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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $42.99

336 pp.
6.125" x 9.25"


Publication date:
June 2020

Imprint: OUP US

The Drone Age

How Drone Technology Will Change War and Peace

Michael J. Boyle

Over the last decade, the rapid pace of innovation with drone technology has led to dozens of new and innovative commercial and scientific applications, from Amazon drone deliveries to the patrolling of national parks with drones. But what is less understood is how the spread of unmanned technology will change the patterns of war and peace in the future. Will the use of drones produce a more stable world or will it lead to more conflict? Will drones gradually replace humans on the battlefield or will they empower soldiers to act more precisely, and humanely, in crisis situations? How will drones change surveillance around the world and at home?

This book examines how unmanned technology alters the decision-making and risk calculus of its users both on and off the battlefield. It shows that the introduction of drones changes the dynamics of wars, humanitarian crises and peacekeeping missions, empowering some actors while making others more vulnerable to surveillance and even attack. The spread of drones is also reordering geopolitical fault lines and providing new ways for states to test the nerves and strategic commitments of their rivals. Drones are also allowing terrorist groups like the Islamic State to take to the skies and to level the playing field against their enemies. Across the world, the low financial cost of drones and the reduced risks faced by pilots is making drone technology an essential tool for militaries, peacekeeping forces, and even private companies. From large surveillance drones to insect-like micro-drones, unmanned technology is revolutionizing the way that states and non-state actors compete with each other and is providing game-changing benefits to those who can most rapidly adapt unmanned technology to their own purposes.

An essential guide to a potentially disruptive force in modern world politics, The Drone Age shows how the mastery of drone technology will become central to the ways that governments and non-state actors seek power and influence in the coming decades.

Readership : Students and scholars of Security Studies and Military History, techonology, cyber security, international relations; educated readers interested in these areas.

1. The Drone Age
2. Automated Warfare
3. Death from Above
4. Eyes in the Sky
5. Terrorist Drones
6. The All-Seeing Drone
7. Dull, Dirty and Dangerous
8. The New Race
9. The Future

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Michael J. Boyle is an Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at La Salle University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia. His previous books include Violence after War: Explaining Instability in Post-Conflict States, Legal and Ethical Implications of Drone Warfare, and Non-Western Responses to Terrorism.

Drones - Sarah E. Kreps
Sudden Justice - Christopher Woods
Cybersecurity and Cyberwar - Peter W. Singer and Allan Friedman
Cyber War versus Cyber Realities - Brandon Valeriano and Ryan C. Maness

Special Features

  • Features 16 never-before-published interviews, including with drone pilots and leaders in the drone field.
  • Covers a wide range of topics, including peacekeeping, humanitarian use, human rights advocacy, surveillance.
  • Serves as the first lengthy treatment of how terrorist organizations use drones.