Brett Velicovich in Somalia in 2012
|Born||citation needed]December 6, 1983 [|
|Residence||Washington, D.C., US|
|Other names||The Drone Warrior|
|Alma mater||Duke University|
(Master of Business Administration)
|Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier's Inside Account of the Hunt for America's Most Dangerous Enemies|
|Home town||Katy, TX, US|
Brett Velicovich is an American drone expert, former U.S. Army intelligence and special operations soldier. He is known for drone strikes against terrorist leaders and advocating for the use of drones in the protection of African big game wildlife. A film based on his life is being developed by Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures, based on his memoir Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier's Inside Account of the Hunt for America's Most Dangerous Enemies.
Velicovich served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a U.S. Army special operations intelligence specialist  and former Delta Force. The story of his work in counter-terrorism operations and drone strikes against ISIS, Al-Shabaab, and other terrorist groups is the subject of a forthcoming major motion picture developed by Paramount and Michael Bay-which will be an adaptation of the book on Velicovich's life story co-authored by Velicovich and Pulitzer Prize winning Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher S. Stewart. Following his career in the military, Velicovich continued working in the field of drone operation by founding the African Eye Project, focusing on tracking big game poachers in Somalia and Kenya. He also received an MBA from Duke University, and co-founded the first American retail chain focusing entirely on drones, Expert Drones.
In May 2017, multiple news agencies reported that Velicovich had traveled into Mogadishu, Somalia to train the Somali government on using off-the-shelf consumer drones to find members of al-shabaab and uncover roadside bombs. The drones had been donated to the government by his team to help combat the widespread terrorist attacks plaguing the country.
In June 2017, CBS News reported that Velicovich had spent years hunting the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with drones. At one point, Velicovich's team had missed al-Baghdadi by mere minutes after tracking him to a house and conducting a raid to capture one of his closest operatives in Baghdad. Iraq. That same month, Velicovich told GQ Magazine that it was only a matter of time before al-Baghdadi would be found by American forces.
In August 2017, Fox News reported that Velicovich went out to Houston, TX to assist victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and provide drone support to search and rescue operations. His drones would be used to provide instant damage assessments and help quickly locate victims of the flooding for first responders. Following Harvey, the same news outlet claimed he moved into the path of Hurricane Irma one week later in Florida with a team of volunteer medical personnel to help prepare for the disaster prior to the storm hitting the U.S. mainland.
Following talk of plans by the United States Department of the Interior to reverse a ban blocking the importation of elephant trophies back into the U.S. from Zimbabwe and Zambia, Velicovich spoke out publicly against the idea, stating that the significant decline in elephant populations over the last decade was the result of poaching activities and corrupt African government actions. Velicovich further stated that by reversing the ban, it would increase the demand for the killing of elephants for their ivory, destroying years of global wildlife conservation efforts.
Velicovich has been quoted on various news outlets warning about the dangers of ISIS modifying consumer drones to conduct improvised attacks in the United States. On Fox News Fox & Friends, he noted that ISIS fighters overseas have been adapting easily accessible consumer drone technology to conduct attacks against security forces in Iraq and have returned home from the battlefield with the knowledge to conduct similar strikes.
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