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ISN Weekly Theme: Drones in Modern Warfare

US soldiers in Iraq flying a drone

US soldiers in Iraq flying a drone, photo: US Army Korea/ flickr

This week the ISN weighs in on the debate about drones, exploring both the risks and benefits associated with their use in modern warfare. The main challenge is to match the reality of the battlefield with theoretical, strategic and operational clarity and to catch up, both analytically and legally, with technological advances.

In our Special Report this week:

  • An Analysis by Micah Zenko looks at the pros and cons of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including lower morale among drone pilots, eroding pilot skills, as well as network safety issues and argues that caution and a broader strategic context are prerequisites for the successful deployment of these tools.
  • In this week’s Podcast Peter W Singer of the Brookings Institution discusses the importance of matching our analytical, theoretical and legal understanding of 21st century warfare with the science fiction-like capabilities of modern robotic technology.
  • In our News section, Security Watch articles on technological innovations and ethical questions in military robotics, the issue of robot autonomy on the battlefield, and much more.
  • In Publications papers from our Digital Library, including an Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) paper examining US and Pakistani strategy in light of drone attacks in Pakistan.
  • Primary Resources includes a United States Air Force report on the future of unmanned aircraft systems.
  • Links to relevant websites, among them a detailed Defense Science & Technology Agency article on developmental trends in drone technology.
  • The IR Directory lists relevant organizations, including the Space Daily, a news network covering science and technology issues in the field.