P.W. Singer, fully Peter Warren Singer

P.W.
Singer, fully Peter Warren Singer
1974

American Political Scientist, International Relations Scholar, Specialist on 21st century warfare, Author, Founding Director of the Project on U.S. Policy Towards the Islamic World in the Saban Center at Brookings, Founding Organizer of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum

Author Quotes

Non-Lethal Weaponry Gives More Options. An important realization is that total annihilation of the enemy in these instances may actually backfire. Thus, wherever possible, military commanders and policy-makers should explore options for using non-lethal weapons (NLW) in situations that involve child soldiers. Arm-chair generals often ignorantly mock NLW, overlooking that they in no way eliminate away the resort of deadly force. Rather, their availability provides troops in the field with added choices and options. NLWs frequently are a welcome alternative that not only may save lives on both sides, but prove more effective to meeting mission goals. Unfortunately, development and distribution of such weaponry has fallen well behind pace. Indeed, out of the mere 60 non-lethal weapons kits in the entire U.S. military, only 6 were deployed to Iraq. Many international peacekeeping operations lack even one kit.

Bateman [explains], it is history that is driving the U.S. military toward using more unmanned systems. ?First and foremost, it is due to an inclination extant since the Second World War that the United States will always spend money instead of lives if at all possible. Exacerbating that is a trend towards preferences for increasingly complex systems.? He sees a U.S. military that will become increasing automated over the next two decades, but?at uneven rates, with some services and specialties adapting quicker than others.

I went around trying to get the answer to this sort of question meeting with people not only in the military but also in the International Committee of the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch. We're at a loss as to how to answer that question right now. The robotics companies are only thinking in terms of product liability...and international law is simply overwhelmed or basically ignorant of this technology. There's a great scene in the book where two senior leaders within Human Rights Watch get in an argument in front of me of which laws might be most useful in such a situation.

Non-state actors, such as armed rebel, ethnic, and political opposition groups, are especially prone to using children as fighters. 60% of the non-state armed forces in the world (77 of 129) use child soldiers. But children's use as soldiers is by no means limited to non-state actors nor to armies actively at war. The UN estimates that, in addition to the 300,000 child combatants active as combatants, over 50 states actively recruit at least another half million children into their military and paramilitary forces. This in violation of both international law and usually their own domestic laws. These range from Myanmar to Uganda. Some are indeed allied with the US . By one listing, we giver almost a quarter billion dollars in aid to governments. with child soldier issues. Thus we can use our influence with them to force them to stop. For example, the Colombian military once used children, but no longer does, because of US pressure to stop human rights abuses amongst its units if it wanted aid. Our focus was on child soldiers in this case, but it does show we can influence others if we try.

But we cant blame the media for the fact that we have not prepared for this dangerous world. Our intelligence systems ignore this phenomenon and our soldiers get neither the training, equipment or preparation they need to handle it effectively. The same holds true for our communications strategy. We should be making just that sort of argument you make in our public diplomacy ( asking "who sends other people's children out to fight for them") and mobilizing trusted religious and communal leaders against the use of children as terrorists. But we are not. We just ignore it and then get hit with the negative consequences afterwards

IBM president Thomas Watson famously said in 1943, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."

Cebrowski?s idea was not merely that information techonology was changing the way organizations operated, but that the shift to IT networks was a change of a whole different order of magnitude for the history of war. It would ?affect the where, the when, and how of war.? As he concluded, ?For nearly 200 years, the tools and tactics of how we fight have evolved with military technologies. Now, fundamental changes are affecting the very character of war?We are in the midst of a revolution in military affairs (RMA) unlike any seen since the Napoleonic Age, when France transformed warfare with the concept of levee en masse.

In Somalia, warlords on all sides have used children. This is reflective of a state where the social order has collapsed and you had an effective free for all, with all sorts of actors seeking loot and plunder and using children as a means to an ends. Why should we in the West care? Well, not only did we have to deal with this challenge in the past --- US forces in the battle in Mogadishu in 93 (captured in Blackhawk Down) reported that amongst the fighters were children, but many now worry that al Qaeda is taking advantage of the continuing chaos in Somalia to create a new base for recruiting and planning, akin to what Afghanistan was. The solution in Somalia is much like elsewhere, we need to help restore the social order and stability. Only then can you end the cycle of violence.

Author Picture
First Name
P.W.
Last Name
Singer, fully Peter Warren Singer
Birth Date
1974
Bio

American Political Scientist, International Relations Scholar, Specialist on 21st century warfare, Author, Founding Director of the Project on U.S. Policy Towards the Islamic World in the Saban Center at Brookings, Founding Organizer of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum