Drone strikes have been a core strategy of the so-called global war on terror. But there have also been many questions raised surrounding the effectiveness, transparency, legitimacy, and ethics of […]
Drones continue to play important roles in conflicts around the world. In Africa, drones have been tested for civilian projects, but they have been largely absent from miltary operations. But […]
This article is part of the Remote Control Warfare series, a collaboration with Remote Control, a project of the Network for Social Change hosted by Oxford Research Group. Islamic State (IS) […]
Ever advancing remote warfare technology is being increasingly used by law enforcement agencies to counter drug trafficking. In response, drug cartels are also adopting new technology to smuggle and distribute drugs. However, the technological superiority of law enforcement-military actors is also causing criminal and militant groups to adapt by employing the very opposite tactic, by resorting to highly primitive technology and methods. In turn, society is doing the same thing, adopting its own back-to-the-past response to drug trafficking and crime.
In Latin America drones are being used as part of the War on Drugs as both regional governments and the US are using surveillance drones to monitor drug trafficking and find smuggling routes.. However, as drones are increasingly being used by drug cartels themselves to transport drugs between countries, could Latin America find itself at the forefront of emerging drone countermeasures?
Over-burdened in its requests for continuous surveillance of an expanding battlefield, the US military is increasingly turning to private contractors to fill key roles in its operation of armed drones.
Whilst much debate has focused on the ethics, legality and civilian costs of drone technology, little attention has been given to the broader repercussions US drone strikes have had on Pakistan as a whole in the last 11 years.
Later this month, governments will meet in Geneva to discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems. Previous talks – and growing pressure from civil society – have not yet galvanised governments into action. Meanwhile the development of these so-called “killer robots” is already being considered in military roadmaps. Their prohibition is therefore an increasingly urgent task.
While the world’s attention has been focused on the US-led military interventions in Iraq and Syria a quieter build-up of military assets has been ongoing along the newer, western front of the War on Terror as the security crises in Libya and northeast Nigeria escalate and the conflict in northern Mali proves to be far from over. In the face of revolutionary change in Burkina Faso, the efforts of outsiders to enforce an authoritarian and exclusionary status quo across the Sahel-Sahara look increasingly fragile and misdirected.
While the US and its allies have had a monopoly on drone technology until recently, the uptake of military and civilian drones by a much wider range of state and non-state actors shows that this playing field is quickly levelling. Current international agreements on arms control and use lack efficacy in responding to the legal, ethical, strategic and political problems with military drone proliferation. The huge expansion of this technology must push the international community to adopt strong norms on the use of drones on the battlefield.