10 Reasons the U.S. Should Switch to Using Drones and Robots in Warfare instead of People
The use of drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, have been a topic of discussion in recent years. From taking video, aerial photos, and investigating difficult to access areas that are not easily accessible by humans, they are also capable of more dangerous tasks such as traveling through dangerous territories and diffusing bombs. These devices come in many shapes and different sizes. Smaller drones can be used by regular citizens, and even children, as a means of recreation, while the military uses drones that are far more sophisticated. These military drones, called combat drones, are larger in size, can travel a much greater distance, and they can reach altitudes of up to 65,000 feet. Drones and robotic devices have been in use by military and law enforcement agencies in the United States for many years, as well as in other parts of the world.
Drones and robots, which are also used by the military in warfare, have come a long way since their earlier counterparts. The first use of drones was back in 1849 by the Austrian Empire. They weren’t remote controlled drones like today, however. Instead, they were large balloons. The Austrians were not the only ones, though. The British Royal Navy also used drones, and they launched a radio-controlled drone called the Queen Bee in the 1930’s to serve as practice targets for pilots. The use of these devices have come into great debate lately for many reasons. The biggest debate is in their use in warfare. Here are 10 reasons the U.S. should switch to using drones and robots in warfare instead of people.
10Military Personnel Are Kept Safer
The United States military comprises of around 1.3 million active people and an additional 800,000 in the reserves. Many of these members face death and serious injuries each day of their lives, and this has increased the need and demand of finding other ways to go about how we fight during war times. The loss of life and the effects of war on soldiers has long been important issues faced by the United States and other countries. Using drones and other unmanned devices has increased due to these concerns. The use of these drones and robots by military forces in recent years shows that they greatly reduce the deaths and injuries caused by being on the front lines. These drones and robots can scout ahead of soldiers for potential dangers and eliminate any threats beforehand without any, or at the very least minimal, loss of life. Since drones and robots are machines, they can be replaced or repaired if destroyed or damaged. This is a very attractive benefit in the debate of whether the United States should switch to using drones and robots in warfare. These devices save the lives of soldiers that would otherwise be in the front lines of combat, and to save the lives of so many people, it seems to make the use of drones and robots necessary.
9Drones and Robots are Cost Effective
The cringe worthy truth about war and having a large military is that it costs money to run and sustain. This is another big topic when the debate about war itself is subject. Wars are expensive, and in war, you have all the equipment that you would use such as vehicles, weapons, ammo, communication devices and more. Not to mention, the troops themselves must have their clothing, the food and water they’ll need every day. They also require transportation, shelter to protect from the elements and so on. The truth is that soldiers aren’t cheap to mobilize for combat, and there is a lot of controversy surrounding the cost of the American soldier and the use of unmanned drones and robots. Soldiers also require medical attention in the event of injury, and in some cases, will need continuous medical care long after the war is over. The average cost of all the gear a soldier uses is roughly $17,000 and one soldier in a combat deployment costs about $800,000 a year. This is quite a heavy price to pay. In comparison, the average cost of a drone, per flight, is around $16,000. This is already much cheaper than the soldier. There is a lot of conflicting, and unofficial, reports comparing the costs of using soldiers or using drones in combat, and the debate continues to go on.
8Drones and Robots Are Much More Efficient
In the long history of warfare, there has always been the concern of civilian deaths, those who are not supporters nor participants during war. Conventional warfare uses many different weapons to inflict damage to an enemy. Various shells, different types of bombs, bullets, mortars and mines cause collateral damage in the form of civilian casualties. Many of these weapons can be inaccurate and miss their intended targets. When this occurs, it can be extremely devastating to the population and the cities themselves. Many of these people are not only killed by direct fire, they are also killed by the destruction of structures themselves as well. There are many errors made during combat situations and innocent people have died as a result of these errors. In World War 2, for instance, it is estimated that around 300,000 or more civilians perished during the war. Today, it is estimated that civilian casualties have been reduced to around 3,000 to 5,000 people in recent conflicts such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Even though the subject of war and combat includes the possibility of death, reducing these deaths has come into the forefront in modern times. Drones and robots are machines with highly sophisticated computer systems that can be programed to be far more efficient than the soldier or mortar launch. This reduced number of civilian deaths is greatly influenced by the use of drones in recent conflicts in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, in war there will be loss of civilian life, but the use of drones can reduce that.
