Drone strikes and surveillance are a major component of modern warfare, but few people outside the military understand how these programs work. That’s why former military technician Lisa Ling became a whistleblower after 14 years in the National Guard. She wanted policymakers to know that drones are not reliable, and they can create more problems than they solve.
Lisa Ling joined the military in 1991, serving as an army medic and nurse before transferring to the Air National Guard (ANG). In the ANG, she became a communications technician working on various types of electronic equipment, including the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS). Besides her overseas deployments, Lisa was mobilized during a partial unit mobilization of the 234th intelligence Squadron to the 48th Intelligence Squadron at Beale Air Force Base from October 2007 to September 2009. The 48th Intelligence Squadron provides in-garrison and deployed communications, as well as logistics maintenance for the DCGS.
Lisa served six years on active duty and over 14 years as both active and inactive National Guard. She decided to speak out after traveling to Afghanistan and seeing for herself how what she participated in was not a war on terror, but a war of terror. She has testified about drones before the European Parliament, and she was profiled in the documentary film National Bird, directed by Sonia Kennebeck.
Join Ars Technica editors Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar in conversation with Ling next week this Wednesday, July 19 at Ars Technica Live in Oakland, California.
She’ll discuss her experiences and explain technical issues with drones that have profound implications for the current War on Terror. There will be plenty of time for audience questions, too.
Ars Live takes place on the third Wednesday of every month at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland (3629 MLK Way). They have the best tater tots you’ve ever eaten. So crispy!
Doors open at 7pm, and the live filming is from 7:30pm to 8:20-ish (be sure to get there early if you want a seat). Stick around afterward for informal discussion, beer, and snacks. Can’t make it out to Oakland? Never fear! Episodes will be posted to Ars Technica the week after the live events.
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