Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

Tracking U.S. Targeted Killings

by Micah Zenko Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In January 2013, we released a report that called on President Obama to reform U.S. targeted killing policies in non-battlefield settings. Included in that report was a chart that estimated the number of strikes, total fatalities, and civilian fatalities through the end of 2012. The data was based on averages within the ranges provided by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Long War Journal, and New America Foundation.  We have updated our chart to display all known U.S. targeted killings in non-battlefield settings from the first one on November 3, 2002, through the end of 2013. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drones, U.S. Arms in Iraq, and Civil-Military Relations

by Micah Zenko Friday, December 27, 2013
A man looks at the site of bomb attack at a marketplace in Baghdad's Doura District on December 25, 2013. At least 20 people were killed in bomb attacks in Christian areas of Baghdad on Wednesday. Two bombs also went off in a crowded market in a separate, mostly Christian, area in Doura killing another six people and wounding 14. (Ahmed Malik/Courtesy Reuters)





Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap: FY2013-2038,” U.S. Department of Defense, 2013.

 Inventory of DoD UAS (page 5) Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Terrorist Attacks, Victory 206, and U.S. Armed Forces

by Micah Zenko Friday, December 20, 2013
An Afghan policeman keeps watch on October 18, 2013, at the site of a car bomb attack launched by Taliban fighters on a convoy of vehicles in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Mohammad Ismail/Courtesy Reuters)

Despite Fewer Attacks in Western World, Global Terrorism Increasing,” National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, December 19, 2013. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drone Strikes, Malaria, and Defense Contractors

by Micah Zenko Friday, December 13, 2013
Foreign contractors arrive at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on December 17, 2012. (Mohammad Ismail/Courtesy Reuters)

Hakim Almasmari, “Yemen says U.S. drone struck a wedding convoy, killing 14,” CNN, December 13, 2013.

A U.S. drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy in Yemen’s al-Baitha province after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying al Qaeda militants, two Yemeni national security officials told CNN on Thursday. Read more »

Guest Post: The Humans Behind Remotely Piloted Aircraft

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Travis, a 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) sensor operator, and Ben, a 432nd Wing/432nd AEW RPA pilot, fly an MQ-1 Predator during the wings 2 million flying hour milestone on October 22, 2013. (Courtesy U.S. Air Force)

Priscilla Kim is an intern in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The U.S. Air Force trains more remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) pilots than traditional fighter and bomber pilots combined—350 RPA pilots compared to 250 fighter and bomber pilots in 2011. Additionally, one in every three planes is unmanned, and the Pentagon intends to double the number of unmanned aircraft systems from 340 to 650 by 2021. If RPA proliferation is not complemented with policy changes that effectively address the concerns of RPA pilots, there could be damaging overall effects for U.S. military forces. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Snowden, Homeland Security, and Drone Strikes

by Micah Zenko Friday, December 6, 2013

Karen Parrish, “Hagel Arrives in Bahrain for Speech at Dialogue,” American Forces Press Service, December 5, 2013.

Hagel noted during a press conference yesterday that even as it focuses more attention on the Asia-Pacific, the United States is fully engaged around the world. Read more »