Just looking at the US military’s media, it is clear that drones are increasingly becoming a basic feature of modern war; even when it comes to military ad campaigns. In the 2019 “The Corps Vision” ad, a US Marine launches a drone as a larger infantry unit deploys. Similarly, in the 2018 Defense Intelligence Agency “DIA Role and Mission” advertisement, possible ISIS acquisition of armed drones is highlighted.
More and more, drones are showing up in the hands of American troops, their allies and their adversaries while filling an increasing range of roles: reconnaissance, air support and refueling to name just a few. Their presence has already made itself felt in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and has not gone unnoticed within US Defense Department circles.
The Pentagon has previously concluded that the joint force is unprepared to counter enemy UASs and suffers from a lack of interbranch cooperation on tackling the issue. Steps have begun to be taken to address this and most recently, back in June, the US Army announced the selection of a series of interim anti-drone systems. Now, the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office is set on establishing a new “academy” for fighting drones in 2024. The office, while led by the army, hopes to train personnel across all the branches.
According to one of the office’s officers, Lt. Col. David Morgan:
“Every service is executing service-specific training. The average soldier, airman or Marine lacks adequate counter-UAS training. It’s not fully embedded in the [training program] from basic training onward”
The new anti-drone school will provide training for fighting drones, ranging from teaching on relevant command-and-control structures to the actual employment of anti-drone tactics in the field. It is also meant to serve as a doctrinal proving ground, distributing its finding across the force and slowly building up a more formal approach to defeating drones.
This development comes as part of a much larger and more comprehensive Defense Department program to fight drones. The Pentagon is in the midst of developing a joint strategy to counter UAVs and is in the process of acquiring a larger volume of various anti-drone systems such as the USMC LMADIS, Navy’s CORIAN and USAF’s NINJA.