March 25, 2015

Commanding the Swarm

By Paul Scharre

Today’s uninhabited vehicles are largely tele-operated, with a person piloting or driving the vehicle remotely, but tomorrow’s won’t be. They will incorporate increasing autonomy, with human command at the mission level. This will enable one person to control multiple vehicles simultaneously, bringing greater combat power to the fight with the same number of personnel. Scaling up to large swarms, however, will require even more fundamental shifts in the command and control paradigm.

The Naval Postgraduate School is working on a 50-on-50 swarm vs. swarm aerial dogfight, and researchers at Harvard have built a swarm of over athousand simple robots working together to create simple formations. As the number of elements in a swarm increases, human control must shift increasingly to the swarm as a whole, rather than micromanaging individual elements.

Read the full op-ed at War on the Rocks.

  • Podcast
    • January 16, 2020
    Episode 26 - Paul Scharre

    What are autonomous weapons systems? How are they used in modern warfare? And how do we strengthen international cooperation? In this episode, the Director of the Technology a...

    By Paul Scharre

  • Podcast
    • January 15, 2020
    Robots That Kill

    By Paul Scharre

  • Transcript
    • November 7, 2019
    Transcript from CNAS Report Launch Event: "Securing Our 5G Future"

    On November 7, the CNAS Technology and National Security Program hosted a launch event for the Securing Our 5G Future report. We are pleased to share the transcript of this ev...

    By Martijn Rasser, Elsa B. Kania & Rob Strayer

  • Podcast
    • March 12, 2019
    CNAS Tech: How (Not) to Talk About AI & Lethality

    The U.S. Army recently announced its new Advanced Targeting & Lethality Automated System, or ATLAS program. The announcement generated concern and media headlines about the le...

    By Paul Scharre, Kara Frederick & Megan Lamberth

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia