Upcoming Events

UK weapons policies
Learn More

4 Nov: The increasing autonomy of weapons systems

‘Drones and the increasing autonomy of weapons systems’




 Professor Sir David Omand

Elizabeth Wilmshurst

Maya Brehm



4.30pm, Tuesday 4 November 2014

Committee Room 9, Palace of Westminster



The APPG on Drones and the APPG on Weapons and Protection of Civilians are pleased to jointly host a meeting on increasing autonomy of weapons systems. This meeting is timed to precede the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Meeting of High Contracting Parties in Geneva (13-14 November 2014) that is expected to renew its mandate for States Parties to discuss the issue of ‘lethal autonomous weapons systems’ and how to address it. The meeting will examine (i) degrees of autonomy in existing weapons systems and sub-systems (ii) the notion of meaningful human control and how to assess it (iii) requirements, principles and limitations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The experts will be invited to discuss how the Government may best lead international efforts to restrict and prohibit autonomous weapons systems.


Sir David Omand was the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator. He has been Permanent Secretary to the Home Office and Director of GCHQ. Sir David is Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies at Kings College, and has chaired the recent Birmingham Policy Commission ‘The Security Impact of Drones.’ The Report, published on 22 October, anticipates a lead role for the UK in building international consensus concerning the regulation of lethal autonomous weapons systems.


Elizabeth Wilmshurst is an Associate Fellow of Chatham House (the Institute of International Affairs) Elizabeth has been Deputy Legal Advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and a Birmingham Policy Commissioner.


Maya Brehm is a Geneva Academy Researcher developing the Weapons Law Encyclopedia. She has led projects at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research and worked as a protection delegate with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Maya is an advisor to Article 36.


Chairs: Lord Admiral West and Tom Watson MP

All Members of both Houses and their staff are welcome to attend