The civilian operator has to understand that the future of conflict, regardless if it is domestic or foreign, is going to involve technology on a massive scale. With hybrid warfare now being perfected by both state and non-state actors, the civilian operator/prepper needs to plan on also using a combination of conventional, asymmetrical and cyber methods to give them the utmost advantage on the coming battlefield. We have seen the use and application of drones (UAV’s) virtually explode in the civilian market lately, with many in the FAA for example, calling for stricter guidelines on their use and operation. The US Military are already developing specific UAV “counter-measures” that will no doubt, like other Military hardware, find their way into civilian Law Enforcement agencies soon.
Now therefore, is the best time to learn and implement a UAV program into your local CO Community Intelligence Gathering program before, like many things that offer the civilian a “leg up” both strategically and tactically, the government buries them in strict and confusing (and expensive) regulations.
Commercial drones have certainly been in the news lately, and in almost all instances it has been negative press. In California, a drone interfered with the flight path of an air tanker, halting fire fighting efforts to stop a major wildfire. Most recently at the Kennedy Airport in New York, a commercial airline pilot reported seeing a drone “about 100 feet below” him while he was landing (his current altitude was 1300 feet.) Current FAA regulations ban small drones from flying higher than 500 feet or close to airports and heavily populated areas.
The use of drones by civilians is in its infancy; like most groundbreaking technology when it first comes on the market, the “wow” factor tends to overwhelm and it takes the general public a while to learn how to utilize the tech to it’s full potential. Typically, the learning curve is around two years; but with drones, people are learning very quickly that ultimately, at its core, all a basic drone consist of is either a RC model quad rotor or plane with a set of hi-res cameras that you can fly with your cell phone in most cases.
Of course, Law Enforcement all across the globe has tapped into the covert surveillance potential of drones, sending their HD cameras attached to quiet electric motors humming over un-suspecting pot fields, meth labs and other nefarious and criminal behavior. In The the larger cities where gangs are a problem, like Los Angeles and New York, drones are used for covert urban surveillance, often getting into the “nooks and crannies” gangs think they are safe because CCTV cameras can’t see them.
But it is organizations like New America.org that have really tapped into the amazing potential that drones can offer; and we are not just talking about joy rides near airports. NewAmerica.org, a division of Open Technology Institute has developed a basic “How To” manual that uses drones to Map areas in third world or under-developed countries for property rights and future Global Development of under-used resources. The team uses open sourced, mission control software called Mission Planner, to create flightplans to be able to monitor the drones flight in real-time. They then use the free version of Pix4DMapper software to turn the photos into a 3D model. See the culmination of all their efforts, including a video HERE.
The amazing thing about this entire project is this small team went in with the ideal to TEACH these indigenous people ALL THE TECHNICAL SKILLS they would need not only to operate the drones, but build them from the ground up and repair them as well, and they succeeded beyond anybody’s expectations!
This goes to show that if a group of third world indigenous peoples with little to no technical expertise can build, maintain and operate these drones and be successful, then certainly a group of motivated CO’s with planning and know-how can do the same. Consider if the enterprising CO were to take this information and apply it in a tactical and strategic manner to a Community Intelligence Gathering program (CIG) which would include the mapping of your entire AO from the air, to include; CP’s (Command Post), bunkers, egress routes, exfil points, hidden trails, ambush choke points, crossroads, sentry point locations, listening post locations, streams, rivers, landmarks, fire breaks, high-line right-of-ways, nearest major roads and arteries, etc.
It would also behoove the CO to map out urban areas that are close by in the same manner. An overhead street-to-street view can prove invaluable in urban warfare, as it shows elements that do not appear on a standard map. Once mapped, you can then identify things such as the best locations for: murder holes, sniper positions, mines, IED’s, ambush choke points, sewer locations, etc. Mapping things like the location of telephone and DSL junction boxes, CCTV camera locations (intersection traffic lights) and locations of police stations and fire houses can also be valuable.
By using the above software combined with the open-sourced drone construction resources such as DIY Drones and MyGeekShow, the enterprising CO can learn how to build a “recon and mapping” drone for their CO Community and exploit a resource that up to now, has been sidelined as a “geek hobby.”
Time to get to work.
Stay Alert, Stay Armed, and Stay Dangerous!