A new study reveals that the US use of deadly drones is increasing under President Donald Trump.
The study by the nonpartisan Stimson Centre think tank said the Trump administration is on course to dramatically intensify America’s use of assassination drones, which had already rapidly increased under Obama.
“President Trump reportedly authorized at least 80 strikes in his first year in office in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and is set to surpass the strike tempo of both of his predecessors, which perhaps signals a greater willingness to use lethal force,” the Stimson study states.
It said the US drone policy has thus far been defined by uncertainty coupled with less oversight and less transparency.
The report also revealed that Trump has delegated more authority to battlefield commanders to authorize drone strikes without first seeking approval from the White House or Washington security officials.
The US has been carrying out drone attacks in several Muslim countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen despite strong opposition. Washington claims its drone strikes target terrorists, but reports on the ground indicate that civilians are the main victims of such attacks.
The Stimson study notes that the CIA 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.
The study named An Action Plan on US Drone Policy: Recommendations for the Trump Administration was prepared by members of a study group at the Stimson Center based in Washington DC who provided expert insight and advice despite many of the details surrounding the US drone program remaining shrouded in secrecy. The nonprofit nonpartisan think tank aims to promote international peace.