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.
Brett Velicovich in Somalia in 2012
|Born||citation needed]December 6, 1983 [|
|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|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Battles/wars||War in Afghanistan|
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.
- "Brett Velicovich". Global Outreach Doctors. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
- Goldstein, Gregg (May 13, 2016). "Michael Bay to Develop Biopic on Drone Warfare Fighter (EXCLUSIVE)".
- An Interview with Brett Velicovich on Counter-Drone
- "Brett Velicovich: Video of al-Baghdadi raid is a show of force against our enemies". Fox News. October 31, 2019. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
- "Here's What It's Like to Control a Predator Drone".
- Busch, Anita (May 24, 2017). "Andy Bellin Comes Aboard To Adapt 'Drone Warrior' For Michael Bay".
- "Come Watch Brett Velicovich Race Drones At Dew Tour - Green Label". July 20, 2016.
- "This Army Vet Led The Hunt For ISIS—Now He's Using Drones To Save Kenya's Wildlife". July 6, 2017.
- Weiss, Jennifer (March 5, 2016). "Brooklyn Lands a Drone Store" – via www.wsj.com.
- "Drone retailer to open at N.J. mall to feed growing market".
- "US tops with military drones, but China owns consumer market, says former special ops analyst turned CEO". CNBC.
- "Exclusive: Somali police get first drones to combat Islamist bombings". May 26, 2017 – via Reuters.
- "How drones could be game-changer in Somalia's fight against al-Shabab". Retrieved January 11, 2018.
- ""Drone Warrior" Brett Velicovich on the "incredible responsibility" of hunting terrorists".
- Getlen, Larry (June 29, 2017). "Drone soldier missed killing notorious ISIS chief by mere minutes".
- Willis, Jay (June 29, 2017). "What Drone Warfare Does to a Soldier's Brain".
- "Professional drone pilots join Harvey rescue effort".
- "How drone technology is changing hurricane outcomes".
- "Drones used to assist hurricane and flooding victims".
- "Elephant trophies? Seriously? This is what Washington is spending its time on?". FOX News.
- "How can US prevent ISIS from using drones for attacks?". Fox News. July 9, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
- "New device zaps rogue drones out of the sky". Fox News. August 10, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2018.