Design for values in the armed forces : nonlethal weapons and military robots

L.M.M. Royakkers, J.B.J. Orbons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Since the end of the Cold War, Western military forces became frequently involved in missions to stabilize conflicts around the world. In those conflicts, the military forces increasingly found themselves operating among the people. The emerging need in military interventions to prevent casualties translated into a range of value-driven military technological developments, such as military robots and nonlethal weapons (NLW). NLWs are characterized by a certain technological and operational design "window" of permissible physiological effect, defined at each end by values: one value is a controlled physiological impact to enforce compliance by targeted individuals and the other value is the prevention of inflicting serious harm of fatality. Robot drones, mine detectors, and sensing devices are employed on the battlefield but are operated at a safe distance by humans. Their deployment serves to decrease casualties and traumatic stress among own military personnel and seeks to enhance efficiency and tactical and operational superiority. This chapter points out that societal and political implications of designing for values in the military domain are governed by a fundamentally different scheme than is the case in the civil domain. The practical cases examined illustrate how values incorporated in military concept and system designs are exposed to counteraction and annihilation when deployed in real-world operational missions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Ethics, Values, and Technological Design
EditorsJ. Hoven, van den, I. Poel, van de, P.E. Vermaas
Place of PublicationDordrecht
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-007-6970-0
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-6970-0
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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