On March 13 and 14, a German court considered two challenges to the U.S. drone program in the Middle East and East Africa. Both cases, brought before the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster, assert that Germany bears legal responsibility for the consequences of U.S.-led drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia that were conducted from the U.S. Air Force’s Ramstein base, located in southwestern Germany.
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Editor’s Note: Drone strikes are among the most important, and among the most contentious, U.S. counterterrorism instruments. Data limits and the complexity of both cause and effect when it comes to terrorism make many judgments on efficacy difficult. A bigger problem, however, is that effectiveness is often divorced from strategy. Jacqueline Hazelton of the Naval War College takes this challenge on, building on her research published in the Journal of Strategic Studies.
Editor's Note: The use of drones is at the center of the Obama administration's counterterrorism policy – and, perhaps more importantly, at the center of many Lawfare discussions. One frequent concern is that armed drone use will become near-universal, with other countries using them in dangerous ways. Erik Lin-Greenberg of Columbia University looks at the recent move to control drone exports, arguing that the move is well-intentioned but is likely to fail or even backfire.
Are you paying attention to Operation Odyssey Lightning, the U.S. air campaign underway for a full month now in Libya? Not many people are, which is interesting considering that we are approaching 100 airstrikes there in four weeks.
IT'S OUR SIXTH BIRTHDAY!
Hot off the press: The new Executive Order concerning pre-strike and post-strike practices and policies is here, ODNI's release of aggregate casaulty information is here, and the official fact sheet concerning them both is
Over the past decade, military drones, whether weaponized or merely equipped for surveillance, have been at the center of many heated arguments, whether about targeted killing, counterterrorism, the supposedly "too easy" resort to force through drones, and a host of other controversies.
Although drone warfare to date has overwhelmingly been analyzed in the context of US operations against non-state actors - Al Qaeda or affiliated groups or, more recently, ISIS - much of the impact of drones on warfare is likely to come in the markedly different environment of state-to-state conflict (or near conflict) in the Asia Pacific ocean. The conflict environment, not to put too fine a point on it, of China versus, well, everyone or anyone else in the waters that China regards as its near-abroad and everyone one else regards as, more or less, the high seas.
The Intercept yesterday released its latest scoop: a cache of leaked documents on the U.S. drone program, presented as a series of blockbuster stories.