Last updated on: 12/18/2013 | Author:


The background and pro and con arguments were written by staff based upon input from the following sources.


1.Brett Holman, "The First Air Bomb: Venice, 15 July 1849,", Aug. 22, 2009
2.Pew Research Center, "Global Attitudes Project,", July 18, 2013
3.John Sifton, "A Brief History of Drones,", Feb. 7, 2012
4.Joakim Kasper Oestergaard, "About the Predator and Reaper,", Dec. 2, 2013
5.Ritka Singh, "A Meta-Study of Drone Strike Casualties,", July 22, 2013
6.The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, "Get the Data: Drone Wars," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
7.New America Foundation, "The National Security Studies Program," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
8.Bill Roggio and Alexander Mayer, "Charting the Data for US Airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004-2013,", Nov. 29, 2013
9.Bill Roggio and Bob Barry, "Charting the Data for US Air Strikes in Yemen, 2002-2013,", Dec. 12, 2013
10.Barack Obama, "Obama's Speech on Drone Policy,", May 23, 2013
11.Peter Bergen, "Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing," Testimony Presented before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, Apr. 23, 2013
12.Mehreen Zahra-Malik and Jibran Ahmed, "Pakistani Taliban Chief Killed in Drone Strike,", Nov. 1, 2013
13.William Saletan, "In Defense of Drones,", Feb. 19, 2013
14.Paul B. Spiegel and Peter Salama, "War and Mortality in Kosovo, 1998-99: An Epidemiological Testimony," The Lancet, June 24, 2000
15.Guenter Lewy, America in Vietnam, 1980
16.William S. Turley, The Second Indochina War: A Concise Political and Military History, 2009
17.Independent International Commission on Kosovo, "The Kosovo Report,", Oct. 23, 2000
18.Eric Ruder, "Remote Control Warfare. Some Sixty US Drone Bases around the World,", Apr. 8, 2013
19.Friends Committee on National Legislation, "Understanding Drones," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
20.Department of Defense, "United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request,", Apr. 2013
21.National Priorities Project, "Analysis of the Fiscal Year 2012 Pentagon Spending Request,", May 6, 2013
22.Mark Thompson, "Costly Flight Hours,", Apr. 2, 2013
23.Shan Carter and Amanda Cox, "One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion,", Sep. 8, 2011
24.Charter of the United Nations, "Chapter VII: Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
25.Philip Alston, "Study on Targeted Killings," Report of the Human Rights Council, Fourteenth Session, Agenda Item 3, May 28, 2010
26.Joshua Foust and Ashley S. Boyle, "The Strategic Context of Lethal Drones: A Framework for Discussion,", Aug. 16, 2012
27.Harold Koh, "Legal Adviser Koh's Speech on the Obama Administration and International Law, March 2010,", Mar. 25, 2010
28.Leo Van Den Hole, "Anticipatory Self-Defence under International Law," American University International Law Review, 2003
29.US Constitution, "Article II," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
30.Cora Currier, "Drone Strikes Test Legal Grounds for War on Terror,", Feb. 6, 2013
31.US Congress, "Public Law 107-40,", Sep. 18, 2001
32.Micah Zenko, "How the Obama Administration Justifies Targeted Killings,", July 5, 2012
33.Barack Obama, "U.S. Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities,", May 23, 2013
34.Scott Shane, "Yemen's Leader Praises U.S. Drone Strikes,", Sep. 29, 2012
35.Fatima Bhutto, "A Flood of Drone Strikes: What the Wikileaks Revelations Tell Us about How Washington Runs Pakistan,", Dec. 9, 2010
36.Nic Robertson and Greg Botelho, "Ex-Pakistani President Musharraf Admits Secret Deal with U.S. on Drone Strikes,", Apr. 12, 2013
37.Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland, "Drones Decimating Taliban in Pakistan,", July 3, 2012
38.Guy Taylor, "U.S. Intelligence Warily Watches for Threats to U.S. Now that 87 Nations Possess Drones,", Nov. 10, 2013
39.Ian Black, "Iran Unveils Bomber Drone that Aims to Deliver Peace and Friendship,", Aug. 22, 2010
40.Jeremy Page, "China's New Drones Raise Eyebrows,", Nov. 18, 2010
41.J.R. Wilson, "2011 Worldwide UAV Roundup," Aerospace America, Mar. 2011
42."Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Directory," Flight International, June 21-27, 2005
43.Teal Group Inc., "Teal Group Predicts Worldwide UAV Market Will Total $89 Billion in Its 2013 UAV Market Profile and Forecast,", June 17, 2013
44.Ian Austen, "Libyan Rebels Reportedly Used Tiny Canadian Surveillance Drone,", Aug. 24, 2011
45.Ashley Fantz, "Hezbollah Claims it Sent Drone over Israel, but Expert Calls it 'Rinky Dink,'", Oct. 12, 2012
46.Wayne Chappelle and Kent McDonald, "Occupational Health Stress Screening for Remotely Piloted Aircraft & Intelligence (Distributed Common Ground System) Operators," US Air Force Powerpoint Presentation at the Brookings Institution, Nov. 3, 2011
47.Gallup, Inc., "In U.S., 65% Support Drone Attacks on Terrorists Abroad,", Mar. 25, 2013
48.Howard LaFranchi, "American Public Has Few Qualms with Drone Strikes, Poll Finds,", June 3, 2013
49.Jeremy Scahill, "Washington's War in Yemen Backfires,", Feb. 14, 2012
50.Sudarsan Raghavan, "In Yemen, U.S. Airstrikes Breed Anger, and Sympathy for Al-Qaeda,", May 29, 2012
51.Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, "Transcript: Read Abdulmutallab's Statement on Guilty Plea,", Oct. 12, 2011
52.Lorraine Adams and Ayesha Nasir, "Inside the Mind of the Times Square Bomber,", Sep. 18, 2010
53.Cora Currier and Justin Elliott, "The Drone War Doctrine We Still Know Nothing About,", Feb. 26, 2013
54.Richard Engel and Robert Windrem, "Exclusive: CIA Didn't Always Know Who it Was Killing in Drone Strikes, Classified Documents Show,", June 5, 2013
55.Jonathan S. Landay, "Obama's Drone War Kills 'Others,' Not Just Al Qaida Leaders,", Apr. 9, 2013
56.Kenneth Anderson and Benjamin Wittes, "Three Deep Flaws in Two New Human-Rights Reports on U.S. Drone Strikes,", Oct. 24, 2013
57.Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic and Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, "Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan,", 2012
58.CNN Wire Staff, "Drone Strikes Kill, Maim and Traumatize Too Many Civilians, U.S. Study Says,", Sep. 25, 2012
59.Adam Entous, "Special Report: How the White House Learned to Love the Drone,", May 18, 2010
60.Peter Bergen and Megan Braun, "Drone is Obama's Weapon of Choice,", Sep. 19, 2012
61.United Nations, "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,", Dec. 19, 1966
62.Judith Gardam, Necessity, Proportionality and the Use of Force by States, 2011
63.Christof Heyns, "Extrajudicial Executions and Targeted Killings," International Law Journal symposium on 'State Ethics' at Harvard Law School, Feb. 20, 2012
64.United Nations, "UN Charter," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
65.Eliav Lieblich, "Intervention and Consent: Consensual Forcible Interventions in Internal Armed Conflicts as International Agreements," Boston University International Law Journal, 2011
66.Amnesty International, "Will I Be Next? US Drone Strikes in Pakistan,", 2013
67.Micah Zenko, "Transferring CIA Drone Strikes to the Pentagon,", Apr. 2013
68.Russell Brandom, "Why the CIA Isn't Handing over its Drone Assassins to the Military,", Nov. 7, 2013
69.American Civil Liberties Union, "Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta: Lawsuit Challenging Targeted Killings," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
70.Reuters, "Pakistan: Drone Strikes Are Violations of Sovereignty,", June 4, 2012
71.Jethro Mullen, "Report: Former Drone Operator Shares His Inner Torment,", Oct. 25, 2013
72.BBC News Asia, "US Drone Strikes 'Raise Questions' - UN's Navi Pillay,", June 8, 2012
73.RIA Novosti, "UN Blasts US Drone Strikes in Pakistan,", Mar. 15, 2013
74.Andrea Germanos, "UN Expert Challenges Foundations of US Covert Drone War,", Oct. 17, 2013
75.Chris Cole and Jim Wright, "What Are Drones?,", Jan. 2010
76.Elisabeth Bumiller, "A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away,", July 29, 2012
77.Justin Sink, "Dem Lawmaker: Drone Strikes Creating 'Real Enemies' for the US,", June 10, 2012
78.Medea Benjamin, "Medea Benjamin on How Drones May Be Used Against US Citizens Soon,", June 1, 2012
79.David Alexander, "Retired General Cautions Against Overuse of 'Hated' Drones,", Jan. 7, 2013
80.New America Foundation, "Drone Strikes," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
81.New America Foundation, "Drone Targets," (accessed Dec. 18, 2013)
82.Pew Research Center, "Pakistani Public Opinion Ever More Critical of U.S.,", June 27, 2012
83.Richard Leiby, "Pakistan Calls for End to U.S. Drone Attacks,", Apr. 12, 2012
