What does Clark County, Nev. have in common with North Waziristan?
Both are key sites in the U.S. drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Unmanned aerial vehicles are robotically controlled by operators in Nevada, who steer them toward their targets thousands of miles away in the tribal regions of Pakistan.
Battlefield drones are quickly changing the face of contemporary warfare and have support among U.S. policymakers for their cost effectiveness and potential to mitigate danger to pilots and infantry soldiers on the ground.
But as the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama increasingly relies on drones in its war against terrorism, criticism of the strategy is also increasing. Civilian deaths remain a point of major contention, as is what some say are the structural shortcomings of the program itself.
A former Marine officer now working as a consultant for the military, business and technology community said the drone program was deeply flawed because of its reliance on a disparate group of people that includes everyone from policymakers in Washington, to the "eccentric engineer" at a research lab in Boston, to "the kid with the joystick outside of Las Vegas launching a missile toward the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier."