I just received a very interesting email from Major John Harwood, USAF, whom I met recently at the MILOPS Conference in Singapore, in response to my post this morning about the coming Drone Smackdown:
I love the Drone Smackdown, and even better, you’ve established your own LOAC.
“No drone can be attacked while it is on the ground either following a crash or during its battery-change-break.” In other words, when a drone is hors de combat, no deliberate targeting.
There’s gotta be a law review article in here somewhere—do we as humans have an innate need to create laws to govern conflicts? Even the UFC (a mixed martial arts association) had to do away with its no-holds-barred approach. Is there any form of combat, or even mock combat, that does so without rules?
Good luck at the Smackdown. I bet $200 on your entry.
In a subsequent email, Major Harwood poses the following question: “once we have fully automated robots involved in conflict, will we also extend hors de combat protections to them?”