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New paper: The Military Applicability of Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS)

February 28th 2020 - 06:59

New paper out now! To read, click here.

This paper looks into the state of robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) and their current implementation in the military context, as well as their potential applications.

RAS presents numerous, significant and far-reaching opportunities for the RNLA. This includes creating better and faster situational awareness and understanding, reducing the physical and cognitive loads of soldiers, sustaining and protecting the force, extending the reach and persistence of operations, increasing the pace of the OODA loop, and allowing the simultaneous execution of tasks for efficient action.

In addition to examining the state of RAS today, this paper considers what new RAS will be created and how they can be incorporated into military operations. Practical as well as ethical challenges are examined, such as RAS’ vulnerability to cyberattacks as well as negative public perceptions of RAS. It puts forth suggestions for the future of RAS that range from technical advice about developing them, to guidance about managing the image of RAS.

Across all domains, the current human-centric boundaries to speed, knowledge, endurance, scale, accuracy and flexibility will be pushed forward to new, ever-expanding limits. However, with these opportunities come significant challenges, both in terms of practical issues within the military and also in terms of conditional, external issues.

Download the paper here.

Bianca Torossian is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS. She contributes to a range of projects commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Ministry of Defence and NATO. She primarily focusses on the intersection between emerging technologies and conflict, with multiple publications to her name on hybrid and cyber conflict, and is also heavily involved in the Water, Peace and Security (WPS) partnership.
Frank Bekkers is Director of the Security Program. He studied Applied Mathematics at the University of Amsterdam and spent most of his career at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), specializing in the area of Defence, Safety & Security. At TNO, he held a range of positions, including program manager, senior research scientist, group manager and account director. From 1996-1997, he worked as program manager for Call Media and Intelligent Networks for the telecom company KPN. His current position at HCSS combines shaping HCSS’s portfolio concerning defense and security-related projects with hands-on participation in a number of key projects.
Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.