News / Africa

US Military Relocates Drone Fleet From Djibouti Base

US Military Relocates Drone Fleet From Djibouti Basei
X
September 25, 2013 8:21 PM
The Pentagon says it is moving its fleet of drones off Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti - the only U.S. military base in Africa. VOA Pentagon Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports the U.S. decision comes as U.S. officials adjust their overall strategy for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Luis Ramirez
— The Pentagon says it is moving its fleet of drones off Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti - the only U.S. military base in Africa. The change comes as U.S. officials adjust their overall strategy for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.  

U.S. Defense Department officials say the decision follows a request by Djibouti's government, which voiced safety concerns following several recent drone crashes. Camp Lemonnier sits on the edge of Djibouti's international airport, and the unmanned aerial vehicles were taking off and landing from the same runway used by commercial aircraft, prompting concerns by Djibouti government officials.

The drones now are operating from an air strip at a remote location, also in Djibouti. Pentagon officials say they have not reduced operations in any way.

The decision to move the drones highlights the adjustments the Pentagon is making in its drone strategy, as it increases its dependence on unmanned aircraft to keep an eye on militant groups that are operating in eastern Africa.  

Camp Lemonnier, DjiboutiCamp Lemonnier, Djibouti
x
Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti
Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti
These groups include al-Shabab, which gained attention this week with an attack at a shopping mall in Kenya.

Using drones has been effective for the United States in its war on militants by allowing U.S. forces to efficiently and inexpensively strike targets and collect intelligence without putting U.S. soldiers on the ground.  

Downside of UAVs

Some observers say the extended use of drones has created a liability for the United States, however, in terms of public perception in countries where they are deployed.  

George Mason University Public Policy Professor Audrey Kurth Cronin said unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] have a record of crashing more often than manned aircraft, and they are extremely risky to use in places where the U.S. military does not control the air space.

“I do not think that anybody would argue against, in an active war zone, the usefulness of having unarmed capabilities like that to keep our soldiers from harm. But the problem is that UAVs have been used very extensively in places that are not active war zones, and here is where I think there is a lot to worry about,” said Cronin.

One concern among critics is the unpopularity of U.S. drones among people in the countries in which they operate could fuel anti-American sentiment and actually bolster militant groups.

Observers say the possibility of a U.S. drone causing a commercial plane to crash is not a risk the U.S. military can afford to take.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid