This part contains summaries and citations for the following publications:
Denise Garcia, Small Arms and Security – New Emerging International Norms, 2006, Routlege, 266 pp.
Denise Garcia, 2011, Disarmament Diplomacy and Human Security – Norms, Regimes, and Moral Progress in International Relations, Routlege, 231 pp.
Articles & Pieces:
Denise Garcia (2015) Foreign Affairs, “Battle Bots: How the World Should Prepare Itself for Robotic Warfare”. Available: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-06-05/battle-bots
Denise Garcia (2018) Killer Robots: Toward the Loss of Humanity, Carnegie Council Journal Ethics and International Affairs. http://www.ethicsandinternationalaffairs.org/2015/killer-robots-toward-the-loss-of-humanity/
Denise Garcia (2014) Foreign Affairs: Disarming the Lords of War, A New International Treaty to Regulate the Arms Trade. Available: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/142734/denise-garcia/disarming-the-lords-of-war
Denise Garcia (2014) Foreign Affairs: The Case Against Killer Robots: Why the United States Should Ban Them
Denise Garcia; Lethal Artificial Intelligence and Change: The Future of International Peace and Security, International Studies Review, Volume 20, Issue 2, 1 June 2018, Pages 334–341, Oxford University Press.
Denise Garcia (2016) “Future arms, technologies, and international law: Preventive security governance,” European Journal of International Security. Cambridge University Press, 1(1), pp. 94–111.
Denise Garcia (2015), Humanitarian Security Regimes. International Affairs, 91: 55-75. The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Cite as: Denise Garcia, Small Arms and Security – New Emerging International Norms, 2006, Routledge, 266 pp.
About this book:
Foreword by Robert Rotberg
Director of the Intrastate Conflict Program, Belfer Center
And President of the World Peace Foundation at Harvard University
Small arms and light weapons – assault rifles, machine guns, hand grenades, shoulder-fired rockets, and other weapons that are carried by individual soldiers – are the instruments of death commonly employed in the terrible intrastate wars of the modern era. As conflicts within nation-states proliferate, the flood of small arms becomes a relentless torrent. Their easy availability in an international environment that tolerates violence leads to waves of human suffering and deaths too numerous to count with precision. We think that 15 million innocent civilians have lost their lives in the intrastate mayhem of the world since 1991. Millions more have been maimed. About 12 million have lost their homes and become refugees or internally displaced persons. For obvious reasons, nothing in international relations is more important than stanching this flow of blood. Saving even a modest proportion of the lives currently being lost in civil wars and proxy civil wars would be welcome. Preventive diplomacy and other forms of conflict prevention are helpful in this regard. So are efforts of mediation and negotiation, and anything else that can reduce the demand for hostilities. But, minimizing opportunities to go to battle would assist this effort even more dramatically than by limiting demand. In that endeavor, making weapons of destruction harder to obtain would reduce death tolls and might even constrain many purposeful and some aimless resorts to violence. Denise Garcia is the first academic treatise on arms and security. Her book sets these issues in a normative context. It is about a central aspect of the overall small arms problem -- about how new international norms are gestated, nurtured, and translated into effective legislative prohibitions against the proliferation of such weapons. She establishes criteria for assessing how such norms emerge, and shows how international norms move through the conceptual stages toward enactment and enforcement at the national and multilateral levels. Central to Dr. Garcia’s argument is a sophisticated examination about how important it is and will be for nation-states to set broadly agreed upon standards controlling the demand for, availability of, and diffusion and trafficking of both licit and illicit small arms. Some observers may regard these issues as technical. However, as Dr. Garcia shows, such concerns and the larger problems that encompass the supply of small arms are at the very heart of global governance. She demonstrates how norm formation takes hold in the international arena and how in the small arms as well as the land mines domains the process of norm formation remains at the heart of global governance development and reform. As the United Nations and regional organizations attempt through novel instruments to build peace and strengthen the movement against the settling of intrastate disputes through violence, Dr. Garcia’s process tracing of norm construction for small arms is instructive for world order. Moreover, if the lessons that she offers prove instructive, millions of lives will be spared. -- Robert I. Rotberg
Cite as: Denise Garcia, 2011, Disarmament Diplomacy and Human Security – Norms, Regimes, and Moral Progress in International Relations, Routledge, 231 pp.
Summary by Professor Edward J. Laurance
Monterey Institute for International Studies
The term “arms control and disarmament” was coined in the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, and pertained mainly to weapons of mass destruction. Treaties and agreements reached during this period were marked by extensive verification procedures and the famous phrase of President Ronald Reagan of the United States- “trust but verify.” Furthermore, no agreements were ever promulgated in regard to the international trade in conventional arms, those arms that for centuries have been seen as absolutely critical for the security of states. As this book is being published, there are several treaties and agreements in place designed to do what couldn’t be done, as far back as the beginning of the 20th Century. Namely, prevent and reduce the negative effects associated with conventional weapons- small arms and light weapons, anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions, and major conventional weapons (the United Nations register of Conventional Arms). How can this be explained? What has changed? Why have humanitarian concerns begun to trump military necessity? Denise Garcia has written this book Disarmament Diplomacy and Human Security – Regimes, Norms, and Moral Progress in International Relations to answer these questions.
