Over the last eight years, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism policy has in large part been defined by drone strikes against a number of terrorist targets around the world. Indeed, the U.S. drone program is a global enterprise, with bases in at least 10 countries, lethal operations in at least seven countries, and coordination of drone operations with numerous partners and allies.
But even as the U.S. drone program has become a cornerstone of counterterrorism policy, its implementation has raised a number of questions, particularly with regard to the use of drones outside active combat zones or in countries not engaged in war with the United States. Central to these questions has been the ongoing secrecy surrounding the U.S. lethal drone program, including limited details on casualty figures, a lack of information on the legal framework supporting the program, little insight into policy guidance, and next to no information on how targeted drone strikes fit in with broader strategic objectives.
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