Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


A - M

Crowley, Michael. "So, Who Can We Kill?" Time, 1 Apr. 2013, 20-24.

"During the 2012 campaign, Obama's use of drones to kill terrorists without risking the lives of U.S. troops was a bragging point. But in the months since, his drone war has turned from asset to headache.... Now Washington is rethinking some of its basic assumptions about the drone war. Congress and the White House are discussing ways to bring new legal clarity to targeted killing."

Etzioni, Amitai. "The Great Drone Debate." Military Review (Mar.-Apr. 2013): 2-13. []

"[W]e should carefully deliberate before we join or initiate any new armed fights, but draw on drones extensively, if fight we must. They are more easily scrutinized and reviewed, and are more morally justified, than any other means of warfare available."

Gendron, Angela. "The Ethics of Overhead Surveillance: Deploying UAVs in the National Airspace for Law Enforcement and Other Purposes." International Journal of Intelligence Ethics 2, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 19-44.

"Aviation authorities are currently grappling with the challenge of how to integrate unmanned aircraft with manned air operations and civilian air traffic structures. Safety issues are paramount and will take some time yet to resolve, but before UAVs proliferate the national airspace, certain political, legal, and ethical questions must be asked about the appropriateness of this technology for domestic purposes and the implications for civil liberties."

Gertler, Jeremiah. U.S. Unmanned Aerial Systems. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 3 Jan. 2012. Available at:

From "Summary": "Congressional considerations include the proper pace, scope, and management of DOD UAS procurement; appropriate investment priorities for UAS versus manned aircraft; UAS future roles and applications; legal issues arising from the use of UAS; issues of operational control and data management; personnel issues; industrial base issues; and technology proliferation."

Hennigan, W.J. "New Generation of Unmanned Spy Planes Is Being Tested." Los Angeles Times, 11 Jan. 2011. []

The Global Observer, "[a]n experimental spy plane with a wingspan almost the size of a Boeing 747's[,] took to the skies over the Mojave Desert last week in a secret test flight that may herald a new era in modern warfare with robotic planes flying higher, faster and with more firepower." The UAV can fly for days at 65,000 feet, and "is built to survey 280,000 square miles ... at a single glance."

Two other drones will be tested at at Edwards Air Force Base in coming weeks: "the bat-winged X-47B..., which could carry laser-guided bombs and be launched from an aircraft carrier" and the "Phantom Ray drone that could slip behind enemy lines to knock out radar installations." See also, John Hendren, "Eye in the Sky: Pentagon Tests New Spy Plane," ABC News, 23 Jan. 2011, which includes quotes from Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Zachary Lemnios.

Hirsh, Michael. "Washington's Drone Wars." National Journal Magazine, 22 Feb. 2014. []

"It's been more than a year since incoming CIA Director John Brennan signaled his intention to shift drone warfare to the Pentagon.... And President Obama endorsed his plan..., according to administration officials. But a funny thing happened.... According to intelligence experts and some powerful friends of the CIA on Capitol Hill,... the agency may simply be much better than the military at killing people in a targeted, precise way -- and, above all, at ensuring that the bad guys they're getting are really bad guys.... [T]he Pentagon's most recent botched hit in Yemen,... pointed up problems with the military-run program that have long worried detractors."

Mazzetti, Mark. "A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood." New York Times, 6 Apr. 2013. []

In June 2004, the CIA for the first time "deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a 'targeted killing.' The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state. In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill him in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.... The deal ... paved the way for the C.I.A. to change its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization."

Miller, Greg. "Brennan Speech Is First Obama Acknowledgment of Use of Armed Drones." Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2012. []

In a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington on 30 April 2012, "White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan offered the most extensive outline yet" of the use of targeted drone strikes against terrorism suspects. Brennan "reiterated the case made by administration lawyers over the past year that the drone program is consistent with international and U.S. law. But he went further in describing the process by which the administration makes decisions on whom it will seek to kill."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Flew Stealth Drones into Pakistan to Monitor bin Laden House." Washington Post, 17 May 2011. []

According to current and former U.S. officials, "[t]he CIA employed sophisticated new stealth drone aircraft to fly dozens of secret missions deep into Pakistani airspace and monitor the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed.... The aircraft allowed the CIA to glide undetected beyond the boundaries that Pakistan has long imposed on other U.S. drones.... The new drones represent a major advance in the capabilities of remotely piloted planes.... In 2009, the Air Force acknowledged the existence of a stealth drone, a Lockheed Martin model known as the RQ-170 Sentinel.... The aircraft bears the distinct, bat-winged shape of larger stealth warplanes."

Miller, Greg. "Lawmakers Seek to Stymie Plan to Shift Control of Drone Campaign from CIA to Pentagon." Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2014. []

According to U.S. officials, a measure included in the classified annex to the federal budget plan, which details funding for U.S. spy agencies, "would restrict the use of any funding to transfer unmanned aircraft or the authority to carry out drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon.... The provision represents an unusually direct intervention by lawmakers into the way covert operations are run, impeding an administration plan aimed at returning the CIA's focus to traditional intelligence gathering and possibly bringing more transparency to drone strikes."

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