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US Army And The Emergence Of Unmanned Threats

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The proliferation of unmanned technology, both unmanned aircraft and cruise missiles, challenges the decades-long assumption that the US Army will operate under conditions of air superiority. The expendability of unmanned platforms and lack of risk to pilot and crew change the threshold of risk an adversary is willing to accept. While unmanned threats perform many of the same roles as manned aircraft, contemporary and counterfactual case studies of Hezbollah and Chinese employment show that the relative advantages of unmanned threats significantly increase the probability and severity of adversary action through the air. Examination of the lessons learned operating under the threat of air attack in World War Two indicates several possible mitigations of this increased risk. Identified lessons in passive defense from World War Two remain relevant and were retained in Army capability and doctrine. However, lessons in organizing active defense and shaping conditions to protect US ground forces have been forgotten or are in need of adjustment to accommodate the emerging unmanned threat.

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