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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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Security Implications of Drones in Warfare

Security Implications of Drones in Warfare

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

Patrick B. Johnston

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226258195.003.0008

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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