Micah Zenko examines U.S. President Barack Obama's May 23, 2013 speech on drone strike and counterterrorism policies. "The enduring impact of Mr. Obama's speech will not be what he says, but whether the new policies are reflected in how drone strikes are conducted, and whether his administration will finally and faithfully engage with the public, more than a decade after the operations began," Zenko writes.
Micah Zenko explains why the speech made by Harold Koh, former state department legal adviser, earlier this week is nothing more than a reiteration of the "fundamental myth of the Obama administration's targeted killing program."
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.
Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko asserts that shifting lead executive authority for U.S. drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon is the essential first step toward greater transparency and oversight.
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.
What is the Obama administration's legal justification for targeted killings? CFR national security expert John Bellinger explores this question as well as others with significant implications for U.S. counterterrorism.
Representative Markey introduced this bill on March 19, 2013, which aims "to provide guidance and limitations regarding the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into United States airspace, and for other purposes." This bill also amends FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
John B. Bellinger III testifies before the House Committee on the Judiciary on the legal and policy issues that stem from the use of lethal force by the U.S. government against American citizens abroad.
"The prospect of American skies swarming with drones raises more than just safety concerns. It alarms privacy advocates as well. Infrared and radio-band sensors used by the military can peer through clouds and foliage and can even detect people inside buildings."
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.
Carla Anne Robbins says, "The drone war isn't going away. As the U.S. slashes budgets, the lethality and cost-effectiveness of drone strikes will likely make them an even more attractive option. But that doesn't mean the current policy is wise or even sustainable."
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.