In the first year of the Trump administration demonstrated President Trump’s willingness to continue to rely on armed drones to conduct U.S. military and counterterrorism operations around the world. While drone use is expanding under the Trump administration, transparency and oversight of the U.S. drone program appear to be diminishing.
Lower levels of delegated authority for strike decisions could potentially increase the risk of civilian casualties and limited intelligence about the status of individuals killed or injured in strikes may result in the undercounting of civilian casualties.
Such backsliding by the United States is occurring alongside international efforts to advance global standards for the responsible transfer and use of armed drones.
Questions remain about the efficacy of drone operations in achieving broader security objectives, and concerns abound about the negative consequences that could arise from continued use without the development of appropriate international standards to guide drone transfers and subsequent use.