Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Growing Role Of Civilian Contractors In U.S. Drone Operations Are Raising Concerns

Personnel at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County last year control a Predator drone flying over Ft. Irwin, northeast of Barstow. (Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times)

Civilian Contractors Playing Key Roles In U.S. Drone Operations -- L.A. Times

Reporting from Washington — After a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed at least 15 Afghans in 2010, the Army officer investigating the accident was surprised to discover that an American civilian had played a central role: analyzing video feeds from a Predator drone keeping watch from above.

The contractor had overseen other analysts at Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field in Florida as the drone tracked suspected insurgents near a small unit of U.S. soldiers in rugged hills of central Afghanistan. Based partly on her analysis, an Army captain ordered an airstrike on a convoy that turned out to be carrying innocent men, women and children.

Read more ....

Update: US Civilians Are Now Helping Decide Who To Kill With Military Drones -- Business Insider

My Comment: These concerns are justified. As the U.S. military becomes more dependent on civilian contractors .... more accidental deaths and questionable calls will probably be raised.