The armed drones are here – it’s time for the United States to act
The recent attack on Abu Dhabi, carried out by drones equipped with explosives, signifies a radical change in Iran’s strategic offensive strategy. We have reached the pinnacle of global drone strategy, which our adversaries have focused on since Desert Storm in 1991. With drone technology advanced enough to carry weapons and explosives, drones are now capable of deploying on land and at sea all over the world.
The last time the United States successfully used a large mechanized and armored force was during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. We have gained relatively little knowledge since that campaign against Saddam Hussein. After this conflict, every nation learned an important lesson and our adversaries began to change their strategies: instead of committing the strongest forces of a military force to any battlefield, an army should instead seek his enemy’s vulnerabilities and exploit them with weapons and tactics that the adversary cannot defend against.
It has become apparent that advanced drone capabilities, the US failure in Afghanistan, and our military and political disaster in Iraq are all examples of how our adversaries’ tactics and strategies are changing as the US United seem to remain stuck in the cold war. organization, purchases and methodologies after the Second World War. Our adversaries have gained valuable experience in each battle; on the other hand, America has refused to confront the reasons why we seem unable to win wars – and, more importantly, why we lack the strategy and ability to prevent wars in the first place.
This month’s drone attack is a good example of this phenomenon. It seems unlikely at this point that the US Navy will have the ability to track drones, especially low-flying ones. Tracking drones on land or water would require the presence of a U.S. unit on land or at sea. However, while some commercial marine radars may be able to identify drones, Navy ships are not not yet equipped with small high-frequency “boat” radars, which can detect drones.
Since 9/11, the Navy and CIA have seemingly overlooked capabilities – both our own and those of our adversaries – at the lower end of the technological spectrum. This is one of the problems with the way we have developed our defense systems.
Consider the October 12, 2000 attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden in Yemen. Three individuals in a small fiberglass boat launched a two-minute attack that sank a billion-dollar state-of-the-art guided missile warship and killed 17 soldiers. A billion-dollar asset was brought back to the United States Repair Port like a fish on the deck of a boat, lying on the back of a big barge. Repairs to the boat took months and the amount of money spent on towing the barge back and forth was probably incredibly high. For weeks, images of one of our most advanced missile boats being destroyed by three jihadists in a single-engine fishing boat have appeared in newspapers across the Middle East.
If the U.S. can’t competently track drones, it’s worth mentioning a worrying but entirely feasible scenario: bad actors could be floating down the Potomac River, stopping to refuel in the old town of Alexandria, then later launch their drones on Washington in the pitch black of a moonless night, causing havoc across the United States. This is an inevitable consequence of readily available drones. Someone can simply attach a five-pound explosive charge to a drone and have the potential to cause significant damage to our nation’s capital. It would practically be a matter of “name your target”. Law enforcement would search for hours to determine where and what caused the attack, but it’s possible the boat had traveled deep into the Chesapeake Bay, past Oregon Inlet and into the Atlantic before sunrise. Sun.
Essentially, we are unprepared because we have insufficient or no knowledge of our adversaries’ plans and intentions. Before another terrible attack occurs on American soil, our military and law enforcement must invest in technology and systems to keep up with new and emerging threats.
Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is the owner and manager of broadcast television stations Howard Stirk Holdings I and II and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. He is the author of “Awakening the Virtues”.