Report: A Global Battlefield? Rising Drone Capabilities of Non-State Armed Groups and Terrorist Organizations

Report: A Global Battlefield? Rising Drone Capabilities of Non-State Armed Groups and Terrorist Organizations

This study examines how terrorist organizations use UAV technology by learning from each other and analyzes their adaptation processes.

Technological developments in both civilian and military fields have had a significant impact on the operational capabilities of terrorist organizations and on the increase of terrorist attacks. Many technologies that facilitate and improve the quality of life have security vulnerabilities. Following the introduction of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), terrorist organizations have identified the security deficits of this new technology. Due to the increasing popularity of commercial UAVs, easy accessibility, and low cost, the use of UAVs by many organizations has become increasingly widespread. Drones have emerged as a new intelligence tool to improve the capabilities of terrorist organizations. Today, they are used by many non-state armed actors and terrorist organizations, from the Americas to Asia, to collect intelligence. However, the use of drones is not limited to reconnaissance and surveillance. Some of the aforementioned actors have started to employ drones in a more sophisticated way, namely for attacking purposes. This study examines how terrorist organizations use UAV technology by learning from each other and analyzes their adaptation processes.

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