Challenges and Opportunities of Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS) For Indigenous Defense Industries (IDI)

Article

Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS) enable operating almost independent from human intervention by providing continuous monitoring, data collection, and processing great mount of data in a short-time period. In that respect, AWS have been desired for Indigenous Defense Industry Countries (IDIC) such as India, Israel, and Turkey. Key Words: Autonomous Weapons, Indigenization, Defense Industries, Regional Security, Military ...

Doç. Dr. Giray SADIK
Halide Nur CAFOĞLU YAŞAR
ABSTRACT

Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS) enable operating almost independent from human intervention by providing continuous monitoring, data collection, and processing great mount of data in a short-time period. In that respect, AWS have been desired for Indigenous Defense Industry Countries (IDIC) such as India, Israel, and Turkey. However, different from military hardware supplies, these systems require massive amount of research and development and maintenance. As a result, there are emerging challenges that AWS present for the new comers such as these countries must have to invest in software and infrastructure at least the amount they have done for traditional weapons. Preliminary findings suggest that AWS will change the perception of massive-size army, so that considerable physical military capacity will not make sense as in traditional quantitative terms, while out-fashioned technologies need to be converted, and this will add to the amount of military spending. Therefore, it would be fair to claim that the sooner IDIC face those challenges, and fosters technological adaptations, the faster they would be able to attain their indigenous military self-sufficiency. Evidently, this growing self-reliance is likely to have an impact on global and regional security solutions.

Key Words: Autonomous Weapons, Indigenization, Defense Industries, Regional Security, Military


INTRODUCTION

Decreasing trend in the global military expenditure after the end of the Cold War has been performing a rapid increase since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. For the emerging defense industries, integration into global production chains is now a viable option. Dynamics of globalization have been forcing governments to embrace an integrative export-oriented defense industry strategy. Due to the growing number of emerging states being engaged in investing indigenous defense industries from the end of the Cold War, the number of interstate cooperation has been on rise.

Policies and mutual relations of the great powers’, and to say major arms suppliers, have changed by putting priority on combatting terrorism. This immediate shift in the global security structure urged emerging states Israel, India and Turkey to foster their efforts towards self-sufficient defense industries. Threat perception from the hostile neighbors and unreliable arms suppliers, as well as similar political, strategic and economic motives have made these states to restructure and transform their defense industry policies and seek opportunities to cooperate. Their similarities of not being a party to the major international agreements and being located close to states with hegemonic aspirations have made Israel and India more eager and “free“, on certain degree, to achieve indigenous defense industries. Turkey, on the other side, has heavily invested in its own indigenous defense industry as well. However, being under the NATO Defense umbrella limits its ability to engage in alternative security and defense industry cooperation. As it cannot be generalized, differentdomestic motivations shape the defense industrialization policies of the new comers. Military expenditures, arms supply, joint production initiatives, Research and Development facilities, volumes of arms trade and training and exercising opportunities are main important parameters to analyze and evaluate the trends.

This trend first initiated by the defense companies within the major arms producing states. When they had started to expand the national borders, due to the increasing cost of R&D, limited technological sources and raw materials, they have integrated their defense production capabilities beyond their borders (Kurç & Neuman, 2017). It has followed by partnership, co-production, joint production and sub-contracting activities carried by multinational defense corporations. From that point, the niche, ad hoc inter-governmental arms cooperation has started (Bitzinger R. A., 1994). With a shift from inter-industry agreements to inter-governmental agreement, the transfer of technology, know-how and industrial technical data have been subject to cooperation (Bitzinger R. A., 1994; Roff, 2014; Cummings, 2017; Rickli, 2017; Müller, 2016; Reddy, 2016). From then on, not only the traditional ones, but an increased number of arms suppliers has had an opportunity to access into a larger defense market. Thus, emerging states can act less dependent, they can eliminate supplier control over their weapon systems and technology, therefore they would minimize supplier ability to shape one’s foreign policy via embargos and restrictions. It has been acting like a free market. Moreover, since brand new technologies reveal and unpredictable threats break out, techniques and motivations for arms production changes as well. The change in the style and diversity of the weapons produced compared from early cold war period to nowadays is visible and understandable. (Boulanin & Verbruggen, 2017) Autonomous Weapons System is such a one.

While traditional military relies on human operated weapon systems, Autonomous Weapon Systems(AWS) enable operating almost independent from human intervention. They provide continuous monitoring, data collection and processing great amount of data in a short time period. In that respect, AWS have been an object of desire for Indigenous Defense Industry Countries (IDIC) as well. However, different from military hardware supplies, these systemsrequire massive amount of research and development and maintenance software. So, indigenous defense industries are now required to cope with new dimensions of cybersecurity issues. Preliminary findings suggest that AWS will change the perception of massive-size army, so that considerable physi cal military capacity will not make sense as in traditional quantitative terms, while out-fashioned technologies need to be converted, and this will add to the amount of military spending. Once possessed an AWS, dealing with inherent weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the software codes require investment in information security with a great amount of funding. Therefore, it would be fair to claim that the sooner IDIC face those challenges, and fosters technological adaptations, the faster they would be able to attain their indigenous military self-sufficiency. Evidently, this growing self-reliance is likely to have an impact on global and regional security solutions. This research aims to shed light on different behaviors of similarly motivated states and tries to explain challenges and opportunities of AWS for IDIC.

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