The other day I wrote a slightly lighthearted short item about the use of drones (in this case, by civilians). But it is clear that the use of these things, such as by the Coalition forces in the Middle East, for example, or by other agencies of states and private entities, raises a number of important ethical, military and related points. Over at the Cato Institute, there is an interesting collection of articles on this matter, which I recommend if you have the time to go through them.
An issue that bothers me, although it is not clear what the solution is, is when terrorist forces get their hands on such things and put WMDs in them. We cannot just assume that this is the stuff of Hollywood movies – the threat must be plausible in the not-so-distant future and I imagine and hope that our own defence forces are thinking about what to do about it. Another serious worry is that if we can send thousands of remotely controlled aircraft or sea vessels and destroy targets without putting our own humans in danger, that might encourage governments to get increasingly arrogant and reckless in the projection of force. (Think of how British forces thought they could easily control most of Africa via the Maxim gun, only to find how this technology would eventually be thrown at them in the First World War).
And this book, Wired For War, is an eye-popping tour around the use of modern technology and how it will effect warfare, including issues surrounding non-state actors. But remember, before getting nightmares, that the impact of this new tech will not, in terms of its impact, be necessarily any more severe than say the development of the muzzle-loading gun, the ironclad warship or the helicopter. And principles of self defence and the need to stand up to bullies while having the humility to realise the limits of state action, are unchanged.