The Obama administration has released its ‘Playbook’ for drone warfare

From The Verge:

Following a court order, the Obama administration has unveiled the documents that guide its decisions to capture or kill individuals who are involved in terrorist activities around the world. The documents provide a new look at the infrastructure that supports drone operations across the Middle East.

The redacted, eighteen page Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) was drafted in 2013, and provides crucial insight into how the administration will take direct action against individuals who represent a threat to the United States. The documents were released following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Targeted individuals must represent an “imminent” threat

The declassified documents outline the steps that need to be taken before any suspect is captured or killed, as well as the oversight by administration officials. Individuals who have been targeted for killing must be identified and represent an imminent threat to United States citizens. The documents also outline the steps that must be taken to limit non-combatant casualties.

According to the document, each agency must put together an operational plan that must go through a legal review before being submitted to the National Security Staff (NSS) for an interagency review. The operational plan must outline the legal basis for taking action against the HVT, what assets will be used, and the conditions that need to be met before taking action. The plan passes through its review process, it’s passed along to the President.

The decision to take lethal force does not reside solely with the President

However, the decision to take lethal force does not reside solely with the President. If Principle figures within an agency agree that lethal action is required, they are required to notify “the President through a DNSA of his intention to approve lethal action and has …

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