recommended reading

The Holy See: Lethal Drones Pose Urgent Ethical Issues

United States Air Force

The Holy See's representative at the United Nations, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, has weighed in on the debate about targeted killing with unmanned aerial vehicles. His recent letter raises the following concerns about killing with drones:

  • The technology may "lower the threshold of conflict, making it seem more attractive to enter into war." 
  • "It is indisputable that large populations live in constant fear of the strikes," he writes, and "costs to civilian life and property, as well as the psychological and economic cost of living in constant fear of future mistaken strikes, should not be ignored."
  • It is difficult "to assess the precise impact on civilians of the use of weaponised drones," he observes, "due in part to the lack of transparency in reporting."
  • "When vital data related to the use of weaponized drones is withheld from scrutiny," he wonders, "how can compliance with international law, international humanitarian law and ethical standards be verified?"
  • Proliferation is his final concern. The need to use drones ethically "and set a strong precedent for restricting their use" becomes more urgent given "the ongoing and accelerating proliferation of these weapons," he argues, adding that flawed norms are "an increasing danger as drone technology proliferates further." 

These are all concerns I share.

Meanwhile, "thousands of people gathered Saturday in the northwestern city Peshawar to protest American drone strikes inside Pakistani territory and vowed to stop NATO supply trucks unless the attacks stopped." And "China has tested its first stealth combat drone." It is time to reform drone policy so that it is more moral and less shortsighted. We may be living under the norms we establish now for a long time.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.