Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Professor Jordan Branch

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© 2023 Sarath K Kakani


The rapid proliferation of armed drones around the globe has sparked a debate on their benefits and their tradeoffs. Through a traditional security perspective, drones are the ideal weapon of the future: incredible technological capabilities lend tactical advantages to any military that owns drones. They allow actors to strike at enemy combatants without no risk to their own troops and minimal risk to any civilian bystanders. Yet through a nontraditional human security lens, armed drones have been nothing short of a disaster in protecting civilians and reducing collateral damage. The tactical advantages they lend users are some of their most problematic features when it comes to protecting civilians. This has been seen across multiple conflicts in the 21st century, at the cost of thousands of civilian lives. Since nations are disincentivized to self-regulate at the fear of disadvantage in conflict, it falls to international organizations to establish frameworks to better protect civilians before it is too late.