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Drones and the Future of Armed ConflictEthical, Legal, and Strategic Implications$
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David Cortright, Rachel Fairhurst, and Kristen Wall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226258058

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226258195.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Security Implications of Drones in Warfare

Security Implications of Drones in Warfare

(p.121) Chapter Eight Security Implications of Drones in Warfare
Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict

Patrick B. Johnston

University of Chicago Press

This chapter challenges the assertions of the previous author, arguing that drone weapons are effective tools in fighting terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, and asserting that their advantages outweigh any limited drawbacks. The benefits of drones include their ability to loiter over a target, their remote surveillance capacities, their relative cost effectiveness compared to conventional weapons, and their impact in reducing risks to US soldiers. Evidence is presented showing that targeted killing can make important contributions to degrading nationally-based insurgent and terrorist groups in their home countries and stronghold areas. Political science studies indicate that ‘leadership decapitation’ reduces the number of lethal attacks by rebel groups. Drone strikes have been effective in disrupting terrorist operations and denying safe-havens. The chapter concludes with a look at the likely rapid diffusion of drone technology internationally and the challenges this will pose for US security.

Keywords:   tactics, strategy, effectiveness, leadership degradation, counterterrorism, loiter and surveillance

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