The Drone War

Tracking the Shadowy World of Drone Warfare

In the twenty-first-century world of drone warfare, one question with two aspects reigns supreme: Who counts? In Washington, the answers are the same: We don't count and they don'...(full article)

The Obama administration's drone war came under unusual scrutiny last week after the White House revealed that a strike earlier this year killed two innocent Westerners. Warren Wei...(full article)

For years, the Obama administration has kept its drone strikes shrouded in great secrecy, knowing that what have been described as precision attacks on terrorist targets have also ...(full article)

It was before dawn the morning of Aug. 13, 2011, when a group of men armed with assault rifles knocked on Warren Weinstein's front gate in the Lahore suburb of Model Town, an upsc...(full article)

For American defense professionals, the 1990s now seem like a distant dream. The United States was fresh off a stunning military victory over Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forc...(full article)

Most Recent Articles

The Terror Drones Wreak on the Future - Fred Kaplan, Slate

rones had been out of the news for a while, until one of them killed Warren Weinstein, an American aid worker held hostage by four al-Qaida fighters in Pakistan. The jihadis were t...

What if There Were no Drone Strikes? - Washington Post

AT A time when Islamic jihadism has become a major threat in at least half a dozen countries, it’s important to acknowledge that the group that has posed the greatest threat ...

How Drone Warfare Emerged - Gregoire Chamayou, TomDispatch

Initially, the English word "drone" meant both an insect and a sound. It was not until the outbreak of World War II that it began to take on another meaning. At that time, American...

Why the U.S. Is Scared of Hobbyist Drones - Kevin Poulsen, Wired

If you want to understand why the government freaked out when a $400 remote-controlled quadcopter landed on the White House grounds last week, you need to look four miles away, to ...

Did Drones Contribute to Yemen's Collapse? - Joshua Keating, Slate

A U.S. drone strike hit a vehicle in central Yemen on Monday, killing three members of al-Qaida according to a representative of the group. The strike was the first since Yemen&rsq...

A Legal Regime for New Weapons Systems - Hohmann & Sandhu, GPJ

It is undeniable that we are seeing a tendency in technological development towards ever-increasing automatization. This trend goes hand-in-hand with an exponential growth in compu...

Obama's Drone War in Pakistan - Steve Coll, New Yorker

Last year, in a speech at the National Defense University, President Obama acknowledged that American drones had killed civilians. He called these incidents “heartbreaking tr...

Life with Drones and Raids in Pakistan - Iqtidar & Akbar, The Conversation

The tribal areas of Pakistan, at the border of Afghanistan, have been a focal point for the war on terror for the past decade – and are often represented as a region of wild,...

China's New Anti-Drone Lasers - AFP

China has developed a highly accurate laser weapon system that can shoot down light drones at low altitude, state media reported....

The Approach That Can Defeat ISIS - Robert Scales, Washington Post

President Obama may be developing a strategy to confront the apocalyptic horrors of the Islamic State, but he already has a method, a gift of sorts from soldiers who have been figh...

'Sorry Our Drones Hit Your Wedding Party' - Gregory Johnsen, BuzzFeed

On December 12, 2013, a drone struck and killed 12 members of a wedding party in Yemen. If the U.S., which claims the strike was clean and justified, didn’t pony up the $800,000 ...

Obama Failed to Stop ISIS When He Could - Marc Thiessen, Wash. Post

From Europe to the Middle East, we have seen how disaster follows U.S. retreat and disengagement from the world. But the one area where President Obama seemed to be leaning forward...

Reining in the Drones - New York Times

For all the slick technology, there are grave moral and legal questions going unanswered in the government’s use of armed drones to kill people considered terrorist threats. ...

The Drawbacks of the Drone War - Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

he drone has become America's counter-terrorism weapon of choice. But does drone warfare really further U.S. goals abroad? To wartime strategists under both George W. Bush and Bar...

Drones and Advisers Aren't Enough to Save Iraq - Robert Caruso, Guardian

Rand Paul and the anti-war crowd don't get it: disrupting the puppet masters in Iran and arming the rebels in Syria is the best way to destroy Isis, right now....

America Needs a Clear Drone Policy - Christian Science Monitor

As the US again steps up drone attacks, the need for a clear policy on the use or sale of military drones becomes more urgent....

U.S. Drones Won't Solve the Problem in Iraq - Leslie Gelb, The Daily Beast

Before the U.S. government starts to do the next dumb thing again, namely provide fighter aircraft and drone attacks and heaven knows what else, it should stop and think for a chan...

Obama Channels Cheney on Unlimited War - Eli Lake, The Daily Beast

In an extraordinary hearing, Obama administration lawyers claimed that the President can authorize attacks against any terrorists he’d like -- never mind what Congress says....

Sting of the Drone - Richard Clarke, RealClearDefense

The men and women who waited were far from displeased to have some time together without the National Security Advisor. This was when the number twos and number threes from the dep...

A Coming Era of Robot Wars - Patrick Tucker, Defense One

In 10 years, every state will have armed drones. What happens next?...

