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July 04, 2019

For U.S. Military Drones, Airspace Is Growing More Congested, Dangerous

Featuring Paul Scharre

Journalist Ben Kesling

Unmanned U.S. surveillance aircraft, with their suites of advanced technology, are the high-price product of years of domestic drone development during an era of nearly uncontested airspace.

So when Iran on June 20 shot down one of the Pentagon fleet’s top spy drones, it signaled that the U.S. may need a new strategy for facing rivals who are better-prepared than the extremist groups it has become accustomed to operating against.

Until recently, American technology dominated the skies. But major military powers like China and Russia now field fleets of their own drones, say experts and officials, and even nonstate actors like Islamic State and Yemen’s Houthi rebels have unleashed small yet formidable fleets. All the while, antiaircraft defense systems have proliferated among major players, including Iran, and grown in sophistication.

Read the full article and more in The Wall Street Journal.


  • Paul Scharre

    Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

    Paul Scharre is the Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS. He is the award-winning author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence...