Some days ago the academic journal Small Wars & Insurgencies has published my last research titled: Non-state actors and modern technology.
I think that this is a very interesting and original paper for two main reasons. First, it is original because the academic literature on the relationship between technology and non-state actors is limited and my paper tries to explore this link and to partially fill the gap. Second, it analyzes how technology has impacted on modern (ISIS use of drones) and less modern irregular conflicts.
The paper focuses on how technology impacts on irregular conflicts, i.e. conflicts fought by non-state actors. The ability to inflict destruction and produce casualties is no longer directly related to the ability to organize large numbers of people and manage vast stores of resources that has been typical of large, organized state armies, and consequently smaller groups can now inflict more serious and extensive damage than their predecessors. It follows that the relationship between irregular fighters and technology is one of the most crucial elements in understanding contemporary conflicts. The paper is divided into five sections. The first is a brief paragraph focused on the definition problem, explaining why and how we use the term ‘irregular fighters’, and the second is a historical overview on how the relationship between ‘irregular fighters’ and technology has changed in the last two centuries. The third section is a study of current trends in the relationship between modern technology and current irregular warfare. The fourth section is intended to study current impacts of technology on irregular warfare, looking at ISIS’s operations in 2016–2017 and its use of drones. Finally, the conclusions section presents both lessons learned and findings.