Drones, automated weapons, and private military contractors : challenges to domestic and international legal regimes governing armed conflict
Laura A. Dickinson
New technologies for human rights law and practice
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2018
This chapter charts the rapid and intertwined growth of unmanned and increasingly autonomous weapons, on the one hand, and private military and security contractors, on the other. And it grapples with the particular challenges this combination of forces creates under both domestic and international law. The first part describes the increased use of drones and more fully autonomous weapons as well as the growing role of contractors in developing and operating these systems. The next part discusses the destabilizing impact that this trend is having on one of the foundations of the US constitutional framework itself: the allocation of power between the president and Congress in deciding whether or not to use force overseas. The final part charts the similarly disruptive impact these trends have had on accountability and oversight under IHL. Together, the use of autonomous weapons and privatization have fragmented decision-making over the use of force, rendering accountability for violations of IHL principles much more difficult to achieve.