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Countering the Threat of UAV-Delivered Chemical and Biological Weapons

Chem-Bio Drone Countermeasures
Image credit: S. Lizotte, Stemar Media

Multiple senior U.S. officials recently testified before Congress regarding the rising threat that weaponized UAVs pose to U.S forces abroad.

Officials are now acknowledging that these same threats are likely — and perhaps imminent — to the U.S. homeland. But what makes these threats unique is they provide terrorists and extremists a cheap, commercially available, asymmetrical tool to inflict mass casualties.

While many Americans are aware of the threats from explosives made from everyday products, they are less aware of sophisticated chemical and biological weapons threats that could be delivered by UAVs.

These chemical and biological agents, many of which are just as easy to acquire, are far more deadly because they can be used by the same UAV platform to inflict mass casualties far beyond the original attack location and spread rapidly without detection. Given how adaptive and technologically sophisticated terrorists have become, it is imperative that our government and industry work together to drive innovative countermeasures that can be rapidly tested and fielded.

There are promising, recent developments.

The fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act grants the Department of Defense the authority to test and field systems to counter unmanned aircraft in order to protect U.S. bases and facilities abroad and at home.

More encouraging are the House and Senate fiscal 2018 defense authorization bills, currently in conference, that direct the Department of Defense to expand its counter-drone testing capabilities in order to quickly field more innovative solutions.

Read the rest of the article by Fred Byus and Matthew Shaw at Defense News.

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