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US Army Wants Counter-Drone Training as Basic Soldier Requirement

The US Army is considering making counter-drone training one of the basic requirements of boot camp for newly-inducted soldiers.

In a report titled Countering Small Uncrewed Systems released Tuesday, two army officials disclosed that the service’s Center for Initial Military Training is currently rewriting doctrine so new recruits will learn how to identify and neutralize drones.

The move aims to allow soldiers at every level to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and strategies to counter one of the most rapidly evolving threats today.

“It’s going to become a basic soldier requirement to identify, report, and in some cases, react to the threat,” US Army senior advisor Sgt. Maj. Demetrius Johnson said. “It’s MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) agnostic, it’s not specific to an air defender to be able to employ these handheld systems.”

The proposal coincides with the creation of the Joint Counter Small Unmanned Aerial Systems University at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

‘Not Enough Air Defense Capacity’

The US Army has only seen a slight increase in the number of soldiers with air defender ranks despite the increasing aerial threats posed by unmanned systems, according to a report by Army Times.

Center for Strategic and International Studies director Tom Karako claimed that the service’s air defense capacity is not enough considering the demand.

“Look at the way in which Ukraine has been expanding air and missile defense interceptors and translate that over to what we would need in a China conflict,” he told the outlet. “We are going to need to increase capacity a lot more.”

Once counter-drone training is considered a basic requirement for soldiers, the army plans to issue handheld counter-drone gear to soldiers even at the squad level.

It also wants its divisions to each have a counter-drone battery manned by well-trained air defense soldiers.

US drone
A US soldier operates a reconnaissance drone. Photo: US Army

Increasing Drone Threats

Russia’s aggressive use of kamikaze drones in Ukraine has prompted many countries to invest more in counter-drone solutions to prepare for future conflicts.

China has also ramped up drone production to bolster its combat capabilities.

In light of the growing threat, the US Army awarded contracts for powerful laser weapons that can take down drones.

It also launched a smartphone app-controlled counter-drone solution that enables users to report suspicious drones and provide added situational awareness for authorities and command centers.

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