The head of US Strategic Command this month released guidance to security forces and the country’s nuclear bases on how to respond to threats from small drones, following the trend of adversaries using the off-the-shelf devices in battle in the Middle East. STRATCOM chief Gen. John Hyten, testifying Tuesday at the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his specific, classified guidance will give defenders steps to take if they see a small device, such as a quadcopter, either directly threatening or surveilling a nuclear facility. So a “young marine at King’s Bay or an airman at F.E. Warren doesn’t have to worry about ‘What should I be doing?’” Hyten said. He said there have been recent incidents with the small devices flying near nuclear facilities, but so far they have been incidental. However, he is concerned after seeing ISIS using weaponized devices to target Iraqi forces in Mosul, and that those “same kind of UAVs could be employed against our weapons storage facilities.”
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.