August 08, 2020

Robots in Action: How a Pandemic Affects the Future Face of the Armed Forces

By Samuel Bendett

Over the past decade, the world has seen rapid development and introduction of unmanned military systems into practically all forms of conflict and security/law enforcement.

What began as a near-monopoly on such system by a handful of states has now grown into an evolving matrix of national defense establishments, regular armies, security services, law enforcement agencies, as well as all forms of non-state belligerents using such technology in one way or another. Before the COVID-19 global pandemic hit, many governments and military planning offices, as well as the defense-industrial establishments that support them, were making plans to design, test and field air, land and sea-based unmanned technology for defense, intelligence, surveillance and offensive operations. Of special note is the definition of such technology - at this point in time, “unmanned” refers more to “remote-piloted”, since a human operator is very much in control of such systems. While there are hints and indications of greater autonomy in such unmanned weapons, the human role is not expected to diminish anytime soon when it comes to the maintenance and operation of “military robotics.”

With COVID-19 restrictions in place to safeguard human lives, using “substitute” technologies has never been more important.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affected global population in the most profound ways, especially their relationship to technology. While some technology was no longer viewed as pivotal to daily operation, other types have vaulted to global prominence. Remote teleconferencing became the new norm, affecting practically every society and every kind of job. In a way, a teleconference serves as a way for participants to gather information directly related to their employment, and to coordinate action among different groups and units in an organization. This is precisely one of the main reasons that armed forces today deploy unmanned systems, especially the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Read the full article from the Valdai Discussion Club.

  • Podcast
    • August 19, 2022
    Small drones at war in Ukraine

    Both Russia and Ukraine are using small, commercially available drones for surveillance and in some cases, to attack military targets. Host Marco Werman speaks with Samuel Ben...

    By Samuel Bendett

  • Video
    • August 18, 2022
    Design Flaw in Russian Tanks impacts War in Ukraine

    Reporter Matt Bradley discusses how a design flaw in Russian tanks is impacting its readiness. Samuel Bendett weighs in.Watch the full interview from Morning Joe....

    By Samuel Bendett

  • Video
    • August 17, 2022
    The True Cost Of Killer Drones

    Is it better to have a person pull the trigger or is it OK to let computer algorithms choose between life and death? Paul Scharre joins Business Insider to discuss. Watch the...

    By Paul Scharre

  • Video
    • March 8, 2022
    Drone Warfare Just Got Deadlier | System Error

    Drone warfare has transformed combat. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian air force utilized Turkish-made drones to offset some of Russia’s enormous military...

    By Paul Scharre

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia