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Publisher's Summary

A “can’t-miss for anyone interested in current military affairs", On Killing Remotely reveals and explores the costs - to individual soldiers and to society - of the way we wage war today (Kirkus Reviews, starred). 

Throughout history society has determined specific rules of engagement between adversaries in armed conflict. With advances in technology, from armor to in the Middle Ages to nerve gas in World War I to weapons of mass destruction in our own time, the rules have constantly evolved. Today, when killing the enemy can seem palpably risk-free and tantamount to playing a violent video game, what constitutes warfare?  What is the effect of remote combat on individual soldiers? And what are the unforeseen repercussions that could affect us all?

Lt Col Wayne Phelps, former commander of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft unit, addresses these questions and many others as he tells the story of the men and women of today’s “chair force”. Exploring the ethics of remote military engagement, the misconceptions about PTSD among RPA operators, and the specter of military weaponry controlled by robots, his book is an urgent and compelling reminder that it should always be difficult to kill another human being lest we risk losing what makes us human.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2021 Wayne Phelps (P)2021 Little, Brown & Company
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"An essential read.... We have crossed a new frontier in the age-old story of war.” (P. W. Singer, author of Wired for War and Ghost Fleet)

"The most impressive and comprehensive account of 21st-century remote air warfare.... A mesmerizing read: I was gripped from the first page to the last.” (Professor Peter Lee, author of Reaper Force

"A crucial 360° look at how remote warfare affects the crews fighting from afar.” (Major Scott Swanson, USAF (retired)) 

What listeners say about On Killing Remotely

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Eye Opening & Thought Provoking

The book provides a view into a new warfighter community b I highly recommend it

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Easy read, that’s insightful

On Killing Remotely is the perfect book for anyone looking to get into the mind of an RPA warrior. The book does an excellent job of recapping the development and current state of RPA systems, then deep dives into the stresses that the operators are placed under. The book's four sections help structure the difficult conversation that is killing remotely.
Having recently reread Dave Grossman's "On Killing,"; this book takes the next step by discussing the emotional and physical stress amplified by today's remote technologies. I would highly recommend this book to family and friends of anyone associated with unmanned systems. Even if not associated with RPAs, this is still an eye-opener for all of humanity.

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perfection

for someone that was in the community, he got all the points correct. I had even learned a few things I can pass on. phenomenal book, and well organized.

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Great compilation of facts

Dave Grossman’s On Killing/Combat was great. LtC Phelps book narrows the scope to RPA life in like fashion. It has been long in coming for an in depth review of the RPA world and the true unseen hardships endured by their crews.

EVERY decision maker of the military MUST READ!

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A thorough look into RPA culture.

Well narrated.
This book was a deep look into RPA culture up to the present day. However, I was disappointed by the echo of Grossman's anti-video game rhetoric.