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Symposium: How are novel military technologies changing modern conflicts?

26 February, 2021 @ 3:00 pm

The rapidly growing use of drones and robots, and data-driven military analysis  will likely have profound impacts on the future of warfare. To better understand the implications of these developments for our armed forces, military interventions, and foreign policy, PAX will host an online symposium with a broad array of experts on Friday, February 26th at 15:00-17:30 CEST.

In recent years, major developments in military technology have allowed for a rapid growth in the use of un-crewed systems for the detection and clearance of explosives, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, as well as the elimination of targets. At the same time, countries like the Netherlands are increasingly resorting to remote warfare. This type of warfare generally involves a combination of airstrikes, military training, the use of militias and special force units, the sharing of intelligence, and the forming of alliances with non-state armed groups.

While this shift from “boots on the ground” to countering threats from a distance may appear to bring military advantages, there is an important need to further explore resulting implications for the protection of civilians and assess its effectiveness for long-term peace and security. Will these developments lower the threshold for the use of force? How do they influence the operations of Dutch military forces and their participation in peacekeeping operations? What are the additional risks faced by Dutch soldiers when other countries or non-state armed groups acquire these technologies? And can we ensure the accuracy of high-speed data streams and risk assessments in the heat of the battle?

These and other questions will be addressed at our online symposium, where military experts, politicians, civil society representatives and academics will engage in a conversation moderated by journalist Bahram Sadegi on the opportunities, risks and costs of these military developments.

The event will also feature a short film by the artist Anastasija Kiake, entitled “Kind of Blue”, on the remoteness of modern warfare.

Speakers will include:

Lieutenant colonel Martijn Hädicke: Commander Robot Autonomous Systems Unit, Royal Netherland Army

Bianca Torossian: Research Fellow, The Hague Centre for Security Studies

Lauren Gould: Assistant Professor Conflict Studies and Director of the Intimacies of Remote Warfare Programme, University of Utrecht

Wim Zwijnenburg: Humanitarian Disarmament Project Leader, PAX, and Coordinator, European Forum on Armed Drones

Salima Belhaj: Member of Parliament, D66

Tom van den Nieuwenhuijzen: Member of Parliament, Groenlinks