April 12, 2024

US-China competition to field military drone swarms could fuel global arms race

Source: The Associated Press

Journalist: Frank Bajak

The unchecked spread of swarm technology “could lead to more instability and conflict around the world,” said Margarita Konaev, an analyst with Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

As the undisputed leaders in the field, Washington and Beijing are best equipped to set an example by putting limits on military uses of drone swarms. But their intense competition, China’s military aggression in the South China Sea and persistent tensions over Taiwan make the prospect of cooperation look dim.


Paul Scharre, an AI expert at the Center for a New American Security think tank, believes the rivals are at rough parity.

“The bigger question for each country is about how do you use a drone swarm effectively?” he said.

That’s one reason attention is fixed on the war in Ukraine, where drones work as eyes in the sky to make undetected front-line maneuvers all but impossible. They also dispatch death from the sky and serve as sea-skimming ship killers.

Read the full story from the Associated Press.


  • Paul Scharre

    Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

    Paul Scharre is the Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS. He is the award-winning author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence...