Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly referred to as drones, have become a mainstay of military operations around the world. Yet with their unique characteristics, drones present several challenges. Countries have sought to integrate drone technology, and in particular lethal drone technology, into their military capabilities and new technological developments may lead to an expansion of demand for unmanned capabilities. Such developments may challenge mechanisms aimed at regulating the transfer and use of conventional weapons systems, including armed drones.
The Stimson Center examined these challenges in a new report titled “The Arms Trade Treaty and Drones.” Authors Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick assess drones in the context of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and highlight common practices adopted by States that regulate drone transfers and use. The report concludes with recommendations for next steps that States, civil society, and international organizations can take in order to identify best practices and lessons learned and develop comprehensive international standards for the transfer and use of armed drones.