Use of Drones Essay Example
Use of Drones Essay Example

Use of Drones Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2252 words)
  • Published: August 1, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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Drones, also referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), have become an indispensable tool for the US military as they enable surveillance and targeted attacks without jeopardizing soldiers' safety. The use of drones traces back to Austria in the mid-1800s when remote-controlled balloons carrying bombs were used for attacking enemies. In the Vietnam War, secret UAVs were utilized for combat missions. Currently, there exist two UAV programs: one is publicly acknowledged for its military application while the other remains undisclosed under the CIA. Drones have been engaged in intelligence gathering in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia with their most significant usage occurring after 9/11 assaults. Drones can be controlled by ground pilots or pre-programmed missions allowing them to collect intelligence by hovering over target areas for extended periods where some have flown up t


o 84 hours continuously. Although various types of drones are available, reconnaissance and surveillance ones along with those equipped with missiles and bombs are the two common categories.The military's reliance on drones makes their perspective on drone usage crucial. An anonymous Signals Intelligence Officer in the Marine Corps shared views on drones, while a Staff Sergeant with an Infantry Unit Leader MOS who has served twice in Afghanistan preferred directing drones into combat over putting his own forces at risk. The aim is to protect soldiers and Marines by gathering intelligence and eliminating enemies, but casualties are unavoidable. It is suggested that small communities should control drones for mission implementation with American lives being the top priority. Society's impartial opinions on their nation's use of drones should be heard via interviews as the government serves the people. Drones have

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been criticized for violent means of ending lives due to lack of transparency and pilots having to ensure no innocent civilians before firing missiles - including women and children according to one concerned civilian. The media coverage has led to varying viewpoints; however, presenting accurate information could bring society closer to aligning with military perspectives. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have transformed modern warfare by combining surveillance and attack capabilities into one vehicle.Since its inception during World War I, technology for military operations has evolved into an essential tool. The introduction of advanced aircraft such as the Predator and Reaper drones have revolutionized reconnaissance and assault missions by eliminating the need for pilots to be present in combat. This reduces the risk of pilot loss while providing advantages over traditional manned planes, including longer flight times, greater precision bombing capability, and superior combat endurance.

Before unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), only reconnaissance or assault aircraft could be used, necessitating multiple flights to complete missions. Ballistic and cruise missiles lacked the ability to hover over targets or be recalled, limiting their accuracy. Manned surveillance aircraft like the U-2 spy plane were also susceptible to pilot loss or mechanical difficulties mid-flight, while heavier aircraft had shorter flight times that required more frequent refueling.

The potential of UAV technology was recognized by the military during World War I despite frequent crashes during testing leading to increased research and development efforts.Nazi Germany developed the V-1 remote-controlled bomber, which inspired the US to further develop UAVs during World War II. In the 1970s, Abraham Karem's "Albatross" drone was a significant innovation in UAV technology and became today's "Predator" drone. The

Reaper is an upgraded version of Predator and will replace it as the primary choice for US Air Force airstrikes due to its impressive top speed of 84 miles per hour while using only a fraction of traditional fighter jet fuel. Originally designed for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes during the Cold War era, Predator was modified with armed capabilities following September 11th but still retained its previous functions. Its first armed flight occurred in October that same year, marking an important milestone in how drones were used. The CIA utilized it in February 2002 to carry out targeted killings including one aimed at Osama bin Laden; however, civilians were killed instead. This incident advanced both development and use of armed drones leading to numerous military and covert drone strikes against Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen conducted by CIA operatives.Drones like "Shadow" are now more valuable than ever for conducting intelligence-gathering missions. These multifunctional tools have advanced delivery systems that make them ideal for surveillance and targeted attacks where precise information is crucial to success. Unlike human soldiers, drones can be maneuvered from any location without worrying about national borders. Equipped with high-tech cameras and satellite guidance technology, drone pilots have greater visibility over their targets. Once a target is identified, "Hellfire" missiles guided by lasers can accurately and efficiently eliminate it. UAV pilot training only requires one year compared to two years of fighter pilot training, making it more financially viable and logistically desirable. The advancement in drone technology has revolutionized military strategy both within war zones and beyond as signals intelligence improves. In 2012, after Barack Obama's second election victory, his administration released a

defense plan aimed at increasing the use of drones in overseas conflicts to replace military personnel and reduce harm to individuals; this approach appealed to anti-war sentiments by focusing on supporting technologies such as cyber warfare, jammers, and special operations forces instead of traditional methods of warfare.Despite initial skepticism by the public regarding the effectiveness and morality of using drones in military operations, these fears have been assuaged over the past two years due to their lower cost and longer flight times compared to traditional military aircraft. Both authorities and public advocates support the use of drones because they offer safer control from a distance during war efforts, increasing personnel safety and efficiency. Armed drones provide air support, target specific areas, and quickly assess suspected targets, allowing for increased control over when and where to strike while minimizing collateral damage.

While drones are primarily associated with warfare, they are increasingly being used for civilian applications such as police and fire surveillance, research, and aerial photography. However, opponents of domestic drone usage express concerns about privacy violations and aircraft safety issues.