7Drones Can Lower the Scale of War
When you enter into war, it usually consists of the travel to and in some cases, invasion of, foreign lands. These actions spread across the land engaged in war or conflict. The travel and transport of troops and the movements of these soldiers and equipment is a large scale operation. In many cases, it is unnecessary to launch a large scale operation, and it’s possible to target specific groups of people or a specific area, instead. Drones and robots make this even easier. Massive campaigns can result in many years of conflict. During World War 2, roughly 60 countries were involved in the war and around 16.1 million American troops were engaged in the war, and it required the use of every military force in the United States. Conflicts were in the air, on the ground and in the seas. The use of drones can eliminate the scale of war, and put the act of war in a much smaller, safer package. Drones can be controlled from far away, they are launched from a base, fly to a target without going through the terrain on foot, hit the intended target and quickly leave the area. No large scale band of troops traveling through potentially dangerous territory could do that, and there is no risk of death or injury to the operator. Additionally, there is no threat of the loss of equipment or the needed supplies for a safe return, which makes the use of a drone far superior to the use of human soldiers on the ground.
6Drones and Robots are Very Good at Search and Rescue
In both warfare and in peace, drones can be used for many things. There are many situations where there are people who go missing or may be in need of rescue, and the military will often step in to help. The United States military and other forces around the world have special teams of individuals whose job is search and rescue. In a combat situation, these teams can use drones to go out on surveillance missions without risking a member of the team. The drone can take photos of an area or the terrain the team may need to travel through in order to reach the person or persons in need of rescue. There are also instances where the environment itself may be too hostile for a person to go through. A drone can be used to avoid any chemical, fire or toxic exposure that a human may not be able to enter. Without risking the life of a person, a drone can quickly travel over a combat environment. The drone can pass over quietly and at great heights, too, so it isn’t easily seen. In many cases a drone is used to navigate rough terrain to determine a safer route for troops on the ground. Not only does the military use drones for these purposes, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and other service occupations use drones to help aid in difficult missions. The use of drones in search and rescue also increases the survival rate of soldiers and other military personnel, making the drone more desirable.
5Not Only America Uses Drones
Drones have been in use for many years. Most of the earlier drones were used in surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence gathering. Because of their secretive use, drones stayed pretty much out of the spotlight for many years. The first drone used for surveillance was called the Lighting Bug, which was launched during the Vietnam War. The first combat drone was used during WW2 with the German FX-1400, also called Fritz. This was a remote controlled drone that was used to drop 2,600 pound bombs on allied forces. Very little interest was placed on drone use since then, as the world was in the race for the atomic bomb. In 1982, Israel used a combat drone named Pioneer in their conflict with Lebanon. Today, there is also the Drone Wars. Drones have made warfare distant and detached from the horrors of what war really is. Many countries have been developing their own drones and robots for use in military operations, combat drones, surveillance, and spying operations. Like the Atomic bomb race, the Drone Wars have had large companies, such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, participate in the development of more advanced drones. Countries such as China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and more now have their own drone and robotic programs for use in combat or surveillance missions. Because of their capabilities, the use of drones from potential enemy forces is very likely, which means the U.S. has to put itself in a position to do the same.
4Community Support for Drones is High
The use of drones and robots has had a lot exposure in recent years in both the news media and among other members of the community. Even though the debate for using these devices continues on among the masses, the majority of the population agrees to the use of them in general. The statistics and the data that has been collected to determine their effectiveness has proven to be enough for further support by the public in general. The first drone air strike by the United States was in the country, Pakistan, a country that many Americans see as evil. The events and intelligence leading to 9/11 was obtained with using drone to gather information, but the country was divided with the prospect of going to war. With the invasion of several Middle Eastern countries and the deaths of many as a result, the use of drones came into the spotlight. It paved the way to bringing troops back home to their families and possibly end the war itself. In 2004 in Pakistan, the first American combat drone was used after the disappearance of Osama Bin Laden. Because of the ease of using drones, the U.S. started to seek out other high rankings in the terrorist group. They found the leader of the Pakistan-based group connected with Bin Laden, and it was decided that a drone attack would be used. The use of the drone was successful and drew in the support of many. No troops were used in this operation on the ground in Pakistan, a powerful leader, and a few of his followers were killed.
