By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security analyst, and Jennifer Rowland, Special to CNN
A decade ago, the United States had a virtual monopoly on drones.
Not anymore. According to data compiled by the New America Foundation, more than 70 countries now own some type of drone, though just a small number of those nations possess armed drone aircraft.
The explosion in drone technology promises to change the way nations conduct war and threatens to begin a new arms race as governments scramble to counterbalance their adversaries.
Late last month, China announced that it would use surveillance drones to monitor a group of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea that are controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.
The past year has seen the number of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan plummet, according to statistics collected by New America Foundation's Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland. (Bergen is also a CNN national security analyst). In the first three months of 2012, there were 11, compared with 21 in the first three months of 2011 and a record 28 in the first quarter of 2010.
Bergen and Rowland write that the drone campaign in Pakistan had been slowing even before the deadly border incident that killed 24 Pakistani troops and put a freeze on a significant portion U.S. relations. There were 70 drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions in 2011, down from 118 in 2010, which saw the peak number of strikes since the program began. FULL POST