The technology of today, while impressive, is developing the tactics and techniques of future terrorist attacks. The most prescient current technology that will enable future terrorist attacks is the drone. Drones have the ability of providing standoff, which can enable terrorists to conduct multiple attacks nearly simultaneously, rapidly magnifying their overall effect. A terrorist attack is meant to create an atmosphere of fear to influence a target audience—a civilian population or government—to force or impose political change. The massive increase in the number of form factors, capabilities, ease of access and ease of operation of drones at low cost will make them the weapon of choice for future terrorists.
The majority of past terrorist attacks have relied on weapons and materials that were readily available. In the United States, the perpetrators of the most significant attacks in the past 30 years, the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks, purchased the majority of their required materials legally. In addition to acquiring materials, terrorist groups need individuals to carry out their attacks. Many groups typically conduct attacks with the expectation that their members will sacrifice themselves during the attack, either by being caught or killed. The use of drones, however, can allow an individual or a small group to conduct multiple attacks without self-sacrifice.