The Sputnik moment re-examined

Jessica West Analysis and Commentary, Featured, News, Ploughshares Monitor, Space Security

A U.S. military official recently described a missile test conducted by China in August as “very close to a Sputnik moment.” It seems that the test involved the launch of a re-entry vehicle capable of entering orbit and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere with its payload intact; this primary vehicle also carried a hypersonic glide vehicle that was released following re-entry.

Q&A: Harnessing the power of story

Wendy Stocker Analysis and Commentary, Featured, News, Ploughshares Monitor

Virtually every piece of text that appears on the Ploughshares website, in mailings to potential and continuing supporters, and in hard-copy publications, passes through Tasneem’s hands. She lays out text; adds illustrations that add punch to words; and turns raw data into arresting diagrams, tables, and maps. Her work is critical to getting our message out clearly to an audience that ranges from legislators to civil society to subject experts and “regular” citizens. We believe that she is someone that our supporters need to know better.

Government support for the arms industry

Kelsey Gallagher Analysis and Commentary, Conventional Weapons, Featured, News, Ploughshares Monitor

For more than half a century, Canadian arms manufacturers have been selling weapons to foreign states. Much of this economic activity is the direct result of government assistance. From brokering contracts to staffing international arms fairs, the Canadian government goes to bat for Canadian weapons manufacturers.

Unacceptable risk and autonomous weapons

Branka Marijan Analysis and Commentary, Emerging Technologies, Featured, News, Ploughshares Monitor

At first glance, it might appear that seven years of international discussions on autonomous weapons have had few concrete results. At the time of writing, the third session of the 2021 United Nations (UN) Group of Governmental Experts on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) was scheduled to take place in early December in Geneva, Switzerland. The most that is expected from these meetings is a proposal to continue talking.

A time to act

Cesar Jaramillo Analysis and Commentary, Featured, News, Ploughshares Monitor

If you are feeling anxious about the state of global affairs, you are not alone. At Project Ploughshares, we are keenly aware of the multiple, overlapping crises facing the world today. So are millions around the world, increasingly concerned about the complexity of the formidable challenges before us – and about our collective ability as an international community to craft credible and effective responses.

Crafting Canada’s Techno-Diplomatic Strategy

Branka Marijan Analysis and Commentary, Emerging Technologies, Featured

Canada is in dire need of a solid diplomatic strategy that responds to the growing nexus between emerging technologies and national security. Newly-appointed foreign minister Mélanie Joly would do well to prioritize the development of robust and forward-looking policies to tackle tech-related security concerns, as is increasingly the case in the foreign ministries of a number of countries—including key Canadian allies as well as would-be adversaries.

International Humanitarian Law and R2P: Online conference

Ploughshares Featured

In December 2001, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty released its ground-breaking report “The Responsibility to Protect” or R2P as it is now commonly known.  Twenty years later, the norm of R2P remains contested. Join us on November 11, 2021 at 12:30pm EST for a free, public event, as we discuss the complex relationship – both in theory and practice – between IHL and R2P.

Outer Space: Cloaked by a fog of peace

Jessica West Analysis and Commentary, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor, Space Security

In his book On War, published in 1873, military analyst Carl von Clausewitz said, “War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty.” Contemporary military theorists and planners still find this idea of the “fog of war” relevant.

Why AI-controlled weapons are a bad idea

Wendy Stocker Analysis and Commentary, Emerging Technologies, Featured

I think I finally REALLY get it. I’ve been reading analysis of autonomous weapons and AI-powered tech by Ploughshares Senior Researcher Branka Marijan for years, but I’ve never completely understood why so many individuals and organizations and even countries are totally against weapons that can target and kill humans without humans as part of the decision-making process.

Exploring how emerging technologies affect war and peace

Ploughshares Analysis and Commentary, Emerging Technologies, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor

When I started with Ploughshares in 2015, I did a scan of our work and saw that new technologies were transforming and amplifying existing security concerns across our programs—outer space security, arms control, the abolition of nuclear weapons, the nature and causes of armed conflict.