Home Institution

Fordham University

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy


In the ongoing War on Terror, the Obama Administration has relied heavily on a new form of military technology: the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, more popularly known as the drone. While the program has remained largely a covert operation, gradually more information about its effects, especially concerning civilian casualties, has begun to come to light. As a result of allegations over their allegedly indiscriminate use in Yemen and Pakistan, countries the U.S. is not at war with, a few questions arise. When do drones stop becoming a military precision tool for taking out Al-Qaeda senior command and move into a field of unchecked and rapidly proliferating military assassinations of terrorists and civilians alike? Have they crossed that line, and if so, are the actions of the United States legal under international law? In examining these key thoughts, the effectiveness and ultimately, alternatives to the Drone Doctrine must also be judged.

This report finds that the drone program has become counterproductive and should be stopped. The indiscriminate killings of civilians are in violation of International Human Rights Laws and have caused an environment where to continue drone strikes will only result in a permanently damaged relationship with the people of Yemen and Pakistan. The only way to carry out a successful drone program is to have it in the open, overseen by the international community. Even when that happens, drones are not a complete counterterrorism strategy. Other methods for building infrastructure and state empowerment must be used in conjunction with drones to stop terrorism and violence at their roots.


International and Area Studies | International Humanitarian Law | Law | Other International and Area Studies