The Impact of Drone Wars on Homeland Intelligence Operations Case Study

A Case Study of the Impact of Drone Wars on Homeland Intelligence Operations


Institute of Affiliation



Abstract 3


1.1 Introduction 4

1.2 Background of the Drone Intelligence 4

1.3 The Present Commercialization of the Drone Industry 5

1.4 Emerging Problems of Drone Intelligence 6

1.4.1 The Challenge of Unregulated Distribution 6

1.4.2 The Threat of Unconventional and Conventional Attacks 7

1.4.3 The Threat of Unregulated Surveillance 7


2.1 Planned Space-Based Systems 8

2.2 Planned Airborne Systems 8

2.3 Planned Surface-Ship Systems 9

2.4 Current Submarine ISR Systems 9


References 11


This case study aims to recommend that the U.S. Navy eliminate threats caused by drones in this era where the demand for hobbyist drones increases dramatically. The Navy can be the best frontier for fighting against terrorists and irresponsible hobbyists who can use drones to destroy critical infrastructures and breach national security. Since the advent of the drone market, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has exploited all legal efforts to ban drone sales, but it has failed. The biggest challenge that the United States faces is deciding who should be prosecuted by the law between drone users and manufacturers. As a recommendation, the study suggests that Homeland Security, particularly the U.S. Navy, can advance its drone intelligence to strengthen Homeland Security.


1.1 Introduction

Today, when a person picks up a newspaper, turns on the news, opens a computer or phone to catch up on current events, they are often reminded of an issue that has plagued national security for decades, including counterintelligence; terrorism, and counterterrorism. For example, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., American citizens’ safety and civilian targets were discussed at length to minimize the future threats of terrorism against the United States. As a result, airport security measures and the implementation of TSA policies were developed to improve the safety of people traveling and curve the appeal of terrorist organizations to target airports. This helped eliminate the terrorist threat from public venues, such as shopping malls or hotels (ABC News, 2018). In addition, American Homeland Security and intelligence agencies struck back against terrorism by employing drones to relay information and intelligence, critical to mission success.

1.2 Background of the Drone Intelligence

The U.S. Navy, in September 2002, failed to collect intelligence from Lebanon and Beirut effectively, and terrorist truck bombings were successfully carried out that took the lives of 295 people. This intelligence was lost based on the inability of intelligence agencies to use drones sufficiently to survey embarkation areas in the U.S., allowing terrorists an opportunity to capitalize on our weaknesses (Bhuta, 2016). Additionally, a drone strike killing 3000 people was carried out in September 2002 as a message against the U.S. Army’s presence in the Middle East (Bhuta, 2016). These examples, coupled with several others, forced the United States Government to embrace and support drone and drone defense technologies, allowing our intelligence communities to grow more potent in protecting Americans and Homeland Security.

1.3 The Present Commercialization of the Drone Industry

Homeland Security drone operations, by far, are of a classified nature to protect information critical for successful surveillance techniques and operations to succeed. However, companies began to understand the opportunities for drones to be used in the commercial sector and the enormous capacity to make millions of dollars. The U.S. Government did not enforce regulations against Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) drones. Therefore, the business exploded on U.S. soil, which opened the doors for new threats to emerge, significantly raising Homeland Security organizations’ concerns (Chandler, 2017).

Many drones are operated using the internet and are capable of short-distance runs and can quickly, undetected, relay current information of Homeland Security personnel on the ground, the number of ships and submarines in port or at sea, replenishment efforts, maintenance activities, force protection measures in place, unfolding the elements of secrecy, operational excellence, and surprise (Chandler, 2017). These drones directly negatively affect U.S. Naval and Homeland Security operations, both in the U.S. and overseas. Internet of Things (IoT), drones as discussed by Tanner (2017), is an internet technology that can be hacked by terrorists and U.S. enemies in real-time and be used to relay data and gather information and how civilians are now able to purchase them. Many of these youth drones are made in China and automatically relay data back to the Chinese government, which is why the purchase of U.S. Homeland Security drones is now regulated to contracts. 

1.4 Emerging Problems of Drone Intelligence

1.4.1 The Challenge of Unregulated Distribution

Drones have transformed the United States Homeland Security strategies of war by allowing the U.S. Navy to gather unprecedented information under nearly undetectable platforms. Moreover, drones have allowed the U.S. Navy to strike at targets with precision without the need to lose soldiers on deployment missions. However, these capabilities rely on a technology that anyone with access codes can exploit to the Homeland Security drones. The main threat and great concern to the U.S. Navy are that as drones become numerous, smaller, and cheaper, more people are purchasing drones for domestic uses, becoming challenging for Homeland Security to regulate (McCurley, 2017). Moreover, it will be negligence on the U.S. Navy to speculate that the drones will only be given to responsible nations and individuals from the United States has experienced a long history of security threats, such as terrorists hiding among civilians.

Creative minds develop drones, some of whom do not work for the U.S. Navy. Another major threat, such as potential adversaries, can originate from even the civilians, who use drones as hobbies and interfere with U.S. writers. For example, Bajpai and Chandrasekhar (2016) reveal that their reports that hobbyists pose a threat to lightly armored vehicles and are also capable of dismantling infantry in the US Marine Corps, Special Operation Forces, and the U.S. Army, among others. Currently, the United States has to be concerned with increasing drones by states and non-state groups. For example, the U.S. is concerned that drone inventions among Islamic states, such as Iraq and Syria (ISIS), might pose a severe threat to U.S. Navy ships and submarines while they are in the ports (Bajpai & Chandrasekhar, 2016). Moreover, drones pose a significant threat to Air Force plans lying on the U.S. Homeland Security territories or landing or taking off.

