Macquarie University
01Front_matter.pdf (227.7 kB)

Military robots: mapping the moral landscape

Download (227.7 kB)
posted on 2022-03-28, 12:00 authored by Jai Galliott
Military robots known as 'unmanned systems' now form a critical part of military force structures around the globe and have become the weapon of choice for the United States military. Their use and effect is now the subject of a wide-ranging international conversation. Drawing predominately on a contractual account of just war theory, this book examines the ethics and politics of unmanned warfare. It starts by examining the historical context of unmanned systems use and their increasingly autonomous nature and design. It then explores the practical and moral justifications thereof, which are underpinned by a military-state contract that governs the relationship between citizen, state and military force. Following this is a defence of the principles that inform the analysis of the many problems associated with drone usage, from technical limitations and psychological effects, through to matters of fairness and responsibility. In each case, as the West turns toward robotics in order to enhance its defensive measures, we see the systematic transfer of risk between combatants and, more concerningly, to noncombatants. Military Robots: Mapping the Moral Landscape postulates that focusing attention on the human element in these risk transfers and understanding that robotic systems may need to play a much more limited combat role than often thought, will be critical to ensuring that our moral and strategic objectives are honoured as we progress into the twenty-first century and a technology saturated battlespace -- abstract.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. The rise of unmanned systems -- 3. Justifications for the employment of unmanned systems -- 4. Just unmanned warfare: old rules for new wars? -- 5. Unmanned warfare: technological and operational dimensions -- 6. Unmanned warfare: the moral costs of changing mindsets -- 7. The asymmetry objection -- 8. Unmanned systems and war's end: prospects for lasting peace -- 9. The responsibility gap -- 10. Conclusion.


Thesis by publication. Bibliography: pages 221-246

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mianna Lotz

Additional Supervisor 1

Aleksandar Pavkovic


Copyright Jai Galliott 2014. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (viii, 246 pages)

Former Identifiers