H.C.R. NO.














urging the United States government to restrict the use of lethal autonomous robotics.




     WHEREAS, lethal autonomous robotics are robotic systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator; and


     WHEREAS, lethal autonomous robotics have been described as the next major revolution in military affairs, on par with the introduction of gunpowder or nuclear weapons; and


     WHEREAS, a United States Air Force assessment predicted that by 2030, due to growing technology, humans will be the weakest component in a wide array of systems and processes; and


     WHEREAS, the United States, Britain, Israel, and South Korea use precursors to fully autonomous systems, although little is known about Russian and Chinese technology; and


     WHEREAS, the United States has banned the use of lethal force by fully autonomous weapons for up ten years, with limited exceptions; and


     WHEREAS, for hundreds of years, armed conflict has always been the option of last resort due to the potential loss of human life; and


     WHEREAS, use of lethal autonomous robotics removes the potential for loss of human life on the deploying side and could result in a lower threshold for a county's decision to engage in armed conflict; and


     WHEREAS, the use of lethal autonomous robotics places the final decision to kill a human with a robot instead of a human and is a potential violation of international treaties, including the Hague Convention (IV), which requires every combatant to be commanded by a person; and


     WHEREAS, it is unclear whether robots can meet the requirements of international law, including the ability to distinguish between civilians and combatants or assess whether the likely harm to civilians during a military action would exceed the military advantage gained by the conflict; and


     WHEREAS, accountability for deaths caused by lethal autonomous robotics would be unclear, particularly in instances of the death of innocent civilians caused by lethal autonomous robot malfunctions; and


     WHEREAS, nongovernmental organizations and human rights groups have campaigned to ban fully autonomous weapons to preempt deployment in the same way as a ban on blinding laser weapons; and


     WHEREAS, the Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions by Christof Heyns to the United Nations General Assembly, recommends that nations establish a national moratoria on aspects of lethal autonomous robotics and that a panel articulate an international policy on the use of lethal autonomous robotics; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2014, the Senate concurring, that the United States government is urged to place a moratorium on the development, production, deployment, and use of lethal autonomous robotics and is urged to encourage other nations to do the same until an internationally agreed upon framework on the future of autonomous robotics has been established; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense.









Report Title: 

Lethal Autonomous Robotics; War; Drones; Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles