Advancing Weapons Technology and the Future of Warfare: Strategic, Legal and Ethical Perspectives
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
As the role of technology within warfare continues to increase, it is important to investigate whether or not the consequences of these weapons are being adequately considered. The use of new weapons technologies, such as Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles and Precision Guided Munitions, have been both praised and condemned within the war in Afghanistan. Although praised as saving civilian lives due to the precision capabilities of the weaponry there are consistent civilian deaths attributed to these weapons systems. This study examines debates regarding new weapons technologies that have been utilised during the war in Afghanistan. Current literature regarding emerging weapons technology is examined in order to identify key debates. The literature was recognised as falling predominantly within three perspectives - strategy, law and ethics. By identifying the key debates within each perspective it is possible to identify where these debates overlap or diverge. This research concludes that the introduction of counterinsurgency strategy to modern warfare has led to an increasing concern with the ethical and legal dimensions of the debate surrounding new weapons technology.