Ethical Control of Unmanned Systems: lifesaving/lethal scenarios for naval operations
Brutzman, Donald P.
Blais, Curtis L.
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This research in Ethical Control of Unmanned Systems applies precepts of Network Optional Warfare (NOW) to develop a three-step Mission Execution Ontology (MEO) methodology for validating, simulating, and implementing mission orders for unmanned systems. First, mission orders are represented in ontologies that are understandable by humans and readable by machines. Next, the MEO is validated and tested for logical coherence using Semantic Web standards. The validated MEO is refined for implementation in simulation and visualization. This process is iterated until the MEO is ready for implementation. This methodology is applied to four Naval scenarios in order of increasing challenges that the operational environment and the adversary impose on the Human-Machine Team. The extent of challenge to Ethical Control in the scenarios is used to refine the MEO for the unmanned system. The research also considers Data-Centric Security and blockchain distributed ledger as enabling technologies for Ethical Control. Data-Centric Security is a combination of structured messaging, efficient compression, digital signature, and document encryption, in correct order, for round-trip messaging. Blockchain distributed ledger has potential to further add integrity measures for aggregated message sets, confirming receipt/response/sequencing without undetected message loss. When implemented, these technologies together form the end-to-end data security that ensures mutual trust and command authority in real-world operational environments—despite the potential presence of interfering network conditions, intermittent gaps, or potential opponent intercept. A coherent Ethical Control approach to command and control of unmanned systems is thus feasible. Therefore, this research concludes that maintaining human control of unmanned systems at long ranges of time-duration and distance, in denied, degraded, and deceptive environments, is possible through well-defined mission orders and data security technologies. Finally, as the human role remains essential in Ethical Control of unmanned systems, this research recommends the development of an unmanned system qualification process for Naval operations, as well as additional research prioritized based on urgency and impact.
Prepared for: Raytheon Missiles & Defense under NCRADA-NPS-19-0227
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. As such, it is in the public domain, and under the provisions of Title 17, United States Code, Section 105, it may not be copyrighted.
NPS Report NumberNPS-USW-2020-001
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