The Exploration of Terrorist's Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems using the Diffusion of Innovation Theory

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Johns Hopkins University
Islamic State (IS) caught the world’s attention because of their brutality and their individuality by using the globalized world in unprecedented ways. One of their introductions was the weaponization of Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) drones. This research is an exploration of COTS drone proliferation across terrorist organizations through Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory’s four characteristics of diffusion: innovation, communication, time, and social system. Using a mixed methods approach, this research examines how DOI explains the international community is experiencing the “early adopter” phase of diffusion innovation. Viewing terrorist organizations’ use of COTS drone through the lens of DOI theory explains current trends and offers insight into future capabilities.
Innovation, Terrorism, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles