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David Barno and Nora Bensahel, contributing editors at War On The Rocks, discuss the possibility of foreign drone strikes on U.S. military leadership, and how the threat could be mitigated.

While the United States has had the capability to launch missile strikes from unmanned platforms, more regimes are building up their drone fleet. The possibility of a foreign power attempting to strike a leader means that security for leaders might need bolstering. Lt. Gen. David Barno, (USA Ret.), contributing editor at War On The Rocks, says that several countries are achieving drone strike capability.

“Over two dozen countries have this capability now and several have actually used it in lethal attacks on their neighbors and on other groups that oppose them out there,” Barno said. “The capability by itself is going around the world, but the idea that U.S. leaders are vulnerable and could be attacked, i think that idea has to get planted in our heads, and it hasn’t happened yet, thankfully. But I think it’s unfortunately somewhere out there on the horizon and we better start taking it seriously.”


Nora Bensahel, contributing editor at War On The Rocks, says that the capability presents new challenges to securing high value individuals.

“Things can be targeted at specific places in specific buildings. The U.S. has been able to do that for many years. Others are catching up,” Bensahel told Government Matters. “Others are more complicated. In terms of the type of protection, U.S. officials tend to move in large motorcades. That makes them very identifiable, so we may have to rethink that. Even in well protected areas, entries and access points, getting onto and off of bases that might be protected. Those things become very difficult, Going from a secure conference room onto an airplane, that bit of transit is usually exposed. It requires a whole new way of thinking.”

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