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Droning On: Controversy Surrounding Drone Warfare Is Not Really About Drones

Drone Proliferation and Oversight
Ryan J. Vogel

Drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), seem to be everywhere these days.1 Journalists report on use of UASs in everything from intelligence collection to border patrol, law enforcement, disaster response, UN missions, and, most famously, lethal operations against terrorists. Academics and commentators fill the pages of journals and hold discussions on the pressing challenges posed by"drone warfare."2 Public officials and human rights groups caution against and express concern about the use of UASs in public statements and reports.3 U.S. government officials steadfastly defend UAS strikes in speeches, court filings, and articles.4 Over the past decade, drones have moved from the realm of science fiction to the forefront of America's conflicts and to a prominent place in the global consciousness. Former senior U.S. government official John Bellinger III has written that drones risk becoming"Obama's Guant