Drones are used by militaries around the world to gather intelligence information. Drones are small flying machines that are remotely controlled through computers. Drones used by the military can hover over an area for hours collecting intelligence by recording video and sound. Some drones are also equipped with missiles that can be launched at a target. One of the benefits of military drones are that they can be controlled by someone who can be a significant distance away for the target. In fact, many drones can be controlled not only from other cities or nearby countries but even half-way across the world.
In 2014, President Obama spoke at the National Defense University and admitted that he was aware of situations where American military drones had killed innocent civilians. Even though he admitted his remorse on those deaths, he continued to defend the use of military drones and claimed them to work better in war situations because they are able to hover over an area for a longer period of time than fighter jets. The ability to hover over targets for an extended period of time allows for more intelligence to be collected and in turn should ultimately cut down on the number of civilian casualties.
Drones have been used in the war against the Islamic State in the fight against terrorism. Drones have also been used in military US operations in Yemen and Somalia. Pakistan has also seen significant use of military drones strikes. Pakistan has been the target of hundreds of US drone strikes over the past few years, more drone strike targets than any other country. Between 2008 and 2013 the US waged a drone war over North and South Waziristan. The purpose of the drone assaults was to weaken Al Qaeda and weaken Taliban forces. US officials declare the unofficial war on Pakistan because of they didn't feel that Pakistan was willing to adequately to provide defense to US troops and American cities against Taliban groups. Drones were also used in the war against the "core Al Qaeda" group, which was founded by Osama bin Laden. US officials praised the drone war on the "core Al Qaeda" because the drones were able to pinpoint and attack the terrorist cell while still minimizing civilian casualties. The use of the drones also eliminated the need for more traditional forms of modern warfare while keeping US soldiers safe.
Controversy surrounds the use of US military drones. A study conducted by students at New York University in 2002, contradicted the US officials reports of drone use and reduced civilian casualties. According to their data they estimated up to 300,000 civilians were killed during US drone strikes in the decade leading up to the study.