Tag: drones

Member Post


After reading today about the drone strike yesterday on Saudi Arabia that halved its oil output, the first thing I thought of was the damage it could do to the US economy. The second was the consequences of the first for the president, a pillar of whose reelection argument is the performance of the US […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Ayatollah Air Power


If push comes to shove, could American air power lay waste to the Iranian regime in a cake walk, a turkey shoot? Consider what we know, publicly, of Iranian military capabilities in the air. They have aircraft from the pre-stealth era, drones, and extensive surface-to-air missile defenses. Perhaps, however, their best “air” assets are computer coding and diplomatic shuttle flights.


Photo by Gene Blevins/LA DailyNews

It was not big news when fairly rag-tag forces shot down a low and slow flying armed MQ-9 Reaper drone. After all, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has a wing dedicated to advising foreign forces, including the Yemeni forces fighting other Yemeni forces backed by Saudi Arabia. This is not secret, so the U.S. Central Command was willing to claim Iranian participation in the June 2019 shoot-down:

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see a key figure from the Florida high school shooting replaced in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office but are irritated the media has stopped covering Sheriff Scott Israel, who still has his job despite failing to perform his duties before and during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They also reject Democrats’ call to regulate the internet as a public utility in the wake of Facebook, Apple, and YouTube’s ban of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. And they mourn for Venezuelans as dictator Nicolas Maduro survived a botched drone assassination attempt, and they discuss regulations on drones and the potential to use them for terrorism.

Blasphemy and Drones in Sorocaba


Welcome to the 21st century, where we have drones and people are only beginning to explore their potential applications.

So it was that the São Geraldo Magela church in Sorocaba, Brazil recently used a drone to deliver a monstrance to a priest. The drone flies in, and with a little assistance, makes it to the priest, who places it on the altar. For what it’s worth, the crowd loved it, as you can see from the video:

This week on Banter, John Yoo and Jeremy Rabkin joined the show to discuss their new book, “Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War.” Yoo is a visiting scholar at AEI and Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Rabkin is a law professor at George Mason University and serves on the board of directors of the US Institute of Peace, AEI’s Board of Academic Advisers, and the board of directors of the Center for Individual Rights. They hosted a book launch event at AEI to discuss the use of new military technologies such as drones, autonomous robots, and cyber weapons. The link below will take you to the full event video.

Learn More:

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Rich McFadden of Radio America feeling optimistic after a recent poll shows that Republican Karen Handel has a slim lead over Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in the Georgia runoff election. They also praise the Supreme Court which ruled unanimously in favor of protecting trademarks that some parties may consider offensive or disparaging. And they applaud the U.S. military as they down the third pro-Syrian regime aircraft this month, an action which prompted a harsh Russian response.

Drones of the Sea: DARPA Unveils Sea Hunter


Sea HunterFacing threats from a new wave of potentially hostile submarines, DARPA has launched a self-driving sub detector prototype named Sea Hunter. The 130-foot twin-screw trimaran was designed to be stable in all types of weather and can sail for thousands of miles and for months at a time. The unarmed prototype has a small cabin for a human to operate the vessel if needed, but the final version will not house any crew.

“This is an inflection point,” Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Work said in an interview, adding he hoped such ships might find a place in the western Pacific in as few as five years. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a totally robotic, trans-oceanic-capable ship.”

It also comes as China’s naval investments, including in its expanding submarine fleet, stoke concern in Washington about the vulnerability of the aircraft carrier battle groups and submarines that remain critical to America’s military superiority in the western Pacific.

Drones: The Bitter with the Sweet?


shutterstock_188506913A recent post in the tabloid British press offers an early warning to an issue that is surely percolating up right now in the United States. Quite simply, what should be done with privately owned drones.

The problem has become insistent because as the price of drone technology goes down, the deployment of drones for both good and for evil raises some difficult choices. On the positive side it is easy to see how drones can ease the work of legitimate surveillance needed to determine boundary lines in remote locations, track the movement of herd animals in order to manage their behavior, or to deliver everything from hot food to needed documents promptly. Here the ends are legitimate and the means chosen are conducive to these ends. The appropriate response is yet another salute to technological progress that makes things better for us all.

Then again, there is the other side of the story. The wider use of drones opens up the following scenarios. The drones will become menaces as they crash into people, cars, airplanes, and each other. Or they can become observation outposts for people to snoop into the private lives of other individuals by hovering near open windows and parked cars.

