Striking power: How cyber, robots, and space weapons change the rules for war - AEI

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Event Summary

On September 12 at AEI, AEI’s John Yoo and George Mason University’s Jeremy Rabkin discussed their new book, “Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War” (Encounter Books, September 2017).

Mr. Yoo explained that new technologies allow militaries to conduct armed conflict with less expense, more precision, and minimal loss of human life. He noted several ways in which advances in robotics, internet capabilities, and space-based communications have improved warfare, including selectively targeting terrorists while minimizing the size of ground forces needed.

Dr. Rabkin cautioned against overregulation, arguing that such actions would hinder the United States’ ability to defend itself against adversaries that already employ these technologies. Richard B. Andres of the National War College agreed that advanced technologies play a large role in the changing landscape of military operations and stressed that regulation should be on a case-by-case basis.

Citing the international norms that govern developing weaponry, James Andrew Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies added that no additional laws are necessary and that we should instead examine how cyberwarfare applies to the existing legal framework. He argued that the old definition of warfare has changed and that “Striking Power” presents a necessary and comprehensive look at the future of armed conflict.

—Lindsey Weiss

Event Description

Advances in autonomous robotics, cyber weapons, and space-based communications enable militaries to combat the most serious threats to international peace and security with more precision — putting fewer soldiers in harm’s way to advance US national security goals.

Nevertheless, the rapid development of these new technologies puts militaries and civilian leaders in uncharted territory. By minimizing collateral destruction, will new weaponry tempt states to use military power too readily and undermine the accepted laws and norms of war? Will harnessing the potential of cyber, robotic, and space weapons change the relationship between war and morality?

AEI invites you to the launch of Jeremy Rabkin and John Yoo’s new book, “Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War” (Encounter Books, 2017), to discuss how new military technologies will shape the future of warfare.

 Join the conversation on social media with #StrikingPower.


5:15 PM

5:30 PM

Richard B. Andres, National War College
James Andrew Lewis, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Jeremy Rabkin, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; coauthor, “Striking Power”

John Yoo, AEI; coauthor, “Striking Power”

6:30 PM
Book signing and wine and cheese reception

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Lindsey Weiss at [email protected], 202.828.6038.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Richard Andres is a professor at the National War College, where he teaches courses on national security strategy with particular emphasis on cyber conflict. Dr. Andres has served as a senior adviser on cyber strategy for numerous senior leaders including several Air Force secretaries and chiefs of staff. He recently returned to National Defense University from a six-month detail advising the commander of Cyber Command at Fort Meade. He has published a great deal on cyber strategy, and his work is taught in political science and military studies programs around the world.

James Andrew Lewis is a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Before joining CSIS, he worked at the Department of State and Department of Commerce as a Foreign Service officer and as a member of the Senior Executive Service. His government experience includes a broad range of political-military, negotiating, and intelligence-related assignments. He was an adviser to the US Southern Command for Operation Just Cause, the US Central Command for Operation Desert Shield, and the US Central American Task Force. He led the US delegation to the Wassenaar Arrangement Experts Group on advanced civilian and military technologies. He worked on presidential policies for arms transfers, remote sensing satellites, encryption, lawful access to communications, and internet security. He was the rapporteur for the UN’s Group of Government Experts on Information Security for the successful 2010, 2013, and 2015 sessions and leads a long-running Track II discussion with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. He has authored numerous publications since coming to CSIS. His current research examines the effect of digital technology on warfare and how the internet has changed politics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Jeremy Rabkin is a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. He serves on the board of directors of the US Institute of Peace and was on the National Advisory Board of AEI’s Global Internet Strategy project in 2015–16. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

John Yoo has been a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law since 1993 and a visiting scholar at AEI since 2003. He served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the US Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003, where he worked on constitutional and national security matters. He also served as general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Laurence Silberman. He is the author of “Point of Attack: Preventative War, International Law, and Global Warfare” (Oxford University Press, 2014), “Taming Globalization: International Law, the U.S. Constitution, and the New World Order” (Oxford University Press, 2012), “Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush” (Kaplan Publishing, 2010), “War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account of the War on Terror” (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006), and “The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11” (University of Chicago Press, 2005).


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