US Drone Downed Over Iran Aimed for Human Targets
The capture of an American drone by the Iranian government has done more than inflame tensions in an already dangerous region; it has also allowed observers to deduce a possible U.S. plan for delaying Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Surveillance technologies such as satellites, electronic eavesdropping planes and drones of the sort captured by Iran all have very specific uses. Tellingly, the special capabilities of drones all point to the possibility of a campaign not against Iranian nuclear hardware, but against groups of Iranian weapons personnel themselves, experts say.
The use of drones to persistently monitor the behavior of potential human targets has provided the U.S. with some of its most notable military successes over the past few years. Drone surveillance led the way in reducing the violence in Iraq, allowed the U.S. to attack terrorists in Pakistan and provided the intelligence that eventually led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. In fact, the raid that killed bin Laden used drones of the same make and model that was recently downed over Iran.
If there are drones in the skies above Iran, it only stands to reason that a similar, personnel-focused bombing campaign might be in the works, said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, and an expert on defense technology and policy.
“Drones provide persistent surveillance. Persistent surveillance would be useful in understanding the best
time of day to attack Iranian WMD facilities if the intent were to destroy human capital,” Pike told InnovationNewsDaily. “Targeting human capital recognizes that human capital is more valuable and harder to replace than physical capital. The people can rebuild buildings, but the buildings cannot recruit and train people.”
The use of drone surveillance to target groups of people represents a shift in the military response to Iranian nuclear weapons development. Previously uncovered campaigns against the Iranian nuclear establishment have included degrading technical capacity with computer viruses like Stuxnet, the assassination/kidnapping of singularly important individual scientists or threats of aerial attacks against fortified nuclear facilities.
Attacking groups of people involved in weapons programs instead of the hardware itself has a long history, Pike said. During World War II, Britain and the U.S. attacked the site where Nazi Germany developed, assembled and launched rockets against England. Rather than targeting the launch pads or factories, the Allies directed their bombs against the areas where German scientists lived, worked and slept.
To be clear though, there is no irrefutable evidence yet that indicates the U.S. or its allies have attacked groups of people involved in developing nuclear weapons in Iran. However, considering the primary role of the drones now known to patrol Iranian airspace involves identifying potential human targets for future attack, Iranian scientists might want to think about whether or not they can start telecommuting to work.
This story was provided by InnovationNewsDaily, a sister site to TechNewsDaily.