WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- This year, the United States Government for the first time acknowledged the use of drone attacks which has killed four US citizens in a foreign country.
According to data by the New America Foundation, about 360 drone strikes have been launched in Pakistan and 79 in Yemen. Is this method getting the bad guys or is it just killing innocent people?
Christopher Swift is an adjunct professor of National Security Studies at Georgetown University and traveled to Yemen to find out for himself.
"What I found in Yemen is that the drones were having a positive effect in terms of disrupting and degrading Al-Qaida and that people who were fighting Al-Qaida were willing to accept the drones as long as there were no civilian casualties."
AUVSI's annual conference at the Washington Convention center brought about 8,000 people from 40 different countries. This conference specifically focuses on unmanned technology systems. Some of that is used for surveillance and some of that is used to launch attacks and attacks are why CODEPINK activists were protesting outside.
"I was just in Yemen. The people in Yemen said it is very easy to capture people that they think are terror suspects instead of them just killing them," said Madea Benjamin.
She is the co-founder for CODEPINK, a group who's aim is to end war. However, the industry for unmanned systems is only booming and not just for military use.
"These systems have uses in many commercial areas. I mean law enforcement, fire fighting, disaster preparedness, monitoring pipeline, procession agriculture's a big thing," said Jenny Nash Humbert who was one of the exhibitors at the conference.
The drones are also being credited to have killed some high ranking Al-Qaida members including Anwar al-Awlaki who was a US citizen and a mentor to many terrorists including one of the 9/11 hijackers.