The Obama Administration constructed the concept of frontier territories—areas that are out of state control but fall within a state’s territorial boundaries—to “sidestep legal constraints” in the use of military force and “cover up what many would consider extra-legal behavior” in U.S. drone warfare.
Far from improving accuracy and “situational awareness,” the use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technology in U.S. counterterrorism operations simply compounds problems that already exist around the criteria for determining who constitutes a “threat.”
Congress requires the White House to issue an annual report on civilian casualties of US military operations. The current administration has also ignored an executive order that requires the reporting of civilians killed by drone strikes and other counterterrorism activities. Both reports were due on May 1.
By highlighting civilian casualties and breaches of international law, international organizations can influence U.S. public opinion on drone policy.