Drones

Audio

The Implications of Drones on U.S. Foreign Policy

Speakers: Micah Zenko and Sarah E. Kreps

Micah Zenko, CFR’s Douglas Dillon fellow in the Center for Preventive Action, and Sarah E. Kreps, associate professor of government at Cornell University, discuss the increased tactical use of unmanned aerial systems and the ramifications for U.S. foreign policy, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.

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Primary Sources

Report for European Commission: Privacy, Data Protection and Ethical Risks in Civil RPAS Operations

In July 2012, the European Union requested that the European Commission study the future of RPAS in Europe and how to integrate civil and commerical remotely-piloted aircraft systems (RPAS, a type of unmanned aircraft system, also called drones) into the European Aviation System and to prepare regulation for implementation by 2016. This report, written by experts from Trilateral Research & Consulting and Vrije Universiteit Brussel for the European Commission, provides independent analysis on privacy concerns associated with civil use of drones and was released November 7, 2014.

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Op-Ed

Obama's Armed Drones in Iraq Reek of Mission Creep

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

The pentagon last week acknowledged that the United States deployed armed drones to Iraq to provide surveillance and strike capabilities as the crisis with the Islamic State of Iraq and and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) continues to deteriorate. However, Micah Zenko points out that while numerous U.S. officials have called for the deployment of drones, these demands have not been accompanied by justifications, and there is still no precise goals for the deployment.

See more in Pakistan; Iraq; Drones; Counterterrorism

Op-Ed

Three Misconceptions About Drones

Author: Janine Davidson
Defense One

Janine Davidson discusses three misconceptions about the United States' increasing deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles: that they "cause" disproportionately high civilian casualties, that they inherently cost less than manned aircraft, and that most of them are weaponized (in fact, less than one percent carry weapons at any given time).

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Op-Ed

Drone Proliferation: What We Have to Fear

Author: Sarah E. Kreps
The Hill

Serious questions about drone proliferation and the United States' role must be answered," writes Sarah Kreps. She discusses a recent report coauthored with Micah Zenko, including the threat and consequences of proliferation, and policies the Obama administration should implement to regulate the export and use of armed drones.

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Council Special Report No. 69

Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation

Authors: Micah Zenko and Sarah E. Kreps

In this Council Special Report, Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Sarah Kreps argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones. By doing so, they predict, the United States will create standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.

See more in Global; Drones; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation

News Release

New Report Urges President Obama to Establish "Rules of the Road" to Limit Drone Proliferation

The Obama administration should pursue a strategy that places clear limits on its own sale and use of armed drones lest these weapons proliferate and their use becomes widespread. These are the central findings of a new report from the Center for Preventive Action by CFR Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Sarah Kreps.

See more in Global; Drones; Conflict Prevention

Primary Sources

European Commission: A New Era for Aviation

In July 2012, the European Union requested that the European Commission study the future of RPAS in Europe and how to integrate civil and commerical remotely-piloted aircraft systems (RPAS, a type of unmanned aircraft system, also called drones) into the European Aviation System. This document outlines the benefits for consumers and recommends the regulatory actions needed to expand use of drone technology beyond military uses.

See more in EU; Drones; Technology Transfer

Op-Ed

The Drone Invasion Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Authors: Micah Zenko and Sarah E. Kreps
ForeignPolicy.com

It is a common misperception that drones are proliferating widely throughout the world, when in reality, this is an over exaggerated and misleading assumption. Micah Zenko and Sarah Kreps argue that this "apparent runaway train of drone proliferation (and its misreported uses) is actually stymieing efforts to promote or influence responsible armed-drone exports and their uses."

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Op-Ed

Ground the Drones?

Author: Sarah E. Kreps
Foreign Affairs

Sarah Kreps engages recent debates about whether to ban drones or targeted killings and argues that both sides of the debate miss important links between the technology and the policy: that the domestic politics and operational advantages of drones have made what would be an unviable policy—fairly frequent targeted killings—more viable.

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Op-Ed

Robot Wars

Author: Micah Zenko
Politico Magazine

In the debut issue of Politico Magazine, Micah Zenko discusses the current drone market and implications of inevitable proliferation of armed drones. Citing the White House's lack of reform and transparency, Micah writes, "When Chinese officials authorize their first drone strike against a drug kingpin in Myanmar or against Japanese citizens occupying a disputed East China Sea island, what will the White House say then?"

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Must Read

Foreign Policy: Exclusive: The CIA, Not the Pentagon, Will Keep Running Obama's Drone War

Author: Gordon Lubold

"There remain distinctly different approaches to 'finding, fixing and finishing' terrorist targets. The two organizations also use different approaches to producing the 'intelligence feeds' upon which drone operations rely. Perhaps more importantly, after years of conducting drone strikes, the CIA has developed an expertise and a taste for them. The DOD's appetite to take over that mission may not run very deep."

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Op-Ed

Two Cheers for America’s Restraint in the Drone War

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Compared to previous years, the Obama administration has wisely reduced the number of drone strikes that it conducts. Micah Zenko discusses why the United States' restraint in conducting strikes and rejection of demands for U.S. drone strikes on behalf of other countries are wise policy choices.

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