Press Release

COMECE reflections on “uncrewed armed systems”

COMECE publishes a contribution to the ongoing discussion on the development and use of increasingly sophisticated armed technologies. This reflection, entitled “Technology at the service of peace”, provides recommendations to the EU and its Member States on how to address the (mis-)use of force through “uncrewed armed systems”.

(Credit: RQ-1 Predator A)

Produced by a COMECE ad-hoc working group led by Prof. Dominique Lambert, the reflection comes at a moment when the EU is launching initiatives to strengthen the operational and industrial cooperation between Member States in response to European citizens‘ legitimate security concerns.

From a perspective of the Catholic Church, the strategic goals of European security and defence policies should be oriented towards lasting human security and sustainable peace.

In this regard, this contribution highlights that “technologies should be at the service of security of persons, families and communities“. Priorities of the respective EU initiatives, including its financial support for the development of innovative military technologies, should be guided and assessed by these people-centred benchmarks.

The reflection outlines some potential security, legal and ethical risks arising from armed systems, such as remote control weapons machines or automated and autonomous weapons.

In order to effectively address these challenges, the COMECE reflection recommends, in particular, that policies related to the research, development, proliferation, export and use of uncrewed armed systems should:

  • fully respect the principles of the International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law;
  • be oriented towards a global harmonisation of legal, security and ethical standards;
  • ensure transparency of artificial intelligence software used in these systems;
  • express a clear prohibition of completely autonomous armed systems without
  • effective human control.