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drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. Totaling between the estimated amounts of 2593 to 3378 deaths (Woods). Some experts say that as many as 50 innocent bystanders have been killed for each successful drone attack (Cole). While accidental deaths take place in every war, the drones have helped the US military cover a lot more ground than they ever could have with normal surveillance methods and regular fighter jets. Of course none of this progress would mean anything if our enemies got a hold of our remote control technology.

There is a great amount of discussion on robots being used in todays war tactics and how dangerous that can be. Robotics can be used against us now because of drone technology (Goodman). Marc Goodman, a speaker on the dangers of robot technology talks about how it is so easy with todays society for dangerous remote controlled technology to end up in the wrong hands. For example, Recently the FBI arrested an Al Qaeda affiliate in the United States that was planning on using remote controlled drone aircrafts to fly C4 explosives into government buildings in the US. The aircrafts he was planning on using travels at 600 mph, (Goodman). This could have been a serious attack by the US own drone devices. Having remotely controlled weapons used against our nation is more of a risk than before because of how fast social media spreads. It is no secret that many countries have drones hidden in their military, some maybe stolen from the US. That is why the US government has to keep progressing in drone technology or someone else that could be just a little farther ahead will over take them. Along with keeping their UAVs out of dangerous hands, the US government also have to think about the pilots behind the planes and how they area affected.

Sitting behind a computer screen for 12 or more hours at a time with the main intention of killing a single person can take a toll on a drone pilot. Today, there are many military fighter

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pilots switching over to being a drone pilot. While they still hold the same purposes, their jobs are overall very different from being in an actual cockpit. Colonel Brenton said, I feel like Im doing the same thing Ive always done, I just dont deploy to do it. Now he works full time commanding a force of about 220 drone Reaper pilots, sensor operators and intelligence analysts at a base (Bumiller). The main difference between actual fighter pilots and drones are that drone pilots do a lot more surveillance before they strike. They sometimes take weeks watching and waiting out their target for the right moment (Drone).

The pilots controlling these aircrafts also know how serious their jobs are. Some viewers on the topic say that drone pilots treat their jobs as if they were playing a video game. I dont have any video games that ask me to sit in one seat for six hours and look at the same target, said Joshua, a sensor operator who worked at Creech for a decade and is now a trainer at Holloman. One of the things we try to beat into our crews is that this is a real aircraft with a real human component, and whatever decisions you make, good or bad, theres going to be actual consequences, (Bumiller). The military makes sure every pilot knows how serious his or her missions are. Clearly these pilots were chosen for these elite missions because of there outstanding rankings in the military. The Americans that fought bravely on the ground for the US, are the same ones that now control todays UAVs. One combat official quoted, Its not detached. Its not a video game. And its certainly not 8,000 miles away, (Schogol). Drone pilots would never treat their job as a childs video game. As drones become a more common form of warfare, there is no room for game play.

There were at least 36 American armed UAVs over Afghanistan and Iraq at any time. In 2011, the US Government wanted to increase this number to 50 drones flying at all times. Today

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that number has grown to fit the militarys needs. Colonel William Brandt, military personnel in US Air Force quoted, Pretty soon well have more unmanned than manned aircrafts, (Drone). America is not the only one with eyes in the sky though. Many other countries have large military drones in their service including Australia, Israel, and even Switzerland (Cole). Clearly this program is growing rapidly and becoming more popular around the world. Technology will keep advancing into the future. Those who are against these technological growths will fall behind. UAVs are just the start of futuristic developments in fighting for the United States and the rest of the world. Military drones prove to be beneficial and powerful to the United States. Todays Unmanned aircrafts will continue to open doors in the right direction for Americas future.

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Works Cited Alessi, Scott. "Catholic Scholars Weigh Ethics of Military Drones." Our Sunday Visitor. N.p., 1 Aug. 2010. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. <http://ehis.ebscohost.com>. Bumiller, Elisabeth. "A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away." The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 July 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com>. CIA Confidential: Inside The Drone War [1/3]. Dir. Doug Shultz. National Geographic TV, 2011. Youtube. Web. 6 Nov. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com>. Cole, Chris, and Jim Wright. "What Are Drones?" "Who Has Drones?" Drone Wars UK. Peace News, Jan. 2010. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://dronewarsuk.wordpress.com>. Drone Pilot Kills Afghani Militants from Nevada Control Centre. Perf. P.W. Swinger. Youtube. N.p., 23 Oct. 2009. Web. 6 Nov. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com>. Goodman, Marc. "Marc Goodman: A Vision of Crimes in the Future." Speech. TEDGlobal 2012. Edinburgh, Scotland. June 2012. Web. 3 Oct. 2012. <http://http://www.ted.com>. Schogol, Jeff. "Demand Grows for UAV Pilots, Sensor Operators." Air Force Times. Gannett Government Media Corporation, 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. <http://www.airforcetimes.com>. Singer, P.W. "PW Singer on Military Robots and the Future of War:." Speech. TED 2009. Long Beach, California. Feb. 2009. TED. Web. 3 Oct. 2012. <http://http://www.ted.com>. Woods, Chris. "Covert Drone War: Obamas Five Rules for Covert Drone Strikes." The Bureau of Investigative Journalism RSS. CNN, 6 Sept. 2012. Web. 13 Nov. 2012. <http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com>.