Beijing says it has an armed drone, but “we don’t know if it works,” Lewis said.
“Getting agreement on the applicability of existing humanitarian law to the new technologies is crucial,” he said, because China and Russia do not endorse applying laws of armed conflict to new military technologies.
One of the Obama administration’s goals is to “regularize” the drone program, making it more a part of accepted US practice in the future, Lewis said.
While the Obama administration moves toward refinement and transparency of standards, drone strikes continue to spark outrage in the countries where they are conducted. Washington has sought to portray civilian casualties from drone strikes as minimal, but groups collecting data on the attacks say they have killed hundreds of civilians.
A UN human rights investigator who is looking into drone strikes worldwide on Friday said the US campaign had violated Pakistan’s sovereignty.