AMERICAN SECURIY PROJEC
these aircrat is “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” we have chosen to use the colloquial term “drone” in the interesto readability.Tis paper is not intended to be polemic or or against drones; rather, we are interested in the way in whichdrones are employed as viewed rom a US national security strategy perspective.
Basic Data about drones
Te Obama Administration has not ocially stated where and how it employs lethal drone strikes. While thePresident has ocially acknowledged that covert strikes do occur in places such as Yemen and Somalia,
thereare no specics about the extent o the programs and precise deployment o drones or lethal strikes.Drones are employed dierently depending on the target environment.In a declared combat zone, such as Aghanistan,
there are clearly dened rules o engagement and chains o command or theexecution o lethal drone strikes.
Outsideo declared combat zones, however, there areew data about how drone strikes are decidedand conducted, apart rom anonymous leaksby US ocials.In Yemen, or example, there are indicationsthat the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command operateindividual “kill lists,” and each commandsa separate drone feet.
In Pakistan, dronestrikes are an open secret acknowledgedeven by the President,
but the precise rulesgoverning their use remain murky.
Tis ocial secrecy, coupled with leaks about the nature o drone programs, makes drawing conclusions abouttheir overall use and eectiveness extremely dicult.
Criticisms o US drone programs requently center on questions o legality. Despite claiming the strikes arelegally permissible, Administration ocials have not yet directly cited any law in justiying the use o dronesin extraterritorial targeted killings.
Critics argue that this ailure to provide legal justication implicates the US in violating international legalrameworks on interstate orce and national sovereignty.
Furthermore, critics claim that US drone programsin Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen set a dangerous precedent that could lead to any nation with strike-capabledrones employing similar tactics in a “global drone war.”
While laws governing the use o interstate orce bar the use o orce in another nation’s territory during times o peace, under Article 51 o the United Nations Charter, a state has “the inherent right o individual or collectivesel-deence [sic]” until the UN Security Council takes action.