Jeffrey L. Caton, Autonomous Weapons Systems: A Brief Survey of Developmental, Operational, Legal, and Ethical Issues (Strategic Studies Inst., U.S. Army War College) (Dec. 2015) (full-text).
In this paper, the author posits that the development of autonomous weapons system (AWS) policy and doctrine should characterize autonomy not as a discrete property of a given system, but rather as a function that varies in its strategic, operational, and tactical context and mission application. Further, he argues that AWS design, planning, and operations should be tempered with the purposeful consideration of human judgment and control as well as legal and ethical standards that foster international credibility.
Through its current military operations, the United States is setting both overt and tacit precedents for the world with regard to the appropriate use of AWS. This Paper provides readers with background information crucial to the full understanding of the complex challenges facing the future development and operation of AWS across the full range of military operations.