20YY Warfare Initiative

20YY Warfare is an ambitious, multi-year project to examine how emerging technologies will shape the future of warfare. Rapid advances in unmanned systems, robotics, data processing, autonomy, networking, and other enabling technologies have the potential to spur an entirely new warfighting regime. State and non-state actors alike will seek to exploit these and other new technologies, many of which are driven by commercial sector innovation in information technology. The U.S. military will need to develop new concepts of operation, doctrine, training, policies, and organizational structures to exploit these technologies and stay ahead in the emerging warfighting regime. These developments may occur in the next decade or later, hence “20YY.”

The 20YY Warfare Initiative will focus on publishing groundbreaking research and growing the community of interest on these issues. 20YY aims to deliver practical, actionable recommendations to policy makers today to help prepare the U.S. military for the challenges and opportunities these technologies will present in the years to come.

What is Autonomy?

In February 2014, Paul Scharre, fellow and project director for the 20YY Warfare Initiative, discussed Autonomous Technologies at the Chatham House, London.

The Role of Robotics on the Battlefield

On June 11, 2014, Mr. Scharre also presented on the 20YY Warfare Initiative during the CNAS Eighth Annual National Security Conference. USNI News covered his presentation and new report.


20YY Warfare Initiative Team:

  • Shawn Brimley – Executive Vice President and Director of Studies
  • Paul Scharre – Fellow and Project Director for the 20YY Warfare Initiative
  • Daniel Burg – Adjunct Senior Fellow

Related Content

  • September 11, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Op-eds

Is the U.S. Air Force Set for a "Crash Landing"?

In its recently-released thirty-year strategy document, the Air Force lays out a clear vision for its future. Unlike many government strategy documents, America’s Air Force: A Call to the Future actually outlines priorities and choices and is aligned with the Air Force’s budget. The problem is...

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  • September 4, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley, Paul Scharre
  • In the News

If America Could Rebuild the U.S. Navy from Scratch...

Here's a thought experiment: would America build the U.S. Navy currently plying the seven seas if it were starting from scratch? Color me skeptical. If not, what kind of navy would it build, and how can we approximate that ideal in light of budgetary constraints, a slew of legacy platforms that...

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  • August 12, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Op-eds

Left Behind: Why It's Time to Draft Robots for CASEVAC

With thousands of air and ground robots in the field, you could be forgiven for thinking that the U.S. military has embraced unmanned systems. The truth is that they are used mostly for niche roles like reconnaissance and bomb disposal.Resistance to expanding their use for more core military...

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  • August 11, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
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The U.S. Needs More Drones

Al-Qaeda is morphing and metastasizing, spreading like a cancer in an arc of jihadism from the deserts of Northern Mali through Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. Islamic extremists continue to gain ground in Iraq, and President Barack Obama has authorized more than a dozen...

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  • August 10, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Audio

Audio: Paul Scharre on CRIC Podcast on Drones in the Military

Listen to the full podcast at CRIC's website. 

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  • August 1, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • In the News

Is US vulnerable to EMP attack? A doomsday warning, and its skeptics (+video)

WASHINGTON — It is an unsettling doomsday scenario: A ballistic missile is launched from a freighter near America’s shores, setting off a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere. The blast generates electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) that could take out the nation’s electrical grid and bring civilization...

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  • July 29, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
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How to Lose the Robotics Revolution

The U.S. military is at the leading edge of the robotics revolution, with some of the most advanced systems on the globe like the autonomous X-47B carrier-based aircraft. But that lead is fragile and other nations are racing to catch up. Scholars warn of a “looming robotics gap,” driven in part by...

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  • July 18, 2014
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Drones in the hands of Hamas: How worrisome is that?

WASHINGTON — Now that the military wing of Hamas has shown that it can fly armed drones into Israel, does it herald the dawn of a new era of warfare, as some analysts assert? Or is the drone capability mainly useful as a propaganda tool for Hamas to show Palestinians it can penetrate Israeli air...

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  • July 17, 2014
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One Congressman’s Crusade to Save the World From Killer Robots

If a robot soldier commits a war crime, who is held accountable? You can't punish a collection of parts and coding algorithms. But can you blame a human commander, who gave a legal order only to see the robot carry it out incorrectly? And what about the defense manufacturers, which are often...

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  • July 16, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
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Military ramps up use of underwater drones. What do they do?

They can range from a svelte 100 pounds to several thousand. They can be snub-nosed, bullet shaped brutes that can dive six miles deep or buoyancy-propelled machines that can gracefully glide for several months at a time. And they can perform a myriad of tasks ranging from tracking pollution to...

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