University of South Florida

Global and National Security Institute


Keynote Address from GNSI Tampa Summit 2

GNSI Tampa Summit 2 Recap: The Future and Ethics of Uncrewed and Autonomous Warfare

On September 27-28, the Global and National Security Institute (GNSI) at the University of South Florida (USF) hosted GNSI Tampa Summit 2 featuring the 8th Great Power Competition Conference (GPC8). These ongoing GPC conferences bring together some of the best and brightest strategic thinkers, leaders, subject matter experts from around the globe to provide military and civilian policymakers and thought leaders, a broader understanding of the various challenges facing the United States and the modern great power competition. 

GNSI Tampa Summit 2 focused on focus the increased use and ethical considerations surrounding uncrewed and autonomous systems, including prominent keynote speakers, dynamic panels, round table discussions, and four breakout sessions. 

DAY 1 (SEPTEMBER 27, 2023)
The conference host, Dr. Adib Farhadi, Associate Professor and Faculty Director of Executive Education at USF, welcomed a large audience in the Marshall Center’s Oval Theater and virtual attendees. Day 1 Video Here. 
Dr. Eric Eisenberg, Senior Vice President of University-Community Partnerships at USF, kicked off the day's event with a warm welcome to the University of South Florida and the summit event, emphasizing the need to provide a platform for crucial conversations between academia, students, and military commands. Dr. Eisenberg also highlighted the importance of historical understanding while stressing the need for adaptability in the face of new solutions and challenges. Watch Eisenberg's full remarks here.  

 Following the welcoming remarks, General (Ret) Frank McKenzie, Executive Director of GNSI and former Commander of U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), delivered an insightful speech on the evolving nature of warfare and the challenges facing the United States and its allies.  
General (Ret) Frank McKenzie Quote
Artificial intelligence and machine learning applications were highlighted as critical tools for decision-making in data-intensive environments.  Watch McKenzie’s full remarks here 

Following McKenzie's remarks, the Summit's first keynote speaker took the stage. Lieutenant General Greg Guillot, the Deputy Commander of USCENTCOM, emphasized the historical progression of the autonomous and uncrewed systems, highlighting their integration and improved control over time.  Watch Guillot's full remarks here.
Lieutenant General Greg Guillot
The morning session for Day 1 concluded with the Summit's first discussion panel: Foreign Defense Partnerships in a Global Competitive Market. Full panel discussion here. Watch complete discussion panel here.

David Des Roches, Moderator, Associate Professor, Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Security Studies (full remarks)
Laura Cressey, Director, Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers, U.S. State Department (full remarks)
Dr. Steven Roach, Professor of International Relations, USF (full remarks)
Brigadier General (Ret) John Pelleriti, Civilian Deputy J5, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) (full remarks)
Lieutenant Commander Stipe Skelin, Croatian Navy, currently assigned to USCENTCOM (full remarks)

Watch the group discussion portion here. 

The afternoon session began with engaging remarks from Major General (Ret) Charles Dunlap, Jr., Executive Director, Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, Duke University. He's also the former Deputy Judge Advocate General for the United States Air Force. During his remarks, Dunlap highlighted key concerns regarding the Civilian Harm Mitigation Response Action Plan. He expressed reservations about how the plan might impede military effectiveness, especially concerning drone technology.
Major General (Ret) Charles Dunlap, Jr.
Major General Dunlap stressed the importance of examining the plan's impact, given advancements in AI and information operations, and called for input from warfighters in addressing these challenges. Watch Dunlap's full remarks here.

The afternoon session concluded with a Summit Roundtable focused on The Ethical Use of Uncrewed Warfare. Watch the complete roundtable here. 

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Lushnko, PhD, Moderator, Director, Special Operations, U.S. Army War College (full remarks)
Caitlin Lee, Director, Acquisition and Technology Policy Program; Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation (full remarks)
Jonathan Horowitz, Legal Advisor, International Committee Red Cross Regional Delegation (United States and Canada) (full remarks)
Daniel Strand, Assistant Profesor of Ethics, USAF Air War College (full remarks)

Day 2 (September 28, 2023)
Day 2 of Tampa Summit 2 began with Dr. Adib Farhadi, Conference Host, welcoming attendees and speakers to the event. Day 2 Video here.  
Following Dr. Farhadi's introduction, Dr. Roger Kangas, Academic Dean, Near East and South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies, provided opening remarks for the day. Watch Kangas' full remarks here.

The first keynote speaker of the day took the stage immediately after Kangas. Dr. Stefanie Tompkins, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA),  emphasized DARPA's role in staying at the forefront of technology to prevent future surprises and its commitment to addressing ethical, legal, and societal implications in emerging technologies. 
Dr. Stefanie Tompkins, Director of DARPA
Tompkins also relayed the origin story of DARPA: the agency was formed after the U.S. was shocked by the launching of the Sputnik satellite (the first artificial Earth satellite) by the Soviet Union in 1957. DARPA was created as a commitment by the U.S. government to be the initiator, not the victim, of strategic technological surprises. Watch Tompkins' full remarks here. 

The morning session concluded with a panel discussion: Future of Uncrewed Systems, The Benefits and Dangers of Advancing Technology. Watch the complete panel discussion here. 

Dr. Arman Sargolzaei, Moderator, Director, Resilient, Autonomous, Networked Control Systems (RANCS) Research Group, Assistant Professor, USF (full remarks)
Steve Luxion, Executive Director, FAA's Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) (full remarks)
Dr. Jaret Riddick, Senior Fellow, Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) (full remarks)
Dr. Jennifer McCardle, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program, Center for New American Security (CNAS) (full remarks)

Watch the group discussion portion here. 

Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich, Combined Forces Air Component Commander United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), opened the afternoon session with an engaging keynote address emphasizing the crucial role of autonomy in Air Forces Central operations. 
Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich
Grynkewich also spoke at length about the urgency of keeping pace with adversaries who are rapidly developing AI-driven systems. Watch Grynkewich's full remarks here.

GNSI Tampa Summit 2 featured four breakout sessions, which were available for in-person attendees only: 
Breakout Session #1: AI Ethics in Lethal Autonomy (recap)
Breakout Session #2: Future of Uncrewed Systems (recap)
Breakout Session #3: Industry Use and Advancement of UAVs (recap)
Breakout Session #4: Security of Autonomous Systems (recap)

Following the breakouts, each of the moderators took the stage to recap their sessions. You can see those recaps by clicking the session recaps above. Watch the full recap here. 

General (Ret) Frank McKenzie closed the conference, expressing gratitude to the attendees and speakers for their participation in the GSNI Tampa Summit 2, and encouraging them to stay tuned for upcoming events. 

SAVE THE DATES: GNSI Tampa Summit 3 will be held on March 5-7, 2024. Artificial Intelligence in the Era of Strategic Competition.

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The GNSI Newsroom is dedicated to highlighting news and ideas from the world of global and national security, as well as stories that focus on the Global and National Security Institute at USF. We want to emphasize the many ways GNSI leads the university's strategic focus on global and national security.