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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) have played an important role in warfare over the past two decades, including for counterterrorism operations. But there has been a growing debate about their utility for competition and interstate war—including between major powers such as the United States and China. For some, UASs are creating a “revolution in military affairs,” which will fundamentally reshape military doctrine, organization, force structure, operations, and tactics. For others, however, the effectiveness of UASs has been overstated, and UASs will likely have limited utility in highly contested environments. To better understand the utility of UASs, this report asks two questions. First, how have UASs been utilized in modern warfare, particularly in interstate wars? Second, what are the future implications for UASs in warfare and competition? To answer these questions, this analysis adopts a comparative case study approach. It examines two cases—the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020 and the Ukraine war in 2022—to better understand how UASs have been used in warfare. It also examines the Northern Edge-21 exercise in 2021, which provides a useful examination of UASs in Indo-Pacific competition and war.