Ulrike Franke

Ulrike Franke

Dr. Ulrike Franke is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). She leads ECFR’s Technology and European Power initiative. Her areas of focus include German and European security and defence, the future of warfare, and the impact of new technologies such as drones and artificial intelligence on geopolitics and warfare.

Franke has published widely on these and other topics, among others in Die Zeit, FAZ, RUSI Whitehall Papers, Comparative Strategy, War on the Rocks, Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik, and regularly appears as commentator in the media. She co-hosts the Sicherheitshalber Podcast, a German-language podcast on security and defence.

She holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Oxford – in her PhD thesis, she studied the use of drones by western armed forces. She also holds a BA from Sciences Po Paris and a double summa cum laude MA degree from Sciences Po Paris (Affaires internationales/Sécurité internationale) and the University of St. Gallen (International Affairs and Governance).

Franke is a policy affiliate at the Governance of AI project at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute. She was also part of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism Ben Emmerson’s research team, examining drone use in counterterrorism contexts. Prior to this she worked as a part-time research assistant at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.


  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Military Robots and Drones”, Routledge Handbook of Defence Studies, 2018
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Germany charts its place in the world, but struggles to adapt to changing realities”, War on the Rocks, February 2018
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Flying IEDs: The next big threat?”, War on the Rocks, October 2016
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Proliferated Drones. A Perspective on Germany”, Center for a New American Security, 2016
  • Franke, Ulrike E., Mark Leonard, “A Global survey of economic coercion”, in: The Age of Economic Coercion, World Economic Forum, White Paper, 2016
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Automatisierte und autonome Systeme in der Militär- und Waffentechnik“, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ), 35-36/2016
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Civilian Drones: Fixing an Image Problem?” CSS Zürich, January 2015
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “The global diffusion of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or ‘drones‘“, in: Aaronson et al (ed.) Precision-Strike Capabilities and International Intervention, Routledge, 2014
  • Franke, Ulrike E. and Alexander Leveringhaus, “Militärische Robotik“, in: Jäger (Hrs.) Handbuch Sicherheitsgefahren, Springer: 2014
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Drone Proliferation: A Cause for Concern?”, International Relation and Security Network(ISN), ETH Zurich, 13 November 2014
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Armed Drones? Jein! Germany’s Qualified Decision for Armed UAVs”, ISN, 8 August 2014
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “The Flawed German Debate on Armed Drone Acquisition: “What Does This Have to Do with Our Procurement Plans, for God’s Sake?”, ISN, 20 June 2014
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “U.S. Drones are from Mars, Euro Drones are from Venus”, War on the Rocks, 19 May 2014
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Drones, Drone Strikes, and US-policy. The politics of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” US War College Quarterly, Parameters, 44.1, Spring 2014
  • Franke, Ulrike E., Which Drone Suits Me Best? Germany’s Difficult Decision to Procure an Armed ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’“, Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik, 6.4, Oct. 2013
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Verbreitung von unbemannten Flugzeuge für den militärischen Gebrauch“, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ), 37/2013
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “Drone Wars”, Commentary and Reply, US War College Quarterly, Parameters, 43.2
  • Franke, Ulrike E. “A tale of stumbling blocks and road bumps –Germany’s (non-) Revolution in Military Affairs,“ Comparative Strategy, 31.4
  • Franke, Ulrike E., “The Five Most Common Media Misrepresentations of UAVs”, in: Michael Aaronson and Adrian Johnson (ed.) Whitehall Report 2-13, RUSI, March 2013
  • Franke, Ulrike E. “Politik studieren und Plakate kleben”, Internationale Politik, Januar/Februar 2013