We need to restart talks on regulating autonomous weapons—now

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

To no one’s surprise, United Nations discussions on the regulation of autonomous weapons have stalled. Last year, the global pandemic caused delays, with only one week of discussions—partly in Geneva, Switzerland and partly virtual—taking place from September 21-25. November’s annual meeting of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), at which the 2021 schedule for discussions on autonomous weapons would have been set, was cancelled.

5 Misconceptions about Autonomous Weapons Systems

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, Reports

During several years of discussions on autonomous weapons at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), several arguments against their regulation have surfaced. Some seem intentionally misleading, while others are out of touch with the rapid development of emerging technologies and the current trends in academic research and analysis.

Armed drones on the Canadian military horizon

Branka Marijan Featured, Ploughshares Monitor

The Canadian government appears to be moving closer to acquiring armed drones. According to Justin Ling of Vice News, Canadian government officials recently briefed industry partners on systems requirements, with long-range surveillance and the ability to engage targets remotely seen as key to protecting Canadian territory and participating in foreign missions. But questions about the policies guiding the use of drones by the Canadian military remain unanswered and deserve more attention from civil society and the Canadian public.

SPECIAL REPORT – Killer optics: Exports of WESCAM sensors to Turkey

Kelsey Gallagher Conventional Weapons, Featured, Reports

Since 2017, Turkey has been a major customer for WESCAM products, second only to the United States. During this time, the Turkish military has not only been active in trying to put down an insurgency in southeast Turkey, but has become increasingly involved in armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.

The use of drones by nonstate actors

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor

In January of this year, armed drones owned by Houthis, a Yemeni rebel group, killed several Yemeni government officials. This was the first time, as far as we know, that a nonstate group had successfully deployed a drone to carry out a precision-targeted operation. In September, the Houthis, with alleged support from Iran, were suspected in the attack on the world’s largest oil-processing facility in Saudi Arabia.

Putting controls on remote warfare to protect civilians

Branka Marijan Emerging Technologies, Featured, Ploughshares Monitor

Earlier this year, Amnesty International (AI) released a report, The Hidden US War in Somalia: Civilian Casualties from Air Strikes in Lower Shabelle. According to this report, which explored five incidents, at least 14 civilians had been killed by airstrikes from both manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones).