Dave Blair

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Dave Blair writes on national security, network warfare, and remote combat airpower. He has flown the MQ-1B Predator, the AC-130U Gunship, and the MQ-9A Reaper in Iraq, Afghanistan, and on emerging fronts, and had the privilege of leading airmen in combat as an Evaluator Pilot in Air Force Special Operations Command. He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Undergraduate Pilot Training, and holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Doctorate in International Relations from Georgetown University.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Avengers in Wrath: Moral Agency and Trauma Prevention for Remote Warriors

Editor’s Note: Drone warfare is often caricatured as remote-control fighting, more akin to playing a video game than real warfare. In an unusual Foreign Policy Essay, Dave Blair and Karen House ​take on this myth, detailing the costs to the operators and the conditions that increase the risks to their well-being. They offer important recommendations for how to make drone warfare less morally and psychologically hazardous for the operators.


Understanding Life and Death between War and Peace

Foreign Policy Essay

A Categorical Error: Rethinking 'Drones' as an Analytical Category for Security Policy

Editor’s Note: What is a drone? Some do surveillance, others hunt terrorists, and some models likely to enter air forces are more akin to sophisticated fighter aircraft. Dave Blair, badass warrior intellectual, argues that lumping these many different systems together under the label “drone” confuses more than it enlightens. It makes more sense, he contends, to focus on the mission set rather than the engineering behind it.


"All models are wrong, but some are useful."