Pandora's Box: Lethally-Armed Ground Robots in Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Unmanned ground vehicles UGVs have become increasingly popular for many intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions and explosive-ordnance disposal missions in the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In these roles, UGVs are credited with saving countless lives. Given the success in missions undertaken so far, there is an interest in arming these UGVs and using them for strike missions. This paper presents three arguments against using unmanned ground vehicles for strike missions in the counterinsurgency operations the U.S. military is conducting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The arguments are based on the Laws of Armed Conflict, the principles of counterinsurgency operations, and the professional military ethic. A counter-argument based on the similarity to Predator strikes is presented and refuted, as are counter-arguments based on saving money and personnel. Finally, this paper recommends that combatant commanders not employ lethally-armed ground robots in the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Combat Vehicles