Special Operations or Drones?

November 4, 2013 Topic: Military StrategySecurity

Special Operations or Drones?

Modern policymakers must often choose between them. Which offers a preferable set of consequences?

No such taboo is emerging against the use of commando forces, a development that will continue to challenge our conceptual foundations of territorial sovereignty. In a world of slimming Pentagon budgets and increasingly war-weary publics, the demand for cost-effective responses to asymmetrical threats that minimize blowback from target populations will not go away anytime soon.

Strange as it may sound, deploying boots on the ground may be preferable to sending unmanned planes across sovereign borders.

Lionel Beehner is a former senior writer at the Council on Foreign Relations and current PhD student at Yale University. Joseph Young is an associate professor at American University.