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

  • July 29, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Op-eds

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
  • Paul Scharre
  • In the News

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
  • Paul Scharre
  • In the News

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
  • In the News

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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  • July 9, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Op-eds

Autonomy, “Killer Robots,” and Human Control in the Use of Force – Part I

In May of this year, the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons(CCW) held the first multilateral discussions on autonomous weapons or, as activists like to colorfully refer to them, “killer robots.” Discussion was robust, serious, and thoughtful, but through it all ran a strong...

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  • July 9, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Op-eds

Autonomy, “Killer Robots,” and Human Control in the Use of Force – Part II

In a recent post , I covered how autonomy is currently used in weapons and what is different about potential future autonomous weapons that would select and engage targets on their own without direct human involvement. In this post, I will cover some of the implications for the current debate on...

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  • June 13, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • In the News

The Pros and Cons of U.S. Drone Strikes in Iraq

On Friday, President Barack Obama ruled out sending U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, or ISIS, fighters as they take over large areas of the country. He did leave the door open to a set of nebulously named “other options.” What form might those take? In May,...

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  • June 11, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Transcripts

Transcript: Eighth Annual Conference: Robotics on the Battlefield: The Coming Swarm

20YY Warfare Initiative Project Director Paul Scharre delivers a presentation on autonomous technologies and unmanned systems at CNAS' Eighth Annual National Security Conference.

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  • May 21, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Reports

Robotics on the Battlefield - Part I: Range, Persistence and Daring

robotics-on-the-battlefield
Robotics on the Battlefield – Part I: Range, Persistence and Daring, written by 20YY Warfare Initiative Director Paul Scharre, examines key enablers and obstacles for achieving advantages and concludes with recommendations for actions. Mr. Scharre argues “the winner of the robotics revolution will...

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