3The Troops Themselves Are Safer With Drone and Robot Use
Being in the military is a noble act for sure. In the United States, the military is made up of mostly men and women who volunteer to serve. In combat, many of these people are severely injured, are amputees or are killed. Another effect of war is a condition called PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This condition has had recorded instances and recognition since the American Civil War, though at the time, not much attention to treatment or study into the condition was made. That didn’t occur until the end of World War 1, when soldiers suffered with PTSD, and it was called being “Shell Shocked.” PTSD is a serious mental condition that can cause hallucinations, illusions, psychotic breakdowns, extreme depression, and sensitivity to sounds and smells. It can be severe for many people, making it difficult to handle normal stressful situations. Many sufferers of PTSD develop extreme anti-social behavior, as well. Until recent years, the condition didn’t make headlines until it was noticed that many soldiers were having constant nightmares, committing suicide, couldn’t hold down jobs after military life, increased substance abuse, and violence. This condition commonly affects troops on the ground in combat situations and also pilots who fly fighter jets and boomers. With the use of drones, the number of PTSD sufferers would be greatly reduced. These men and women will not be required to engage in enemy combat up close and personal. Instead, they will be out of harm’s way physically and mentally.
2Drones and Robots Make it Easier to Know When to Strike
A big issue when discussing the use of drones and robots, especially in combat situations, is when to use them. Many people wonder how the decision to use these devices comes into play. The worry with many people is knowing that these devices are lethal and don’t require a whole lot of manpower to operate, yet still do incredible damage. Before any drone air strike is performed it is put under very strict review. The target is carefully picked for the up most strategic value, the area surrounding the intended target is carefully reviewed to reduce the amount of casualties, and the target is checked and rechecked for absolute effectiveness as well. The collateral damage is also taken into account, including the loss of property and lives, and this damage must be at a minimum. Even though a drone is launched from a safe distance, this base of operations may belong to an allied force. Many of these drone strikes are not only in the aid of American interests, they are also chosen to aid other countries in their own conflicts. Many of these nations don’t have the access or the means to conduct large attacks on their own enemy forces and the United States helps these allies. The use of drones is a process kept tight as to not abuse their capabilities. As with any powerful weapon, it must be used responsibly, humanely and with careful tact, too.
1Drones and Robots Are Legal to Use
There’s always the question about legalities in war, and drones and robots are no exception. Are drone strikes legal? Yes, drone strikes are legal to use, and international law allows for the use of drone strikes, worldwide. It is in a nation’s right to self-defense if a threat seems imminent, or the nation has, in fact, been attacked by another. Provided that the act of self-defense is conducted against the nation or group directly. An air strike may not be used on any portion of a nation with no ties to the intended target. In the United States, they are allowed to be used by the government, as well. Drones fall under the constitutional law that allow any use of force in the event of a threat to the United States. This portion of the law does not require approval by Congress to use drone strikes in combat situations. In 2001, the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) was passed. It means the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he or she determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons. This is in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons. The AUMF also does not cover any specific boundary or location, so there are no limits to use.
The use of drones and robots has been around for many years. They started out as simple balloons carrying simpler weapons in conflict back in the 1800’s and have become one of the most controversial subject today. Drones and robots come in many shapes and sizes. They can perform many different tasks such as video and photo surveillance, provide a video view of a hard to reach place, carry objects and are even used in combat. The use of drones reduces the need to deploy massive amounts of military personnel. These drones and robots are remote controlled, which eliminates the need for a large plane and a pilot They can fly to speeds of up to 135 mph and some can reach an altitude of 65,000 feet. With the use of drones or robots, U.S. intelligence can venture into dangerous territory without putting the lives people on the line. These devices can fly to great distances, allowing a person in a combat situation to be as far away as possible. Drones are cheaper to use then a large scale military operation, and these devices make it possible to safely navigate through treacherous terrain and hostile territories. Drones and robots reduce the civilian death rate in the combat area and use sophisticated technology, making it one of the most accurate weapons on the planet. The great debate about the use of drones and robots has been a long discussion over the years, and there are still many who question their use in the United States military. This debate will continue on, but the above 10 reasons give a good argument as to why they should be used.