How will the future Australian Defence Force (ADF) exploit robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) to gain and maintain advantage across the spectrum of conflict? And how can the ADF counter threats posed by adversary RAS to the future force? These are the questions currently being asked by the ADF’s Force Exploration Branch (FEB) as they prepare to draft the ADF’s Concept for Robotic and Autonomous Systems 2040.
Earlier this year, FEB publicly released a call for submissions to support their development of this future concept. In a first for the Australian military blogosphere The Central Blue, The Forge, and Grounded Curiosity will be collaborating to directly support the ADF’s concept development by amplifying FEB’s call for submissions through our reader and contributor networks, and using our platforms as an outlet for the resulting ideas.
Our #adfras2040 series will inform debate and contribute to the Concept for Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2040, which aims to describe how the future ADF will implement RAS to achieve strategic advantage.
RAS has been touted as a disruptive technology with the potential to usher the world into a 4th Industrial Revolution. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, swarming, additive manufacturing, and advanced materials are converging into RAS. Systems are already being developed with high levels of autonomy, stealth, and persistence; as systems such as the Sea Hunter and the Boeing Air Power Teaming System move beyond design documents into testing they are focusing attention on how RAS can improve current military capabilities. The ADF’s future concept developers want to look beyond the immediate and consider how the ADF of the future should embrace RAS so that it can succeed in 2040.
In addition to the opportunities RAS present, FEB is also looking at the threats they pose. The ADF will not be the only actor seeking strategic disruption using RAS. State and non-state actors will also pursue this technology for their own advantage against our strategic interests. The adversary gets a vote. So in addition to determining ADF requirements to employ RAS, it is vital that force designers also explore what the ADF needs to do to counter the threat of RAS? Do RAS have its own unique vulnerabilities that can be exploited?
The Central Blue/Forge/Grounded Curiosity #adfras2040 series will explore these questions and consider how the future ADF can use RAS to pursue and assure a strategic advantage over potential adversaries. We encourage submissions from students, academics, policymakers, service personnel of all ranks, industry, and from others with an interest in these issues. We (the editors) encourage potential contributors to engage the editorial teams early in their writing process!
To help get you started, we pose the following topic suggestions:
This series is the first of what we hope will be more collaborative efforts to support the ADF’s concept developers. Although #adfras2040 is a collaborative series there is no plan to cross-post. However, collaboration will be occurring behind the scenes, and on social media.
thecentralblue [at] gmail.com (subject: RAS%20Submission) (The Central Blue)
groundedcuriosity [at] gmail.com (subject: RAS%20Submission) (Grounded Curiosity)