• Events,  Unmanned Warfare

    Event: Online Symposium on P.W. Singer’s Wired For War

    Over at CTLab next week, I’ll be in an online discussion built around about Peter W. Singer’s outstanding book, Wired for War. Read the CTLab announcement: CTlab’s second symposium in its 2009 series starts next week, on Monday, 30 March, and will run for four days, until 2 April (or until participants run out of steam, which might take longer). The subject: Peter Singer’s new book, Wired For War: The Robotics Revolution and  Conflict in the 21st Century (Penguin Press: 2009). This is going to be an exciting booklab, on a work that’s been getting broad exposure, in an out of the blogosphere. Peter Singer, a Brookings Institution Senior Fellow…

  • Unmanned Warfare

    Doolittle’s spies: Pigeons, Squirrels… time again for Project ACORN

    In July 2007 it was spying squirrels from Israel. Now, it’s pigeon spies: Iranian security forces have apprehended a pair of "spy pigeons," not far from one of the country’s nuclear processing plants. If local media reports are to be believed, that is. One of the pigeons was caught near a rose water production plant in the city of Kashan, down the road from the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.  It had "a wired rod" and "invisible threads… fixed to its body," an unnamed source tells the Etemad Melli newspaper. A second, black pigeon was nabbed earlier in the month. … Time once again for Project ACORN, the Autonomous Coordinated Organic…

  • Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Unmanned Warfare

    The Strategic Communication of Unmanned Warfare

    Modern conflict is increasingly a struggle for strategic influence above territory.  This struggle is, at its essence, a battle over perceptions and narratives within a psychological terrain under the influence of local and global pressures.  One of the unspoken lessons embedded in the Counterinsurgency Manual (FM3-24) is that we risk strategic success relying on a lawyerly conduct of war that rests on finely tuned arguments of why and why not.  When too much defense and too much offense can be detrimental, we must consider the impact of our actions, the information effects.  The propaganda of the deed must match the propaganda of the word. As Giulio Douhet wrote in 1928,…

  • In the News,  Psychological Struggle,  Unmanned Warfare

    Article: Combat Robots and Perception Management

    Robots will figure prominently in the future of warfare, whether we like it or not. They will provide perimeter security, logistics, surveillance, explosive ordinance disposal, and more because they fit strategic, operational, and tactical requirements for both the irregular and “traditional” warfare of the future. While American policymakers have finally realized that the so-called “war on terror” is a war of ideas and a war of information, virtually all reports on unmanned systems ignore the substantial impact that “warbots” will have on strategic communications, from public diplomacy to psychological operations. It is imperative that the U.S. military and civilian leadership discuss, anticipate, and plan for each robot to be a…

  • Unmanned Warfare

    The Future of Warfare?

    True, robots possess the ultimate in courage, but in the Information Age, when perception management is key, what do robots represent and convey? How do they fit into counterinsurgency and reconstruction? How does the availability of robots affect policy makers’ choices? Update: video may be downloaded here.