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The Masks of the Political God by Luca Ozzano

Capacity Build-Up in Europe: Technological Innovation and Defence Cooperation in the Drone Sector

Cyber Politics
European Union
Critical Theory
Raluca Csernatoni
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Raluca Csernatoni
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The paper aims to map out the latest transformations and inherent tensions in the European Union’s (EU) security and defence field as triggered by the research and development of dual-use technologies such as drones. There is a puzzling dimension in the fast promotion and the ‘double-efficiency’ framing of drone technologies as both highly proficient and cost-effective capabilities. Such technocratic rationalizations mostly silence their lagging behind legal control, their ethical implications, and their potential long-term effects in the European socio-cultural fabric. Conversely, technological progress has been of crucial importance for bridging the technological-innovation gap and for enhancing defence cooperation in Europe. Competitive technical innovation has important military and civilian applications in different areas such as incentivizing the European defence industry and market and transforming practices in the security continuum. An agenda to fund for high-end security technologies seems to be the preferred approach, by investing in new technologies for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and for border management, and by directly funding for dual-use Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) projects. The impact of such disruptive technologies is neither clear nor widely debated, hence what exactly drives the backing of these technologies for military capacity build-up? By drawing on critical technology theory scholarship, the research contributes to the technology-security nexus and explores the normative claims behind the EU’s endorsement of defence cooperation in the emerging drone sector.
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