Armed Conflict Cybersecurity & Tech

Defense Department Updates Autonomous Weapons Systems Directive

John A. Emmons
Friday, January 27, 2023, 3:31 PM

On Jan. 25, the DoD updated its directive on “Autonomy in Weapons Systems,” the guiding document for U.S. development, implementation, and supervision of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons systems.

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Effective Jan. 25, The U.S. Department of Defense has reissued Directive 3000.09, “Autonomy in Weapons Systems,” which establishes new policy and guidelines for its development and use of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons systems. The directive also establishes the Autonomous Weapons Systems Working Group.

The directive reissue lends new priorities for Defense Department implementation, supervision, and development of autonomous weapons systems, including “deliberate steps to minimize unintended bias in AI capabilities” within its operations. While review of autonomous weapons systems now falls under the purview of the new working group, criteria for the approval of weapons systems has not been changed.

You can read the directive here or below:

John A. Emmons is an intern at Lawfare and Chinese and political science undergraduate at St. Olaf College, where he is managing editor of the Olaf Messenger.

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