Advances in robotic weapons systems give rise to complex issues
Posted: February 20, 2012
Increasingly sophisticated weapons technology is raising myriad questions in discussions about setting the future course of the nation’s military operations.
One focus of debate is advanced autonomous lethal systems sometimes referred to as “killer drones” – robotic aircraft that could strike targets autonomously, eliminating the need for human pilots or crew.
Experts are dealing with potential implications of deploying drones as a way of managing manpower costs, increasing defense capabilities, and meeting the demands of modern warfare.
Werner Dahm, director of the Security and Defense Systems Initiative at Arizona State University, offers his perspective on the issue in a recent Wall Street Journal column.
Dahm, the former chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force, led a major 2010 study to assess the technological capabilities that will be needed to meet national defense challenges in coming decades.
In the column, he writes that the best option is to maintain human intervention in critical decision-making steps in the deployment of autonomous systems. He explains why, from even a strictly technological standpoint, keeping humans “in the loop” makes the most sense.
ASU’s Security and Defense Systems Initiative is focused on finding solutions to global security challenges – including issues of national defense, homeland security, counterterrorism, cyber warfare and border security – looking at the social, public policy and legal aspects of security operations, in addition to the technological side.
Wall Street Journal subscribers can access the full version of Dahm’s commentary at the link below. Non-subscribers may be able to view only the first few paragraphs of the column.
For more information, see the Security & Defense Systems Initiative website.
The Wall Street Journal
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