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Ruxandra Oana Vlad


PhD Candidate in Politics & International Relations
Specializing in Counter-Terrorism, International Law & Military Drone Strategy

Lecturer in World Politics, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo

Teacher in International Security, PAIS Department, University of Warwick

Ruxandra graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2015 with a Masters degree specializing in Counter-Terrorism (CT) and Intelligence studies. She has been a Counter-Terrorism researcher for the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS) since 2015, and regularly collaborates with international scholars, academics, agencies and think tanks on projects related to the fields of Counter-Terrorism & National Security.

After having had the opportunity to work alongside leading experts like Dr. David A. Welch, Dr. Bessma Momani, Dr. James Blight, Dr. janet Lang and Dr. Anna Esselment in the fields of International Security and Nuclear Non-proliferation at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Ruxandra decided to pursue a doctoral degree which would intertwine key tenets of each field to propose a new (non-lethal) Counter-Terrorism strategy capable of addressing the growing threat of the 'virtual caliphate' on a global scale. Ruxandra's research is primarily focused in Counter-Terrorism, International Security and Military Drone Strategy.

Her doctoral thesis is entitled “Thunderstruck: Examining the Strategic Value of Military Drones Equipped with Non-Lethal Directed Energy Weapons in Counter-Terrorism"© and was undertaken in 2015. The initial idea for this project stemmed from the realization that lethal military drones, which are presently used in U.S. Counter-Terrorism missions, violate international laws and just war principles, whilst being strategically inept at addressing the growing threat of the 'virtual caliphate'. As such, a new technologically ethical (non-lethal) weapon is needed to ensure that cyber terror threats are properly mitigated in a way which adheres to just war principles whilst preserving/increasing the strategic efficacy of Counter-Terrorism missions.

Her doctoral supervisors for this project are Dr. Richard J. Aldrich and Dr. Alexandra Homolar. This project is supported with available information drawn from international intelligence documents, Counter-Terrorism mission reports, military drone schematics and interviews with former USAF drone operators.

Please note: All requests for collaboration must be submitted with documented evidence of membership or association with a think tank, academic institution or intelligence/government agency.