Regulating new tools of warfare: Insights from humanitarian disarmament and arms control efforts

Jessica West Emerging Technologies, Featured, Reports, Space Security

As the tools and methods of warfare continue to evolve, it is critical that arms control, disarmament, and normative regimes also advance. Warfighting applications of today’s emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), outer space, and cyber capabilities are becoming more apparent andhold enormous potential for expansion if left unregulated. Such capabilities clearly have the potential to be used in harming civilians, violating international humanitarian law, and creating unpredictable and even unintended escalation of conflict. In this context, compliance with existing arms control measures and humanitarian principles is essential. Yet new arms control frameworks are also needed to mitigate these risks and maintain global commitments to disarmament.

Astronauts and astronomers need better space governance

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

On November 15, 2021, seven astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) were ordered to take shelter because of the possibility of catastrophic collisions as the station passed through a cloud of debris. The astronauts remained in lifeboats while the ISS passed through the cloud multiple times.

Beyond Ukraine: AI and the next US-Russia confrontation

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, News, Research in Action

Two titans from the Cold War era seem set to go another round, this time over the prospect of Ukraine’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which the United States calls a sovereign Ukrainian decision and Russia opposes vehemently. Whatever the outcome of the current standoff, another confrontation between the United States and Russia that merits closer attention is brewing — one that may fundamentally reshape the US-Russia security relationship in the not-so-distant future.

Ukraine crisis an opportunity to rethink the future of transatlantic security

Cesar Jaramillo Analysis and Commentary, Featured

The Ukraine crisis has been characterized by many, including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, as a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. But such an oversimplification serves no one—not the West, not Russia, not those attempting to de-escalate. The present struggle is fundamentally about the nature and implications of the security arrangements that have dominated the globe since the end of the Cold War.

How to keep outer space weapons-free

Jessica West Featured, Ploughshares Monitor, Space Security

The history of arms control in outer space reads like a success story. Outer space is one of the few domains of human activity in which the focus has been on prevention. Although military satellites that provide communications, remote sensing, navigation, and timing services once dominated space and continue to provide essential military services, their operations have long been considered peaceful. Those of us working in space security say that space is “militarized but not weaponized.”

The AI arms race: The Cold War mindset returns

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor

Concerns about an artificial-intelligence (AI) arms race between advanced militaries have been raised by many experts and analysts, including SpaceX founder Elon Musk and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Scientists …

The case for the Petrov rule

Branka Marijan Conventional Weapons, Emerging Technologies, Featured

On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov, a 44-year-old lieutenant-colonel in the Soviet Air Defence Forces, made a critical decision (Chan 2017). Petrov was on duty at Serpukhov-15, a control centre …