Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Altman

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew I. Cohen


Autonomous Weapon Systems (AWS) are the next logical advancement for military technology. There is a significant concern though that by allowing such systems on the battlefield, we are collectively abdicating our moral responsibility. In this thesis, I will examine two arguments that advocate for a total ban on the use of AWS. I call these arguments the “Responsibility” and the “Agency” arguments. After presenting these arguments, I provide my own objections and demonstrate why these arguments fail to convince. I then provide an argument as to why the use of AWS is a rational choice in the evolution of warfare. I conclude my thesis by providing a framework upon which future international regulations regarding AWS could be built.