Divided between five tactical and five strategic metrics, it argues that while drones are successful at accomplishing their narrow mission of attacking terrorists, from a strategic perspective their effects are ambiguous. They are a primary driver of anti-Americanism in every country where they’re used, and have the potential to turn large portions of a host population against the U.S.
It is precisely this dichotomy – tactical success but strategic ambiguity – that should concern policymakers. Sound strategy underpins effective foreign policy. Yet it is difficult to say whether the current strategy of using drones is sound or not.
This paper presents a factual, apolitical discussion of the many aspects of the lethal drones program, and suggests how policymakers and the public can make it more effective.