The Prospects and Perils of Drone Proliferation
Sarah Kreps (Cornell University)
Are unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, transformative? Existing perspectives on the question are divided into two competing camps—one considers drones transformative and destabilizing, the other views drones are just another platform. Instead, I show that the transformative nature of drones for the near future depends on the battlefield context. Drones for counterterrorism and nonstate actors are likely to be more influential than in an interstate or intrastate conflict context. However, future generation drones that improve on stealth, speed, size, or ability to swarm, are likely to have wider ranging impacts across battlefield contexts.
Sarah Kreps is an Associate Professor in Cornell University’s Department of Government. Her research focuses on issues of international security, particularly questions of conflict and cooperation, alliance politics, political economy, and nuclear proliferation. Sarah Kreps has held fellowships at the Council on Foreign Relations (and is a life member), Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs. She has a BA from Harvard, MSc from Oxford, and PhD from Georgetown. Between 1999-2003, she served on active duty in the United States Air Force. Her most recent book is Drones: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2016), which offers a practical guide to how drone technology is reshaping both military and civilian life.
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