This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary arrangement founded by seven countries in 1987 to prevent the spread of longer-range cruise and ballistic missiles with the potential to carry weapons of mass destruction. Today, the MTCR has 35 member states, and while containing cruise missile proliferation has proven difficult, it has effectively slowed the spread of long-range ballistic missiles.
With any regime focused on controlling specific technologies, though, there is always a risk that advances in the field will outstrip the initial regulatory framework. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened to the MTCR in at least one respect. When the regime was set up in the 1980s, remotely-piloted aircraft—better known as drones—had a lot in common with missiles. They were generally either target drones with limited utility, designed for one-way missions to test missile accuracy, or very short-range surveillance platforms. The MTCR was therefore set up to control them too.
Read the full article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
More from CNAS
CommentaryIn Search of Ideas: The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Wants You
Americans don’t want to grow old wondering what happened to their country’s place in the world. U.S. global leadership has fostered international institutions, strengthened hu...
By Robert O. Work & Eric Schmidt
PodcastWhat Could Possibly Go Wrong?
War has been a driver of breakthrough technology for a long time. The first waves of artificial intelligence and even the internet came out of DARPA, a defense agency whose or...
By Paul Scharre, Richard Danzig, Arati Prabhakar & Jonathan Wilson
Video2019 Drell Lecture: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War
On April 30, 2019, CNAS Technology and National Security Program Director Paul Scharre delivered the 2019 Drell Lecture on the campus of Stanford University. Scharre's remarks...
By Paul Scharre
The nation that leads in the development of artificial intelligence will, Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed in 2017, “become the ruler of the world.” That view has b...
By Paul Scharre