Drones Publications

Reports & Briefs

Changing of the Guard: Civilian Protection for an Evolving Military
20 June 2013  |  Article in PRISM by Sarah Holewinski and Dr. Larry Lewis
Reducing civilian harm and properly responding to civilian losses in armed conflict is a win/win for America’s shifting strategy. What’s more, these objectives are entirely possible with leadership, attention, and focus from U.S. government officials. This piece appeared in PRISM Vol. 4, no. 2 . Prism is a journal of the Center for Complex Operations.

The Civilian Impact of Drones
20 September 2012  |  Research Report

This joint report from the Center for Civilians in Conflict and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic is an in-depth look at the US government’s covert drone program and its impact on civilian populations. Our objective is to critically assess US government procedures and standards for ensuring civilian protection and responding to civilian harm from drone strikes conducted both outside of full-scale military operations and with a degree of secrecy. The study is based on a review of publicly available materials, interviews with current and former government officials, responses to requests for information from agencies, and previous field interviews by Center for Civilians in Conflict.

Civilian Harm and Conflict in Northwest Pakistan
20 October 2010  |  Research Report

Since 2001, the conflict in northwest Pakistan has killed and injured thousands of civilians, displaced millions, and destroyed countless homes and livelihoods. Headlines focus on the horrors of terrorism in Pakistan, but the Center's research shows that civilians suffer greatly from a much broader range of conflict-related violence. Pakistani military operations, particularly artillery shelling and airpower, cause significant civilian losses. Civilians are caught between militants and Pakistani forces, while also suffering the consequences of extrajudicial killings, sectarian violence, explosive remnants of war, and US drone strikes. This report documents civilian losses as a result of this armed conflict, analyzes the humanitarian, security, and strategic consequences of those losses, and examines existing-and needed-efforts by warring parties to make amends to survivors.

Testimony & Advocacy

Public Acknowledgement and Investigations of U.S. “Targeted Killings” and Drone Strikes 
13 May 2015  |  Joint Letter to President Obama

After the President Obama's administration publicly acknowledged and apologized for the deaths of two civilians—U.S. citizen Warren Weinstein and Italian citizen Giovanni Lo Porto—in a January 2015 strike in Pakistan, CIVIC urged for the adoption of the same approach to all other U.S. counterterrorism strikes in which civilians have been injured or killed—regardless of their nationalities.

Constitutional & Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing
01 May 2013  |  Testimony

Written Testimony from Sarah Holewinski submitted to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights

Statement of Shared Concerns Regarding US Drone Strikes and Targeted Killings
12 April 2013  |  Joint Letter to President Obama

This letter urges the administration to take essential steps to: publicly disclose key targeted killing standards and criteria; ensure that U.S. lethal force operations abroad comply with international law; enable meaningful congressional oversight and judicial review; and ensure effective investigations, tracking and response to civilian harm. 



Aid for Drone Victims
28 November 2013  |  
New York Times  |  Sarah Holewinski  |  LTE

Five Ways Obama Can Fix Drones Right Now
06 November 2013
  |  Defense One  |  Sarah Holewinski & Dr. Larry Lewis  |  Opion

Bring Drones out of the Shadows 
06 February 2013 
 |  CNN Opinion  | Sarah Holewinski  |  Opinion

Drones: An Outlier in a Transparent Presidency 
06 January 2013  
|  Huffington Post  |  Sarah Holewinski  | Opinion

Not Even the White House Knows the Drones' Body Count
29 September 2012
  |  Wired  |  Sarah Holewinski  |  Guest Author

As Pentagon Reshapes Fighting Force, Civilian Casualties Need to be Considered
07 September 2012  |  The Hill  |  Sarah Holewinski & Dr. Larry Lewis  |  Opinion

Help for Civilians Harmed in America's Drone Wars
26 April 2013 
|  Huffington Post  |  Sahr MuhammedAlly  |  Opinion


Press Releases 

Drones More Likely to Harm Civilians than Manned Aircraft in Afghanistan  |  02 July 2013

What Next for Civilians Living Under Drones  |  01 May 2013 

At CIA, Brennan Should Bring Drones out of the Shadows  |  07 March 2013 

Civilian Impact of Covert Drone Operations Overlooked  |  30 September 2012 

Civilian Casualties from US drones in Pakistan  |  02 February 2012

PAKISTAN: Compensation Promised to Civilian Drone Victims  |  28 March 2011

Civilian Drone Victims Deserve to be Counted and Compensated  |  24 March 2011