2013 Predictions: Adam Hudson on the Military

on Wednesday, Dec. 26th

Adam Hudson writes about the military and military technology for us here at Turnstyle, he sent in these predictions for 2013.

Considering past events and recent trends, there are a few things to look out for in the year 2013.

1. Drawdown but not a complete end to the war in Afghanistan: the Obama administration plans to withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014. Next year, that means the combat mission in Afghanistan will be scaling down. However, special operations forces will remain in Afghanistan to conduct counterterrorism operations against suspected terrorists in the region and train the Afghan military. In addition, Afghanistan will be used as a hub for the U.S. to carry out drone strikes in Pakistan.

2. Continuation of drone strikes and targeted killing: Obama escalated drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia during his first term. Some of these strikes (largely carried out by the CIA and JSOC) killed American citizens, including a 16-year-old boy. There is no sign that this policy will abate anytime soon. In fact, just the opposite. The Obama administration set up its own “disposition matrix”, a database with names of suspected terrorists around the world. This means the U.S. will keep adding names to its kill lists for years to come. As a result, the practice of global targeted killing will be entrenched in U.S. national security policy.

3. Indefinite detention of U.S. citizens will remain: last year, the Obama administration signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. This act, under Sections 1021 and 1022, allows for the indefinite detention (essentially incarceration without due process) of U.S. citizens, which violates core civil liberties. The act drew a lot of outrage from activists and people within the civil liberties community. There have been challenges against the act, such as a lawsuit and congressional legislation. Just recently, however, top Republican and Democratic lawmakers killed an amendment that would have outlawed indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The amendment was problematic in that it did not apply to all persons within the United States, as outlined by the Constitution. However, considering that there is very little challenge to this bill from Congress or the courts, it is safe to say that indefinite detention of U.S. citizens will remain legal in 2013.

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