An Operational Perspective on the Ethics of the Use of Autonomous Weapons

Arlington, VA | June 11, 2024 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies announces a new entry in its Forum Paper series, An Operational Perspective on the Ethics of the Use of Autonomous Weapons, by Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

This essay, originally published by the Cambridge University Press in their Journal of Ethics & International Affairs, takes an operational perspective to examine the role that autonomous weapon systems can play while complying with the laws of armed conflict. It contends that efforts by the international community to use international legal means and/or institutions to over-regulate or even ban lethal autonomous weapons are counterproductive. With responsible design and incorporation of applicable control measures, autonomous weapons will be able not just to comply but also to enhance the ethical use of force.

The Forum presents innovative concepts and thought-provoking insight from aerospace experts here in the United States and across the globe. As a means to afford publishing opportunities for thoughtful perspectives, Mitchell Institute’s Forum provides high visibility to writing efforts on issues spanning technology and operational concepts, defense policy and strategy, and unique interpretations of changing geopolitical relationships.

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