Sunday, May 13, 2018

Use of Robotics in Military Operations Making Armed Conflicts More Likely, Russian Defense Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 13 – National leaders often have been constrained against going to war because of the unwillingness of their populations to take losses; but now, given the increasing numbers of robot-operated weapons systems, that constraint will be reduced – and leaders thus may be more likely to engage in armed conflicts, according to Russian defense experts.

            That is the conclusion Profile observer Vladislav Grinkevich draws on the basis of his investigation of Russian programs to promote the use of robotics of various kinds in the military and of his interviews with leading Russian defense specialists (

            Many countries, he observes, have made the development of robotics a key part of their national defense strategies in the last decade, with the United States leading in many aspects of this trend including the use of unmanned drones.  But Vladimir Putin to judge from the centrality of robotic weapons at the Victory Day parade has made robotics central to his defense thinking.

            “The robotization of the army is considered one of the priority trends,” the Profile observer says. “The defense ministry has developed a special program on ‘The Establishment of Military Robotics Up to 2025” and the general staff has come up with a concept paper about the use of robotics in military operations up through 2030.

            Some 30 countries now have robots of one kind or another in their forces, and a decade from now “the robotization of the leading armies of the world” will have been put in place.  Some Russian analysts, Grinkevich says, believe that this new technology will “lead to a revision of military doctrines and the rules of conducting war and destroy the geopolitical arrangements of recent decades.”

            But others are more restrained in their predictions about the impact of this technology, especially since in the Russian case most of it is still in the planning and development phase.  But there seems to be a recognition, Grinkevich writes, that this new technology will at least in some cases reduce casualties – and that will make it easier for national leaders to go to war.

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