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Radio News: Air Force, short on drone pilots, uses private contractors

Sep 06, 2016 11:20 pm
The New York Times reports that the Air Force has a shortage of pilots for its radio-controlled drone fleet, and now the Pentagon will rely more on private contractors for reconnaissance missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The private contractors are not allowed to be "trigger pullers" shooting targets, but can fly reconnaissance, sending video feeds of operations. Over the past ten months, "the Pentagon has added four drones flown by contractors to the roughly 60 that are typically flown every day by uniformed Air Force personnel," the Times reports. “This is opening up a whole new can of worms — we have seen problems with security contractors on the battlefield since 9/11, and there’s been an improvement in oversight in that area, but that came after a decade of problems,” said Laura A. Dickinson, a law professor at George Washington University, who studies military contractors. “With drones, this is a new area where we already do not have a lot of transparency, and with contractors operating drones there’s no clearly defined regime of oversight and accountability.” Read the full story in The New York Times.
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