Former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair on Tuesday told reporters that he believes the U.S. drone program should be brought under military supervision.
Blair — who was a top Obama intelligence official from 2009 to 2010 — told reporters during a conference call with the Council on Foreign Relations that the Pentagon could carry out a “great majority of drone strikes” currently carried out by CIA and DOD special operations forces.
“Under Pentagon control, U.S. officials would be able to streamline drone operations under normal procedures in the law of war and sidestep a number of the sticky legal situations stemming from the CIA program,” reported The Hill.
Under Pentagon supervision, Blair noted that drone strikes would be treated as a traditional part of the military’s tactical arsenal.
The controversial program, while praised by supporters as a way to minimize U.S. soldier battlefield casualties, is under fire from critics who fear that civilian casualties amassed from drone strikes is having remarkably negative effects on foreign perceptions of the U.S. abroad.
Drone strike-related civilian casualties under President Barack Obama decreased significantly since he first took office, according to a study by Washington think tank New America Foundation. But the number of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan demonstrably increased.