In this article, Professor Schmitt addresses changes in military technology and

the implications of these changes for the humanitarian law of war, with particular

focus on the principle of discrimination. Evolution in the machinery of warfare can

be expected to improve the precision with which objects may be targeted. At the

same time, this evolution may complicate considerations of what constitutes a

legally permissible target. As technologically advanced militaries become

increasingly interdependent with the infrastructure of civilian life, the line

between legal military objectives and protected civilian objects may become

blurred. The international legal questions posed by this change will be particularly

thorny in the case of warfare between technologically advanced military powers

and less developed nations. In the short term, technologically disadvantaged States

might have incentives to support a broad definition of legally permissible targets.

Alternately, they might support a subjective standard, in which the technological

capacity of a belligerent State partially determines its legal obligations. Professor

Schmitt argues, however, that such an expansion of permissible military objectives

would not only disserve the goals of humanitarian law, but ultimately prove

disadvantageous to all States.