Targeted Killing

Capt. John Farmer, U.S. Army

Although targeted killings are hardly a novel military tactic, they have gained significant attention in recent years as the US government has increasingly employed the method in its overseas counterterrorism operations. Many critics have attacked the government’s targeted killing programs on grounds of excessive civilian casualties, an matter that remains sharply contested. The targeted killing programs also raise legal questions under both domestic law and international law, as well as thorny legal and moral issues regarding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and other autonomous systems in the carrying out of targeted killings.

Latest in Targeted Killing

Targeted Killing

D.C. District Court Dismisses Journalist’s Drone Lawsuit

A judge in the District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit brought by an American journalist challenging his alleged placement on a U.S. government “kill list.” The man’s belief that he is on the list stems from what he describes as multiple aerial bombings targeting him while in Syria. The judge dismissed the case because of the government’s invocation of the “state secrets privilege” so as to not disclose classified information needed to establish the man’s prima facie case.

counterterrorism

Document: Trump Revokes Obama Executive Order on Counterterrorism Strike Casualty Reporting

On Wednesday, President Trump issued an executive order revoking an Obama administration order that created reporting requirements for U.S. counterterrorism strikes. Read the full order below.

Executive Order on Revocation of Reporting Requirement

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

targeted killing

Judicial Review of Decisions to Kill American Citizens Under the AUMF: The Most Important Case You Missed Last Week

Should courts review the decision-making process when the U.S. government determines to target an American citizen as part of the armed conflict authorized by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force? Courts have refused to allow such cases in the past. On June 13, however, Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia gave an emphatic yes to the question, in a ruling that deserves much more attention than it has received thus far.

Targeted Killing

Document: Judge Allows "Kill List" Lawsuit to Go Forward

Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today issued a ruling that will allow a lawsuit challenging aspects of the targeted killing program to go forward. Granting the government's motion to dismiss in part and denying it in part, Judge Collyer held that one of the two plaintiffs will be able to proceed with his claims that the alleged addition of his name to the "kill list" violated his rights. Notably, she found that the case did not present a nonjusticiable political question.

Targeted Killing

President Trump Ponders Changes to the Lethal Force Policy Constraints: What You Need to Know

Are we about to see a significant shift in U.S. government policy relating to the use of targeted lethal force for counterterrorism purposes?

Maybe, according to an important article by Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt in the New York Times. Here’s what you need to know:

targeted killing

The French War on Terrorism: Targeting French Islamic State Fighters through Iraqi Forces

Over the years I have heard knowledgeable people comment (sometimes with admiration, sometimes otherwise) that the French approach to counterterrorism outside of France is not so different from the American approach, but that the French manage to avoid anything resembling the scrutiny and criticism that the United States receives.

I’m in no position to judge that. But let’s assume for a moment the comparison is true. Why relatively little scrutiny for the French if so?

Presidential Policy Guidance

"Areas of Active Hostilities" and Authority to Authorize Attacks Without White House Involvement

Yesterday U.S. News ran an article titled “‘Areas of Active Hostilities’: Trump’s Troubling Increases to Obama’s Wars.” As the title suggests, the thrust of the article is that there is something wrong with the Obama administration’s “areas of active hostilities” concept—or at least there’s something wrong with it now that it is in the hands of a different president.

Annals of the Trump Administration

Annals of the Trump Administration #8:Turning Off the Presidential Policy Guidance Limits for Libya

In a post earlier today, I highlighted a variety of recent developments in which the Obama administration has adjusted constraints on using force under color of the AUMF, based in part on the report in the

Subscribe to Lawfare

EmailRSSKindle