Bombing Paupers Incorporated, drone business, is already deployed in the US. But there's a new vigorous push on, and it's all about the money. With the taxpayer already shelling out about the same for unmanned bombing and spying as it does for the FDA, defense -- read private contractor -- spending in the area is a place relatively immune from future budget-cutting.
An older growth projectiion on Unmanned Aerial Systems, courtesy Bombing Paupers Inc. Left axis = billions.
Earlier this week, the Alyona Show at RT covered accelerating drone seepage into US airspace, specifically recent passed legislation green-lighting it. And over the past couple weeks, the push has been subject to treatment at Steve Aftergood's Secrecy Blog, one post of which notoriously generated a hailstorm of crazy wrath from the Drudge Army.
The Alyona Show -- video embed above -- pointed out a chart on lobbying efforts from the drone industry and a startling but not unexpected doubling in greasing for it in 2011.
The drone industry knows there's a good chance homeland security dollars can be used to lease drone flights to all manner of local government -- read police -- departments through the US. It's a type of distributed payment in which the entire taxpayer base is used as a bank for what are effectively local point sales.
It's been used throughout the last decade to equip police departments with military equipment in the name of the war on terror. Leasing or buying drones, while much more expensive, is not fundamentally different.
Anyone who doubts this practice should probably review South Pasadena's acquisition of a totally unnecessary armored car, as noted here a week or so ago.
If Burbank, for example, can have an armored car for a quarter of a million dollars on a grant from Homeland Security, why not a Predator drone for two to four million?
Southern California, including Pasadena where I live, already has an able police air force, of sorts.
It employs helicopters and over the course of fifteen years I'd say they've been cost effective. The Pasadena air force -- one helicopter -- has been successfully used to track and pin individuals of interest to the police (like car thieves or single gang members) using spotlights and infra-red optics. However, it is hard to imagine that a drone could do such a job better but not hard to imagine it being done and costing a lot more.
All because of the natural tendency, established in the last decade, in which police departments always wish to acquire additional military capability as long as they don't have to pay for it from their local budget. And, with Senior Fellow GlobalSecurity.Org hat on, that is how I assume drone services will be offered to them by the industry.
In a Monday post at the Secrecy Blog, entitled "DoD Envisions 'Routine' UAS Access to US Airspace," Steve Aftergood includes a claim by a member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International drone industry lobbying group:
"Over the next 15 years more than 23,000 ... jobs could be created in the U.S. as the result of UAS integration into the [National Air Space.]"
When industry trade groups are boosting something they always include job creation claims as enticements.
Using simple arithmetic it is easy to put such claims in perspective.
Using the drone industry's own figure on job creation,. that's 1,533 and one third jobs/year. Spread over a country the size of the United States at 311.5 million.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the employment/population ratio is 58 percent, which means 180.7 million people in the labor force this year.
Here's the calculation:
1,533.33 divided by 180,700,000 = 8.48550083 × 10-6
That is, drone work is projected to contribute 8.48 x 10 to the MINUS SIXTH POWER, in terms of relative percentage to the current labor force.
Yes, it is certainly necessary to so keep those unmanned aerial systems assembly lines humming and growing. That's sarcasm.
Economic benefit to the middle class economy, outside of the profit to the manufacturers in the arms industry, is trivial.
Last week, LA Times Empire's Dog Feces beat reporter W. J. Hennigan noted a protester at a trade conference for the drone industry, one in which an industry-fluffing speech was delivered by the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee:
"At a conference about the development of drones for use in combat, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) was interrupted Wednesday by an anti-drone protester as he was giving a speech ...
"' These drones are playing god,' [said the protestor who was] carrying a banner that read 'Stop Killer Drones.'
"The crowd, made up of military contractors, military personnel and industry insiders, was surprised and hushed at first, but began booing when the protester continued to denounce the use of drones in combat.
"Within seconds, hotel security personnel surrounded the woman. She was carried out ..."
Predator loans, iPhones and drones ... ""The best startlingly real and truthful electric folk rock song this year!" -- Joe Morgansternly, The Weekly National Standard Journal & Politico Review
This post was originally published at Dick Destiny blog.