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February 6-7, 2014
Mahan Conference Center
U.S. Naval War College

Participation in this event is by invitation only♦♦
The workshop will be unclassified.

Thirty handpicked international law and technical experts will convene in Newport, Rhode Island, to discuss whether and how autonomous systems might comport with the Law of Armed Conflict.  The goal of the workshop is to explore the legal matters in depth, elicit different perspectives on the issues, and generate new ideas about how best to deal with this developing technology.  As technology rapidly advances, unmanned systems are becoming more capable of making decisions without immediate, direct human involvement.  Despite Department of Defense Directive 3000.09's requirement that U.S. systems allow for commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment in the use of force, there may be a time in the not too distant future when unmanned systems are able to engage an enemy without requiring a human in the loop.  The potential use of autonomous weapons systems on the battlefield raises significant legal issues.    

The objective of this workshop is to further research on this important international law topic.  The International Law Department (ILD) will publish a professional resource volume and scholarly articles on various specialized areas of the topic.  The products produced will inform U.S. government agencies and help shape key international decisions.

For more information about this and other cutting edge legal research projects from the U.S. Naval War College’s International Law Department, please go to or contact 
LtCol Tim Kelly at or (401) 841-6567