84.Declan Walsh and Ismail Khan, "Pakistani Party Votes to Block NATO Supply Lines if Drones Persist,", Nov. 4, 2013
85.Maha El Dahan, "Yemeni Parliament in Non-Binding Vote Against Drone Attacks,", Dec. 15, 2013
86.Jean L. Otto and Bryant J. Webber, "Mental Health Diagnoses and Counseling among Pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in the United States Air Force," Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center Monthly Surveillance Monthly Report, Mar. 2013
87.Christopher Klein, "Attack of Japan's Killer WWII Balloons, 70 Years Later,", Aug. 29, 2018
88.Finding Dulcinea, "On This Day: Japanese WWII Balloon Bomb Kills 6 in Oregon,", May 5, 2011
89.Asawin Suebsaeng, "Drones: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Always Afraid to Ask,", Mar. 5, 2013
90.Ian G. R. Shaw, "The Rise of the Predator Empire: Tracing the History of U.S. Drones,", 2013
91.Ian Bott, Cleve Jones, and John Burn-Murdoch, "Great and Small: The Many Types of Drone,", Oct. 8, 2013
92.Spencer Ackerman, "Air Force Is Through with Predator Drones,", Dec. 14, 2010
93.US Air Force, "'Reaper' Moniker Given to MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,", Sep. 14, 2006
94.Barack Obama, "Presidential Letter -- 2012 War Powers Resolution 6-Month Report,", June 15, 2012
95.Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, "As New Drone Policy Is Weighed, Few Practical Effects Are Seen,", Mar. 21, 2013
96.Siobhan Gorman and Adam Entous, "CIA Plans Yemen Drone Strikes,", June 14, 2011
97.Washington Post, "U.S. Military Drone Network in the Middle East and Africa,", July 19, 2013
98.Jane Mayer, "The Predator War,", Oct. 26, 2009
99.Phil Stewart, "Pentagon Scraps Medal for Drone Pilots After Uproar,", Apr. 15, 2013
100.Michael Cooney, "Air Force: Unmanned Aircraft Hit 1 Million Combat Hours,", June 22, 2011
101.US Air Force News Service, "RPAs Reach 2 Million Hours,", Oct. 25, 2013
102.Jill Replogle, "The Drone Makers and Their Friends in Washington,", July 5, 2012
103.CBC News, "Evolution of the Drone Strike,", Feb. 6, 2013
104.Micah Zenko, "Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies,", Jan. 2013
105.Cora Currier, "6 Months after Obama Promised to Divulge More on Drones, Here's What We Still Don't Know,", Nov. 6, 2013
106.Mark Mazzetti, "A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood,", Apr. 6, 2013
107.Greg Miller and Bob Woodward, "Secret Memos Reveal Explicit Nature of U.S., Pakistan Agreement on Drones,", Oct. 24, 2013
108.Declan Walsh, "In Pakistan, Drone Strike Turns a Villain Into a Victim,", Nov. 3, 2013
109.Adam Baron, "With AQAP's Strategy Unclear, Yemen Struggles to Respond,", Aug. 7, 2013
110.American Civil Liberties Union, "Predator Drone FOIA," (accessed Aug. 14, 2013)
111.American Civil Liberties Union, "Appeals Court to Hear Oral Argument Tuesday in ACLU FOIA Lawsuit Seeking Targeted Killing Memos,", Sep. 30, 2013
112.David G. Savage, "Federal Court Rejects CIA's Denial of Drone Strikes as 'Fiction,'", Mar. 15, 2013
113.PolicyMic, "Obama Has No Interest in Changing His Drone Strike Policy,", Aug. 14, 2013
114.Mark Mazzetti, Charlie Savage, and Scott Shane, "How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America's Cross Hairs,", Mar. 9, 2013
115.US Department of Justice, "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa'ida or an Associated Force,", Feb. 4, 2013
116.Erica Werner, "Obama Google Plus Hangout: During Q&A, President Offers to Look at Resume of Man Looking for Work (VIDEO),", Jan. 30, 2012
117.Karen DeYoung, "A CIA Veteran Transforms U.S. Counterterrorism Policy,", Oct. 24, 2012
118.United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "Open Hearing on the Nomination of John O. Brennan to Be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency,", Feb. 7, 2013
119.Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, "Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing,", Apr. 22, 2013
120.Micah Zenko, "The Intercept’s ‘Drone Papers’ Revelations Mandate a Congressional Investigation,", Oct. 15, 2015
121.Andy Greenberg, "A Second Snowden Has Leaked a Mother Lode of Drone Docs,", Oct. 15, 2015
122.Scott Shackford, "A New Whistleblower Exposes America’s Drone Assassinations,", Oct. 15, 2015
123.Dan Sabbagh, "Killer Drones: How Many Are There and Who Do They Target?,", Nov. 18, 2019
