Last updated on: 4/3/2014 | Author:

Philip Mudd, MA Biography

Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation and George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute
Pro to the question "Should the United States Continue Its Use of Drone Strikes Abroad?"

“The impact of drones in the counterterror campaign is hard to overstate: terror groups, like many organizations, develop into global threats not because they can recruit suicide bombers but because they have leaders with vision, capability, commitment, and experience. Tactical leaders might view a local government as their primary adversary; strategic leaders, from Osama bin Laden to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq to Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, have broader horizons. They see the United States and its allies as the root of their problems, and they inspire groups to respond to their vision. Like it or not, they are leaders.

In warzones, drones are another tool to eliminate this leadership. Like bullets from rifled weapons that are more accurate for sniper killings than mini-balls from muskets; like tanks that pack more firepower than infantry; like advances in aircraft that proved so devastating against German cities during World War II. Drones, too, are another advance in the way we can strike an adversary with lethal force, a more surgical, high-tech way to kill an enemy in a warzone, but another weapon in the machine of war nonetheless.

Questions about the ethics of drones, in warzones, would seem misdirected. We have a common understanding, rules of war, for battlefields. If you hear an adversary’s voice on a radio and fire a piece of artillery against that position, you have acted within the rules of warfare. If you strike with a drone, the delivery tool is different, but the target and result are the same. It often appears that our focus on drones stems more from fascination with new technology than with any real distinction between what a drone is designed to do—eliminate the enemy—and what a conventional airstrike would accomplish.”

“The Limits of Drone Warfare,”, Aug. 3, 2012

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation, 2010-present
  • Senior Research Fellow, Homeland Security Policy Institute, George Washington University, 2010-present
  • Deputy Director and Senior Intelligence Adviser, National Security Branch, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), 2005-2010
  • Deputy Director, Counterterrorist Center, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2002-2005
  • Director for Gulf Affairs, White House National Security Council, 2001-2002
  • Manager, Iraq analysis, CIA, 1999-2001
  • Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, National Intelligence Council, 1995-1998
  • Analyst, Counterterrorist Center, CIA, 1992-1995
  • South Asia and Middle East Analyst, CIA, 1985-1992
  • Member, Advisory Board, National Counterterrorism Center
  • Member, Advisory Board, Director of National Intelligence
  • Member, Homeland Security Group, Aspen Institute
  • Senior Global Adviser, Oxford Analytica
  • President, Mudd Management
  • MA, English Literature, University of Virginia, 1984
  • BA, cum laude, English Literature, Villanova University, 1983
  • Fluent in French
  • Featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, BBC, MSNBC, al-Jazeera, NPR, the New York Times, and the Washington Post
  • Recipient of numerous CIA awards and commendations, including the Director’s Award; the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism; the CIA’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal; the first-ever William Langer Award for excellence in analysis; and numerous Exceptional Performance awards.