Remotely-piloted aircraft, which the U.S. military refers to as RPAs, are increasingly used not only by the United States but numerous other countries to augment their firepower and over-the-horizon reach. While some are small enough to be carried by one trooper for use in the field by infantry, larger drones (as they are also known) can circle undetected for hours overhead. They are used for reconnaissance and for air attacks on designated enemies.
The U.S. military uses drones to get effect. They have been used extensively in Pakistan and Afghanistan by U.S. and allied forces. European powers are snatching these up, while even terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah are also making use of them.
Law enforcement in the United States is beginning to use these, especially on the international border shared by the U.S. and Mexico. As drones continue to develop and gain acceptance, they may pose significant problems for their users and citizenry. Laws in the U.S., for example, have not yet kept up with the technological developments and civil liberties issues raised by increasingly autonomous drone aircraft.
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.