As a veteran of the Air Force I am always partial to military jets, such as the F-22, F-16, A-10, and so on. But, for this discussion I would have to MQ-9 Reaper would be most critical to the safety and security of the United States and its citizens. I understand the debate that jobs could be taken over by unmanned aircrafts, but there really is no substitution for military gumption and thinking on your feet, which is something a computer cannot do. Having said that, the MQ-9 Reaper is technically an unmanned aircraft because there is nobody inside the aircraft, however, there are still military personnel controlling all aspects of the drone. The safety measures for using this type of weapon is unmeasured in the amount of lives it could save. Too many times we have lost aircraft in war along with all its passengers, but with unmanned aircrafts there are no casualties when a drone is shot down. Furthermore, if given the opportunity and budget, we could use these drones for protecting all corners of the United States from any attack at a moments notice. The MQ-9 Reaper has the ability to keep our service members out of harms way and provide protection for U.S. citizens while on American soil.
The MQ-9 Reaper, when compared to fighter jets, is quite reasonably priced. According to af.mil the cost for this is “$64.2 million (includes four aircraft, sensors, GCSs, and Comm.)” (2015, September 23). Obviously, this is a huge chunk of change, but when you consider the price tag of “$143 million” for the F-22 Raptor, it becomes a little easier to swallow (Stiehm, 2012, p. 5.2). Given the features of the Reaper, I believe this could be a cost effective way to provide security while keeping costs lower if the budget shifted more to the drones rather than manned fighter jets. Of course, John Q. Taxpayer would still fuss about the amount of money they pay for freedom, I think they would also appreciate the fact that American lives are being protected by not sending military members into direct combat.
The big question is whether or not this method of weaponry is ethical, and the short answer is yes. Being ethical and having integrity are about the same, doing the right thing even when nobody is watching. Being ethical is following the guidelines set forth that all combatants must follow, and being able to stick to that even when our enemies do not do the same. Some people find these types of weapons to be unethical because they are not manned, as if ethics has to do with sacrificing people in order to end lives that are trying to end yours; basically a real life one-for-one rule. Lastly, the weapon is not used without proper authorization and is still only used on legal combatants, in a legal manner under the Geneva Convention. The MQ-9 Reaper is an ethical choice of weaponry and it should be examined how the military can integrate this weapon more in most, if not all, our military conflicts.
MQ-9 Reaper (2015, September 23). AF.mil. Retrieved from https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104470/mq-9-reaper/
Stiehm, J. H. (2012). The US military: A basic introduction.