The Drone Wars

Surprise, surprise. The dramatic increase in unmanned aerial drones inthe skies above Iraq, Afghanistan (and now Pakistan) has caused a turfwar between the Army, which prefers placing them under the command ofunit commanders, and the Air Force, which prefers handling them throughthe theatre-wide Joint Force Commander. The former makes for a morerapid and responsive fleet, but the latter minimizes the downtime oftying the UAV’s to the varying conditions of day to day combat needs.Luckily, the two branches seem to be making headway on working out acompromise.

Next up? Finding the air space to fly them all in:

“Youhave fighters, F-16s, UAVs, rotary wing and artillery rounds allin a very tight airspace,” [Air Force Maj. Gen. William] Rew, [directorof operational planning] said. “How are we going to synchronizethis?. . .Right now, we’re doing it in bits andpieces.”

Bits and pieces, of course, being what everyone’s trying to avoid.