How – and why – U.S. drones went from observers to killing machines

March 30, 2016
PARTICIPANTS: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Scott Swanson

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Just months before the Sept. 11 attacks, Scott Swanson was piloting an early version of the Predator drone over Afghanistan. Swanson and his team were looking for Osama bin Laden and it looked like they found him.
The predator, though, was unarmed.

“When we started this, we were under the impression that once they had positive eyes on, something would have been ginned up,” Swanson said. “It didn’t happen.”

This week on War College, Swanson takes us through the early history of the drone program and tells us how a skunkworks project became a central part of the U.S. war machine.
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The use of drones implicitly assumed that our enemies would never obtain the same technology. That is now false and the genie is out of the bottle. Its a terrible new reality. Thanks droners!

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