Drones

U.S. Air Force/Lt Col Leslie Pratt

Few new technologies are as closely identified with American counterterrorism, or have proven as controversial, as drones. These unmanned aerial vehicles are not necessarily military; increasingly, drones are used by civilian law enforcement, and may soon be used to provide wireless service in Africa or for instant deliveries across the United States. Even these civilian uses raise important privacy questions. But it is drones' emergence as a missile platform that has made them such a lightning rod for criticism and human rights anxiety. Increasingly, critics worry that the technology has lowered the costs of war and that their use carries deceptively heavy burdens for operators.

Latest in Drones

Drones

German Courts Weigh Legal Responsibility for U.S. Drone Strikes

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.

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:

Law of Armed Conflict

The Israel-Iran-Syria Clash and the Law on Use of Force

In the early hours of Saturday morning, an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle entered Israeli airspace close to the Syrian border. Israel shot down the UAV and responded by attacking the command vehicle, deep inside Syrian territory, that was operating the drone. Syrian anti-aircraft missiles shot down one of the Israeli airplanes that participated in the strike over Israeli territory. In response, Israel bombed a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria.

Drones

Reframing the Debate: A Response to Ryan Goodman’s Memo to the Human Rights Community

Ryan Goodman recently wrote a post in Just Security titled “Why the Laws of War Apply to Drone Strikes Outside ‘Areas of Active Hostilities’ (A Memo to the Human Rights Community).” Its main point is that to be taken seriously, human rights organizations and activists should stop characterizing military attacks in territories outside areas of active hostilities as unlawful and, instead, should focus on interpretations and implementation of the law of armed co

Drones

DC Circuit Shoots Down Drone Regulations: Taylor v. Huerta

Early last year on Lawfare, Ashley discussed the 2015 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) interim rule “establishing registration and marking requirements for small unmanned aircraft used recreationally—i.e., drones.” The post predicted that state and local laws as well as strong private forces all but guaranteed imminent litigation:

Foreign Policy Essay

New Declaration on UAV Exports Unlikely to Reduce Drone Proliferation

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.

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