1.4.2 The Threat of Unconventional and Conventional Attacks

Drones can be used to launch unconventional and conventional attacks. The UAVs, another name drone, can be fitted with explosives designed to explode after the drone lands or contact the target. A case example is a drone, which was used sent to kill two Kurdish and two French soldiers near Iraq when ISIS sent a booby-trapped drone to explode after arriving at the targeted destination. Air Force Technology (2018) adds that the U.S. Navy is at risk of being attacked. Since it also uses says with improvised explosive devices, the same explosives might be used by terrorists to attack U.S. warfighters. For instance, there have been reports of drones attached with small arms, such as pistols and flamethrowers. In addition, since drones can carry a load at such a high velocity that is needed to cause significant damage, there are reports that unidentified suspects have used them to destroy U.S. Navy writers and other soft targets. Tanner (2017) adds that drones can be equipped with external payloads for dropping bombs, such as disseminating biological or chemical agents from afar altitude without being detected.

1.4.3 The Threat of Unregulated Surveillance

In addition to their kinetic killer applications, drones can be used by the enemy for Reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA). This includes jamming frequency transmissions from U.S. Navy stations and conveying misleading information during information operations by U.S. operatives. For example, there are reports that Russians have been using UAVs equipped with RTSA applications, which travel in pairs in Ukraine for jamming and misleading radio transmission systems (Diaz, 2018). Recently marketed drone technological enhancements include a holographic GPS printing of an image in the sky using drones to jam GPS systems. For example, Bajpai and Chandrasekhar (2016) report that some autonomously guided aircraft were used to print a flag of a terrorist group over a town in the Middle East, causing panic to the residents. In addition, this same technology could raise tension in the U.S. Navy by spreading propaganda of an impending attack from terrorists.


2.1 Planned Space-Based Systems

           The American nation currently has space-based image intelligence (IMINT) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) for collecting data processing it to even greater capabilities. This provides the first essential naval force to be integrated into U.S. Navy drones to eliminate all threats that the increasing number of civilian drones might cause. For example, the National IMINT systems can provide the photographic information of a place using stereophotogrammetry science, which allows Homeland Security to have a precise geodetic position of all targets on the earth’s surface (Grossman, 2018). This means that the U.S. Navy can use these capabilities to increase precision strikes against moving targets, such as a speeding non-Homeland Security drone that invades the Homeland Security space. Grossman (2018) also suggests that new satellite constellations are currently being modeled in space to aid in the future architecture of U.S. Navy drones. These constellations have been crucial in the research and development of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, which will be critical for the recommended program for the U.S. Navy drone technologies.

2.2 Planned Airborne Systems

Homeland security is currently developing improved airborne monitoring systems. This includes the use of UAVs with Predator E-2C aircraft, all of which are meant to provide enhanced intelligence (Diaz, 2018). Currently, it appears that the Navy is trained in the budget to manufacture these assets to enhance simultaneous surveillance and tactical strike capabilities, which should be integrated into the ISR systems.

2.3 Planned Surface-Ship Systems

There exists a difference between sensor system combat systems that are used in Navy surface ships. However, this difference will continue to increase as new ISR technologies are introduced to enhance Navy combat and surveillance capabilities. To improve the U.S. Navy’s security position in drone threats, Kaufmann (2016) suggests that there should be data sharing with other units to gather more information from space, water, or air, increasing a situational analysis. For example, Air defense radars can be networked with ISR systems to form Joint Force Commanders’ surveillance and countermeasure operations (Williams, 2015). This is a part of the recommendations that this case study suggests for the U.S. Navy to develop new air defense radars, which will be a part of the next-generation surface-ship anti-submarine warfare technologies.

2.4 Current Submarine ISR Systems

As noted from the prevision discussion, the Navy is proper to nuclear attacks originating from nuclear propulsions deployed using a drone from coastal regions. In addition, there are existing development programs for installing an ISR in submarines so that Special Operation Forces can take advantage of the secretive nature (Young, 2015). This means that the Navy will have increased capabilities for countering attacks from nuclear-powered, guided-missiles from drones by developing a clear surveillance picture and combat strategy. 


The case study focused on investigating how the U.S. Navy can counteract threats against drone attacks. This discussion has highlighted vital points in the Naval service, limiting its ability to counter threats against a long-ranged, static, and moving targets. Various reviews have shown that the Navy lacked effective communication technologies for detecting, analyzing, locating, and sending countermeasures to moving targets over the sea, subsurface, space, and land. As demonstrated from the discussion, drone technology has been developed to integrate the right technology into the Navy defense systems to neutralize threats from Sus drones. The review illustrates that the Navy is best suited to help eliminate security threats caused by civilian’s UAVs, which can also be used to destroy critical infrastructures in cities and Homeland Security bases. Therefore, this study suggests that the Navy can take charge by upgrading its detection systems with the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, a combination of satellites, drones, and radar communication technologies. This should be a part of a witch should be approved to provide the Navy with drones that would help counter the threats posed by the increased number of civilians drones, which can be used to attack Homeland Security bases.


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