Ethical RPAs

Though remotely piloted aircraft are sometimes denigrated as unethical, they allow the US to project power without projecting vulnerability and actually allow for more ethical oversight than any other means of force application, retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute, said Thursday at AWS16. Lani Kass, senior vice president and corporate strategic advisor at CACI International, noted that airpower, submarines, and the machine gun were all considered unethical when first introduced. “Right now, we have a fleeting advantage,” she said. “If we tie our hands and don’t exploit” the possibilities of RPAs “because of false and misguided notions of fair and ethical, our enemies are not thinking along those lines.” Deptula said the enemy has used propaganda and information operations to “aim at our psyche” when it comes to RPAs. “They understand that peace-loving nations around the world abhor warfare and killing of innocents,” he said. “Since they can’t stop us themselves with direct physical means, they’re figuring out ways to get us to impose limitations on what’s very effectively being used against them.”