Stories by Sarah Kreps

Expert Voices

Maduro attack highlights growing risks of weaponized drones

black commercial quadcopter drone, sitting on pedestal
A drone on display in the Shenzhen, China, headquarters of DJI, the manufacturer of the drone used in the attack on President Maduro. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela’s Commander of the National Guard posted a video on Monday about the drone attack against President Maduro the previous weekend, showing pictures of a nearly $5,000 M600 drone. As one product review of that drone model notes, “Only a professional needs a beast capable of carrying a 13-pound payload,” a large volume if the payload is explosives.

Why it matters: Although details of the attack are still emerging, the scenario is one that drone experts have predicted for years. No longer restricted to advanced militaries, drones are now accessible to non-state actors and even individuals, lowering the bar for anyone with nefarious aims and not-too-deep pockets to pull off an attack.

Expert Voices

Misguided criticisms about NATO burden-sharing are far from new

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, and Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, listen during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on May 17, 2018.
President Trump with Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a White House meeting on May 17, 2018. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool via Getty Images

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will hold its biannual summit July 11-12 in Brussels. The meeting will bring together senior leaders of the 29 member countries and comes at a time of tension for the alliance. Since taking office, President Trump has consistently criticized other members for insufficient defense spending, which he sees as creating a disproportionate burden on the U.S.

The big picture: Almost since the inception of the alliance, these have been contentious questions. In fact, a 1989 RAND Corporation study of burden-sharing noted that the past 40 years had seen “innumerable” pages of legislative testimony and reports on the subject and that debate would continue as long as NATO exists.

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