An appreciation of the effects of targeted strikes—as well as legal and ethical assessments of them—should guide decisions about whether, when, and where to conduct strikes.
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Following news that Iran shot down a U.S. Navy Global Hawk—an unmanned surveillance aircraft—the Trump administration came close to ordering a responsive set of airstrikes but ultimately elected not to do so. Then we learned (first from Yahoo!
On June 20, U.S. military officials confirmed media reports that Iranian military forces successfully shot down a U.S. drone in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf.
On March 13 and 14, a German court considered two challenges to the U.S. drone program in the Middle East and East Africa. Both cases, brought before the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster, assert that Germany bears legal responsibility for the consequences of U.S.-led drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia that were conducted from the U.S. Air Force’s Ramstein base, located in southwestern Germany.
Editor’s Note: Drone strikes are among the most important, and among the most contentious, U.S. counterterrorism instruments. Data limits and the complexity of both cause and effect when it comes to terrorism make many judgments on efficacy difficult. A bigger problem, however, is that effectiveness is often divorced from strategy. Jacqueline Hazelton of the Naval War College takes this challenge on, building on her research published in the Journal of Strategic Studies.
Editor's Note: The use of drones is at the center of the Obama administration's counterterrorism policy – and, perhaps more importantly, at the center of many Lawfare discussions. One frequent concern is that armed drone use will become near-universal, with other countries using them in dangerous ways. Erik Lin-Greenberg of Columbia University looks at the recent move to control drone exports, arguing that the move is well-intentioned but is likely to fail or even backfire.
Are you paying attention to Operation Odyssey Lightning, the U.S. air campaign underway for a full month now in Libya? Not many people are, which is interesting considering that we are approaching 100 airstrikes there in four weeks.
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