Document Type

Undergraduate Research Paper

Publication Date

Winter 3-14-2023

Paper Status



The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (1996) and the USA PATRIOT Act (2001) are two key examples of reactive policies enacted in response to terrorist attacks on American soil. Expedited passage of both pieces of legislation were reliant on the public’s support for government action in wake of recent atrocities. These acts gave particular attention to securing the nation’s borders, directing an increase in funding for Border Patrol in order to prevent future terrorist attacks. This essay will connect the increased funding for border security directed by Congress with the defense industry’s pursuit of funding and outlets for drone technology, to the export of the national security state model and the expansion of borders via drone technology. The arms race that ensues as a result of this restructuring of the global order directly connects to a new form of imperialism, expanding borders without the necessity of troops on the ground through the utilization of drone technology. Expansion and blurring of borders occurs when wealthier nations utilize a poorer nation’s airspace for terrorism deterrence missions using drone technology. This essay finds that this new form of imperialism creates a de facto open-air prison out of much of the impoverished world; one that is under constant unmanned aerial surveillance by wealthy nations as they simultaneously enclose themselves under the doctrine of national security.