Extraordinary Measures: Drone Warfare, Securitization, and the “War on Terror”

  • Scott Nicholas Romaniuk School of International Studies, University of Trento
  • Stewart Tristan Webb Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University
Keywords: Copenhagen School, existential threat, extraordinary measures, Security Theory (ST)


The use of unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones,” as part of the United States’ (US) targeted killing (TK) program dramatically increased after the War on Terror (WoT) was declared. With the ambiguous nature and parameters of the WoT, and stemming from the postulation of numerous low-level, niche-, and other securitizations producing a monolithic threat, US drone operations now constitute a vital stitch in the extensive fabric of US counterterrorism policy. This article employs the theories of securitization and macrosecuritization as discussed by Buzan (1991, 2006), and Buzan and Wæver (2009) to understand targeted killing, by means of weaponized drones, as an extraordinary measure according to the Copenhagen School’s interpretation. An overarching securitization and the use of the “security” label warrants the emergency action of targeted killing through the use of drones as an extraordinary measure. We argue that the WoT serves as a means of securitizing global terrorism as a threat significant enough to warrant the use of drone warfare as an extraordinary use of force. By accepting the WoT as a securitization process we can reasonably accept that the US’ response(s) against that threat are also securitized and therefore become extraordinary measures.

How to Cite
Romaniuk, S. and Webb, S. (2015) “Extraordinary Measures: Drone Warfare, Securitization, and the ‘War on Terror’”, Slovak Journal of Political Sciences, 15(3). Available at: https://sjps.fsvucm.sk/index.php/sjps/article/view/47 (Accessed: 24April2024).