There are signs that the Obama administration be running out of high-level targets.
After a sharp rise in Mr. Obama’s first two years, the total number of drone strikes is now in sharp decline.
In Pakistan, strikes peaked in 2010 at 117; the number fell to 64 in 2011, 46 in 2012, with 11 in 2013, according to The Long War Journal, which covers the covert wars.
In Yemen, while strikes shot up to 42 in 2012, no strikes have been reported since a flurry of drone hits in January.
Mr Obama has pledged more transparency for the drone program, and he and his aides have hinted that change are coming. It remains unclear what the administration has in mind, but the president has spoken of the treacherous allure of the drone.
Decisions on targeted killing are “something that you have to struggle with. If you don’t, then it’s easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules thinking that the ends always justify the means,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s not who we are as a country.”