Drone war fought from suburban Philadelphia

The MQ-9 Reaper is the military's most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle: known commonly as a drone. They fly and target people halfway around the world on the undeclared battlefields of Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

The airplanes are in the Middle East and their drone operators may never see them. But their controllers sit on a former Naval air station in a suburban Philadelphia town and carry out their missions which include targeted assassinations.

The site is the Horsham Air Guard Station, about 25 miles from Center City, Philadelphia.

"It's a combat mission," said Col. William Griffin, vice commander of the 111th Attack Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

Chasing News went to Horsham, Penn. to take a look at how a foreign war is fought from the continental United States.

On the surface you really can't tell there's anything different.  Many locals have no idea drones are piloted from the base.

But not everyone is happy with a drone base in their midst.

"I object to the secrecy, that's first and foremost," said Rob Baker, a blogger who has protested with anti-drone activists at the base, "if there's secrecy there's no accountability."

Drone strikes have increasingly become a presidential weapon of choice in dealing with terrorism overseas. While President George W. Bush ordered around 50 drone strikes during his eight years in office, President Obama has authorized more than 500. Critics say there is a lack of accountability and civilian casualties. Proponents say the drone strikes kill terrorists before they can pose a threat to the homeland.

The Horsham base is one of about a dozen in the nation where drones are piloted remotely from the continental United States as they strike in the Middle East, where military men and women are literally commuting to war.