President Obama embraced drone warfare, finishing his second term with a total of 563 strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen—dwarfing Bush’s 57 strikes at nearly ten times the rate according to data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The AUMF has broadened the executive branch’s military capabilities and is still being used for justification of drone strikes over fifteen years later.
The Pentagon confirmed President Trump launched his first series of drone strikes following his inauguration on January 20th, 21st, and 22nd effectively killing five AQAP members in a strike planned during the last days of President Obama’s time in office. However, on January 29th President Trump executed a raid on his own of an AQAP stronghold in an attempt to recover laptop computers, cellphones, and other information. This botched raid resulted in a firefight between Navy SEALS and AQAP forces, which left ten to fifteen women and children killed, including the 8-year old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen killed in a targeted strike in 2011.
The incident has led to Yemen rescinding its permissions to allow the United States to run Special Operations ground missions to capture terrorists within its borders. The New York Times; however, reports according to the American civilian and military officials, the Yemeni ban on operations does not extend to drone attacks.
While drones are perceived to be a futuristic weapon with surgical precision, those operating the drones will often times act with limited intelligence and not always know who is present at the strike.
The American public is resistant to put their boots on the ground, but will often act in support of Presidential wartime efforts, so long as they believe it is in the interest of national security; this, coupled with the cost-effective nature of drones leads me to believe the use of drones will not stop anytime soon under the Trump administration.