Tag: unmanned systems

Essay Campaign #17: Paradigm Shift – Unmanned Systems and General Beaufre

Summer Essay Campaign #17: “Paradigm Shift – Unmanned Systems, General Beaufre, and the Seventh Phase of Land Operations”

To Answer Question 2: “How do unmanned systems impact modern battlefields?”

By Officer-Cadet Artur Varanda, Portuguese Army

1.    Beaufre’s Dilemma

In his important work An Introduction to Strategy (1965), French General André Beaufre describes the purpose of strategy as achieving decisionAccording to Beaufre, “the decision is a psychological event that one wants to produce in the mind of their adversary”, in order to “convince him that starting or continuing the struggle is useless”. Beaufre’s work achieved fame because he admitted that the strategic decision could be achieved not just by military means, but also by economic, political, or diplomatic strategies. As for the military decision, it is the one that “in its purest state results from a victorious battle”.

The capability of achieving military decision has varied throughout history, following what Beaufre calls the operational possibilities of the period, byproduct of the methods and means of warfare of each epoch. He then states that one “rarely attributes a just value to that variability”. In his work the six different phases of land operations are then explored, in order to illustrate the importance of that variability.

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Essay Campaign #4: The Unmanned Wars to Come

Summer Essay Campaign #4: “The Unmanned Wars to Come”

To Answer Question #2: “How do unmanned systems impact modern battlefields?”

By Captain Adam Link, USMC

Unmanned systems, particularly aircraft and smaller ground vehicles, have been in use throughout both Iraq and Afghanistan. Their utility in achieving specific tasks is not in question. However, the full impact of unmanned systems on the modern battlefield has yet to be felt, and the ethical challenges these set before the commander must be addressed in order to fully appreciate their use. Presently, unmanned systems are being used for targeted strikes against enemy combatants, reconnaissance, and assisting explosive ordnance disposal units. This is a narrow range of tasks to which unmanned systems have been employed for use on the battlefield. Even in this small range unmanned systems have had a significant impact on the abilities of commanders to execute their assigned missions. Further, this is an ethically positive step in that unmanned systems have removed from danger a human (pilot in most cases) and are able to accomplish the same task in the same manner or more efficiently[i].

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