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Unpublished Paper
Drones and Democracy: Missing Out on Accountability?
ExpressO (2012)
  • Benjamin R Farley, Emory University

This article examines whether unmanned aerial vehicles (“drones”) allow the U.S. executive branch to make use-of-force decisions that escape accountability. It identifies three accountability mechanisms that should constrain use-of-force decisions: political accountability; fiscal and supervisory accountability; and legal accountability. It examines the effectiveness of these accountability mechanisms in the abstract and how the unique features of drones interact with these mechanisms. Finally, this article suggests that drones exacerbate preexisting weaknesses in the accountability system governing U.S. use-of-force decisions, potentially leading to unaccountable use-of-force decisions which, in turn, are likely to be riskier and may increase the likelihood of policy failure.

  • international law,
  • constitutional law,
  • drones,
  • unmanned aerial vehicles,
  • targeted killing,
  • accountability,
  • political accountability,
  • legal accountability,
  • supervisory accountability,
  • agency,
  • use of force
Publication Date
August 19, 2012
Citation Information
Benjamin R Farley. "Drones and Democracy: Missing Out on Accountability?" ExpressO (2012)
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