Drones

Op-Ed

Outsourcing Lethality

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

Micah Zenko explains why critics of U.S. targeted killing policies should not overlook "similar attacks conducted by allies and partners who receive U.S. money, weapons, or actionable intelligence."

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Ask CFR Experts

Is using drones against terrorists cheaper than using special forces?

Asked by The Universal Human and Civil Rights Union, from Brooklyn, New York

The Obama administration has increasingly relied on drones in its counterterrorist operations. And, as I explain in a recent CFR report, U.S. special operations forces are doing more things in more places than ever before. The heavy reliance on both drones and unilateral commando raids needs to be reassessed.

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See more in United States; Drones; Special Operations

Article

Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapon Systems: Why a Ban Won’t Work and How the Laws of War Can

Authors: Matthew C. Waxman and Kenneth Anderson

Grounded in a realistic assessment of technology, Matthew C. Waxman and Kenneth Anderson outline a practical alternative with which to evaluate the use of autonomous weaponry that incorporates codes of conduct based on traditional legal and ethical principles governing weapons and warfare.

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Ask CFR Experts

What right does the United States have to use drones?

Due to the 9/11 attacks and the continued threat posed by international terrorism, the United States claims it is "currently at war with al-Qaeda and its associated forces," a conflict that extends beyond traditional battlefield settings to any country that is "unwilling or unable" to take action itself. The United States reserves the right to conduct targeted killings, although only against "senior" members of al-Qaeda who "pose an imminent threat the United States of America." Although the U.S. military has a vast array of tools in its arsenal, the primary vehicle for its targeted killings program are drones, which have been used in over 95 percent of the 420—and counting—targeted killings over the last decade.

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See more in United States; Drones; International Law

Article

Killing Isn't Cool

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

Micah Zenko says, "Military officials increasingly believe that the Obama administration must think through its current practices and policies of targeted killings, and consider how they can be reformed, or risk others following in U.S. footsteps."

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