Lethal Robots and the Conduct of Warfare

The military robot “Atlas”, developed by Boston Dynamics for DARPA . Image: DARPA/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the ASPI Strategist on 5 December, 2014.

The use of lethal robots in conflict is inevitable. When it happens, it’ll create a significant shift in the ways of warfare. A discussion has already begun (see here and here) on how such capabilities might be developed and applied.

Robots in general are becoming smaller, smarter, cheaper and more ubiquitous. Lethal robots are becoming more deadly and discriminating. The degree of autonomy will be a key driver of a robot’s role in conflict and is likely to evolve in three generations; the semi-autonomous, the restricted-autonomous, and ultimately the fully-autonomous generation. » More

Talk Stealthy to Me

An F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter and an F-22A Raptor. Image: Jeremy T. Lock/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 4 December, 2014.

As the Air Force Times recently reported, the F-22 and F-35A conducted their first integrated training mission earlier this month. Several observers declared this mission, which included offensive counter air, defensive counter air and interdiction operations, to be a success. But if the planes are to actually operate as a cohesive strike package in the complex A2/AD environments of the future, the services will first need to address a glaring gap in interoperability: data links. » More

Mitchell Belfer on Small States and Security

The Persian Gulf. Image: Hégésippe Cormier/Wikimedia

Trying to define what, exactly, constitutes a ‘small state’ remains a matter of interpretation. The World Bank, for example, defines such a state as a country with a population under 1.5 million, while the United Nations’ Forum of Small States (FOSS) has over 100 (and often more populous) members. In today’s podcast, Mitchell A. Belfer explains why there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ definition of a small state. He also reveals 1) what inspired him to study the contributions that small states make to security; 2) why small states such as Bahrain are often good indicators of the security and geopolitical forces that shape a particular region; and 3) reveals which small states warrant greater attention on the international stage.


Mitchell A. Belfer is the founder and Head of the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Metropolitan University Prague, Czech Republic, and Editor in Chief of the Central European Journal of International and Security Studies (CEJISS).

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“Boots On Our Ground, Please!”: The Army in the Pacific

US Marine Corps General John Paxton in conversation with US Army General Vincent Brooks. Image: Cpl. Tia Dufour/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 26 November 2014.

“It’s great to be someplace where ‘boots on the ground’ is not an insult.” With these words, Secretary of the Army John McHugh kicked-off last month’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting. He continued, to raucous applause, that the United States is, as President Obama termed it, “the indispensable nation,” and that, “we are the indispensible Army of that indispensible nation.”

Good meat and potatoes stuff for an Army crowd, but Secretary McHugh’s words tend to fall on deaf ears outside the medal-bedecked battalions assembled within the AUSA convention hall. Does anyone else share Secretary McHugh’s views? As the Army defines itself for the future, how does it make sure “boots on the ground” is a compliment rather than an insult, and how does it remain “an indispensible Army”? » More

Offset 3.0, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Commercial Technology

F-35B Lightning II aircraft lands aboard the USS Wasp. Image: United States Navy/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 17 November, 2014. It is part of the Beyond Offset series, a collaborative project between War on the Rocks and the Center for a New American Security that aims to build a community-of-interest that will address the challenges of maintaining America’s competitive edge in military technology and advance solutions.

America loves technology. As a nation, our cultural predilection for technical ingenuity has created the conditions for economic prosperity, scientific discovery, and military superiority. However, the worldwide proliferation of American free market ideas and liberalism (not to mention technology) has led to the emergence of an increasingly competitive global innovation landscape. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, the U.S. represented just 26% of world total patents in 2012, down from 40% in 1999. During the same period, the number of patents filed in China increased by some 3,200 percent, growing to roughly 10% of world total patents today. » More

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