Category: Features

More of the Same: The UN Debate on Lethal Robots

By Kelley Sayler From April 11 to 15, representatives from 95 states and numerous non-governmental organizations gathered in Geneva for the third UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons’ Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS). As outlined by…

Analysis of New Drone Incident Reports

By Arthur Holland Michel and Dan Gettinger On Friday, March 25, the Federal Aviation Administration released 582 new reports of incidents involving unmanned aircraft in the U.S. airspace system. These reports date from August 21, 2015 to January 31, 2016. We…

The American Drone Base in Cameroon

Imagery Update: February 5, 2017     By Dan Gettinger Garoua, a city in northern Cameroon, lies along the Benue River approximately 30 miles east of the Nigerian border. Across the runway from the main terminal at Garoua International Airport sits…

Drone Spending in the FY17 Defense Budget

  On February 9, 2016, President Obama unveiled the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget. The proposed request includes $587.2 billion in military spending, which is split between a $523.9 billion base budget and a $58.8 billion Overseas Contingency Operations…

The Drones of the Atomic Age

By Dan Gettinger Eight minutes after the detonation of Gilda at Bikini Atoll on July 1, 1946, a fleet of U.S. B-17 Flying Fortresses and F6F Hellcat fighters approached the rising mushroom cloud. The first B-17 entered the cloud at 24,000…

The Surrogate Predator Program

By Dan Gettinger Operating Predator and Reaper drones over the battlefield involves dozens of people. One of the most difficult and crucial jobs within this network is that of the Joint Tactical Air Controller, or JTAC. These personnel serve as…

2015 Drone Year in Review

By Arthur Holland Michel and Dan Gettinger 2015 was a very busy year in the drone world. The U.S. domestic commercial drone industry began to take shape, military drone exports grew significantly, the technology advanced in leaps and bounds, and…

Drone Spending: the MQ-9 Reaper

For proposed spending on the MQ-9 Reaper and other unmanned systems in Fiscal Year 2017, click here. By Dan Gettinger The MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-altitude long-endurance surveillance and strike drone. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., the primary contractor for…

The Air Campaign Against ISIL

By Dan Gettinger On August 21, 2015, Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin, two British citizens who had traveled to Syria to fight with ISIL, were killed in a British drone strike while traveling in a vehicle outside of Raqqa, Syria.…

Drone Sightings and Near Misses

This post was originally published on August 28, 2015 and updated on September 10, 2015. By Dan Gettinger and Arthur Holland Michel As domestic drone use has expanded in recent years, so too has the number of incidents in which manned…

Drones in Popular Culture

  This feature is based on an essay presented by the author at “Reconfiguring Global Space: The Geography, Politics, and Ethics of Drone Warfare,” which took place Indiana University – Bloomington in July of this year By Arthur Holland Michel…

National Guard Drones

By Dan Gettinger On August 28, 2013, an MQ-1 Predator drone took off from March Air Reserve Base in Southern California and headed north. The Predator’s mission was to provide aerial imagery to support almost 4,000 firefighters battling the Rim…