Biden Orders Temporary Limits on Drone Strikes Outside of War Zones

The administration is reviewing US counterterrorism operations

President Biden has imposed temporary limits on drone strikes, and covert raids in country’s outside of major war zones as the new administration reviews the policies left by the Trump administration.

The limits mean the CIA and military must get permission from the White House before they carry out drone strikes or raids in places the US does not have a major military presence, like Somalia and Yemen. The limits don’t apply to Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

The Biden administration has not announced these limits. The move was reported this week by The New York Times and The Washington Post. According to the reports, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan imposed the limits on January 20th, the day President Biden was inaugurated.

The Trump administration loosened the rules of engagement for counterterrorism operations and airstrikes, giving the military more authority. This resulted in a record number of US airstrikes and raids in Somalia and Yemen.

According to the reports, the Trump-era rules did not require permission from the White House to carry out kill or capture missions. But the CIA or military did need the approval of the US ambassador in whichever country they were operating in.

The limits on drone strikes are part of the Biden administration’s broader review of US counterterrorism operations. According to National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne, Biden has issued interim rules for the terror wars in the meantime.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.