We’re Not Going to Regulate the Drone Industry Out of Business, Are We?


shutterstock_242529727_dronesI really loved this Politico piece by Marc Andreessen from 2014:

But policymakers shouldn’t be trying to  copy Silicon Valley. Instead, they should be figuring out what domain is (or could be) specific to their region—and then removing the regulatory hurdles for that particular domain. Because we don’t want 50 Silicon Valleys; we want 50 different variations of Silicon Valley, all unique from each other and all focusing on different domains. Imagine a Bitcoin Valley, for instance, where some country fully legalizes cryptocurrencies for all financial functions. Or a Drone Valley, where a particular region removes all legal barriers to flying unmanned aerial vehicles locally. A Driverless Car Valley in a city that allows experimentation with different autonomous car designs, redesigned roadways and safety laws. A Stem Cell Valley. And so on.

I immediately thought of it when reading about “A Silicon Valley for Drones, in North Dakota” from New York Times reporter Quentin Hardy. A fortuitous combination of things is going on there, including: a) the state has a low population density (47th out of 50 states), so if a drone falls from the sky it will probably just hit dirt; b) Grand Forks Air Force Base “flies nothing but robot aircraft for the United States military and Customs and Border Protection”; c) the state spent $34 million on a civilian industrial park for drones near the air base; d) the University of North Dakota, which already trains commercial pilots and air traffic controllers, has a drone controller program; e) there’s a surprising amount of tech talent thanks to business investments from Amazon and Microsoft; f) it’s a rural state. and “rural states with farming, oil and rail lines see many practical reasons to put robots in the sky.”

Do We Still Need Aircraft Carriers?


08_uss_nimitz_cvn_68Have you seen Mr. Jerry Hendrix’s writing against aircraft carriers in National Review? I’m a sucker for speeches against the sophisticated, so I took the time to read the 2,700-word piece. Then I found this reply by Mr. Seth Cropsey, whose work I read as often as I can, and Mr. Hendrix’s rejoinder.

These capable, honored men are quarrelling about the status of the aircraft carrier in American strategy. World War II, the Cold War, and the coming Chinese war are the past and imagined political conflicts in which the aircraft carrier features prominently.

The argument against the dominance of the aircraft carrier among American arms is this: The technology is becoming outdated; the use of the weapon is thus reduced; and it is politically compromised–Americans could not deal with the news that one or two were sunk with some ten thousand men returning in ten thousand coffins decorated with flags. War around China makes carriers next to useless, in short. Taiwan is lost.

Member Post


Have you seen Mr. Jerry Hendrix writing against aircraft carriers in National Review? I’m a sucker for speeches against the sophisticated, so I spent the time reading the 2700-word piece. Then I found this reply by Mr. Seth Cropsey, whose work I read as often as I can, & the reply to it. Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

UFOs Over Paris?


Well, I confess I haven’t seen them. I’ve been inside catching up on work.  I checked the local news, though, and it seems I should have looked out the window: 

ParisParis-Eiffel-Tower_1280x1024 police say they have spotted at least five drones flying over the French capital overnight, and an investigation is underway into who was flying them and why.

A Return to Coercion


With Iraq collapsing, Russia attacking, and China rising, the Obama administration is only now taking the first steps toward forceful action. It will have at its disposal a broad spectrum of options, thanks to new military technologies such as cyber-weapons, unmanned drones, precision munitions, and robotics. But it has yet to free itself from outmoded ways of thinking of war.

In an article just posted, co-written with Jeremy Rabkin of George Mason University, I argue that the United States should use these new weapons in the way it has used economic sanctions and blockades (as means to coerce other nations to pressure their leaders to change policies, rather than consider them kinetic weapons like artillery or armor.

Wanted: A Jealous Congress


One of the more depressing aspects of recent constitutional history is the decline in institutional opposition between the branches of our Federal government.

Institutional opposition stems from the separation of powers described in the Constitution, in which the three branches of government exist as separate and co-equal institutions, each with their own prerogatives and responsibilities.  If Congress were, for instance, to negotiate a treaty directly with a foreign power, the President should oppose the action on the grounds that Congress has usurped his rightful authority.  Likewise, if the President attempted to take out a loan on behalf of the country, Congress should should rightly raise Hell.  Whether the president and congress* agree on the substance of these issues should be irrelevant; the point is that each is wrongly poaching on the other’s territory.