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Iran and the Rise of Asymmetric Drone Warfare

  • Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. is a retired Marine Corps general who served as commander of U.S. Central Command from 2019 to 2022. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow on National Security at the Middle East Institute.

The regime’s drone and missile forces pose a stark threat to the Gulf states and Israel, necessitating a firmer, more cohesive U.S.-led response.

Iranian drone strikes, as exemplified by the September 2019 attack against Saudi Aramco facilities, have jolted Middle East leaders and revealed Tehran’s long-range precision strike capabilities. The regime’s large and growing drone force, which can be used for reconnaissance or strike missions, now poses an existential threat to the Gulf states and a direct threat to Israel, as does its formidable missile force.