Issue 91


Thursday, March 14, 2024

Issue No. 91 of Strategika features essays that explore the legal framework surrounding the use of drones as weapons, how drones have changed the battlefield (drawing on experiences from the Russia–Ukraine war), and what the use of drones in armed conflict today means for future defense planning.

In the background essay, Seth Cropsey writes that while the US should acquire more drones to augment its reconnaissance-based fires strategy, the introduction of the drone as a weapon on the battlefield has not actually altered the nature of modern warfare to its core.

Mark Moyar documents the development of drones – from World War II to the Global War on Terror to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He draws similarities between the advent of the machine gun in World War I and the nature of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, arguing that both the machine gun and the drone pushed combatants to develop better methods of cover and concealment.

Next, John Yoo pushes back against calls for the military use of drones to be legally regulated, arguing that the precision targeting of these unmanned weapon systems may help reduce indiscriminate harm in war and spare civilian lives. He also explains that previous novel weapons systems, such as nuclear weapons, did not fall under any regulation for a period of up to 30 years after they were first used.

In what tactical and strategic ways have military drones changed the nature of modern warfare and the relative strengths of the world’s armed forces?

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