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The Military United States

Air Force Hires Civilian Drone Pilots For Combat Patrols (latimes.com) 74

schwit1 writes: For the first time, civilian pilots and crews now operate what the Air Force calls "combat air patrols," daily round-the-clock flights above areas of military operations to provide video and collect other sensitive intelligence. Civilians are not allowed to pinpoint targets with lasers or fire missiles. They operate only Reapers that provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, known as ISR, said Air Force Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command.
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Air Force Hires Civilian Drone Pilots For Combat Patrols

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  • How much are they charging the civilians to let them pilot the drones?

    If they let civilians use the weapons, they could probably eliminate the deficit.

    • This would be so much more fun than piloting my little Phantom 3 around town.

      Pew! Pew!

    • So after a drone strike, we can expect to see one of these drones come in, hover, and bob up and down over the victims' bodies.

  • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @01:33PM (#51017925) Journal

    After all, if I were at war with the United States, they would be legitimate targets. And presumably, if they didn't wear uniforms and hid among civilians, then US is to blame for any "collateral damage" from bombing civilian centers. After all, there are unlawful combatants hiding among them.

    • To be at war requires you have a nation state and declared war. No nation state is willing to openly declare war so we end up with nation state sponsored or at least ignored terrorism/asymmetric warfare.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bones_nl ( 4351927 )
        That depends on your country's laws. Apparently, we Dutch are officially at war with IS/Daesh, and they're not a recognized nation state.
        • An announcement by the PM that "the Dutch are at war" is different than a declaration of war. What does "being at war with an ideology" even mean?!?

          Unless you are talking about the No Surrender Motorcycle Club, who decided to join the Kurds in Northern Iraq and Syria

      • You are at war with people who are at war with you.

        Did the school bully ever ask you if you wanted to be bullied? Did the drunk in the bar ever ask if you'd like to be beaten up, please sir?

        Seriously, if a group picks you as their enemy, it doesn't matter of they are a nation-state.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Keep in mind you analogy of the school bully and the bar drunk. So if you are at war with a school bully, the accepted US tactic blow up the school and adjoining properties are guilty by association. If you are a war with a bar drunk, target the bar with drone missiles and if it is a chain target all the rest of the chain because the drunk might be in one of them instead. Lets be clear on the reality of the terror wars, the fantasy Global War on Terror versus the real Global Terror War (where little or nor

        • You are not at war with the school bully or the drunk. You might have to defend yourself from them you might have to kill them when you reasonably believe to not means they would kill you. In war you kill them in the safest way possible, civilian casualties are acceptable as long as your kill your enemy. You kill from a distance you kill with technology you kill them till they submit or there is nobody left to kill. There are reasons why in war you have to treat a captured enemy humanly they did nothing

          • Modulating your response is rarely helpful. With the bully, once you've given up on avoidance, the authorities, and reasoning, snack them hard. Or you continue to get abused.

            In war, conventional war, you would if course focus on combatants, overwhelming force, quick resolution if possible.

            In unconventional war, where combatants mix with civilians and disguise their identity, you have no such luxury. Starving them off their weapons sounds good until they start making them in kitchens. Starving them literal

      • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

        That's been the state of things for a while. Obama killed a US Citizen abroad using a Drone. As is standard procedure, someone asked about the legality - you know, due process. The White House said "There was enough due process." Meaning the justice department said it's ok. No trial, no jury, you know rule of law. Just whacked the guy. Not a peep from main stream media. Imagine if GW Bush did that. They'd still be talking about it and how terrible it was.

        Anwar al-Awlaki
        https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

        Gran

    • Civilians in support roles to the military have always been targeted. Not all those German factories that got bombed were empty, and the ships carrying supplies to England in U-boat infested waters had civilian crews.
      • That's not what "targeting civilians" means. Factories and cargo ships were targeted because they affect the ability of the state to wage war. The civilians working there were non-combatants, but they weren't the targets. To say "civilians were targeted" is when you bomb school buses and pizza parlors.
    • These are ex-military, tax payer trained pilots.
  • "Air Force Hires Civilian Drone Pilots For Combat Patrols"

    Sounds perfect, I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

    • "Air Force Hires Civilian Drone Pilots For Combat Patrols"

      Then they should put the video on twitch.tv.

      I'll bet the chat would be awesome:

      Nevada1: xD
      R1ku1313: just pooped myself
      monkeytamarin: 100
      Cjadl24: VAC
      Tomraax: drone Kappa
      Bx_flip_mula: whites created EBOLA
      Drayco88: CruW CruW CruW CruW
      Dylan88937: MP7?
      MohammadTayyemHD: As pasha once said rippepperonees Kappa
      Nios03: REKT! god bless KappaRoss
      Ovxe: GOOO LG
      Kosaukacz: cyka nuggets
      BambiOnPcIn1080p: lick my balls
      Caki322: chupenme la japi manga

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Japan has been hiring children to control giants robots for like 20 years.. It's about time.

  • Using mercenaries is not a new thing for the US military, especially in "non-combat" roles. Generally they prefer ones that previously had US military service. Dollars to donuts the drone pilots this company has are all ex-military, who mustered out and are now looking at doing their same job for twice the pay with half the oversight.
  • Civilian pilots is what they call the CIA and other members of the intelligence community. Lots of the spy planes of past eras were piloted by "civilians". Sounds to me like an awkward phrasing of "the CIA negotiated some air time in our drones" with the phrasing designed to distract from what's actually happening and instead creating a debate about a completely different topic.

    Then again, the intelligence agencies already have plenty of drones and that's no secret, so it's entirely possible I'm wearing too

  • When artillery were first used by nation states, they were also hired out to contractors. (Of course when captured they weren't given the honors of war due soldiers, they were slaughtered. That was the impetus to incorporate them into their respective armies.)

    There is nothing new here.

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