Drones Operating in Syria and Iraq

In Syria and Iraq today, there are more drones, made in more countries, and flown by more groups, than in any previous conflict. Once primarily the domain of technologically advanced militaries such as the United States, drones are being adopted by less technologically advanced militaries, militias, and non-state actors with …

The Presidential Candidates on Drones

The current U.S. administration’s use of armed surveillance drones for military operations—in particular the hundreds of covert targeted killings that have been conducted outside of declared war zones—is a defining dimension of Barack Obama’s presidency. Since 2009, drones have served as the primary tool in the U.S. war against al-Qaeda …

Law Enforcement Robots Datasheet

        Background Robots are an increasingly common sight in U.S. police departments. These unmanned ground vehicles are used for roles that are deemed too hazardous for law enforcement officers, such as inspecting and disarming explosive ordnance. The influx of robots into civilian law enforcement agencies follows the …

Drone Smuggling: Inside Illegal Exports

By Dan Gettinger On November 1, 2015, Pei Qi “Paul” Ma, the owner and manager of an import/export business based in Xi’an, China, was arrested by police at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as he attempted to board a flight to Las Vegas, where he was planning on attending a trade show. …

More of the Same: The UN Debate on Lethal Robots

By Kelley Sayler From April 11 to 15, representatives from 95 states and numerous non-governmental organizations gathered in Geneva for the third UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons’ Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS). As outlined by Chairman Michael Biontino, this meeting was intended to foster a …

Analysis of New Drone Incident Reports

By Arthur Holland Michel and Dan Gettinger On Friday, March 25, the Federal Aviation Administration released 582 new reports of incidents involving unmanned aircraft in the U.S. airspace system. These reports date from August 21, 2015 to January 31, 2016. We have conducted a preliminary analysis of this new data. Our …

Drone Spending in the FY17 Defense Budget

  On February 9, 2016, President Obama unveiled the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget. The proposed request includes $587.2 billion in military spending, which is split between a $523.9 billion base budget and a $58.8 billion Overseas Contingency Operations fund for wartime operations. In announcing the Pentagon’s spending request, …