One explanatory theme is that of human security, a post-Cold War concept originating with the 1994 UNDP Human Security Report. The 1990s saw a major decrease in traditional interstate conflict, fought with major conventional arms (tanks, fighter aircraft, etc.) and the rise in intrastate conflict fought between rival factions with small arms and light weapons, where the interstate diplomacy of the previous era became irrelevant. More than 80% of the casualties of these new conflicts were civilians, who were not only pawns but often the targets of rival armed groups. It made no sense to build schools, feed people and attempt to work for development with armed violence all around.
Also, this was the era of the new globalization: markets, communication, the spread of democracy and Western values, and the nascent appearance of global civil society. It became impossible to ignore the negative effects of conventional weapons. So in the 1990s the global community took up issues such as landmines and small arms and light weapons, resulting in the historic 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, the 2001 UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, as well as a host of regional agreements and policies to restrain the trade in arms. For the first time in history States had committed to restraining production, export and use of conventional weapons in the name of lowering the humanitarian cost of war and armed violence.
Garcia builds on the norms developed in addressing the global small arms and light weapons problem, the subject of her previous book Small Arms and Security: New emerging international norms, to analyze the Arms Trade Treaty process, the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, the small arms and light weapons regime, and the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development. She makes a compelling case that these efforts have benefited from the moral progress in arms control and disarmament, both being linked to previous agreements largely shaped by international humanitarian law and human rights law. The Geneva Declaration case study provides the evidence that the recent work on the demand side of armaments, i.e., why governments, armed groups and individuals want the arms in the first place, has paid off in the form of a multilateral effort.
Garcia’s last case is that of the proposed Arms Trade Treaty, currently scheduled for final negotiations and decision in the UN General Assembly’s First Committee in the spring of 2012. It should be remembered that the tragic effects of the arms trade have been debated as far back as the “merchants of death” era after World War I revealed private manufacturers of arms were selling to all sides in that war. The League of Nations made a major effort to control the trade, and failed. During the Cold War the arms trade and its negative effects were the responsibility of the two rival east and west blocs. The trade and its negative effects continued unabated. In the early 1990s, as the Cold War ended, Iraq invaded Kuwait with weapons supplied mainly by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. After much soul-searching among these suppliers, the best they could come with is the voluntary United National Register of Conventional. Despite contributing to transparency, the Register has failed to regulate in any way the trade in arms.
So the big question is why will an Arms Trade Treaty be approved now? That is Garcia’s major focus and contribution to the literature as she makes the case that the moral progress represented in the arms control and disarmament treaties and agreements since the end of the Cold War will provide the momentum to trump the traditional military and economic rationales for the arms trade. As governments, civil society and academics work to get an Arms Trade Treaty, they will have to confront this key question. Denise Garcia’s book will be a primary source for their study, deliberation and negotiations.
Cite as: Denise Garcia (2015) Foreign Affairs, “Battle Bots: How the World Should Prepare Itself for Robotic Warfare”. Available: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-06-05/battle-bots
People living today find their lives bookended by two eras of weaponry: nuclear arms and the emerging threat of lethal autonomous weapons. On the one hand, nuclear Armageddon is still a real risk as states fail to live up to their legal obligations to disarm and dispose of their nuclear stockpiles. Lethal autonomous robotic weaponry, on the other hand, offers a glimpse of war’s future—and few if any rules govern the use of drones, a precursor technology for future autonomous weapons. Globally agreed norms and rules must be created and strengthened throughout all areas of weapons proliferation so that future generations are safeguarded from large-scale violence. To set realistic and reliable international norms for dangerous and new weapons, states must establish the necessary conditions for global cooperation. If world leaders want a less violent world, they must set the guidelines and improve the current international order.
Cite as: Denise Garcia (2018) Killer Robots: Toward the Loss of Humanity, Carnegie Council Journal Ethics and International Affairs. http://www.ethicsandinternationalaffairs.org/2015/killer-robots-toward-the-loss-of-humanity/
This article examines the states of the conversations in the United Nations on autonomous weapons, colloquially known, as Killer Robots, until 2018. It examines countries’ positions and what is at stake to move the issue forward, along with new rules and norms based upon existing and new International Law.
Cite as: Denise Garcia (2014) Foreign Affairs: Disarming the Lords of War, A New International Treaty to Regulate the Arms Trade. Available:
I was the first scholar to examine and closely study the Arms Trade Treaty. This article examines the significance and importance of the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, the first comprehensive international treaty to control the trade in conventional arms. The article explains the legal innovations presented by the treaty to International Law and what the impact it could have if well implemented.
