If you had the military technology to eliminate a threat in a foreign country, how would you do it without costing innocent people their lives? Some may say bombs are the solution, others say a military stealth mission involving soldiers, but these answers are not the best solutions. The solution is drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Drones are planes that are operated by trained personnel in the military to accomplish missions that no one else can do. The United States government needs to keep funding drone companies; this will result in the number of drones being produced and used by the military, advancing the technological aspect of drones (GPS system, 3D mapping of landscape, surveillance system), and help capture and eliminate militants without the use of military soldiers- because it would put the soldiers at an unnecessary risk if they were involved.
Drones have been produced more because they provide the military with information that no other machine can obtain. Koh explains in his article Use of Drones: Overview how, It was only with advances in communication and navigation technology later in the twentieth century that drones became more useful and more intuitive to use. By advancing the technology in drones, it will help with consumer demand, in result, increase the supply of the product. For instance, Koh specified that, The number of drones owned by the Department of Defense has jumped from fewer than two hundred in 2002 to more than eleven thousand in 2017 (Koh). When the Department of Defense, the main defense of the U.S., increases the number of drones, then you know they are accomplishing the tasks that they are made to do. Moreover, Koh suggests the reason UAVs have increased in production is because they have many applications. For example, if a drone could save you time and money, wouldn’t you buy that product? This evidence shows that the number of drones produced has increased tremendously throughout the years.
There have been many technological advancements in drones over the years that have decreased the number of civilian casualties. UAVs have the ability to laser-designate a target/ remotely target individuals and kill them says Koh. The GPS targeting system within the drones would improve the accuracy when firing and would result in less civilian casualties. During the war in Afghanistan, troops were pursuing Taliban members in a building. The U.S. troops forced the members of the Taliban into a truck and let the Predator Drone, a common drone used by the military, fire a Hellfire missile to eliminate the hostiles (Hama and Cain 33). If the U.S. soldiers initiated contact with the Taliban in the building it could have ended poorly for Afghanistan civilians. John Brennan, the director of the CIA, argued in an April 2013 speech that, Never before has there been a weapon that allows us to distinguish more effectively between an Al-Qaeda terrorist and innocent civilians (Koh). Ultimately, this is the pinnacle of drone warfare. Even if there were civilians near terrorists, the drones could kill the enemy when it has a clear shot. In like manner, according to former President Obama, the U.S. government has used drones in military situations because they can survey the surroundings and eradicate hostiles with precision (Koh). The President of the United States would never support drones if it would spark controversies. The modern technology in drones have tremendously reduced the number of civilian casualties over the years. Furthermore, the U.S. government tries to prevent the military/agencies from killing innocent people, but will also do whatever it takes if the pros outway the cons of the mission.
Not only are drones used in the military, but they are even used in everyday use. Koh states that drones could be a major stimulus for the economy; the Teal Group, an industry research group, for instance, has estimated that the market for government and commercial drones could grow to eighty-nine billion dollars over the next decade. A company doesn’t grow if drones cannot do things for human beings that they can already do by themselves. Secondly, the Customs and Border Protection Agency uses Predator drones to monitor the U.S. border with Mexico for smugglers and undocumented immigrants, although these drones are not armed (Koh). President Trump wanted to build a wall that would cost eighteen billion dollars, instead, you can use drones which will be better at stopping people from immigrating into our country illegally. On the other hand, drones have been used to search for lost hikers, fight wildfires, to monitor hostage situations, and pinpoint the location of a criminal suspect (Koh). This information further explains why drones can be used in everyday use, and potentially save human lives.Similarly, Koh explains that drones have several advantages over manned aircrafts: they can be flown for up to thirty hours without needing to land and can take 3D images of landscapes for researchers. UAVs can help researchers learn things about earth that we never knew. Could drones lead to curing cancer or other illnesses/diseases one day?
Nevertheless, Drones could have a severe impact on civilians. Katia Moskvitch, a journalist for BBC news, proclaimed in her article that a drone flying over Iran got hacked from a mid-air stealth mission. In addition, the article explains how the Iranians jammed the encrypted signal by using a technique called spoofing. If a device can be hacked this easily, then it shouldn’t be made anymore. It would do more harm than good if it continues to exist. In particular, According to the estimates by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, approximately 2500 to 3600 people were killed by drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004-2013. Approximately 410-930 are estimated to be civilians including 160-200 children (Koh). These children have died for no reason because they were part of the enemy. The drones can’t be that precise if innocent children are dying. Chaz Elban from Improdrones blog asserted, Privacy is probably the number one issue linked to the use of drones. Operators of the drones could be able to probe around and use their drones to trespass- it can be frightening and distressing. People can spy to gather information without you even noticing it. To illustrate, there are thousands of drones hovering over neighborhoods each day. Likewise, senator Dianne Feinstein has called the use of drones, The greatest threat to the privacy of americans. How can you let technology exist if it can be hacked that easily and controlled by untrustworthy people?
It is true that drones have some tweaks that need to be solved, but drones are the only answer to protect Americans. The CIA/military continues to produce drones because it is the safest way to kill terrorists (Shah). The government continues funding the drone program to increase the security of the drones, which would make the drones less vulnerable to hackers. There will always be a risk to hackers, but wouldn’t you want to know if terrorists are planning an attack in your backyard? Secondly, public databases showed that drone strikes in non-battlefield settings- Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia,- result in thirty-five times more civilian deaths than manned aircrafts in conventional battlefields (Barela and Plaw). In other terms, the reason there are so many civilian casualties is because they know that manned aircrafts could do a lot more damage to the surrounding objects/buildings. The agencies would rather use drones in non-battlefield settings than use manned aircrafts- these aircrafts can’t differentiate between a militant and a civilian. Lastly, the FAA put out new federal regulations, but it is still unclear if the drones surveillance breaks any privacy laws that constitute as unreasonable search and seizures- the fourth amendment (Koh). The government isn’t breaking any laws and invading Americans privacy.
In conclusion, drones provide the technology to make the world a safer place. If the U.S. government keeps increasing the number of drones built and improving the technology/security, then there can be a lot of good that drones can do for humans. The reason drones with thrive is because they complete missions better and faster without the need of military soldiers. There is no doubt that drones come with disadvantages, but these issues/problems are being solved everyday. When the military resolves all their issues, then there will be no scepticism later on. Drones may uncover some great things in the science world.
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