The United States military has introduced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones for use in intelligence gathering and warfare activities over the past several decades. Drones are perceived as less risky than manned aircraft and have the capacity to gather a great deal of reconnaissance information which intelligence analysts sift through and analyze. A recent Pentagon report suggests, however, that unmanned drone intelligence gathering programs aren’t necessarily more effective than ‘on the ground,’ HUMINT and open source analysis. These new findings imply that individuals on the ground and behind the desk who’ve a background in intelligence studies are a valuable and important part of the intelligence gathering process. inspection class rov.
You’ve probably heard stories about the military use of pilotless drones. Remote-controlled by operators thousands of miles away, these aircraft provide vital strategic resources without risking the life of their crews.
UAVs are used in counterinsurgency, intelligence, and counterterrorism operations. Military UAVs have been used to drop missiles as well as for reconnaissance purposes in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Defense Science Board, a panel which provides guidance and analysis to the Pentagon, recently suggested, however, that ‘the defense budget doesn’t properly direct funding for open-source intelligence collection-information in the public sphere and gathered from a variety of sources, including academic papers and newspapers. ‘ The report mentions that focusing most of the intelligence operations and gathering on unmanned drones creates ‘a crisis in processing, dissemination, and exploitation’ as it takes a very large number of analysts to sift through the intelligence gathered by each drone and make sense of it. At a 2010 national convention on geospatial intelligence, Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, former vice president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained that it takes over 19 analysts to process information from one sensor on a predator drone. Drones do provide a mass of aerial surveillance data. However, the hands and time required to analyze this data often prevents the military from acting in a timely fashion on the intelligence collected.
Given the difficulties in processing reconnaissance information from UAVs, the military and U.S. intelligence community needs to continue to support HUMINT and open-source intelligence gathering activities. Intelligence analysts on the ground can uncover activities and movements that drones cannot detect. Intelligence agents within a given country or war zone can also make sense of this intelligence without relying upon 19 additional analysts, as Gen. Cartwright mentioned. The Defense Science Board report also suggested that these bodies must provide quality training for analysts early in their careers. A focus in intelligence studies will better prepare new intelligence analysts to collect and sift through intelligence and provide the correct information so that policymakers can make good decisions. Intelligence studies programs provide analysts with the analytical tools to succeed and provide sound intelligence. Technological operations, such as unmanned drones, combined with ‘on the ground’ intelligence gathering, both have an important role in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in hot spots across the globe. U.S. policymakers must continue to develop the two sides of intelligence gathering in order to dispose of the information to make sound decisions.