Defense One takes a look at the American military’s use of drone under the Trump Admin….
The decision making has been pushed down to so that the White House is not in the loop, targets are increased and the media as been locked out of the programs and policy of hunting down terrorist targets…
During the George W. Bush presidency and the first term of Obama’s presidency, the government disclosed virtually nothing publicly about the extent to which the U.S. government was using drone strikes to kill terrorist targets. That began to change in 2013, when Obama, believing in the value of the drone program but also in the need to gain long-term international and domestic legitimacy through increased transparency, undertook efforts to disclose more about the program, its implementation, and his views on the strategy that guided it. This path toward transparency culminated in the public release, toward the end of Obama’s second term, of the previously highly classified rules that Obama established in 2013 for drone strikes outside of active war zones, and of government assessments regarding civilian and combatant casualties resulting from such strikes. From the lack of information provided by the Trump administration about its use of armed drones, it seems that Trump has decided to recoil back to the pre-transparency days in which the government made public little, if anything, about the program.
Wide-scale use of armed drones as a counterterrorism tool has always been alluring. In terms of the evolution of military capabilities, drones are not a terribly unique platform, given the broader trend in warfare to make it easier, cheaper, and less risky to project power. But drones have a futuristic mystique that makes them attractive and a flexibility that lets them be the answer to previously unanswerable questions. Employed properly, their use means less risk to U.S. troops, lower potential for civilian casualties, and lower monetary costs. With drones, the U.S.government can observe and even kill terrorists who were previously safe from the long arm of the American military—for example, if the terrorism target was taking refuge in a heavily fortified compound in a conflict zone. And drones allow the American government to act without many of the downsides of using more traditional military power.
But with these benefits come real risks, including most notably, as Obama stated, that “the very precision of drone strikes and the necessary secrecy often involved in such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites.” ….