March 16, 2015

Meaningful Human Control in Weapon Systems: A Primer

By Michael Horowitz and Paul Scharre

Dr. Michael Horowitz and Paul Scharre assess statements made by those advocating for meaningful human control and studied the use of weapons today, which have varying degrees of autonomy. The results suggest that meaningful human control has three essential components: Human operators are making informed, conscious decisions about the use of weapons; human operators have sufficient information to ensure the lawfulness of the action they are taking, given what they know about the target, the weapon, and the context for action; and the weapon is designed and tested, and human operators are properly trained, to ensure effective control over the use of the weapon.

Authors

  • Michael Horowitz

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Michael C. Horowitz is a professor of political science and the interim director of Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also an adjunct senior fellow at...

  • Paul Scharre

    Senior Fellow and Director, Technology and National Security Program

    Paul Scharre is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is the award-winning author of Army ...

  • Commentary
    • Texas National Security Review
    • June 2, 2020
    The Militarization of Artificial Intelligence

    Militaries are racing to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) with the aim of gaining military advantage over competitors. And yet, there is little understanding of AI’s long-te...

    By Paul Scharre

  • Commentary
    • Wired
    • May 19, 2020
    Are AI-Powered Killer Robots Inevitable?

    In war, speed kills. The soldier who is a split second quicker on the draw may walk away from a firefight unscathed; the ship that sinks an enemy vessel first may spare i...

    By Paul Scharre

  • Commentary
    • The New York Times
    • February 12, 2020
    The Iranian Missile Strike Did Far More Damage Than Trump Admits

    Over 100 American soldiers have been treated for traumatic brain injuries following Iran’s missile strike on Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq. The strike came in retaliation f...

    By Loren DeJonge Schulman & Paul Scharre

  • 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

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia