The U.S. Department of Defense has had a directive in place for three years that outlines the chain of command that would approve their deployment on a case-by-case basis. It’s called Directive 3000.09. And, on April 15, the third day of the panel meeting, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, citing the breakthrough autonomous identification of a test target by unmanned ground and air vehicles working in tandem, announced the creation of a new office for unmanned warfare systems as well as a new deputy assistant secretary of the Navy to lead it.
Advancements in artificial intelligence will gradually push the devices toward full autonomy. According to Stuart Russell, who addressed the panel, core artificial intelligence abilities like sensory perception and tactical planning are, or soon will be, in place. As for more advanced AI, he pointed out that some researchers see full autonomy as currently feasible while others estimate its arrival in 20 to 30 years. “Humans will be largely defenseless against such systems,” he told the panel.