Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Intelligence Studies

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Marian Leerburger


This research will examine the U.S. lethal use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the Middle East and analyze the positive and negative effects on the U.S. counterterrorism strategy. UAV use against terrorists in the Middle East offers many advantages including long loiter times and pilot safety, but also offers disadvantages including negative public reaction. A qualitative methodology is usedthrough an extensive literature review relating to the effects of lethal UAV use in the Middle East. The qualitative study focused on the U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy, legal considerations, success rates and public opinion/potential blowback of lethal UAV strikes. Variables are analyzed through the psychological lenses of attitude and emotion to set reaction baselines. These baselines are then used to predict future counterterrorism strategy effectiveness.The analysis finds that the U.S. counterterrorism strategy success will be negatively impacted due to negative public opinion and increased violence in reaction to the strikes.



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