Modern warfare is impossible without advanced information-based decision support systems. Such operational environments involve a range of systems that constitute the ‘choice architecture” (Sunstein and Thaler, 2009) and “wideware” (Clark 2008) of military personnel. When linked to precision munitions and delivery systems, these complex information systems create unprecedented capabilities to control the delivery of military force. But dependence on them generates difficult moral and legal challenges which are only beginning to be addressed.
We investigate the use of advanced systems to enhance military personnel in targeting decisions. We examine how moral and legal objectives can best be implemented within the design and development of military command and control systems, and investigate how current and emerging combat systems and targeting technologies are challenging our understanding and interpretation of Just War Theory and the Laws of Armed Conflict.
The proposed research (a) formulates design principles for computer assisted combat systems that are compliant with relevant legal and moral doctrines (b) investigates whether the principles of Just War Theory and ensuing rules of engagement can be reconciled with advanced forms of user enhancement by means of IT and (c) establishes whether the moral doctrines of war should be reformulated given the ubiquity of cognitive enhancement by computer systems.
The project will specifically look at a future generation of Automated, Intelligent Combat and Decision Support Systems for Command and Control that are being developed by The Netherlands Navy, the Netherlands Defence Academy and the CAMS Force Vision team of the Dutch Ministry of Defence.