Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, colloquially called “drones,” have become a key tool in US counterterrorism strategy. However, the manner in which this technology is employed to conduct lethal strikes remains contentious.
The recent unprecedented expansion of US drone programs has generated a public debate that has preeminently centered on the legality and morality of existing programs, but has also strayed from the facts and become politicized.
As a result, the discourse on US drone programs continues to overlook strategic considerations and falls short in contextualizing this technology within a broader US counterterrorism strategy.
The American Security Project has compiled this fact sheet to provide basic information on US drone technology, programs, and strategic considerations with the goal of fostering an informed, apolitical discussion of US drone policy. All data and references within this fact sheet are expanded upon in our accompanying paper, “The Strategic Context of Lethal Drones.”