Military Operations and Artificial Intelligence

Military Operations and Artificial Intelligence

Military Operations and Artificial Intelligence

By Tobias Vestner, Head of Security and Law at the GCSP


Artificial intelligence (AI) systems will most likely transform military operations. This paper explores how AI systems may affect and be affected by principal instruments for preparing and conducting military operations. Therefore, the paper analyses and discusses AI in the context of strategy, doctrine, plans, rules of engagement, and orders to situate opportunities, challenges, and open questions as well as offer overarching observations. The paper takes a broad angle of analysis that enables a general examination of the issue based on new policies and technological developments as well as the consideration of political, military, legal, and ethical perspectives. Thereby, the paper provides insights and avenues to advance further reflection, research, and policy-making on the appropriate integration, management, and use of AI for military operations.



  • Introduction
  • Strategy and AI
  • Doctrine and AI
  • Plans and AI
  • Rules of Engagement and AI
  • Orders and AI
  • Conclusion


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Tobias Vestner leads the Security and Law Programme. He teaches, researches, and organizes dialogue on the intersection between security policy and international law.

He heads the annual ‘Symposium for Senior NATO/PfP Legal Advisors’. Tobias Vestner also leads and teaches in the executive education courses ‘Air and Missile Warfare: Navigating the Legal Dimension (Advanced AMPLE)’, ‘Legal Dimensions of Contemporary and Future Use of Force’, ‘Weapons Law and the Legal Review of Weapons’, as well as ‘Negotiations Theory and Practice’, among others. He is also responsible for the event series ‘Security and Law: A Reality Check’, a public dialogue that explores how international law matters in security affairs. Tobias Vestner regularly advises governments, international organizations, and private firms on global security and legal issues.