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Rethinking the Drone War

National Security, Legitimacy, and Civilian Casualties in U.S. Counterterrorism Operations

Larry Lewis and Diane M. Vavrichek

DOI: 10.56686/9780997317435



This volume provides concrete recommendations for policy makers as well as military commanders, a number of which have, since the time of its writing, been incorporated into the recent U.S. policy guidelines related to civilian casualties. Although this volume focuses specifically on current counterterrorism practices, its analysis, frameworks, and conclusions can be applied in varying degrees to emerging technologies as well. These considerations can help a government ensure that its use of force is not only effective, but also responsible and consonant with its larger interests.

PART I. Drone Strikes in Pakistan: Assessing Civilian Casualties

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Drone Strike Casualty Estimates

Chapter 3: Discrepancies in Civilian Casualty Estimates

Chapter 4: Platform Precision or Comprehensive Process?

Chapter 5: The Drone Campaign and Civilian Harm

Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendations

PART II. The Future of Drone Strikes: A Framework for Analyzing Policy Options

Chapter 7: Introduction

Chapter 8: Framework and Policy Options

Chapter 9: Military Effectiveness

Chapter 10: Legitimacy

Chapter 11: Anticipating Net Effectiveness

Chapter 12: Conclusions and Recommendations

PART III. Improving Lethal Action: Learning and Adapting in U.S. Counterterrorism Operations

Chapter 13: Introduction

Chapter 14: An Analytical Approach to Improve Lethal Action Operations

Chapter 15: Illustrating the Approach

Chapter 16: Implementing the Approach

Chapter 17: Benefits of the Process

Chapter 18: Conclusions and Recommendations

PART IV. Security and Legitimacy: Learning from the Past Decade of Operations

Chapter 19: Introduction

Chapter 20: Lesson One: Promoting Legitimacy

Chapter 21: Lesson Two: Practicing Legitimacy

Chapter 22: Conclusions and Recommendations

Appendix A: Title 10, Title 50, and Oversight

Appendix B: Covert Actions

6 x 9 paperback
256 pages
PDF download

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