3 Reasons Obama Just Got More Popular Abroad - Zack Beauchamp, Vox

American foreign policy may look like it's in shambles sometimes, but the world doesn't seem to think so. According to Gallup's US Global Leadership Project, a gigantic survey of o...

North Korea's Newest Provocation: Drones - Korea Times

The military has tentatively concluded that two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) recently found near the border with North Korea came from the impoverished state. The conclusion rai...

Delivery Drones Could Save Lives in Africa - Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

What the first thing you think of when you hear the word "drone?" It might be killing machines. Or reconnaissance quadcopters. Or maybe a honey bee. But for a countless number of p...

Obama Will Never End the War on Terror - Hirsh & Oliphant, Nat'l Journal

The new term being used: "elongated imminence," which means that a president doesn't have to deem the country under immediate threat of attack before acting on his or her own....

Is the CIA Better than the Military at Drone Killings? - Michael Hirsh, NJ

The White House is supposed to be handing the program over to the Pentagon. Here's why they're dragging their feet....

America's Drone Program Needs to Keep Flying - Chicago Tribune

There is much we don't know about the American citizen who is the target of a potential U.S. drone strike in Pakistan. He is believed to be associated with al-Qaida. He reportedly ...

America's Bloody Messes in Yemen - Hooria Mashhour, Washington Post

December 12 was supposed to be a day of celebration for the al-Ameri family. A young bride traveled to her wedding with her relatives in Bayda province, Yemen. But in a few dark se...

Drones Could Decide Battle of Fallujah - David Francis, The Fiscal Times

The Iraqi Army is currently trying to wrest control of Fallujah from al-Qaeda-linked militants, and Secretary of State John Kerry has said that American forces would not get involv...

Here Come China's Drones - Trefor Moss, The Diplomat

China is developing its own drone technology — for its own military and for sale around the world....

U.S. Drones Doing More Harm than Good - The National

Over the course of the war in Afghanistan, several US airstrikes went awry, targeting Afghan wedding parties and killing civilians. Such attacks increased anger in the country agai...

Britain Up to Its Neck in U.S.'s Dirty Wars - Seumas Milne, The Guardian

The war on terror is now an endless campaign of drone and undercover killings that threatens a more dangerous world....

Drones Have Flown the Military Coop - Mary Cummings, Globe and Mail

In just the past two years, it seems as if drones have suddenly popped up everywhere in the news. This technology has been around for more than 60 years, but has only recently capt...

The Taliban's Hydras - Bill Roggio, The Daily Beast

Yesterday's drone strike in Pakistan's northwestern district of Hangu that killed a top Haqqani Network leader is a major tactical win for the U.S., but in the absence of a compr...

The New War on al-Qaeda - Bloomberg

Six months ago, President Barack Obama told the American people that the end of the U.S. war against al-Qaeda was approaching. Three months later, a threat from al-Qaeda’s Yemen ...

Obama May Be Guilty of War Crimes - Jeffrey Bachman, The Guardian

Is President Obama a suspected war criminal? If you have read the recent reports on drone strikes by Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human ri...

U.S. Drone Didn't Kill a Taliban Peacemaker - Damien McElroy, Telegraph

The American drone strike that killed the Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud last week has apparently caused outrage in Islamabad and threatens a breach in relations between...

U.S. Enters Pakistani Politics via Drone - Dawn

His death may have been brutal and swift, but his reign of brutality was long — and will surely be enduring in some form after his death. When a Pakistani militant supremo is kil...

The Campaign to Kill Killer Robots - Noah Rayman, Time

A slew of reports over the last two weeks detailing cases of U.S. armed drones killing civilians signaled a new wave of outrage over the unregulated use of drones by the U.S. There...

Drones Will Be Turned Against America - Allan Massie, The Scotsman

SOMEWHERE in the United States, perhaps Arizona or New Mexico, a member of the armed forces is closing down his computer. He has completed a good day’s work, during which he ...

Time to Take a Hard Look at Drone Strikes - Christian Science Monitor

Perhaps the most difficult question is this: As drone technology advances, is the US turning more of the decisionmaking in a strike over to the so-called intelligence of a semi-aut...

Coming Era of Tiny Wars & Micro-Conflicts - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

No other nation's military comes within a country mile of it. None has more than a handful of foreign bases. None has more than two aircraft carrier battle groups. No potential ene...

The Drone War Comes to Asia - Brimley, FitzGerald & Ratner, Foreign Policy

The introduction of indigenous drones into Asia's strategic environment -- now made official by China's maiden unmanned provocation -- will bring with it additional sources of inst...

Are Drones the Answer in Syria? - Audrey Kurth Cronin, Foreign Affairs

Armed drones have serious limitations, and the situation in Syria lays them bare. They are only useful where the United States has unfettered access to airspace, a well-defined tar...

The Killing Machines - Mark Bowden, The Atlantic

A deep look at America's drone wars....

Al-Qaeda's Strongest Weapon in Yemen: Drones - Joseph Cox, Vice

The U.S. is helping al-Qaeda in Yemen, it just doesn't know it....