One Nation Under Drones

Legality, Morality, and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems

  • Subject: CNO's Professional Reading Program
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Published:
    December 15, 2018
  • ISBN-10:
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  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    17 oz
Hardcover $31.95
Member Price $25.56 Save 20%
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One Nation, Under Drones is an interesting and informative review of how robotic and unmanned systems are impacting every aspect of American life, from how we fight our wars to how we play to how we grow our food. Edited by John Jackson, this highly readable book features chapters from a dozen experts, researchers, and operators of the sophisticated systems that have become ubiquitous across the nation and around the world. Press reports have focused primarily on unmanned aerial vehicles, officially designated as UAVs, but more often referred to as “drones.”
This work takes you behind the scenes and describes how Predators, Reapers, Scan Eagles, and dozens of other pilotless aircraft have been used to fight the Global War on Terrorism. Although these systems seemed to emerge fully-developed into the skies above America’s distant battlefields following the attacks of September 11, 2001, readers will discover that they actually trace their lineage to World War I, when the “automatic airplane/aerial torpedo,” designed and built by the Sperry Gyroscope Company, made its first flight just over a century ago. Unmanned aircraft were used by various combatants in World War II and took many forms: from converted manned bombers to intercontinental attacks on the American homeland by rice-paper balloons. Technology developed in the latter decades of the twentieth century enabled crews stationed thousands of miles away to attack targets on remote battlefields. Such long-range and remote-controlled weapons have been extensively used but are controversial from both legal and ethical standpoints.
Chapters written by international law specialists and drone pilots with advanced education in ethics address these issues from both sides of the argument. The book also details how robotic systems are being used on land, in and below the seas, and in civilian applications such as driverless cars. Three dozen photographs display drones as small as an insect up to those as large as a 737 airliner. One Nation, Under Drones covers such a wide array of topics that it will be of interest to everyone from the casual reader seeking to know more about these systems to national security professionals, both in and out of uniform, who will be making decisions about their procurement and use in decades to come.  