Cite as: Denise Garcia (2014) Foreign Affairs: The Case Against Killer Robots: Why the United States Should Ban Them
This article argues that autonomy in weapons systems should be clearly regulated under International Law for many strategic, legal and ethical reasons. There should be no killer robots in the future. It also proposes that the United States should lead the creation of new global norms in the United Nations. This article was one of the first to appear on the question of autonomous weapons systems and it was published when the United Nations member states first started to discuss these questions in Geneva. Author has been present since in the discussions and as the Vice-chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control.
Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles available:
Cite as: Denise Garcia; Lethal Artificial Intelligence and Change: The Future of International Peace and Security, International Studies Review, Volume 20, Issue 2, 1 June 2018, Pages 334–341, Oxford University Press.
The development artificial intelligence and its uses for lethal purposes in war will fundamentally change the nature of warfare as well as law-enforcement and thus pose fundamental problems for the stability of the international system. To cope with such changes, states should adopt preventive security governance frameworks based upon the precautionary principle of international law, and upon previous cases where prevention brought stability to all countries. Such new global governance frameworks should be innovative as current models will not suffice. The World Economic Forum has advanced that the two areas that will bring most benefits but also biggest dangers to the future are robotics and artificial intelligence. Additionally, they are also the areas in most urgent need for innovative global governance.
Leading scientists working on artificial intelligence have argued that the militarization and use of lethal artificial intelligence would be a highly destabilizing. Here I examine twenty-two existing treaties that acted under a “preventive framework” to establish new regimes of prohibition or control of weapons systems that had been deemed to be destabilizing. These treaties achieved one or all of three goals: prevented further militarization, made weaponization unlawful, and stopped proliferation with cooperative frameworks of transparency and common rules. As a result of my findings, it is clear that there is a significant emerging norm in regards to all weapons systems: the utilization of disarmament and arms regulations as a tool and mechanism to protect civilians. The development of lethal autonomous weapons systems would severely jeopardize this emerging norm. I show under what conditions lethal autonomous weapons systems will be disruptive for peace and security and show alternative governance structures based upon international law with robust precautionary frameworks.
Cite as: Denise Garcia (2016) “Future arms, technologies, and international law: Preventive security governance,” European Journal of International Security. Cambridge University Press, 1(1), pp. 94–111.
This article introduces the new idea of “preventive security governance and presents an initial discussion of the political and legal challenges associated with weaponised technologies in three interconnected areas that may impinge upon the ability to protect civilian populations during peace and war and imperil international security: armed unmanned combat aerial vehicles (commonly known as drones); autonomous weapons systems (known as ‘killer robots’); and the potential militarisation of cyberspace, or its use as a weapon, and the operation of drones and killer robots in the cyber domain. Supporting the argument that the world is ‘facing new methods of warfare’ and that international security governance and law are not keeping up, the article provides an overview and interpretation of three technologies in connection with aspects of five branches of law: state responsibility, use of force, international humanitarian law, human rights law, and law of the commons. I argue therefore that ‘preventive security governance’ could be a strategy to curtail uncertainty in the preservation of stability and international order. I define ‘preventive security governance’ as the codification of specific or new global norms, arising from existing international law that will clarify expectations and universally agreed behaviour on a given issue-area. This is essential for a peaceful future for humanity and for international order and stability.
Cite as: Denise Garcia (2015), Humanitarian Security Regimes. International Affairs, 91: 55-75. The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
This article introduces a novel concept, humanitarian security regimes, and enquires under what conditions they arise and what is distinctive about them. Humanitarian security regimes are driven by altruistic imperatives aiming to prohibit and restrict behaviour, impede lethal technology or ban categories of weapons through disarmament treaties; they embrace humanitarian perspectives that seek to prevent civilian casualties, precluding harmful behavior, protecting and ensuring the rights of victims and survivors of armed violence. The article explores how these regimes appear in the security area, usually in opposition to the aspirations of the most powerful states. The existing regimes literature has mostly taken a functional approach to analyzing cooperation, lacks a humanitarian hypothesis and does not explore the emergence of new regimes in the core area of security. The author argues that in the processes of humanitarian security regime‐making, it is the national interest that is restructured to incorporate new normative understandings that then become part of the new national security aspirations. This article intends to fill this gap and its importance rests on three reasons. First, security areas that were previously considered to be the exclusive domain of states have now been the focus of change by actors beyond the state. Second, states have embraced changes to domains close to their national security (e.g. arms) mostly cognizant of humanitarian concerns. Third, states are compelled to re‐evaluate their national interests motivated by a clear humanitarian impetus. Three conditions for the emergence of humanitarian security regimes are explained: marginalization and delegitimization; multilevel agency, and reputational concerns.