Targeting ISIS’s Drone Infrastructure

The US-led coalition fighting ISIS needs to target the terrorist network’s use of drones not just as an individual quadcopter that needs to be taken down, but instead as a weapons system that needs to be targeted in full. Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, the deputy commander of Air Forces Central Command, said it is clear that ISIS is regularly using drones, both commercial quadcopters and larger remotely piloted aircraft, to conduct missions such as intelligence gathering, surveillance, strike, and propaganda. While the coalition has purchased devices to target these devices, the problem is larger than that. The system has leadership, he said. The devices are stored somewhere. Their pilots train, and there’s a logistics chain behind them. All of these should be targeted, so that a drone can never make its way to friendly forces. “I’d rather it not show up,” Silveria said. Without discussing specifics already being done, Silveria said they can be targeted by simply blowing it up before it launches, or by taking out the pilot. Electronic jamming can prevent it from flying, or jamming of cellular phone services can inhibit its control or communication by the pilot. Even jamming aircraft, like a Compass Call, can be used to disrupt the electromagnetic spectrum is uses to fly, he said at AWS17.