Center for Strategic Communication

This American Security Project report, the second in our series on drone strikes and targeted killing, examines the known data to generate a series of ten metrics to gauge the effects of MQ-9 Reaper Dronethe program.

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.


Understanding the Strategic and Tactical Considerations of Drone Strikes by The American Security Project