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Pentagon Plans to Open School Focused on Countering Small Drones

Lt. Col. David Morgan of the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office said current counter-drone training is insufficient.

The US Army is reportedly planning to launch a new academy in 2024 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma that will teach soldiers how to counter small military drones on the battlefield.

Three test ranges have also been selected for the purpose and more ranges in urban locations are being identified, the Department of Defense (DoD) said in a statement.

These efforts are in response to the Pentagon’s latest assessment in which it acknowledged the growing threat to US forces posed by the proliferation of small drones.

“The [small drone] threat is evolving,” said Major General Sean Gainey, director of the Joint C-sUAS Office (JCO), Stars and Stripes reported. “Having a synergy at the [future] schoolhouse will help the force understand how to get after this problem.”

Small Drones: Multiple Threats

Small drones pose threats in multiple ways. US officials have reported that terrorist groups such as Islamic State have used them to drop explosives on soldiers in Iraq.

They can also be used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes or to jam communication signals.

Domestically, they can cause accidents when flying too close to aircraft or in restricted areas.

Recognizing these threats, the DoD is focusing on a synchronized strategy to decrease overlap, providing common architectures and interfaces across all services.

Lt. Col. David Morgan of the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office clarified current counter-drone training insufficiency during a virtual industry open house.

“Every service is executing service-specific training. The average soldier, airman or Marine lacks adequate counter-UAS training. It’s not fully embedded in the [program of instruction] from basic training onward,” he said, adding that training is often completed downrange without sustainment or reinforcement.

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