PLEDGE NOW
The Drone War Goes Global

U.S. airborne drones now striking in half-a-dozen countries. The world and future of drone warfare.

A U.S. Predator drone flies over the moon above Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan. (AP)

A U.S. Predator drone flies over the moon above Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan. (AP)

In the Hollywood version, the Star Wars version of war, the guys using drones to fire down on rebels are rarely the good guys.

Drones are too cold, faceless, lethal to win the crowd. But around the world, drones –- for reconnaissance and for lethal attack –- are increasingly the face of the U.S. military.

In half a dozen countries now, they can and do rain down sudden, devastating violence. They’re cheaper than “boots on the ground.” They’re easier and quieter to deploy. They’re the future, experts say.

And very busy right now. But where does drone war go?

This hour On Point: Drone war.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Peter Singer, senior fellow and director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. He is also the author of “Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.

John Arquilla, professor and director of the Information Operations Center, department of defense analysis, at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and author of Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military.

Matt Martin, U.S. Air Force pilot, he ‘flew’ Predator combat and surveillance missions over Afghanistan and Iraq from 2004 to 2008. He now trains future UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] pilots for the Air Force. Author of “Predator: The Remote-Control Air War over Iraq and Afghanistan: A Pilot’s Story.”

The New America Foundation keeps a running tall of reported drone strikes. You can see their work here.

Map of Af-Pak Drone strikes
View Map of Af-Pak Drone strikes in a larger map

From Tom’s Reading List:


More:

Here’s a report on drone technology from the Air Force.

Here’s a critical report on the nature of the drone campaign from Russian Television.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 3, 2016
Geri Taylor, camera in tow, at the Hoover Dam in 2014. Photography had been a sideline for 30 years, but now she could really devote time to it.
Courtesy, New York Times. MICHAEL KIRBY SMITH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES.

We look at how one women prepares for the full onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

May 3, 2016
In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, fifteen-year-old Amorette Castillo has her sensor checked before starting a series of physical activities at a University of Southern California lab in Alhambra, Calif. Scientists across the country are playing with miniature gadgets and fitting them on the overweight and obese to get an unbiased glimpse into their exercise and eating habits. The cell phone for gathering data is on her hip. (AP Photo/Kim Johnson Flodin)

Weight loss lessons from the TV show “The Biggest Loser”. A study of the show’s contestants reveals why it’s so hard to keep off the weight we lose.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 2, 2016
ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016 AND THEREAFTER - In this April 19, 2016 photo, Laurie Millan, a para-professional and tutor, works with a student during an after school tutoring session at San Francisco International High School, in San Francisco. While some districts in numerous states have discouraged migrant minors from Central America from enrolling in their schools, the school accommodated its youths by rewriting young-adult novels at a basic level to spark the newcomers' interest in reading.  (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Is grit the secret sauce that drives success? More important than both talent and intellect? We’re talking the power and limits of grit.

 
May 2, 2016
A man walks on the rail tracks of a train station turned into a makeshift camp crowded by migrants and refugees, at the northern Greek border point of Idomeni, Greece, Friday, April 29, 2016. Many thousands of migrants remain at the Greek border with Macedonia, hoping that the border crossing will reopen, allowing them to move north into central Europe. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A top former US diplomat says refugees and tribalism are pulling Europe apart and that the US needs to get involved- to help Europe by helping refugees.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Devoured: We Are What (And How) We Eat
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From chicken wings to kale smoothies, we look at what we eat, and how challenging it is to eat well in America.

More »
Comment
 
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment