The Ethical Challenges of Drone Warfare. Is the Just War Tradition Obsolete?

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This talk is part of Ethically Speaking: A UCF Interdisciplinary Series on Contemporary Moral Issues

Is it right to program machines to kill? The proliferation of drones in combat has challenged traditional understanding of justice in war. For example, drones have been used to strike enemy targets outside of the context of war. More concerning, algorithms are increasingly taking the place of decision making once reserved exclusively to the morally responsible military actor. MAJ Joshua Lehman teaches philosophy and the ethics of war at West Point. Experience as an operations officer with responsibility for drone strikes informs his study of the ethics of drone warfare. In his presentation, Major Lehman will discuss Just War Theory, the corresponding framework for using drones in combat, and the ethics and implications of the increasing autonomy of drones.

Speaker Bio
Major Joshua Lehman is Instructor of English and Philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Special Forces officer, and a 2005 graduate of West Point. His degrees include an MA in Defense and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College, the MA in Theology from Holy Apostles College & Seminary, and the MA in Philosophy from Boston College. His research interests include metaphysics, just-war tradition, and strategic studies. Major Lehman's service with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, KY includes missions in Iraq, Syria, and others throughout the Middle East. His duty positions include command of a Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha, command of an advanced skills company, and service as the executive officer of 3rd Battalion, 5th SFG (A)

About Ethically Speaking
Ethically Speaking 
is a campus-wide partnership that brings internationally renowned leaders to UCF to discuss cutting-edge topics in ethics. All members of UCF and the community we serve are encouraged to attend. More information on this speaker series and upcoming talks can be found at

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