Response to the Open Letter Calling for a Ban on Autonomous Weapons

  On July 27 of last year, over 1,000 experts and researchers – including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak – signed an open letter warning of the perils of using artificial intelligence in the military and expressing their worry that lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) would “become tomorrow’s Kalashnikovs.” They hence called for…

Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems: Humanity’s Best Hope?

The past decade has witnessed a revolution in the use of remotely operated systems by the UK’s Armed Forces.  Nowhere has this been more evident – or controversial – than in the air domain.  Debate over the nomenclature of such systems – known variously as Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), Uninhabited Air Systems (UASs), Remotely Piloted…

Now is Exactly the Right Time to Retire the Predator

In a recent FoxtrotAlpha post, Tyler Rogoway criticized the Department of Defense, and the Air Force in particular, for its decision to retire the MQ-1 Predator by 2018. Rogoway argued the Air Force plan to replace the MQ-1 with the MQ-9 Reaper and reduce its Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) from 65…

Incorporating UAS into the Japan Air Self Defense Force

One of Japan’s most important military modernization efforts is the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) replacement of its F-4 fleet with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Although the F-35 acquisition requires considerable funding, the JASDF also has plans to acquire new tankers and airborne early warning platforms. Furthermore, the JASDF needs to reinforce its intelligence,…

The Civil Drone: Non-Kinetic Applications of Drone Technology

Today, the word “drone” commonly provokes energetic debates – often stemming from the technology’s controversial use in military operations.  Some see drones as precision tools that reduce civilian casualties while eliminating terrorist threats; others see them as extralegal – or even illegal – implements of war.  But while “drone strikes” and the broader military applications…