The expansion of US military operations around the drone has coincided with the Pentagon having an increasingly large drone arsenal to carry out unmanned airstrikes around the world. That’s given them an opportunity to massively increase spending on drone warfare.
But the CIA also invested massively in drone warfare, and officials are looking for more opportunities to use those drones from extrajudicial killings. This has led CIA Director Mike Pompeo to press President Trump for authority to conduct drone strikes in Afghanistan.
Military drone strikes are common in Afghanistan, and Pentagon officials aren’t clear what the CIA thinks their drones can do that the existing drones aren’t already doing. On top of that, since the CIA declines comment on their strikes, the Pentagon is worried CIA strikes that kill civilians will lead to blowback against US ground troops.
The CIA doesn’t appear to have good answers for the Pentagon’s concerns, so much as they have a lot of drones they want to get more use out of. Pompeo has bragged that President Trump has been eager to grant him more authority and more resources whenever he’s asked, even though the specifics of what they’re doing and why remains largely secret.