The Federal Aviation Administration is developing protocols for safe domestic drone use that could generate significant economic benefits for the United States; it is projected that by 2025 drones could bring in $10 billion per year ultimately reaching $82 billion between 2015-2025. Despite this potential economic boon there are criticisms against drone strikes due to their tendency to cause deaths among large numbers of civilians while traumatizing local populations.Meta-studies reveal that drone strikes result in civilian casualties ranging from 8% to 17%. A research by Stanford and New York University shows that people living in areas affected

by these strikes suffer more than just physical injuries. They constantly hear drones flying above them, causing fear of an imminent strike. The Director of Reprieve, Clive Stafford Smith, states that drone strikes terrorize entire regions and disrupt their way of life. Yemeni Arab chief Mullah Zabara regards drones as constant terrorism that frightens both adults and children even while they are asleep. These attacks violate international law under human rights jurisprudence. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits arbitrary deprivation of life during armed conflict according to the UN pact adopted.Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter forbids any nation from using force or threatening another without permission from the host nation or in self-defense if it is unable or unwilling to act.To legally be targeted by a drone strike, an individual must actively participate in belligerencies with the United States or pose a threat that can only be eliminated through deadly force.It is not enough to be suspected of having ties to militant organizations or fitting the profile of a terrorist.The legality of targeting militant group members who are not engaging in armed conflict with the United States by drones is questionable. Amnesty International views the use of drones for strikes in undeclared wars where executive power is virtually unlimited as either war crimes or extrajudicial executions without legal oversight and accountability. The CIA conducts covert actions classified under Title 50, and their drone program's existence, regulations, procedures, compliance with national and international laws remain unacknowledged officially. As a result of this lack of transparency, only selected congress members can access details about the program while human rights groups face legal hurdles

preventing judicial review to hold officials accountable. The sovereignty of other states is violated when using drones for strikes without permission and against objections. Pakistan's foreign ministry referred to them as "illegal" on June 4, 2012, citing a violation of their sovereignty. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also condemned drone usage on Oct.22, 2013, referring to it as an obstruction to anti-terrorism efforts in the country. Additionally, US drone strikes have been deemed violations of sovereignty by the UN Human Rights Chief along with Special Rapporteurs on counter-terrorism and human rights who have called for legal investigations into these actions.A study by Pew Research on July 18, 2013 revealed that out of 39 countries surveyed, only six approved of US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. It is suggested that drones should be used solely for intelligence gathering and strategic attacks while implementing reforms to improve their effectiveness and gain support from other nations. Firstly, skilled pilots must operate drones to prevent civilian casualties. Secondly, targeted strategies should be refined by calculating margins around the target area. Additionally, government officials in host states must approve work stoppages involving drone operations alongside United States officials to avoid violating state sovereignty. Transparency in drone operations may prevent human rights violations by making the rationale behind attacking a target clear for review by international courts. Drones offer remote-controlled warfare that can keep military forces safe while gathering intelligence to avoid future conflicts. With advancing technology, drones will remain essential for war and intelligence gathering as their functionality and reputation continue improving for the greater good of society.Various sources, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Barack

Obama's statements on drone use, David Bell's article "In Defense of Drones: A Historical Argument," and Christof Heyns' discussion on "Extrajudicial Executions and Targeted Killings," offer valuable insight into drone usage. The U.S. Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities can be found on since May 23, 2013. CNN Wire Staff discusses the negative effects of drone strikes in their September 25, 2012 article "Drone Strikes Kill.Maim and Traumatize Too Many Civilians.U. S. Study Says." For information about the "Covert Drone War," visit the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's website. Eliav Lieblich examines "Consensual Forcible Interventions in Internal Armed Conflicts as International Agreements" in a Boston University International Law Journal article from 2011 while Jeremy Scahill explores repercussions of "Washington's War in Yemen" in his February 14, 2012 article. Jethro Mullen explores the emotional toll on drone operators in his report from October 25, 2013 titled "Report: Former Drone Operator Shares His Inner Torment." Judith Gardam's book Necessity.Proportionality and the Use of Force by States from 2011 delves into topics such as necessity, proportionality, and state use of force.A collection of sources offer insights into U.S. drones and their impact on a global scale. Josh Levs' CNN article "CNN Explains: U.S. Drones" from February 8, 2013 provides introductory information on the topic, while Bernard Lewis shares his perspective on drone strikes in an April 9, 2014 personal interview. The CQ Researcher analyzes domestic drones through D. McGlynn's work published on October18thof that same year.

Other sources delve deeper into various aspects of drone strikes such as Micah Zenko's article "Transferring

CIA Drone Strikes to the Pentagon" from (April 2013) and John Sifton's piece "A Brief History of Drones" from (last modified February7 ,2012). Ritka Singh offers a meta-study of drone strike casualties in her work published on (July 22, 2013), while Philip Alston's "Study on Targeted Killings" from the Report of the Human Rights Council (May 28, 2010) accessed through Reaching Critical Will examines human rights implications.

The entry for "Rocket and Missile System" on (accessed April14, 2014) offers further technical insight into these weapons systems. Additionally, NOVA's documentary titled "Rise of the Drones," last updated in January2021on phosphate buffer explores drone technology advancements.

Finally, Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project examines public opinion regarding drones worldwide in their report published July18thof the year 2013; Reuters' article “Pakistan: Drone Strikes Are Misdemeanors of Sovereignty” from the year 2012) discusses one country’s view towards this issue; and Phosphate buffer provides a timeline history called 'Spies that Fly: Time Line of UAVs' which was last modified in November2002.The Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, together with Global Justice Clinic at NYU School Of Law, released a report entitled "LIVING UNDER DRONES Death Injury And Trauma To Civilians From US Drone Practices In Pakistan", which has been available on since October 8th, 2012. An article titled "The growing US drone fleet" was also published on on December 23rd, 2011. This Washington Post article about the expanding fleet of US drones can be found at hypertext transfer protocol:// markup language. The United Nations website, United, created the "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" on Dec.19th, 1966 and provided access to the

UN Charter on Dec.18th, 2013. Lastly, an interview with Brian Warner took place on April 9th, 2014.

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