Ignatius warns that weapons technology — and complex financial instruments and structures — will not remain the sole preserve of the U.S. and its allies. What we throw at them may come back and be deployed against us.
The pattern and link analysis that the Department of Treasury, National Security Agency, CIA, FBI, and other parts of the intelligence industrial complex have used with great effect to target terrorists and influence the behavior of thuggish officials in problematic nations, like Iran, North Korea, and Syria, could conceivably be acquired by our rivals.
While the US is today preparing to further expand its drone force and as of late arm Italian drones, Iran is now trying to develop its own drones. So too it seems China and Russia.
The question that President Obama, who has admitted direct, routenized involvement in creating the drone ‘kill list’, should ponder is what will happen as the barriers to entry on drone technology fall enough so that an adversary’s drones can be deployed against U.S. and allied forces and interests.
I think it’s an important issue to consider as more information about President Obama’s targeted drone strike program and ‘kill list’ becomes public. We should use our temporary technological advantage to establish clear limits and norms around the use of drones in irregular warfare (re: institutional accountability; collateral damage, sovereignty and airspace issues).