Accession Number:



Principles of Mission Command Applied to Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This monograph examines the seven principles of mission command and their application to lethal autonomous weapon systems. Innovative technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence are rapidly reshaping societal norms. Only within the last few years has the US military seriously considered the ramifications of autonomous technologies on the battlefield. As political and military leaders tackle this new era of warfare, novel questions regarding the role of humans and machines in war await. Despite the nascent knowledge and limited experience surrounding autonomous systems, there is an established framework that is combat tested and well suited to addressing ambiguity, the principles of mission command. The principles of mission command are a wise approach for employing lethal autonomous weapons. These seven principles serve as a steady, guiding hand that helps military commanders negotiate the complexities of war. More importantly, the principles ensure that the commander is the ultimate decision-maker and that people and trust are the focus of mission command. The importance of trust in this new age of warfare cannot be understated. Trust ensures cohesiveness and unity of military operations. Understanding the human-machine trust relationship in autonomous weapon systems will be essential for unlocking the competitive advantage of the human-machine team as well as preserving the national security interests of the United States.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]