The Future is Limited: The Ethics of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

The successful first flight of Boeing Australia’s ‘Loyal Wingman’ unmanned aircraft in early 2021 marks the introduction of a new and ground-breaking capability for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and the broader Australian Defence Force (ADF). Unlike existing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) employed by the RAAF such as MQ-4C Triton, Loyal Wingman’s unique leveraging of artificial intelligence (AI) in conjunction with its ability to carry a variety of payloads gives it the potential to become the ADF’s first fully autonomous lethal weapon system.

Regan Ho
23min

Victory in the Age of Cyber-Enabled Warfare

Future conflicts will not be won in cyberspace, but they can most certainly be lost there.

Major Christopher Wardrop
10min

Can We Help You? To Speak To Your Advisor Press 1. If You Wish To Instigate a Backlash Press 2.

Can ‘advise and assist’ missions be conducted successfully without even setting foot on site?
Let’s look at the ethics and pitfalls of resolution by remote control in nonviolent conflicts.

Mathew Wann
10min

Operations in deception: corrupting the sensing grid of the enemy

Fooling the enemy’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) artificial intelligence system will be as critical as refining our own in a live situation. AI is the future, but it has its vulnerabilities.

Jacob Simpson
10min

Countering Robotics and Autonomous Systems through Maritime Area Denial

Muddying the waters acoustically will be equally important as guided munitions when it comes to underwater mine warfare in the new age of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS). Let’s look at both the kinetic and the non-kinetic approaches.

Nate Streher
7min

What ‘RIGHT’ Looks Like: Linking Command and Moral Authority

 

…you don’t follow an order because you know for sure it’s gonna work out. You do what you are told, because your CO has the moral authority that says you may not come back. But the cause is just, and fair, and necessary.

Nick Bosio
27min

An Introduction to Moral Injury in Defence

The difference between an individual who returns from a deployment morally injured, and an individual who returns unharmed, may be defined by whether they can answer the following questions: ‘what do I really believe? Who am I? Where do I belong? What is my purpose?’. Can you answer those questions?

Unsurprisingly, ‘knowing thyself’ is not a standardised training package delivered by Defence. Should it be so the ADF can craft efficient personnel encapsulating the totality of fitness: physical, intellectual, moral/ethical, and spiritual?

Samuel J. Cox
6mins
Sci_Fi Reading List image

A Cadet's Introduction to Science Fiction


 

‘The minute I was bored with a book or a subject I moved to another one, instead of giving up on reading altogether… The trick is to be bored with a specific book, rather than with the act of reading.’ – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 

OCDT C. R. Wooding
3mins
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Synchronising Counterinsurgency Ops with Effective Intelligence

All combat operations need real-time, concrete intelligence, but the counterinsurgency operations’ (COINOPS) margin of error runs thinnest. In their fast, multidimensional context, COINOPS demand more comprehensive intelligence at platoon/company levels than conventional warfare does. This article explores the need for tactical unit leaders fighting insurgencies to have more intelligence assets available in the field in order to offer swift analyses to aid decision making in highly fluid environments.

Anant Mishra
6mins
Battle image

Scharnhorst and Professional Mastery


To me, being 'professional' has meant striving for excellence at my everyday job. Until I attended Command and Staff Course at the Australian War College last year, I did not appreciate that being good at my job was not the same as being a military professional. The course broadened my understanding; being a professional requires one to embrace continual learning in all aspects of the profession. I became conscious that through professional mastery, individuals, even those in junior roles, can influence organisational outcomes beyond their job.

SQNLDR Agam Sheldon
3mins
Defence Product Innovation Success - Summary

Product innovation success in the ADF – an exploratory study

It is possible for Australian defence companies and the Australian Defence Organisation to achieve greater success and better mitigate the financial, technical and schedule risks in developing new, technology-based  equipment and services for the ADF.

The research leading to this conclusion was based on case studies of 20 successful and unsuccessful Australian defence projects, and addressed three key questions:

Dr Gregor Ferguson
3mins

Defence materiel sales - an exploration of the ethical challenges

(Note: This paper is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of Defence nor the Australian Army. I pose this paper to invoke discussion on the topic).


Research, development, manufacture and selling of military materiel, in particular systems that are designed to deliver kinetic effects and bring harm to others, has always been a contentious issue for members of the public of Western democratic nations - especially during long periods of perceived peace.

Anthony Watson
3mins