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Robo-Ethics Continuing Education Series 2012

CRUSER Sponsored Robo-Ethics Continuing Education Series

Where & When

  • Date: 25-26 Jan 2012
  • Time: 1100-1300, 1330-1530 (EST)
  • Location: Pentagon Conference Center - Room B6 (DoD Only)




Robo-Ethics: Rhetoric vs Reality - A Symposium for the warfighter

4 panel discussions on ethics and unmanned systems


Panel One - Robot Rhetoric: Revolution or Evolution?Dr. Brad Bishop
Dr. Mark R. Hagerott
Dean Robert Rubel
Wed, 25 Jan 2012

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Panel One - Robot Rhetoric: Revolution or Evolution?

Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 1100 - 1300

The first panel will consider aspects of defense robotic technologies that are a part of all weapons development, and aspects that may be unique. It will examine whether, when, and where robotic technologies are augmenting human capabilities and where they may represent a substitute - even a better substitute, according to some - and what this may mean. Panelists will discuss where caution is warranted as well as where potential opportunities should be seized upon and exploited.

Professor Brad Bishop, PhD - Professor and Technical Director on the faculty of Weapons and Systems Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy. Professor Bishop introduced the first honors program in engineering at the Naval Academy, where he conducts research on unmanned surface vessels and robot cooperation through swarming. 

Professor Mark R. Hagerott, PhD, Captain, USN, is Professor of History and Technology and Military/Naval History at the U.S. Naval Academy and Senior Director of the Forum on Emerging and Irregular Warfare Studies. CAPT Hagerott is a Surface Warfare Officer and Nuclear Engineer.

Dean Robert "Barney" Rubel, Captain, USN (Ret) is Dean of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies at the Naval War College and prior chairman of the War Gaming Department. A 30-year Navy veteran, Dean Rubel qualified as a Naval Aviator, flying the A-7 "Corsair II" and F/A-18 "Hornet" during his active duty career.

Panel Two - Rules of War: The Law of
Armed Conflict
Dr. Richard O'Meara
Professor Raul Pedrozo
LCDR William Kuebler
Wed, 25 Jan 2012
1330 - 1530

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Panel Two - Rules of War: The Law of Armed Conflict

Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 1330 - 1530

The second panel will review the law of armed conflict and those aspects of applicable treaties, international and U.S. law, and Department of Defense instructions guiding development and utilization of robotic technologies. Panelists will discuss how these guidelines may inform policy development, e.g. design and performance requirements, and boundaries and metrics governing operational utilization.

Richard “Rick” O’Meara, JD, PhD, Brigadier General, U.S. Army Reserve (Ret) is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War (1967-1970), and a soldier's lawyer. His decorations include the Silver Star, 3 Bronze Stars and 2 Purple Hearts. In 1972, he joined the JAGC, retiring after 35 years from the U.S. Army in 2002. Since retiring he has been a research fellow at the VADM Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy (2009-2010), where he focused on military sociology, governance and international law issues arising out of transformation of institutions as a result of globalization and emerging technologies.

Professor Raul Pedrozo, JD, LLM, Captain, USN (ret) is an Associate Professor at the Naval War College in the International Law Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies. After 33 years of active duty in the Navy JAGC, Professor Pedrozo joined the faculty of the Naval War College, where he is recognized for his expertise and publishing in law of the sea, law of armed conflict, arms control, unmanned systems, counter- proliferation, piracy, counter-narcotics, the Arctic, international peace operations, humanitarian assistance/domestic relief operations and transnational organized crime.

LCDR William Kuebler, JAGC, USN is assigned to the International and Operational Law Division (Code 10) at the Navy Office of the Judge Advocate General. In this position he provides counsel on all law of armed conflict operational matters; assists in development of OPLANS, CONPLANS and Rules of Engagement (ROE); and provides counsel in development of U.S. policy on the law of armed conflict.

Panel Three - Reciprocity: Worth Killing For vs. Worth Dying ForProfessor Wayne P. Hughes
Professor Jack Nicholson
Mr. Mark Dankel
Thur, 26 Jan 2012

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Panel Three - Reciprocity: Worth Killing For vs. Worth Dying For

Thursday, 26 January 2012, 1100 - 1300

The reciprocity of risk in armed conflict is rooted in the ancient tradition of chivalry and knightly combat. But when one side of a conflict employs technology the other cannot, how might this affect the moral and ethical choices of the disadvantaged side? Or, to employ more inflammatory rhetoric, what does it mean politically and culturally when, as Washington Post editorialist George Will has asked, "something worth killing for is not worth dying for"? This topic receives substantial, if not substantive, attention in media and will be the focus of the panel. The question: Might gross disparities between combatant capabilities affect parties' decisions regarding jus in bello and if so, what effect may this have upon policy?

Professor Wayne P. Hughes, Captain, USN (ret) is Professor of Practice in the Department of Operations Research in the Graduate School of Operational and Informational Sciences at the Naval Postgraduate School. Professor Hughes is the author of five books, notably including Fleet Tactics: Theory and Practice (1986), which in its revised edition examined how the introduction of missiles affected strategic planning and tactical operations.

Professor Jack Nicholson, PhD, PE, Captain, USN, is Associate Chairman and Permanent Military Professor in the Department of Weapons and Systems Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy. He is a qualified Submariner, Nuclear Engineer and the founder of the Naval Academy's unmanned underwater vehicle program (UUV).

Mr. Mark P. Dankel in a consultant in the National Security Institute (NSI) at the Naval Postgraduate School. His primary focus is upon recovering, building and maintaining institutional and operational integrity in the defense, maritime and security agencies of transitioning and developing nations. In 2002, he retired as the SES regional special agent-in-charge from the Department of Homeland Security. Over the past ten years he has been sent to 36 nations to conduct assessments and provide recommendations to the senior leadership of host governments on issues related to internal security.

Panel Four - Praise and Blame: Moral Agency and the Ambiguity of Accountability in RoboticsDr. George Lucas
Mr. John Canning
Mr. Paul Scharre
Thur, 26 Jan 2012

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Panel Four - Praise and Blame: Moral Agency and the Ambiguity of Accountability in Robotics

Thursday, 26 January 2012, 1330-1530

When military personnel perform in an exemplary manner, they are normally recognized. By contrast, when they do not perform appropriately, in a timely manner, or with full effort, personal consequences may result. If not always in perfect symmetry, a relationship exists between obligation and performance, responsibility and accountability. When a piece of equipment fails, unless it as the result of negligence, we do not ordinarily hold the user responsible. Radar and satellite surveillance are critical tools but things do break and systems fatigue over time. Lessons are learned; engineers design efficient redundancy and greater resiliency into the next iteration. But radar and satellites, while highly complex, represent a different order of technology than the prospect of semi- and fully- autonomous robots. As autonomy increases, questions of responsibility and accountability become more ambiguous. Regarding utilization of robotic technology, how is accountability best assigned? And how should we think about the relationship between technical capabilities and tactical choices with respect to command and control and responsibilities attached to both?

George Lucas, PhD, is the Class of 1984 Distinguished Chair in Ethics in the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy and Professor of Ethics and Public Policy in the Graduate School of Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School. Author of five books and more than forty journal articles, he is co-editor of the textbook, Ethics and the Military Profession: The Moral Foundations of Leadership, and a companion volume, Case Studies in Military Ethics, both used in core courses devoted to ethical leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and more than 57 other colleges and universities throughout the nation.

John Canning is a combat systems engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (G82). Presently supporting an OSD-level working group recommending policy for the autonomous use of weapons by unmanned systems, Mr. Canning has had a leading role in pursuing the weaponization and safety of unmanned systems at both national and international levels.

Paul Scharre is in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Office of Force Development and Strategy, Plans and Forces. He manages policies on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) programs, including unmanned and autonomous programs. Paul is a former infantryman in the 75th Ranger Regiment who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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