WASHINGTON: Sometimes small is beautiful. Sometimes small is lethal. While China and Russia are researching stealthy and armed drones, the drunk intelligence analyst who landed a Chinese-made mini-drone on the White House lawn in last month may be the more worrying sign of things to come.
Afghan and Iraqi guerrillas kludged together murderous roadside bombs with scavenged or homebrewed explosives triggered by cellphones or garage door openers, killing more Americans than any of Saddam’s Scud missiles or main battle tanks. What might similarly ingenious insurgents do with off-the-shelf drones?
“We’re seeing capabilities that were previously the monopoly of major military powers are now accessible…to non-state actors, even individuals,” said Kelley Sayler. She’s an associate fellow at Center for a New American Security and author of a report out this morning, “A World of Proliferated Drones.” (CNAS provided us a copy in advance).
“There’s been a lot of discussion around town, particularly as relates to drones in the national security space about high-end drones,” Sayler told me. “We didn’t really see there being discussion on the range of systems that are available…particularly given the availability of low-end systems, hobbyist drones, even commercial drones.”