April 14, 2022

The military wants ‘robot ships’ to replace sailors in battle

Featuring Tom Shugart

Source: The Washington Post

Journalist Pranshu Verma

Tom Shugart, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said the Navy is building these ships with one enemy primarily in mind: China.

The Chinese military, he said, has made significant advances in reconnaissance and missile technology: most notably, a long-range ballistic missile known by military analysts as the “Guam Killer,” with a reported range of 1,800 to 2,500 miles. With those advances, Beijing could better target and strike U.S. sailors stationed near Taiwan and the Philippines.

Having autonomous ships can help shift battle calculus into American favor, Shugart said. With unmanned vessels, fewer lives are at risk of being lost to Chinese missiles. Also, naval attack formations could be larger, more spread-out and monitored by command centers far away from an enemy’s missile range.

Read the full story and more from The Washington Post.


  • Tom Shugart

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Tom Shugart is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. His research focuses on undersea warfare and maritime competition, ...