Drones are a tool built for a policy preference. Lurking high above the danger on the ground, first Predators and then Reapers defined an era of American warfare, a revealed preference for a diligent, high-tech answer to the messy work of counter insurgency. Yet what if the choice of tool itself shaped how policy makers understood the problem?
A new report out July 31st by the Center for New American Security wants to instead see how much the availability of hammers led to a preference for hitting nails. As paper author Loren DeJonge Schulman writes, the report is an attempt to answer “whether drones have changed us – that is, whether and how drones alter policymakers' approach to crises and the use of force.”