This commentary focuses on the problem of arms control for UVs.
It will be argued that although international prohibition of autonomous UVs would be highly desirable, the challenges will be enormous because of the great complexity that comes with the integration of UVs into network-centric operations and the decreasing size of UVs.
Network-centric operations make it difficult to determine the locus of a decision and the increasing miniaturization of UVs makes them very difficult to detect, both of which creates difficulties for future arms control.
In order for a future arms control treaty on armed autonomous weapons to work there needs to be an effective treaty monitoring and verification mechanism. History has shown that arms control agreements that have no effective monitoring mechanisms are prone to be violated which raises doubts about the wisdom behind such arms control agreements.
A possible solution to the problem that is proposed in this comment is to restrict the acceptable roles and capabilities of UVs and to preventively prohibit UVs of a very small size regardless of whether they carry weapons or not.
Visiting Assistant Professor for Security Studies, Intelligence and National Security Studies Program, University of Texas at El Paso, Texas.
I would like to thank Robert Sparrow for suggesting me as a commentator in this issue of the Journal of Law, Information and Science and Brendan Gogarty for inviting me to comment on the précis article.
© 2011 Journal of Law, Information & Science and Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania.