State Department Cancels Billion Dollar Drone Competition

ShadowHawkThe Department of Defense has made the vast majority of purchases of unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones, more than any other government agency. However, in September of 2011 the State Department solicited bids from defense contractors for drones that could be used “achieve and maintain situational awareness, automatically generate and disseminate high quality video imaging, respond to a security incident at locations remote from the core of operations, disseminate threat information for use in route planning, receive, view, and analyze in route activity.” Apparently none of the bids could meet the State Department’s standards:

The U.S. State Department canceled its $1 billion surveillance drone competition, saying none of the proposals met its requirements, according to the U.S. government’s Federal Business Opportunities website.

The competition had called for companies to operate small-scale unmanned aircraft that would supply real-time video of convoy routes and buildings. It was an opportunity for companies such as Aerovironment Inc. (AVAV) and Vanguard Defense Industries LLC to boost sales outside the Department of Defense, the biggest U.S. buyer of unmanned aircraft.

The State Department “plans to examine closely the requirements stipulated in the solicitation with the intent of developing and releasing a new” request for drone proposals, according to the notice.

Photo: Vanguard Defense Industries Shadowhawk drone.

Guerrilla Blog Dispatches – June 3, 2013

Bradley Manning

US Soldier Faces Trial Over WikiLeaks Disclosures

US Drones Kill Eight AQAP Fighters in Yemen Strike

Task Force to Study Drone Use in Counter Terrorism Operations

NSA Hacking Unit Targets Computers Worldwide

Amid Sequester, US Defense Stocks Still Surge

Photo: Army PCF Bradley Manning and accused WikiLeaks source.

Did Obama violate his own rules on drone strikes?

A high ranking member of the Taliban was killed in Pakistan this week by a US drone strike only days after President Obama announced a shift in the country’s counterterrorism operations. Wali ur-Rehman was among those killed and his death is being lauded as a blow to the Taliban. But what does the event say about Obama’s remarks regarding the drone program? Marcy Wheeler of EmptyWheel.net joins Meghan Lopez to discuss what this means for Obama’s promise of respecting state sovereignty and his proposed changes in the war against terror.

Inside Story Americas – Obama’s Speech and the Question of Drones

US President Barack Obama gave a speech that was meant to contextualise the global drone war that has escalated under his presidency, outline the framework for future targeted killing, and address concerns about the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay. But did he succeed? To discuss this, Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, is joined by guests: Carlos Warner, a lawyer for Guantanamo detainees; and Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.

Guerrilla Blog Dispatches – May 29, 2013

Pilot

US Launches First Drone Strike in Pakistan in Six Weeks

Top Pakistan Militant Said Killed in US Drone Strike

New Drone Strike Undercuts Obama’s Promises on Robot War

Pentagon Confirms Drone Crash in Somalia

Chinese Hackers Spying on US Weapons Programs

Photo: Piloting the MQ-1C Sky Warrior unmanned aircraft system, Chief Warrant Officer Frank Volpe Jr., from Montville, Conn., a UAS technician and operator diligently monitors the aircraft’s systems. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Travis Zielinski, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div., USD-C.)