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.”

Download the latest report, "Robotics on the Battlefield Part II: The Coming Swarm

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:

The 20YY Warfare Initiative is supported by a partnership of sponsors and affiliates.

Related Content

  • April 17, 2015
  • Paul Scharre
  • Blog Posts

Statement to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons on Way Ahead

Thank you Mr. Chairperson. We would like to take a moment to reflect on what we have heard this week. The international community has come together to discuss a challenging issue, the implications of increasing autonomy for military operations, particularly in the use of force. This is an...

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  • April 17, 2015
  • JaRel L. Clay
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Presentation on Public Opinion and Security Issues of Autonomous Weapon Systems

In April, Dr. Michael Horowitz, adjunct senior fellow at CNAS, presented to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) the public opinion and security issues associated with autonomous weapon systems. Download the slides from his presentation.

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  • April 17, 2015
  • Alex Velez-Green
  • Op-eds

Is the Muslim Brotherhood the Key to Egypt's War on Terror?

As Egypt seeks to reclaim its prominence in regional affairs, President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi must acknowledge the fact that his rule is not infallible. The Arab Spring showed that Egyptians have the power to remove their leader, and if he cannot provide them with security, then he will be next....

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  • April 17, 2015
  • Elizabeth Rosenberg
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Autonomous Weapons in the News

Briefing: Should 'killer robots' be banned? (IRIN) Imogen Foulkes lays out the state of technology on lethal autonomous weapon systems, or LAWS, today noting, “exactly what [LAWS] will be capable of remains unclear, and no legal or commercial definitions for LAWS have yet been determined.” Foulkes...

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  • April 17, 2015
  • Paul Scharre
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CNAS Press Note: Secretary of the Navy and the "Last Manned Strike Fighter"

Washington, April 17 – On news that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said that the F-35 would be the Navy’s “last manned strike fighter,” Paul Scharre, Director of the Center for a New American Security’s 20YY Warfare Initiative, has written a new Press Note explaining the context of the secretary’...

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  • April 16, 2015
  • Paul Scharre
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Google robot army and military drone swarms: UAVs may replace people in the theatre of war

If you thought that having helicopter drones flying around delivering packages was a scary concept, then you won't be very happy to learn that the US military is seriously considering enlisting the help of tiny robot quadcopter drones in warfare. The US Navy is now testing a cannon system that ...

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  • April 15, 2015
  • Alex Velez-Green
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Autonomous Weapons in the News

Autonomous weapon systems: Is it morally acceptable for a machine to make life and death decisions? (International Committee of the Red Cross) The ICRC’s press release for this week’s United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting emphasizes first that “the ICRC is not at...

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  • April 15, 2015
  • Michael Horowitz, Paul Scharre
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Keeping Killer Robots on a Tight Leash

This week, delegates to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons will discuss autonomous weapon systems, or what activists call “killer robots.” Colorful language aside, the incorporation of increasing autonomy into weapons raises important legal, policy, and ethical issues....

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  • April 15, 2015
  • Kelley Sayler
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Statement to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons on Meaningful Human Control

The concept of “meaningful human control” has been repeatedly raised during this week’s discussions.  Many countries have said they support meaningful human control, while others have said they would like to explore the idea further. Still others have said that the concept of “meaningful human...

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  • April 15, 2015
  • Paul Scharre
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The Navy is Preparing To Launch Swarm Bots Out of Cannons

The U.S. Navy will launch up to 30 synchronized drones within one minute, possibly from a single cannon-like device, in what marks a significant advance in robot autonomy. The drones, when airborne, will then unfold their wings and conduct a series of maneuvers and simulated missions with very...

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