Accession Number:



Lethal Autonomous Weapons and the Professional Military Ethic

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

Corporate Author:

US Army Command and General Staff College

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Since the Cold War, the United States has maintained a decisive advantage in military weapons technologies. Being the leader in developing new defense technologies comes with the ethical responsibility to lead in ensuring that these technologies comply with international norms, treaties, and the professional ethics of the servicemen that will be equipped with these weapons. Over the last decade, a significant body of work has been established on the potentials and pitfalls of adapting artificial intelligence into lethal and non-lethal defense technologies. Most of these arguments are made by ethicists, roboticists, lawyers, and computer engineers with understandably modest understandings of the complex operational environments in which these systems might be employed. This study attempts to build on the debate by offering a perspective from inside the military profession through the lens of The Framework of the Army Ethic. Using this lens, Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems can be assessed to discern which types of operations they are ethically suited or unsuited for use. As stewards of the Army profession, it is incumbent on military leaders to be active in this debate to ensure that our force remains the worlds leader in the ethical application of landpower.


Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]