The following article is from National Geographic, and the article is reprinted with permission.
The idea of a new frontier has always been a fantasy for the U.S. and, increasingly, for the world.
But with the U-2 spy plane, it seems there’s a real possibility that we may one day get one.
In the last two years, a flurry of activity has followed a landmark ruling from the United Nations that the U.-2 spy planes, which were used for spy missions over Vietnam and Laos, are no longer in use and no longer fit the definition of a “weapon.”
The U-boats, which flew the spy missions for the United States and other nations, were considered a “non-lethal” weapon.
But in the last month, the U.”s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, declassified a declassified classified report on the U2s use in Vietnam and concluded that the spy planes “did not have a weapon of mass destruction capability.”DSCA’s report, which was released this week, was part of a broader effort by the U,s military to declassify some of the secrets that are considered top secret.
The DSCAs declassified report included an internal DSCAF document dated June 1, 2016, which stated that the use of the U—2s “nonlethal” weapons, including anti-tank missiles, had been “a significant operational advantage” for the service.
It said the spyplanes were also used “to support a covert mission to the border of Laos and Cambodia.”
The report was sent to Congress and published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in June, a full two months after the U .s Air Force declassified its own report on its use of anti-personnel mines in Laos and Vietnam in 1989.
In June, the DSC Acknowledgments and Commendations Staff, or DISCAS, released a report, “The U-22/U-23 Program: Lessons Learned,” that criticized the use and mismanagement of the spy plane.
It noted that “the program was plagued with waste and duplication,” that the “operational and operational capability were severely compromised” and that the aircrews were “undertrained and under-equipped.”
The DDCA declassified the report, and its findings have been echoed by the National Reconnaissance Office, the Pentagon’s spy agency, and other government agencies.
In a recent briefing, former CIA Director Leon Panetta and retired Air Force Gen. John Poindexter said the U —2s program was “totally mismanaged” and the U was “doing things that are totally counter to our national security interests.””
If we don’t get a U.s, we are going to be back where we were,” Panetta said.
The Pentagon’s intelligence community has been trying to determine why the U is still flying spy planes.
In 2014, the Air Force ordered the DDC Acknowledgements and Commends Staff to “evaluate the U U-1/U—2 Program and determine whether the program continues to meet the requirements for its core mission and is consistent with applicable law and policy.”
A year later, the Defense Department ordered the DISCAs to review the U’s use of drones and spy planes and assess whether they could still be useful for intelligence gathering.
The Air Force has said it is still studying the U and is not planning to cancel its use.
But the U had been planning to buy a new, stealthier U-20 spy plane called the UAV, which would be capable of flying at least a quarter mile above the ground, which it would then glide over a target.
In 2016, the Army announced it was canceling a contract for that UAV because it was too expensive.
The Pentagon also delayed an order for the Air National Guard’s newest jet, the P-8, which could fly at low altitudes.
The UAVs are used by many countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
In January, a top U.K. government official said it was possible the country could buy a stealth UAV.
The Air Force is working to develop a new stealth fighter, the F-35B, which has been delayed for several years due to technical and cost problems.
In May, the Obama administration also ordered the Air Combat Command to begin work on the next-generation jet, which will be much smaller than the current F-22.”
We have the ability to do this in a cost-effective way, so we’re continuing to develop that,” Gen. Mark Welsh, the chief of the Air Defense Command, said at a Pentagon news conference in May.
Welsh also said he was confident the F35B will be ready to fly by 2025.
But critics say the Air Warfighter Command and the Air Forces Central Command, which runs the UDR, have been slow to respond to the latest technology and