Separating Fact from Fiction in the Debate over Drone Proliferation

Journal Articles

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International Security, Vol. 41, No. 2

Fall 2016

International Security

What are the consequences of drone proliferation for international security? Despite extensive discussions in the policy world concerning drone strikes for counterterrorism purposes, myths about the capabilities and implications of current-generation drones often outstrip reality. Understanding the impact of drones requires separating fact from fiction by examining their effects in six different contexts—counterterrorism, interstate conflict, crisis onset and deterrence, coercive diplomacy, domestic control and repression, and use by nonstate actors for the purposes of terrorism. Although current-generation drones introduce some unique capabilities into conflicts, they are unlikely to produce the dire consequences that some analysts fear.

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