"… at issue is the fundamental mission of the CIA, which during the past decade has morphed into a paramilitary force. Senior officials, including CIA Director John O. Brennan, have warned that the agency’s emphasis on lethal operations deviates from its traditional mission and could impair its ability to focus on gathering intelligence. The administration first signaled its intent to shift control of drone operations to the Pentagon last year, when Obama announced new guidelines for counterterrorism missions — including a pledge of greater transparency — during a speech at the National Defense University. At the time, administration officials briefing reporters said there would be “a preference for the Department of Defense to engage in the use of force outside war zones.” The remark was a reference to Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — countries beyond the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States has carried out drone strikes against al-Qaeda targets." Washpost
The "Authorization for the Use of Force" law (AUF) has been interpreted as restricting the USAF to employing armed UAVs (drones) in active war zones. This has been convenient to those who wish to restore some of CIA's power within the US Government since this situation could be understood to require a presidential "finding" for strikes outside active war zones. CIA is legally able to act on such presidential authority but not the armed forces, or at least that is the legal justification. CIA lost a lot of functions in the intelligence community reorganization of ten years ago and this drone business has served to give them important functions again.
CIA is supposed to be the lead agency in the IC for clandestine HUMINT. Clandestine HUMINT is a game to be played by masters of human psychology who devote themselves to a lifetime pursuit of the subtle skills needed to persuade people to inform against their own. Having done this, the clandestine operative must maintain control over the recruited agent under what are inevitably difficult conditions. This requires a great deal of skill and is a very specialized job. Most recruited foreign assets are obtained after long, carefully orchestrated cultivation. People like Aldritch Ames or the egregious Walker family are anomalies. These people jumped into the arms of the Soviets but that is not the normal case.
The skills and mentality needed by a fighting organization like the USAF have little to do with the the clandestine HUMINT task. In fact they are such as to degrade the clandestine HUMINT capability of an agency with clandestine HUMINT as its primary work. There are clandestine HUMINT groups within DoD but these groups are restricted to their own particular work, often in cooperation with CIA.
John Brennan, the current director of CIA wants to get CIA out of the killing business in order to work on restoring the quality of CIA HUMINT. IMO he is absolutely right in wanting this. pl