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Advancing technology will dramatically affect the weapons and tactics of future armed conflict, including the “places” where conflicts are fought, the “actors” by whom they are fought, and the “means and methods” by which they are fought. These changes -- including continuing cyber conflict, increased use of autonomous weapon systems, the development of nanotechnology, and evolving virology capabilities -- will stress even the fundamental principles of the law of armed conflict, or LOAC. While it is likely that the contemporary LOAC will be sufficient to regulate the majority of future conflicts, the international community must be willing to evolve the LOAC in an effort to ensure these future weapons and tactics remain under control of the law. Though many of these advancing technologies are still in the early stages of development and design, the time to act is now. In anticipation of these developments, the international community needs to recognize the gaps in the current LOAC and seek solutions in advance of the situation. As the LOAC evolves to face anticipated future threats, it will help ensure that advancing technologies comply with the foundational principles of the LOAC and future armed conflicts remain constrained by law.


22 Minn. J. Int'l L.

Publication Title

MinnesotaJournal International Law