As America's drone monopoly frays, Obama seeks global rules

“People say what’s going to happen when the Chinese and the Russians get this technology? The president is well aware of those concerns and wants to set the standard for the international community on these tools,” said Tommy Vietor, until earlier this month a White House spokesman…

James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said other countries, including Russia, have unarmed reconnaissance drones. China says it has an armed drone, but “we don’t know if it works,” he 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 U.S. practice in the future, Lewis said. “This is going to be part of warfare.”

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