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“As the uses of drone technology expand across geographies and functional areas, One Nation, Under Drones, edited by Captain John E. Jackson, USN (Ret.) is an essential and long-needed survey of the most pressing issues regarding the combat uses of drone technology. In an area where every day brings fresh developments and reporting on ‘drones,’ One Nation, Under Drones helpfully elevates the discussion by calling on legal, ethical, technological, and military experts to examine the most critical aspects of combat applications of drone technology…. A comprehensive survey of the technological, ethical, and legal considerations for drone warfare.” —The Cipher Brief
“In One Nation Under Drones, Jackson brings together essays from researchers, historians, international law specialists, and actual drone pilots to provide a holistic assessment of how unmanned and robotic systems are directly affecting countless facets of American society. Beyond merely assessing the impact and ethical implications of drone usage, the contributors examine the science surrounding drone technology and how drones have been used to contribute to American efforts in the global war on terror. Extending previous work on drone weaponry … the essays provide new insights and ways of thinking about the historical trajectory of drones more broadly—providing detailed discussion of robotic technology in general, including driverless cars…. The volume is valuable for the depth of its exploration of the complex ecosystem of all things drone…. This collection will be important for those interested in security studies.” —CHOICE
One Nation, Under Drones is extremely accessible and easy to read.... This book provides readers with a complete picture of the challenges (as well as achievements) that this technology is bringing to the 21st century. Drones are increasingly blurring the line between the private and public sector and creating a grey area for the civilian and military world that is proving difficult to define unless we have an intellectual framework to shape our understanding. This book makes a significant contribution to this challenge.”
“A groundbreaking and deftly organized historical examination of a technology that has become ubiquitous with respect to military engagements, security surveillance, corporate business experimentation, and domestic recreation, One Nation Under Drones is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, government policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.” —Midwest Book Review
“The author has provided a fascinating view of the history and development of the UAV and looked at the many issues surrounding these vehicles. This is a book that should be read because it deals with matters that have not received the exposure and debate they merit.” —FIRE Reviews
“A unique and seminal work of extraordinary merit, One Nation Under Drones: Legality, Morality, and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems is unreservedly recommended for community, college, university, and governmental library Aviation History collections in general, and Contemporary Drone supplement studies reading lists in particular.” —Midwest Book Review
“Professor Jackson has assembled an unparalleled group of experts to explore what has become an increasingly complex ecosystem of drone applications, debates, and technologies. From unmanned underwater vehicles to autonomous weapons, this book addresses drones in their totality. It is an essential companion for navigating our drone-filled world.” —Dan Gettinger, founder and co-director, Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College
“This fascinating book does a superb job of outlining the history, current uses, and potential applications for unmanned and robotic systems. The breadth of experience of the editor and chapter authors makes this book indispensable for anyone who yearns to know what living in the drone age will mean for all of us.” —Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), Dean, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
“As drones permeate land, sea, and air they provoke a re-imagination of our relationship to machines. In this superb volume operators, ethicists, futurists, and philosophers grapple with these modern engines of controversy and opportunity. This book thus provides vital insights in the raging contest between machine autonomy and human agency.” —Timothy Schultz, author of The Problem with Pilots, and former Dean of the USAF's School of Advanced Air and Space Studies
“Drones are everywhere we want to be - and many places we don't. And everyone has them; so, defending against them matters. In this feast of thought, authors address ranging from what they are and how they are used - to the morality and legality of their employment. Much to ponder.” —Martin Libicki, author of Cyberspace in Peace and War, DVP US Naval Academy
“This book is a must read for anyone trying to understand the challenges of a new and challenging strategic environment that includes myriad unmanned systems. A brilliant look at the past, present, and future of these emerging and soon to be ubiquitous technologies.” —Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harley, President, U.S. Naval War College
“John Jackson's critical perspectives and expansive observations by these experts combine to ensure the value of One Nation Under Drones ... for readers - both ardent believers and skeptics - across the military and private sectors. It opens one's mind to think creatively in a battlefield enabled by thousands of Unmanned Systems - operating across the Space, Air, Surface and Undersea Domains - that complement manned systems to extend the Fleet's depths of awareness and fire power... One Nation Under Drones... prepares the reader to move - technically, culturally and emotionally - to the future. An essential move, totally dependent upon their alignment! Brilliant!” —Admiral Jim Hogg, U.S. Navy (Ret.); former Commander SEVENTH Fleet, Director Naval Warfare and, as a follow-on career, 18 years as Director of the CNO's Strategic Studies Group
“No one can leave One Nation under Drones without having their presuppositions about drones probed. This book makes a valuable contribution to summarizing the state of drones in civilian and military sector and the ethics attendant to their use at this point in time. Probably nowhere else can one find in one place a compendium of the thoughts of so many significant thinkers in the field. The well-written book makes for both informative and entertaining reading.” —Naval War College Review
One Nation, Under Drones is recommended reading for all scholars, students, and military analysts to appreciate and debate. It is an up-to-date, well-researched body of work on the history and exponential progress from remotely piloted aerial systems to autonomous armed drones across the air, land, and sea domains, as well as on civilian applications in the United States…. The authors unquestionably present compelling debates to the legal and ethical challenges for not only the United States but for international leaders as well.” —Military Review
One Nation, Under Drones … provides readers with vibrant, interesting, and enlightening essays on the history of drone warfare and what the coming drone age will look like in our home towns and cities and in the armories of western military powers and their adversaries around the globe.” —Michigan War Studies Review
One Nation, Under Drones is an excellent primer on unmanned systems and the legal and ethical debates surrounding them. The book is a collection of 13 short essays by a diverse range of military and civilian experts on drones. Roughly half of the essays discuss in great detail the history and current development of unmanned military systems on land, in the air, and in and under the sea. In these chapters the book is at its best. They will prove tremendously illuminating to all but the closest observers of developments in unmanned military systems. They provide a rare window, not only into state-of-the-art military technology, but also the strategic and policy imperatives driving it. Very helpfully, the book also features black and white photographs illustrating 25 of the unmanned systems discussed.” —Aerospace
“In a sea of diverse drone-themed literature, retired Navy captain John E. Jackson, professor of unmanned and robotic systems at the US Naval War College, uniquely blends the perfect mix of history, military dimensionality, and perspectives from leaders in the drone space into his anthology One Nation, Under Drones.” —Strategic Studies Quarterly