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RUSI–The First Sea Lord's Sea Power Conference 2018

24 May 2018, 8:00 to 17:30
RUSI Whitehall
The conference examined the opportunities and challenges involved in human-machine combat teaming for naval warfare in the future.

First Sea Lord's Speech

Read the speech here

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson

The conference addressed the potential for human-machine combat teaming, implications for force design, disinvestment strategies and people from the year 2035.  

The emergence of autonomous and remotely controlled systems as mature weapon systems has taken half a century to arrive, but there are signs that by 2035 such systems will be able to mitigate for scale and mass in warfare.  Adversaries are also harnessing these systems: a democratisation of weapons and sensors seems likely.  

But different states (and their cultures) will have a different approach to the part played by humans within warfare systems of the future.  If the West is to place a warfighter in the driving seat, will this provide the decisive edge in warfare or will it simply slow down decision-making and provide enemies with advantages of pace and tempo?  


    • The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Defence
    • Admiral Sir Philip Andrew Jones KCB ADC, First Sea Lord, Royal Navy
    • Lord Hague of Richmond, RUSI Chairman
    • Dr Theresa Fallon, CREAS, Brussels
    • Professor Malcolm Chalmers, RUSI Deputy Director-General
    • Admiral Christophe Prazuck, Chief of Staff, French Navy (CEMM)
    • Rear Admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes, Chief of Royal Norwegian Navy
    • Elisabeth Braw, Control Risks
    • Dr John Hemmings, CSIS and Henry Jackson Society
    • Oleksandr Danylyuk, Center for Defence Reform, Ukraine
    • Dr Martin Murphy, Associate Fellow, RUSI
    • Meia Nouwens, Research Fellow - Chinese Defence Policy and Military Modernisation, IISS

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