Findings from a workshop on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Defence in 2019 have been released to support science and technical considerations for the potential development of Defence policy, doctrine, research and project management. The technical report entitled A Method for Ethical AI in Defence summarises the discussions from the workshop, and outlines a pragmatic ethical methodology to enhance further communication between software engineers, integrators and operators during the development and operation of AI projects in Defence.

Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro said AI technologies offer many benefits such as saving lives by removing humans from high-threat environments and improving Australian advantage by providing more in-depth and faster situational awareness. “Upfront engagement on AI technologies, and consideration of ethical aspects needs to occur in parallel with technology development,” Monro said.

The significant potential of AI technologies and autonomous systems is being explored through the Science, Technology and Research (STaR) Shots from the More, together: Defence Science and Technology Strategy 2030 as well as meeting the needs of the updated National Security Science & Technology Priorities. Defence research incorporating AI and human-autonomy teaming continues to drive innovation, such as work on the Allied IMPACT (AIM) Command and Control (C2) System demonstrated at Autonomous Warrior 2018 and the establishment of the Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC.

Air Vice Marshal Cath Roberts, Head of Air Force Capability said artificial intelligence and human-machine teaming will play a pivotal role for air and space power into the future. “We need to ensure that ethical and legal issues are resolved at the same pace that the technology is developed. This paper is useful in suggesting consideration of ethical issues that may arise to ensure responsibility for AI systems within traceable systems of control,” Roberts said. “Practical application of these tools into projects such as the Loyal Wingman will assist Defence to explore autonomy, AI, and teaming concepts in an iterative, learning and collaborative way.”

Supported by Defence Science and Technology Group, Plan Jericho and the Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (TASDCRC), the 2019 workshop was attended by over 100 representatives from Defence, other Australian government agencies, industry, academia, international organisations and media.

Attendees contributed evidence-based hypotheses to discussions with a view to developing a report with suggestions as a starting point for principles, topics and methods relevant to Defence contexts for AI and autonomous systems to inform military leadership and ethics. Consultation with Defence stakeholders after the workshop consolidated the outputs of the report. The ethics of AI and autonomous systems is an ongoing priority and Defence is committed to developing, communicating, applying and evolving ethical AI frameworks. Australia is proactive in undertaking Article 36 legal reviews on new weapons, means and methods of warfare.

A Method for Ethical AI in Defence is available at:

For Editorial Inquiries Contact:
Editor Kym Bergmann at

For Advertising Inquiries Contact:
Director of Sales Graham Joss at

Previous articleCyberSeek launched to close Australia’s cyber security talent gap
Next articleYoung Endeavour returns to sea


  1. This report has not contained any best-considered reasons to not continue the arms build-up being promoted by the Arms And Weapons manufacturing corporations familiar to all governments across the World.
    What about our sovereign government investing in peace between external countries?
    For example, maintaining a respectful dialogue between all external countries, this “maintaining of respectful dialogue” has a part to play, far more than just resorting to a full-on war or major battlefield slaughtering conflict?
    Beware of the Vampire Squid corporations that rely on the weapons and war-goods sales intended to spill the blood of conscripted soldiers in their promoted war of some kind.
    Major corporate big $billion money players are those that promote the resort to most all armed deadly conflicts.
    The World of war is an American concept that has become an upward spiraling plague across this World.
    This perspective is presented here by a former National Serviceman called into his country’s government instituted compulsory drafting scheme, intended to select new young men to become the next batch of soldiers sent to risk their lives in the Vietnam battlefield created by America. All this and more can be found as a fact in our world’s history books.
    Worse still, no one really cares about all the mother’s sons killed by the agency of their government ministers all.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here