Academic journal article Military Review

Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution

Academic journal article Military Review

Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution

Article excerpt

PREDATOR: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution Richard Whittle, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2014, 368 pages

This is a big deal. The U.S. military has a new toy, and it's the Predator. It can attack from above--without enemy detection. In Predator,

Richard Whittle details the machinations, development, frustrations, setbacks, eventual success, and a cast of characters responsible for this effective, modernized instrument of war. A noted author, Whittle meticulously guides the reader from the vision of Karem Abraham, an Israeli drone pioneer, to trigger-pulling Ginger Wallace, the first female to fire a Hellfire missile, in detailing the origin of the Predator.

Whittle delivers a brilliant narrative. He provides rich anecdotes and personal accounts, which ratchet up the suspense and angst to the point where readers feel as if they are in the story--or on the front lines themselves.

We learn the Predator was born out of necessity, during the Operation Allied Force operations in Kosovo, to detect the enemy without risking the lives of pilots. Easy sell, right? No. Although you could not tell today, the program was not well received at its inception. The Air Force objected, and Washington officials outright disregarded the program. Despite those hurdles, today, it is an indispensable terrorist-killing machine. Ironically, civilian and military leaders can't seem to get enough of them.

Approaches to technological advancements are never easy, and the Predator was no exception. Through extraordinary detail, Whittle recounts exchanges, confrontations, and predictions, ensuring readers comprehend the bureaucratic nature of the American defense system. …

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