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Use of Armed Drones Increasing Under Trump

Use of Armed Drones Increasing Under Trump

Friday, 8 June, 2018 - 10:30
drone via AFP

America's use of armed drones is increasing under President Donald Trump, according to a study released Thursday.

The report by the nonpartisan Stimson Center think tank looks back at Trump's drone actions during his first year in office, when he moved quickly to loosen some of the constraints put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama, AFP reported.

"President Trump reportedly authorized at least 80 strikes in his first year in office in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and is on pace to surpass the strike tempo of both of his predecessors, which perhaps signals a greater willingness to use lethal force," the Stimson study states.

Meanwhile, during his term, Obama authorized up to 550 strikes.

Trump has given battlefield commanders greater leeway to authorize drone strikes without first seeking approval from the White House or Washington security officials.

The Pentagon says this gives commanders better ability to make real-time decisions.

The study also notes that the CIA reportedly wants to expand its power to conduct covert drone strikes in war zones such as Afghanistan, where such actions are usually led by the military.

"Should such a policy proposal be adopted, it would mark a shift in CIA activities in Afghanistan and represent an expansion of the agency's authority to conduct covert strikes in counterterrorism operations, thereby decreasing levels of transparency," the report states.

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