1st Edition

Precision Strike Warfare and International Intervention Strategic, Ethico-Legal and Decisional Implications

Edited By Mike Aaronson, Wali Aslam, Tom Dyson, Regina Rauxloh Copyright 2015
    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores whether the new capabilities made possible by precision-strike technologies are reshaping approaches to international intervention.

    Since the end of the Cold War, US technological superiority has led to a more proactive and, some would argue, high risk approach to international military intervention. New technologies including the capacity to mount precision military strikes from high-level bombing campaigns and, more recently, the selective targeting of individuals from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have facilitated air campaigns, supported by Special Forces, without the commitment of large numbers of troops on the ground.

    Such campaigns include, for example, NATO’s high-level aerial bombardment of Milosevic’s forces in Kosovo in 1999 and of Gaddafi’s in Libya in 2011, and the US operation involving Special Forces against Osama Bin Laden. The development of UAVs and electronic data intercept technologies has further expanded the potential scope of interventions, for example against Islamic militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

    This volume examines three key and interrelated dimensions of these new precision-strike capabilities: (1) the strategic and foreign policy drivers and consequences; (2) the legal and moral implications of the new capabilities; and (3), the implications for decision-making at the strategic, operational and tactical levels.

    This book will be of much interest to students of war and technology, air power, international intervention, security studies and IR.

    Part I: Strategic and Foreign Policy Drivers and Consequences Preface: Precision Strike Capabilities: Political and Strategic Consequences, Jamie Shea Introduction, Precision Strike Warfare and International Intervention: Strategic, Ethico-Legal and Decisional Implications, Mike Aaronson and Tom Dyson 1. Dealing with Risk: Precision Strikes and Interventionism in the Obama Administration, Andre Barrinha and Luis da Vinha 2. European Precision Strike Capabilities: A Neoclassical Realist Perspective, Tom Dyson 3. The Global Diffusion of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or "drones", Ulrike Esther Franke 4. The Political Appropriation of Casualties in Threat Construction: The Case of US Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Wali Aslam  Part II: Legal and Moral Implications 5. Covert Drone Strikes and the Fiction of Zero Civilian Casualties, Chris Woods 6. Drones: Degrading Moral Thresholds for the Use of Force and the Calculations of Proportionality, Conway Waddington 7. Terrorising Terrorists: The Jus ad bellum of Drone Operations in Pakistan, Tobias Ruettershof 8. UAV for R2P? Exploring the Legitimacy and Effectiveness of Drones, Ina Wiesner  Part III: Strategic and Foreign Policy Drivers and Consequences 9. Psychological Perspectives on Military Decisions to Deploy Precision Strike Capabilities, Adrian Banks and Mandeep Dhami 10. Unmanned Weapons Systems and Just Wars: The Psychological Dimensions, Nicola Power, Laurence Alison and Jason Ralph 11. Keeping the Human "in the loop": A Qualified Defence of Autonomous Weapons Systems, Alex Leveringhaus and Tjerk de Greef Conclusion: Precision Strikes - the Way Forward, Wali Aslam and Regina Rauxloh


    Mike Aaronson is the Executive Director of cii – the Centre for International Intervention – at the University of Surrey. He is a former chief executive of Save the Children UK and was previously a British diplomat.

    Wali Aslam is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Bath. He is the author of The United States and Great Power Responsibility in International Society: Drones, rendition and invasion (Routledge, 2013).

    Tom Dyson is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He is the author of European Defence Cooperation in EU Law and IR Theory (2013, with Theodore Konstadinides).

    Regina E. Rauxloh is Senior Lecturer at the Southampton School of Law, Southampton University. She is the author of Plea Bargaining in National and International Law (Routledge, 2012).

    'This is a timely, novel and significant contribution to the ongoing debates about ‘precision strike warfare’, drones, UAVs, Unmanned Weapons Systems and related issues. It will hopefully set a trend for bringing together different
    disciplines and perspectives – including from those on the receiving end of these technologies and those who do not yet possess them.' Medicine, Conflict and Survival