From the thesis abstract: "The struggle against Islamic extremism, which manifested in two long-term wars within Afghanistan and Iraq, simultaneously incited growth of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry dominated by the United States. Initially developed as reconnaissance and surveillance assets, UAVs quickly developed armed capabilities exploiting their stand-off reach and long-loiter times, and became preferred tools for targeted killings. [...] This study suggests that targeted killings by UAVs are not supported under Just War Theory; remain a contentious legal issue under international law; and result in a dangerous precedent for future conflicts. The greater long-term effect being establishment of a belief that, while evoking the right of self-defense and regardless of the weapons technology employed, states may disregard the norms of international law to initiate a preemptive attack. If the United States, as the current leader in UAV technologies, fails to shape efforts inhibiting acceptance of this precedent within the international norms of war, it risks losing a position of advantage and courts calamity in the future."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/