BY J.R. Wilson
One of the best examples of how
rapidly advancing technologies can
change security requirements is the
rise of unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs). Relatively unknown to all
but a few in the military as recently
as 1990, today they are central to
militaries throughout the world; the
general public can even buy them in
The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) and its coun-
terparts around the globe have
been struggling to define opera-
tional limitations on UAV flight
parameters, especially around
airports, where several apparently
accidental incursions already have
threatened safe commercial air-
craft takeoffs and landings.
The U.S. Secret Service,
Department of Homeland Security
(DHS), FBI, and military also are
installing state-of-the-art sensors
and quick-reaction defenses around
the White House, U.S. Capitol,
Supreme Court, and other federal
facilities — domestic and overseas.
include RF energy handheld
devices, nets, birds of
prey, laser weapons,
and even surface-to-air
weapons to detect, track,
and neutralize unmanned
military forces, prisons,
and critical infrastructure.
NOTE: The U.S. government has adopted the generic term UAS—unmanned aircraft system—which includes launch systems and ground control stations.
This article deals only with the unmanned aircraft, weapons, software, and sensor payloads, so we are using UAV except in direct quotes.