June 13, 2016

The Promise of Unmanned Systems in the Asia Pacific

By Kelley Sayler

In this paper, CNAS Associate Fellow Kelley Sayler analyzes the proliferation of unmanned systems—particularly UAVs—within the framework of the increasingly contentious issue of area-denial/anti-access weapon systems in the Asia-Pacific generally, and in China’s near-abroad specifically. Contending that current UAV platforms are inadequate against well-equipped militaries (as opposed to nonstate actors), Sayler overviews development programs and emerging technologies that would benefit the United States both as standalone elements, and as a means to enhance legacy systems for the changing threat environment. Sayler concludes that current restrictions on exports of armed and/or stealthy UAVs degrade the capacity of even trusted allies to share the burden of wartime ISR capability in the Asia-Pacific and thus simplifies potential enemies’ targeting calculus.

Authors

  • Kelley Sayler

    Former Fellow, Defense Strategies and Assessments Program

    Kelley Sayler is a former Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where she worked with the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program and the Future of Warfa...

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • April 8, 2021
    It’s Still Hard to Be America’s Ally

    The drive to enshrine a U.S. foreign policy for the American middle class may, in particular, pose new dilemmas for long-term allies....

    By Richard Fontaine

  • Podcast
    • April 8, 2021
    Are the US and China entering a Cold War?

    Demetri Sevastopulo, the FT’s US-China correspondent, talks to Michèle Flournoy about the expanded economic and political influence of China and how might Joe Biden break thro...

    By Michèle Flournoy

  • Commentary
    • American Purpose
    • April 5, 2021
    Grooming Autocrats

    America’s increasing focus on rivalry with China ensures that U.S. Africa policy will continue to be viewed, at least in part, through a China lens....

    By David Shullman & Patrick Quirk

  • Podcast
    • April 2, 2021
    ChinaTalk: Japan's China Challeng‪e‬

    Joshua Fitt cohosts the latest episode of ChinaTalk to discuss the relationship and challenges Japan faces with China. Listen to the full episode from ChinaTalk....

    By Joshua Fitt & Jordan Schneider

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia