Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2722311
 


 



The Consequences of Drone Proliferation: Separating Fact from Fiction


Michael C. Horowitz


University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science

Sarah E. Kreps


Cornell University

Matthew Fuhrmann


Texas A&M University - Department of Political Science

January 25, 2016


Abstract:     
What are the consequences of drone proliferation for the international security environment? 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. This paper separates fact from fiction by examining the effects of UAVs in six different contexts — counterterrorism, interstate conflict, crisis onset and deterrence, coercive diplomacy, domestic control and repression, and use by non-state actors for the purposes of terrorism. We show that, while current-generation drones introduce some unique capabilities into conflicts around the world, they are also unlikely to produce the dire consequences that some fear. In particular, drone proliferation carries potentially significant consequences for counterterrorism operations and domestic control in authoritarian regimes. Drones could also enhance monitoring in disputed territories, potentially leading to greater stability. However, given their technical limitations, current-generation drones are unlikely to have a large impact on interstate warfare. Our analysis has important implications for a range of policy issues, including the management of regional disputes, the regulation of drone exports, and defense against potential terrorist attacks on the homeland.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

Keywords: drones, UAVs, terrorism, military innovation, proliferation


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Date posted: January 26, 2016  

Suggested Citation

Horowitz, Michael C. and Kreps, Sarah E. and Fuhrmann, Matthew, The Consequences of Drone Proliferation: Separating Fact from Fiction (January 25, 2016). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2722311 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2722311

Contact Information

Michael C. Horowitz (Contact Author)
University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science ( email )
Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
Sarah E. Kreps
Cornell University ( email )
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
Matthew Fuhrmann
Texas A&M University - Department of Political Science ( email )
College Station, TX 77843-4353
United States
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