The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

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.

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