STRATCOM ISSUES GUIDANCE ON DRONE THREATS
The commander of the Strategic Command voiced concerns this week that terrorists could use drone aircraft to attack U.S. nuclear facilities.
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, Stratcom chief, told a Senate hearing that he recently issued new policy guidance on how security personnel at nuclear bases should respond to unauthorized intrusions by remotely piloted drones. Gen. Hyten said recent incidents of unauthorized intrusions by drones at Navy and Air Force facilities were “incidental” overflights and not deliberate surveillance or other nefarious activity.
“But the fact that they’re occurring, and then if you watch what is happening overseas in the [Central Command area of responsibility] with the use of lethal [unmanned aerial vehicles], and the use of UAVs for surveillance on the part of a terrorist adversary, I’m very concerned that those same kinds of UAVs could be employed against our weapon storage facilities, especially the nuclear weapon storage facilities,” the general said.
Last week, Gen. Hyten signed new guidance to nuclear forces on how to respond to “a threat UAV or a surveillance UAV.”
The classified guidance is designed to instruct security forces, such as Marines guarding the Kings Bay, Georgia, nuclear missile submarine base or airmen protecting the F.E. Warren Air Force Base missile facility in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on how to respond to drone intrusions, Gen. Hyten said.
The guidance is designed to provide a legal and policy framework as well as rules of engagement.
Inside the Ring reported March 8 that in response unauthorized intrusions by aerial drones at Navy and Air Force nuclear bases, both services plan to deploy defenses to detect, track and shoot down drones.
Another option under consideration is the use of birds of prey — eagles and hawks — to take out small drones that intrude over sensitive facilities.
Electronic devices that disrupt drone control signals also are being considered.
Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a Stratcom spokesman, declined to provide details on antidrone defenses.
“Protecting our force remains a top priority,” Col. O’Donnell said. “That is why Gen. Hyten issued very specific but classified guidance to his force on how to counter the unmanned aircraft threat to the security of facilities, assets and personnel under U.S. Strategic Command.”
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of the Strategic Command, warns that terrorist drones pose a threat to U.S. nuclear facilities.