124.Tyler Rogoway, "USAF Officially Retires MQ-1 Predator while MQ-9 Reaper Set to Gain Air-to-Air Missiles,", Mar. 9, 2018
125.Drone Wars, "Rise of the Reapers: A Brief History of Drones,", June, 10, 2014
1266Dan Gettinger, "Drones in the Defense Budget: Navigating the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request,", Oct. 2017
127.Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College, "Summary of Drone Spending in the FY 2019 Defense Budget Request,", Apr. 2018
128.David Hambling, "Why the Air Force Needs a Cheaper Reaper,", June 10, 2020
129.Chris Woods, "The Story of America's Very First Drone Strike,", May 30, 2015
130.Warren Bass, "How the U.S. Stumbled Into the Drone Era,", July 24, 2014
131.The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, "Drone Warfare," (accessed Oct. 22, 2020)
132.Marina Fang, "Nearly 90 Percent Of People Killed In Recent Drone Strikes Were Not The Target,", Oct. 15, 2015
133.Jeremy Scahill, "The Drone Papers: 01. The Assassination Complex,", Oct. 15, 2015
134.Barack Obama, "Executive Order -- United States Policy on Pre- and Post-Strike Measures to Address Civilian Casualties in U.S. Operations Involving the Use of Force,", July 1, 2016
135.Ben Jones, "Despite Obama’s New Executive Order, U.S. Drone Policy May Still Violate International Law,", July 7, 2016
136.BBC, "Trump Revokes Obama Rule on Reporting Drone Strike Deaths,", Mar. 7, 2019
137.Kelsey D. Atherton, "Trump Inherited the Drone War but Ditched Accountability,", May 22, 2020
138.Aaron Mehta and Valerie Insinna, "Trump Admin Officially Makes It Easier to Export Military Drones,", July 24, 2020
139.Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, "Civilians Killed and Wounded,", Jan. 2020
140.Dina Smeltz and Brendan Helm, "Americans Feel Less Safe after Killing of Soleimani,", Jan. 23, 2020
141.Alexa Lardieri, "Nearly Half of Americans Support Airstrike That Killed Iranian Leader, Poll Finds,", Jan. 8, 2020
142.Con Coughlin, "Drones Are Gruesome, but Would We Prefer Boots on the Ground?,", Feb. 7, 2013
143.Daniel L. Byman, "Why Drones Work: The Case for Washington's Weapon of Choice,", June 17, 2013
144.Mohamed Olad Hassan, "US Drone Strike Kills High-Ranking al-Shabab Bomb-Maker in Somalia,", Aug. 21, 2020
145.Donald Trump, "Remarks by President Trump on the Killing of Qasem Soleimani,", Jan. 3, 2020
146.Abdulrasheed Al-Faqih, "Civilian Casualties and Effectiveness of U.S. Drone Strikes in Yemen,", Apr. 3, 2018
147.David Rohde, "A Drone Strike and Dwindling Hope,", Oct. 20, 2009
148.Elise Swain and Jon Schwarz, "Merry Christmas, America! Let's Remember the Children Who Live in Fear of Our Killer Drones,", Dec. 25, 2019
149.Micah Zenko and Amelia May Wolfe, "Drones Kill More Civilians than Pilots Do,", Apr. 25, 2016
150.CNN, "State of the Union with Candy Crowley,", Feb. 10, 2013
151.ABC News, "'This Week' Transcript: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta,", May 23, 2012
152.Harold Hongju Koh, Speech at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law,, Mar. 25, 2010
153.Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic, Written Statement for the Hearing on “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing” as Submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee,, Apr. 23, 2013
154.Charli Carpenter, "Assassination, Extrajudicial Execution, or Targeted Killing—What’s the Difference?,", Jan. 10, 2020
155.Kareem Khader, "Iraq Parliament Speaker Says US Strike Was 'Flagrant Violation of Sovereignty,'", Jan. 3, 2020
156.Agnes Callamard,, Jan. 2, 2020
157.Peter W. Singer, "Military Robots and the Laws of War,", Feb. 11, 2009
158.Charlie Savage, "Biden Rules Tighten Limits on Drone Strikes,", July 1, 2023
159.Reuters, "Biden Approved Yemen Strikes after Drone Attack, Us Doesn’t Want War – White House,", Jan. 12, 2024
160.Jennifer Hansler, "Blinken Warns ‘There Will Be Consequences’ for Continued Houthi Attacks,", Jan. 10, 2024
161.Oren Liebermann, et al., "US and UK Carry Out Strikes against Iran-Backed Houthis in Yemen,", Jan. 12, 2024
162. Agnes Chang, Pablo Robles and Keith Bradsher, "How Houthi Attacks Have Upended Global Shipping,", Jan. 21, 2024
163.Washington Post, "Biden Vows Response after Drone Strike Kills 3 U.S. Troops in Jordan,", Jan. 29, 2024
164.Lara Seligman and Matt Berg, "A $2M Missile vs. a $2,000 Drone: Pentagon Worried over Cost of Houthi Attacks,", Dec. 20, 2024