This chapter will reflect on aspects of the expansion of military drone usage by Western powers in the “war on terror” over the last decade or so. In examining contemporary and envisaged drone deployments I am also concerned with what they can reveal about the technical tendency animating them. Tracing this back to the beginnings of Western culture shows that the material course of drone “advances” shares key features with wider trends in global digital technocultural becoming. I will explore the nature of this tendency inherent in drone materiality and technology, concentrating on the virtualizing, real-time digital developments in remotely controlled and increasingly automated robotic systems. I will analyze the nature and implications of their realtime reanimation of the world in digital modelings of the enemy in and as milieu, a milieu as tiny as the space around a single “target” and as large as the world, existing both in a brief “window of opportunity” and within a permanent real-time of preemptive, pan-spectrum surveillance.
Crogan, P. (2016). War, mathematics, and simulation: Drones and (losing) control of battlespace. In M. Kirschenbaum, & P. Harrigan (Eds.), Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming (641-667). Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MIT Press)