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How America Broke Its Drone Force

June 22, 2015

MQ-9 Reaper   click on photograph to enlarge

In a tent at Nellis Air Force Base on the northern edge of Las Vegas, the officer in charge of a U.S. Air Force drone unit strolled into a meeting with the 20 or so pilots and sensor operators under his command. It was in the winter of 2005-2006, and the officer just wanted to try out some ideas he had for boosting unit morale, he recalled later in a conversation with an Air Force historian.

But it was too late. The drone crews from the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron were already “so bitter and angry,” the flight commander remembered. And when he opened his mouth, the drone operators actually booed.

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