What should I avoid if I choose to spray paint rustoleum? [Part 3]
How should spray paint rustoleum be protected from moisture? [Part 4]
When the US Navy began exploring the use of underwater drones as surveillance and minehunting equipment in 2014, the project was quickly overshadowed by a competing idea — the development of autonomous weapons.
At the time, it seemed clear that the former would win out. “We’re going to have a lot of autonomy on these aircrafts, and we’re going to get to control them, and we’re going to do what we want to do with them,” Rear Adm. Joseph Fiske said last November.
But then, within days, President Obama announced that the US would phase out all of its current drone programs — and that US government drone strikes would end in 2017, with a few exceptions — “in order to preserve our capabilities for future conflicts.”
What does that mean in practice? A Pentagon spokesman at the time told the Washington Post that the transition to unmanned systems “is a very gradual process,” but would end with the US’s full withdrawal of its armed drones “at the earliest opportunity.”
With that in mind, the Pentagon is now exploring the possibilities for “military unmanned aircraft” with the goal of getting weapons up and running in the future — not necessarily by 2020, as was claimed at the time, but sometime in the future.
But as we reported in August, those plans were first brought to light by the Wall Street Journal, and the article raised some questions. The Pentagon confirmed the plans to the WSJ, but downplayed the reports, saying in a statement that it wanted to work for “open-ended access” to unmanned systems.
That statement raised an interesting question: If the US is “going to have a lot of autonomy” on these drones, as some have claimed, why did the Defense Department want to wait until the end?
The answer, according to the spokesman we spoke with, is a related question.
“We want to keep the unmanned systems in the United States,” the source said. “We want to keep them in the country and put them in appropriate environments that are appropriate to the country. But we want them to be ready. It’s difficult for us to talk about everything when you’re not able to do anything yet.”
That’s a question we asked several military experts about in September, as well.
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