The Army will serve as the armed forces’ lead in countering threats posed by unmanned aerial vehicles. The Defense Department made the announcement in a policy paper published Jan. 11. In its new role, the Army will:
• Enhance joint-force capabilities through innovation and collaboration.
• Develop solutions that would ensure safe execution of missions while denying enemies the ability to thwart them.
• Foster appropriate relationships with partner nations.
“The exponential growth of [drones] creates a new risk,” the paper stated. “Technology trends are dramatically transforming legitimate applications of small unmanned aerial systems while simultaneously making them increasingly capable weapons in the hands of state actors, non-state actors and criminals.”
Because these vehicles also could pose threats to military operations due to recklessness or negligence, the effort would entail a thorough review of doctrine, training, equipment and policy, the paper stated.
“The [Defense] Department must provide commanders with the right equipment and with ready forces which are supported by appropriate training and doctrine in order to enable the Joint Force to collectively meet the … challenge,” the paper stated.
The mission would require integrating of both active and passive defenses, as well as materiel and non-materiel solutions.
“When all of these elements are synchronized, our forces will be better prepared to detect, identify, deter, and if necessary defeat threat [small unmanned aerial systems].”
The officer in charge of the Army’s role further outlined what is at stake.
“We have to leverage things like rapid prototyping and middle-tier acquisition to be able to bring these components to our open-architecture system as we’re seeing changes on the battlefield,” said Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, director of the Joint C-sUAS [counter-small unmanned aerial systems] Office.