Targeted Killing: Drones

As the long war drags on, armed drones are increasingly the tool of choice for targeting and killing of individual terror suspects. Supporters argue that the comparatively precise targeting enabled by drones has saved the lives of both soldiers (who need not endanger themselves) and civilians (whose lives are spared by more tightly confined and targeted violence). Meanwhile, detractors criticize not only the legal rationale for targeted killings in general, but also the lack of transparency, limited institutional oversight and lower threshold costs that accompany the American drone program in particular. Especially since the killing of American citizen and extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in  2011, the use of armed drones for targeted killings has come under increased legal scrutiny under both international and domestic U.S. law.

Latest in Targeted Killing: Drones

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:

Targeted Killing: Drones

US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Dismisses Suit Over US Drone Strike

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today handed down an opinion dismissing a suit filed by the family members of individuals reportedly killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2012, which the plaintiffs allege was conducted in violation of domestic and international law. Though the court dismissed the case as presenting a non-justiciable political question, Judge Janice Rogers Brown's concurrence presents a strong criticism of the existing oversight regime for targeted killing.

The opinion is available in full below.

drone strikes

A Revived CIA Drone Strike Program? Comments on the New Policy

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Gordon Lubold and Shane Harris reported that President Trump “has given the Central Intelligence Agency secret new authority to conduct drone strikes against suspected terrorists, … changing the Obama administration’s policy of limiting the spy agency’s paramilitary role and reopening a turf war between the agency and the Pentagon.” The article is sparking a lot of hand-wringing. Should it?

Executive Power

Obama’s Term-End Thoughts on Targeted Killing

You could be forgiven if, amidst all the allegations of groping, the Clinton-Trump debates, and the ongoing implosion of the Republican Party, you missed an extensive interview by Jonathan Chait with our current president in New York magazine earlier this month. You could also be forgiven if you wouldn’t have predicted that among the “five days that shaped [Obama’s] presidency,” Chait includes in his piece September 30, 2011, the day that a U.S.

Targeted Killing

Declassified "Procedures for Approving Direct Action" Against Terrorists

This document was released yesterday. I haven't read it yet, but it is entitled "Procedures for Approving Direct Action Against Terrorist Targets Located Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities" and appears to be a redacted version of the internal policy document that President Obama issued in connection with his May 23, 2013 speech on drone strikes.

Targeted Killing

Will Obama’s Targeted Killing Policy Say What “Areas of Active Hostilities” Means?

Recently, the Obama Administration announced that it will soon release a redacted version of its Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) governing the use of force in counterterrorism operations outside the United States and “areas of active hostilities.” This includes drone strikes and other targeted killings.

targeted killing

Airstrikes Outside Areas of Active Hostilities: Attacks in Somalia and Questions About the Current Shape of the Policy

Just this morning, I was thinking that things have been rather quiet with respect to media coverage of U.S. operations against AQ and AQ affiliates in places like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Well...

Subscribe to Lawfare

EmailRSSKindle