The Use and Security Threats posed by Drones (Update)

 Update, A video reportedly shows a drone explodes during an alleged assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro 8/5/2018

Since we published this article ISA staff have been designing and testing drone-based assassination systems and the results are scary. Using commercially available drones, homemade explosives (simulated) and different design upgrades we have killed and maimed people in public events, parking garages, and getting out of their limo. We have crashed an “armored’ drone at 30mph into the windshield of a moving SUV killing the driver and badly injuring the other occupants of the vehicle and into the window of a highrise hotel killing our target in bed as he slept. 

 And we did this to design measures to counter the threat from drones. Using IR imagers, audio detectors, k band radar, and other anti-drone systems we tried to establish a safe zone around a principle and for the most part, we had a 60% success rate.  Hard to stop a drone parked a few hundred feet up over an arrival point from crashing straight down at 30mph into the roof of the limo and detonating its explosive and ball bearing charge. Between limitations placed on us by the FCC and FAA, you can forget jammers or shooting them down in the city limits.

But if you’re going to call yourself an executive protection specialist you better get up to date on these types of threats. From hi-res cameras peeking into your principles window as they dress or used to cause physical harm, drones are here to stay.

Come join us on the campus of Montgomery Community College and the North Carolina Drone Academy as we look at the use of, and defense from drones. Our next class is August 25th, 2018.

Published on September 2, 2017

They get in the flight path of commercial jetliners and hover over beaches. They are cheap, easy to operate, and have some, but little real government oversight. They are drones and they have become commonplace at parks and other public spaces today.

Since the first retail sales of drones in the United States, Independent Security Advisors has been integrating them into our standard site security and dignitary & executive protection programs.  We have tethered systems sitting over homes and offices, short-range systems that go with our teams on the road, and have occasionally used them in training to demonstrate their capabilities.

 I think that’s because many of us are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we used or benefited from these systems at a ground “tactical” level. Our experience with drones on the battlefield demonstrated their utility, strengths and operational limitations, so we naturally incorporated these systems into our work today.

But for our training division, the full incorporation of drone technology was met with a bit of skepticism since many of our students had never used them, or had them in their inventory. Law enforcement and private security alike was slow to embrace drones, and we still find most executive protection and physical security teams are not embracing the use of drones. Nor do they understand the threat a drone can pose to their operations, and safety and security of their protectee.

Drones have been found on the roof of embassies and the lawn of the White House. Youtube videos show drones modified with various weapons, and dropping explosives on Iraqi troops by ISIS fighters in Iraq. Iran has flown drones over our warships in the Persian Gulf, and the group Hamas has used them against Israel to spot for rocket attacks and conduct reconnaissance.

Real Estate agents use them; the media uses them, paparazzi use them to harass celebrities, and peeping toms use them to invade the privacy of anyone who fails to lower their blinds. So why are so many security “experts” just now exploring this old technology.

Anti-drone systems are commercially available and being installed around airports and government installations, and yet people are still in court defending themselves for shooting drones down over their property with shotguns and water hoses.

Why at this point would anyone hire executive protection providers or physical security companies just now getting into the game of using or defending against drones?

For our part, ISA will increase awareness in the industry to the use and threats of drones by use of our training division. Going forward all, not some, but all, ISA dignitary and executive protection, as well as terrorism and hostile surveillance training programs, will have mandatory classes on drones. We have added this block of instruction under the threat assessments module and reinforced it in operational planning exercises and capstone events.

In addition, ISA has begun our search for additional subject matter experts specializing in the use and threats of drones. These new instructors will be part of our enhanced drone threat awareness program, and when fully staffed, will provide us with additional mobile training and drone operations teams.

We love technology and embrace change, so we’re excited about this enhanced program. If you have any interest in drones or want to share your experiences using them please reach out to us.

For more information please contact Matthew Parker, CEO, ISA [email protected]

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