Drone Wars

Transforming Conflict, Law, and Policy


Military Review, July 2015 – August 2015 review by Lt. Col. Andrew P. Creel, U.S. Army,

The book Drone Wars is an extensive anthology on the current debates surrounding the use of armed aerial drones in contemporary conflicts. The editors compiled a list of twenty-two essays and divided them into four major topic areas: drones on the ground, drones and the law of war, drones and policy, and drones and the future of war. Each topic area provides an in-depth view of the political, ethical, legal, and moral arguments surrounding the employment of armed drones. Contributing authors provide a wide array of opinions and observations detailing both the pros and cons of drone warfare. Many of the authors are subject matter experts in the fields of international law, policy, and strategy development. Others come from academia, media, government, and various think tanks from around the country. This impressive list helps to make the book an authoritative source on drone warfare.

Parameters Summer 2015 review by Ulrike Esther Franke

 Drone Wars offers many new insights and approaches that are much needed in the drone debate. The book’s essay structure makes it particularly suited for teaching, also because there is quite some disagreement between the authors on several questions, such as whether drones are revolutionary, whether the US strikes are legal, or what the future of drone operations will look like.


Defense & Security Analysis August 2015, review by Jesse Kirkpatrick

Drone Wars is a rich collection that offers the latest in the growing scholarship on drone warfare…This is a timely book, impressive in its breadth, with a notable collection of authors who range from former high-ranking US government officials and public policy specialists to academics and experts in international law. This book will appeal to those looking for a volume that addresses some of the major debates surrounding drone warfare…”


Drones are the iconic military technology of many of today’s most pressing conflicts, a lens through which U.S. foreign policy is understood, and a means for discussing key issues regarding the laws of war and the changing nature of global politics. Drones have captured the public imagination, partly because they project lethal force in a manner that challenges accepted rules, norms, and moral understandings. Drone Wars presents a series of essays by legal scholars, journalists, government officials, military analysts, social scientists, and foreign policy experts. It addresses drones’ impact on the ground, how their use adheres to and challenges the laws of war, their relationship to complex policy challenges, and the ways they help us understand the future of war. The book is a diverse and comprehensive interdisciplinary perspective on drones that covers important debates on targeted killing and civilian casualties, presents key data on drone deployment, and offers new ideas on their historical development, significance, and impact on law and policy. Drone Wars documents the current state of the field at an important moment in history when new military technologies are transforming how war is practiced by the United States and, increasingly, by other states and by non-state actors around the world.


“An essential anthology delving into the raging debate over the use of drones in the endless war on terror, covering all the angles – political, legal, moral, military – with impressive scope and judicious balance.”
Fred Kaplan, author of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War

“No other advancement in military technology in recent years has provoked as many legal challenges and caused as much political furor as the advent of drone warfare. In this first of its kind book leading experts debate what drones have meant to fight against terrorism, America’s moral authority and the stability of its relations with the Muslim world. Intelligent and incisive, this book is a must read for academics and policy makers alike, as well as anyone interested in America’s military and foreign policies.”
Vali Nasr, Dean of The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and author of Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat

“This is the best volume I have read on the nature of post-9/11 warfare. It is likely to become the standard book on “the decade of the drone”.”
Tom Ricks, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

“Drone Wars could not be more timely or more valuable. At a time when technology and strategy are transforming the means of warfare and possibly even the ends of war itself, a wide range of knowledgeable authors, many with direct experience of drone warfare, examine the implications of remotely piloted weapons from military, legal, political, ethical and cultural perspectives. That this volume raises more questions than it answers, at this moment in history, is precisely as it should be.”
Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America and former Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University