Written by CNAS Chief Executive Officer Robert O. Work and CNAS Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley, 20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age calls upon the United States to prepare for war in new era in which “unmanned and autonomous systems will play central war-fighting roles for the United States, its allies and partners, and its adversaries.”
The authors warn of a not-too-distant future where “guided munitions and battle networking technologies have proliferated widely and are employed by both state and non-state actors,” making all military operations more deadly and costly. At the same time, and notwithstanding changes in the strategic environment, the spiraling costs of personnel and crewed combat systems means the U.S. armed forces will likely be smaller in the future than in the immediate past. In response to both of these trends, the authors argue that U.S. planners will increasingly turn to unmanned and robotic systems for answers, and these systems will be increasingly capable and autonomous in action.