USAF Lt. Gen. Walter E. Buchanan III, head of Central Command’s air forces, loves UAVs, but they are at the heart of his nightmare scenario. Every service is flying UAVs in uncoordinated fashion over Iraq and Afghanistan, he told defense reporters Thursday, noting that some 1,000 of these remotely piloted aircraft—small and large—are crowding the skies over Southwest Asia, most flying below 3,000 feet. Already, there have been some close calls. (See “The Clash of the UAV Tribes,” in the September 2005 Air Force Magazine.) “That is a very thick environment,” he noted. He then added, “My fear is the day will come when we have a C-130 full of troops and [a UAV] is going to come through the cockpit and take out a C-130 because we did not deconflict.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.