Accession Number:



Problem of Paris: Courage in the Age of Drones

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Drone warfare stretches and changes the relationship amongst an operator, a weapon, and a target and thereby stretches the generally accepted definition of courage as it is understood under contemporary American military codes of conduct. This paper explores the nature of courage today for both drone pilots and for civilians around them and questions the long-term risks to both with the continued use of drones in military operations. It will rely on a reading of the Iliad to uncover the role of the heroic code and how Paris, prince of Troy, deliberately ignored it. The problem of Paris is not simply that he used arrows or even that he stole another mans wife and started the war. For the contemporary American reader, the problem of Paris is that he also ignored the consequences of those choices. Today, the consequence of using lethal drones in warfare is the risk of retaliatory attack it imposes upon friendly civilians and concomitant courage that risk requires.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]