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US DRONE POLICY AND THE PROJECTION OF FORCE: AN INVESTIGATION OF DEMOCRATIC CONSTRAINTS

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This paper examines the development of United States drone policy outside of traditional battle zones. It poses the question of why do states use drones as a projection of force?

This paper examines the development of United States drone policy outside of traditional battle zones. It poses the question of why do states use drones as a projection of force? In particular, the paper examines the expansion of the drone program within a system of democratic checks and balances. It looks at the effect that political and legal influences have had on the expansion of the drone program and hypothesizes that the presence of these constraints should increase drone use outside of traditional battle zones. In order to investigate this hypothesis, the paper looks at data on drone strikes from Yemen and Somalia. The data partially supports the hypothesis as there has not been a clear linear increase in the number of drone strikes in each of these countries. Nevertheless, an examination of the surrounding literature regarding political and legal influences within these countries seems to favorably point to the increase of drone operations. Future research, however, needs to be cognizant of the limitations in gathering specific statistics on drone operations as these operations are covert. It's also important to understand how the covert nature of the drone operations impacts issues regarding political oversight and legality. Lastly, it's important to constantly examine the broader implications drone policy has for US policy.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05