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Drone Proliferation: What We Have to Fear

Author: Sarah Kreps, Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow
June 25, 2014
The Hill

President Obama admitted last year that drones have become a "cure-all" for terrorism, a risk-free way to eliminate suspected terrorists in places such as Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The potential virtues of drones have not gone unnoticed by other countries. Serious questions about drone proliferation and the United States' role must be answered, and soon.

While the United Kingdom and Israel are the only countries besides the U.S. to have used armed drones in combat, other countries appear to have acquired armed drones. In particular, China and Iran have touted their armed drone capabilities. Russia, South Korea, India, Turkey, and Taiwan claim that they are indigenously developing sophisticated armed drone capabilities. Switzerland and several European Union member states — including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Sweden — have collaborated on a technology demonstrator called the Neuron, which would be a stealth armed drone, and the EU has expressed an interest in developing a medium-altitude, long-endurance version of armed drones similar to the U.S. Predator or Reaper, used in counterterrorism strikes. Other countries, such as Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have indicated an interest in purchasing them.

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