The Implications of Unchecked Armed Drone Proliferation for Global Security

How to Cite

Okpaleke, F. (2021). The Implications of Unchecked Armed Drone Proliferation for Global Security. African Strategic Review, 6(1). Retrieved from


The tactical and strategic utility of drones for combat purposes has since 9/11 caused it to proliferate globally, with many countries developing drone capabilities for their military systems. However, the unchecked global proliferation of its weaponry among states and non-state actors poses grave concerns for global security that are difficult to dispel. Based on a desk based approach to data collection and premised on the security dilemma theory as its analytical frame, this paper makes three inter-related arguments: (i) at its current stage, if left unchecked, the uncertainties and vulnerabilities created by the diffusion of drones among world powers will have a potentially deterministic influence on great power rivalry and strategic competition; (ii) drone proliferation exacerbates international security by introducing new threats, and transforming the nature of existing threats in the global security landscape; and (iii) the attendant development of lethal drone technology among world powers incentivizes a security dilemma and an arms race that would have potential adverse implications for future warfare and military balance particularly with current advancement in weaponization of artificial intelligence.