Latest in Drones

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Jefferson Powell on ‘Targeting Americans: The Constitutionality of U.S. Drone War’

Four years ago, Anwar al Awlaki—an American citizen—was killed in an American drone strike in Yemen, marking the first targeted killing of a U.S. citizen by the U.S. government. While the attack occurred almost four years ago, the legality, morality and prudential nature of the strike, and others like it that occur nearly daily in a scattershot of countries around the world, remain a subject of much debate.

Foreign Policy Essay

A Categorical Error: Rethinking 'Drones' as an Analytical Category for Security Policy

Editor’s Note: What is a drone? Some do surveillance, others hunt terrorists, and some models likely to enter air forces are more akin to sophisticated fighter aircraft. Dave Blair, badass warrior intellectual, argues that lumping these many different systems together under the label “drone” confuses more than it enlightens. It makes more sense, he contends, to focus on the mission set rather than the engineering behind it.

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"All models are wrong, but some are useful."

Foreign Policy Essay

(Un)Dignified Killer Robots? The Problem with the Human Dignity Argument

Editor's Note: Autonomous weapons systems are often vilified as “killer robots” that will slay thousands without compunction – arguments that the systems’ proponents often dismiss with a wave of their hands. Adam Saxton, a research intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies , argues that the picture is neither black nor white. Autonomous weapons do pose ethical issues in the conduct of warfare, but often the arguments for or against them caricature the weapons and misunderstand their actual use.

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The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast: Lisa Monaco on America’s Counterterrorism Strategy against ISIS and Al Qaeda

This week, the president’s Homeland Security Advisor, Lisa Monaco, made news by announcing that the White House will release long sought data on the U.S. drone program. An important development, no doubt.

But that's not all she said.

Targeted Killing

Grading the Obama Administration's Progress on Drone Policy

In his May 2013 speech at National Defense University, President Obama called for new ways to think about drones and the United States’ policy on using these systems in counterterrorism operations. Now, nearly 3 years later, the Obama administration is in danger of leaving a legacy on drones that is long on rhetoric but short on substance.

Executive Power

Obama's Legacy: Law, Transparency, and the Politics of Anguish

Back in November, The Hill reported that the White House is looking into increasing the transparency of the drone program before President Obama’s imminent departure from office:

The White House wants to reduce the secrecy surrounding lethal drone strikes and other counterterrorism efforts, with an eye on President Obama's legacy when he leaves office in 14 months.

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