Dossier - The Rise of Drones

Applications and Challenges of Armed and Unarmed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Over the last ten years, armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become an increasingly important tool in America’s war against al-Qaida and its associated forces. In the wake of the Senate’s confirmation hearing of John O. Brennan’s, President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, the administration has faced mounting domestic and international pressure for more transparency and accountability on the CIA’s covert drone campaign. Indeed, the expanded scope and frequency of US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen raises questions about the nature of the targets, the circumstances under which it is acceptable to strike, the net utility, the ethics, and the legality of America’s drone war. Addressing these issues and disclosing a framework, standards, and a process for the use of armed drones will be a strategically significant challenge for President Obama’s second term.

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