20YY Future of Warfare Initiative

The 20YY Future of Warfare Initiative 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 Future of 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 Future of 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 Future Warfare Initiative during the CNAS Eighth Annual National Security Conference. USNI News covered his presentation and new report.


20YY Future of Warfare Initiative Team:

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Statement at United Nations CCW Expert Meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems

As we enter our third year of discussions on lethal autonomous weapons, I would like to applaud states for their continued engagement on this important topic as well as offer some thoughts for consideration. There has been an emerging view that, in addition to looking at technology, we ought to...

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  • April 11, 2016
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Arms Control Groups Urge Human Control of Robot Weaponry

Two international arms control groups on Monday issued a report that called for maintaining human control over a new generation of weapons that are increasingly capable of targeting and attacking without the involvement of people. Read the full article in The New York Times.

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  • April 11, 2016
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CNAS Press Note: Autonomous Weapons at the United Nations

Washington, April 11 – Increasingly, autonomous robots are being deployed on the ground and in the sea and air. It is not inconceivable that fully autonomous weapon systems could one day be used to execute lethal attacks. In order to explore the challenges associated with this emerging security...

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  • April 9, 2016
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  • April 7, 2016
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CNAS Launches Briefing and Infographics on Autonomous Weapons

  Washington, April 7 — In advance of next week’s global meetings on autonomous weapons, the Center for a New American Security is releasing a briefing report and infographic on autonomous weapons and human control. Many nations are building increasingly autonomous next-generation robotic and...

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  • April 7, 2016
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Autonomous Weapons and Human Control

In advance of the global meetings on autonomous weapons, CNAS has released a briefing report and infographic on autonomous weapons and human control. Paul Scharre and Kelley Sayler of CNAS’ Ethical Autonomy Project examine how autonomy is used in current and future weapons and prospects for human...

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  • March 21, 2016
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  • March 16, 2016
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  • March 11, 2016
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Vietnam-era planes used against ISIS

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  • February 29, 2016
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Autonomous Weapons and Operational Risk

CNAS Senior Fellow Paul Scharre has written a new report, “Autonomous Weapons and Operational Risk.” The report, which is a part of the CNAS Ethical Autonomy Project, examines the risks in future autonomous weapons that would choose their own targets and the potential for catastrophic accidents.

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