In War and Responsibility, John Hart Ely argues that Congress has willingly and cravenly surrendered its rightful role as the branch responsible for determining when and the extent to which the United States engages in armed conflicts. Since the publication of this seminal work on the war power, presidents have continued to commit troops to hostilities absent or outside of explicit congressional authorizations-and the legislature and the judiciary rarely challenge such actions.
Meanwhile, the United States is investing heavily in unmanned military weapon systems, and the U.S. Department of Defense has described increasing weapons' autonomous capabilities as a "high priority." In its annual "Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap," the Department discusses its intended "continued development, production, test[ing], training, operation, and sustainment of unmanned systems technology across DoD" for the next twenty-five years. One of the ultimate goals is to "[t]ake the 'man' out of unmanned [systems]." How might increasingly autonomous weapon systems-also known as "killer robots"affect the constitutional war power? [..]
Rebecca Crootof, War, Responsibility, and Killer Robots, 40 N.C. J. Int'l L. & Com. Reg. 909 (2015).