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.

  • Michael Horowitz

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

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

  • 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 author of the forthcoming book, A...

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