From Strategy to Orders: Preparing and Conducting Military Operations with Artificial Intelligence

Military Operations and Artificial Intelligence

From Strategy to Orders: Preparing and Conducting Military Operations with Artificial Intelligence

By Tobias Vestner, Director of Research and Policy Advice Department & Head of Security and Law, 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

Dr Tobias Vestner is the Director of the Research and Policy Advice Department and the Head of the Security and Law Programme at the GCSP. He is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, a Fellow at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. He serves as reserve Legal Advisor at the Swiss Armed Forces Staff.

Disclaimer:  This paper will be forthcoming in Robin Geiß and Henning Lahmann (eds), Research Handbook on Warfare and Artificial Intelligence (Edward Elgar Publishing). The views, information and opinions expressed in this publication are the author’s/authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those of the GCSP or the members of its Foundation Council. The GCSP is not responsible for the accuracy of the information