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Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Centuryby P W Singer
Synopses & Reviews
A military expert reveals how science fiction is fast becoming reality on the battlefield, changing not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself
P. W. Singeras previous two books foretold the rise of private military contractors and the advent of child soldiersa predictions that proved all too accurate. Now, he explores the greatest revolution in military affairs since the atom bombathe advent of robotic warfare.
We are just beginning to see a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make the stuff of I, Robot and the Terminator all too real. More than seven- thousand robotic systems are now in Iraq. Pilots in Nevada are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan. Scientists are debating just how smartaand how lethalato make their current robotic prototypes. And many of the most renowned science fiction authors are secretly consulting for the Pentagon on the next generation.
Blending historic evidence with interviews from the field, Singer vividly shows that as these technologies multiply, they will have profound effects on the front lines as well as on the politics back home. Moving humans off the battlefield makes wars easier to start, but more complex to fight. Replacing men with machines may save some lives, but will lower the morale and psychological barriers to killing. The awarrior ethos, a which has long defined soldiersa identity, will erode, as will the laws of war that have governed military conflict for generations.
Paradoxically, these new technologies will also bring war to our doorstep. As other nations and even terrorist organizations start to build or buy their own robotic weapons, the robot revolution could undermine Americaas military preeminence. While his analysis is unnerving, thereas an irresistible gee-whiz quality to the innovations Singer uncovers. Wired for War travels from Iraq to see these robots in combat to the latter-day askunk worksa in Americaas suburbia, where tomorrowas technologies of war are quietly being designed. In Singeras hands, the future of war is as fascinating as it is frightening.
The first-ever inside look at the US militaryand#8217;s secretive Remotely Piloted Aircraft programand#151;equal parts techno-thriller, historical account, and war memoir
Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), commonly referred to by the media as drones, are a mysterious and headline-making tool in the militaryand#8217;s counterterrorism arsenal. Their story has been pieced together by technology reporters, major newspapers, and on-the-ground accounts from the Middle East, but it has never been fully told by an insider.
In Hunter Killer, Air Force Lt. Col. T. Mark McCurley provides an unprecedented look at the aviators and aircraft that forever changed modern warfare. This is the first account by an RPA pilot, told from his unique-in-history vantage point supporting and executing Tier One counterterrorism missions. Only a handful of people know what itand#8217;s like to hunt terrorists from the sky, watching through the electronic eye of aircraft that can stay aloft for a day at a time, waiting to deploy their cutting-edge technology to neutralize threats to Americaand#8217;s national security.
Hunter Killer is the counterpoint to the stories from the battlefront told in books like No Easy Day and American Sniper: While special operators such as SEALs and Delta Force have received a lot of attention in recent years, no book has ever told the story of the unmanned air war. Until now.
During the past decade, drones have become central to American military strategy. When coupled with access to accurate information, drones make it possible to deploy lethal force across borders while keeping oneand#8217;s own soldiers out of harmand#8217;s way. The potential to direct force with great precision also offers the possibility of reducing harm to civilians. At the same time, because drones eliminate some of the traditional constraints on the use of forceand#151;like the need to gain political support for full mobilizationand#151;they lower the threshold for launching military strikes. The development of drone use capacity across dozens of countries increases the need for global standards on the use of these weapons to assure their deployment is strategically wise and ethically and legally sound.
Presenting a robust conversation among leading scholars in the areas of international legal standards, counterterrorism strategy, humanitarian law, and the ethics of force, Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict takes account of current American drone campaigns and the developing legal, ethical, and strategic implications of this new way of warfare. Among the contributions to this volume are a thorough examination of the American governmentand#8217;s legal justifications for the targeting of enemies using drones, an analysis of American drone campaignsand#8217; notable successes and failures, and a discussion of the linked issues of human rights, freedom of information, and government accountability.
About the Author
P.W. Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, has worked in the Pentagon and consulted for the departments of Defense and State, the CIA, and Congress. He is the author of two previous books, Corporate Warriors and Children at War.
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