As the battlefield use of commercial drones by ISIS extremists becomes more prevalent and sophisticated, there is growing concern that these unmanned aircraft systems could be used in terror attacks inside the U.S.
Drones, relatively inexpensive and easily purchased online or at a local big-box retail store, have been modified by ISIS fighters to drop grenades or to surveil troop movements overseas. The terror group continues to bolster its use of weaponized and surveillance drones against Iraqi and U.S. forces. In April, U.S. Central Command told Fox News that coalition troops have as many as 30 encounters a week with unmanned aerial vehicles.
In fact, ISIS announced the formation of a new drone warfare unit in January, whose sole purpose is to inflict “a new source of horror for the apostates.” And, according to a January report by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point “we should expect the Islamic State to refine its drone bomb-drop capability. It is likely that the Islamic State’s use of this tactic will not only become more frequent, but more lethal as well.”
Col. John Thomas, CENTCOM Director of Public Affairs, confirmed this increased drone use to Fox News in an e-mail.
“It is something we’ve observed and it’s an emerging threat,” he said. “We are concerned about it. We first saw an initial surge in ISIS drone activity in late-January. We work with teams across the Department of Defense to address and neutralize the enemy use of unmanned systems.”