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Will the rise of drone warfare unintentionally drag the world into more conflicts?

That’s what some pundits and policymakers have cautioned in the past, arguing that the absence of human pilots will allow military leaders to take on riskier missions without suffering political blow-back from losing crewmembers if a mission goes awry.

A war game held at MIT Lincoln Labs and Harvard University in September 2017, however, challenges that assumption.

The study makes the case that drone warfare could decrease the likelihood of conflict between states, as military planners will avoid the trap of escalating military options if an aircraft is lost.

Here’s a hypothetical scenario: An American MQ-9 Reaper drone is cruising over European airspace — perhaps monitoring a military buildup near Ukraine’s Donbass region or scouring the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.

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Category: Science