Task Force: Killer Drone


If there’s one thing that Washington D.C. loves, it’s a good Task Force.

To that end, the Stimson Center announced last week that former CENTCOM chief (Ret.) Gen. John Abizaid will head up a new Task Force looking at US drone policy. The 15-month study “will bring together legal, national security, political and military experts, as well as representatives from the defense industry and civil society groups, to formulate nonpartisan policy recommendations regarding drone use by the United States,” a Stimson statement said.

“Drones have become a complex and divisive technology,” Abizaid said in the statement. “While they can be an effective means of protecting against a terrorist attack, the rule of law must be considered. I look forward to leading an effort that can lay the foundation for drone policy in the United States.”

The announcement of the Task Force comes hard on the heels of President Obama’s May 23 speech which went a long way in making drone strikes a permanent part of the American counterterrorism toolkit, while for the first time explaining—if even only in relatively vague terms—when and why drone strikes are undertaken by the US government.

“America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists; our preference is always to detain, interrogate and prosecute them,” he said. “America cannot take strikes wherever we choose; our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty.”

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Paul McLeary

McLeary covers national security policies at the White House, Pentagon, the Hill, and State Department.
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