Killer skies: Do we need armed-drone control?
According to recent polls, most Americans support the killing of Islamic jihadists in foreign lands by the use of armed, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) -- popularly known as drones. Unfortunately, our current monopoly on armed-drone technology will not last, meaning the day will come when our enemies will be able to fly their own armed drones over U.S. soil.
Given our porous borders, smuggling an armed drone onto U.S. soil and setting up a covert launch site would not be all that difficult. And, just as we do unto terrorists in foreign lands by remote control, they will be able to do unto us by remote control from wherever they are.
While we are blessed with effective anti-missile defense systems such the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars), the Patriot system, and even the Israeli-developed Iron Dome system, those systems are designed to look outward, not inward. So, unless there is some classified inland missile-defense system of which we are unaware, our cities and towns are defenseless against attack by armed drones launched from within the U.S.
Moreover, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forecasts that the time will come when thousands of drones will be flying back and forth across America’s skies, carrying out peaceful pursuits such as small package delivery, moving donated organs, carrying life-saving vaccines, monitoring Sage Grouse and other wildlife, etc. Trying to pick out a hostile, armed-drone, in the midst of thousands of peaceful, law-abiding, unarmed drones, might well prove impossible.
But wait, there is a solution. We can get Congress to pass armed-drone control legislation. In other words, create armed-drone "no-fly-zones." Unfortunately, there is a hitch. Within those armed-drone "no-fly-zones," the peaceful, law-abiding, unarmed drones would have to be prohibited as well.
Okay, then. We could pass laws mandating a national armed-drone registry. Every drone operator would be required by law to switch on a signal that identifies each drone by a discrete code number. If an unidentified armed drone refuses to identify itself while flying over your house, you need only descend into your bomb shelter and wait for a pair of F-16 fighters to come shoot down the armed drone. But, given the potential number of armed drones, you could wait for the rest of your life which, unfortunately, might be measured in minutes.
But, fear not. Six weeks ago, we published the 22 al-Qaeda-approved steps for drone avoidance. And now, here’s the next step: Anti-drone clothing. British designer, Adam Harvey, is producing a cross between a hoodie and the Mexican serape poncho. Not only does it hide your face from circling drones, it is made of a metal-like cloth that prevents the warmth of your body from being detected by armed drones equipped with infrared-sensors.
Yet, let’s face it. The steps out-lined above will face stiff opposition from the National Armed-Drone Association. The naysayers will make up snide slogans such as: "When drones are outlawed, only outlaws will have drones." I suppose they are suggesting that the Islamic jihadists won’t abide by our "no-fly-zones," won’t bother to register their armed drones, and will even refuse to switch on their identity codes. If that’s the case, we could be in big trouble.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2013. William Hamilton.
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