Unmanned Systems in Perspective
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Unmanned systems have become a vital component of US military operations in the twenty-first century. They are here to stay, and their utility will continue to expand. Nevertheless, uninformed beliefs and biases continue to skew the discourse regarding unmanned systems. These systems do not constitute a fundamental change in the nature or character of warfare. Policymakers, strategists, or operators who attempt to use unmanned systems in place of human prudence will be profoundly disappointed with the results. They are not a revolution in military affairs, nor do they provide easy answers to the challenges of war. While all of the Services have developed and fielded unmanned systems, the US Air Forces evolution of unmanned aircraft since 2001 is particularly illuminating for future endeavors. Rather than pursue robotic autonomy, the US military must cultivate professional service members with the skill and discipline to wield unmanned systems adeptly. The Services must fully integrate the tactics and technology of unmanned systems with manned components of the force, as both will be crucial in future endeavors. Leaders should never allow technology to dictate policy or strategy unmanned systems must always fit into legitimate and comprehensive plans.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics