Home / Articles / Drones and Targeted Killing: Costs, Accountability, and U.S. Civil-Military Relations
There is widespread interest in how armed drones are used, how targets are chosen, and what frameworks of legality and political accountability exist. Less addressed is how use, targeting, justification, and accountability affect the people and the organizations being asked to operate the drones. This article examines the costs to the operators and the military organization of increased reliance on drones. It argues that the government and the public need to come to terms with the human costs—both foreign and American—of increased use of unmanned systems. It concludes that the government needs to find a way to make its employment of drones transparent and accountable enough that it will not harm the overall well-being, morale, and loyalty of the force.