Drone Warfare: Picking Its Entrails

Audrey Kurth Cronin, in Foreign Affairs, June 2013  ….. with this title Why Drones Fail. When Tactics Drive Strategy,”





Don’t drone me, bro! Pakistani tribesmen hold pieces of a missile, January 2009


Anshuman Behera and Sitakanta Mishra (eds.), Varying Dimensions of India’s National Security Emerging Perspectives. Singapore: Springer, 2022.

A. Burdinaa, N. V. Moskvichevaa and S. S. Burdina, “Strategic risk of drones”, Russian Engineering Research, 41(8) (2021): 768-771.

Daniel Byman, “Why drones work: the case for Washington’s weapon of choice”, Foreign Affairs, 92(4) (2013): 432-43.

Steven J. Child, “Developing nations, drones and deterrence: Unmanned aerial vehicles and small nuclear powers,” Comparative Strategy, 40 (1) (2021): 1-17.

Audrey Kurth Cronin, “Why drones fail when tactics drive strategy,” Foreign Affairs, 92(4) (2013): 444-54.

Sedat Dogru, Rui Baptista and Lino Marques, “Tracking drones with drones using millimeter wave radar”, in Robot 2019: Fourth Iberian Robotics Conference: Advances in Robotics, Volume 2, edited by M. F. Silva, J. L. Lima, L. P. Reis, A. Sanfeliu and D Tardioli. Switzerland, 2020: 392-402.

Bettina Koch, “U.S.-drones strikes: Acts of terror, violence, or coercion?” in State Terror, State Violence: Global Perspectives (ed. Bettina Koch), Wiesbaden: Springer, 2016: 151–170.

Eliyahu Mashhadi, Yossi Oren and Gera Weiss, “Can the operator of a drone be located by following the drone’s path? in Cyber Security Cryptography and Machine Learning, Cham: Springer, 2020: 85-93.

Edward Newman, “The ‘new wars’ debate: A historical perspective is needed”, Security Dialogue 35(2) (2004): 173-189.

Carlos Paucar, Lilia Morales, Katherine Pinto, Marcos Sánchez, Rosalba Rodríguez, Marisol Gutierrez and Luis Palacios, “Use of drones for surveillance and reconnaissance of military areas” in Developments and Advances in Defense and Security, Cham: Springer, 2018: 119-132.

Mitt Regan. Drone Strike–Analyzing the Impacts of Targeted Killing, Cham: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2022.

United Arab Emirates Prime Ministers Office. (2015). The UAE Drones for Good Award.

Aiden Warren, “Globalization, security, and drones”, in Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, (2018): 2732-2740.

Victoria Westerband, “Drones” in Ethical Ripples of Creativity and Innovation (S. Moran ed.) Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016: 69-77.

Aleš Završnik (ed.), Drones and Unmanned Aerial Systems: Legal and Social Implications for Security and Surveillance, Cham: Springer, 2016.


AUDREY KURTH CRONIN is Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and the author of How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns. Follow her on Twitter @akcronin.

NOTE B from my Kiwi Technical Aide who provided the Bibliography:

“Attached is a reading list about drones. As an introduction I would recommend starting with Byman’s “Why drones work…” and Cronin’s “Why drones fail when tactics drive strategy” published in Foreign Affairs in 2013. These two articles introduce a reader to the pros and cons of using drones, arguments for using them, and arguments against.

The other readings can vary between issues relating to the impacts of targeted killing, their role in the changing nature of warfare, but also technical aspects of drones, including how to track them and strategic risks.

The literature on drones is extensive so this list serves as an introduction.”

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