Uncrewed Systems and Naval Diplomacy

By Dr. Ann Griffiths, 8 February 2023

In 1977 Ken Booth outlined roles for naval forces – what has become known as Booth’s Triangle. This ‘triangle’ illustrates the roles of navies and fits them into three categories: constabulary; war-fighting/combat; and naval diplomacy. This framework has been useful for years to illustrate what navies do, including in peacetime. But nowadays there is a rush to develop and incorporate uncrewed systems into naval capabilities. How will this affect the roles? It’s quite clear that uncrewed systems will be useful for many tasks, from de-mining to surveillance to combat. But can they undertake naval diplomacy? Will the triangle become unbalanced? There’s an interesting article on this topic by Richard Dunley, entitled “Uncrewed Naval Vessels and the Span of Maritime Tasks,” in the March 2023 issue of Marine Policy. In this article, Dunley examines the impact that the adoption of uncrewed naval systems might have on the ability of navies to conduct their wider roles. He concludes that “whilst military functions can arguably be completed just as well by autonomous systems at lower cost and with less risk, the same is not true in other areas of the span of maritime tasks.” What will happen to the role of naval diplomacy? To read this very interesting article, see https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X23000088


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *