Kaitlyn Dugas

Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Barry Pyle

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein


Considerable controversy exists regarding the use of drones by the United States of America in the targeted killings of individuals overseas, including American citizens. The constitutionality of such strikes comes into question as well as whether the President even possesses adequate power, whether unitary or granted, to order the strikes against not only American citizens, who are obviously protected by the Constitution, but also foreigners to whom the Constitution may or may not apply. This study will take a look at presidential power from the perspective of each of the three branches of government within the United States and from the viewpoint of International Law in order to understand how much power the President actually has to order targeted killings. This analysis is followed by a case study. In the end, this research raises as many questions as it answers.