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John W. Charlton

United States of America

MG John W. Charlton

Future Forces Forum Future Forces Exhibition 2016 Military Advanced Robotic Systems (MARS) Conference 2016

Vice Director for Joint Force Development
US Joint Staff J7


The Challenge of Autonomous Systems for Future Force Development

MG Charlton will present autonomous systems as a tremendous opportunity for the U.S., allies, and partners to gain and maintain operational advantage, enhance conventional deterrence, and reduce risk to warfighters. The keynote will address three general U.S. approaches to future force development in the field of autonomous systems. First, the Joint Concept for Robotic and Autonomous Systems provides a conceptual framework for force development, which will also inform the development of U.S. policy. Second, autonomous systems development in the near-term will emphasize systems that can reduce avoidable risks to warfighters. Third, the U.S. is developing capabilities to address vulnerabilities of autonomous system in the cyber domain, which serve as the foundation for any sustainable advantages in the use of autonomous systems. The general will conclude that autonomy offers the potential to make warfare more humane, but will require a cooperative, proactive, and deliberate effort on the part of the U.S. , partners, and allies.

Curriculum Vitae

Major General John W. Charlton is currently the Vice Director, Joint Staff J-7, where he is responsible for development of the future Joint Force. His responsibilities include Joint Force training, future Joint Force development, and Joint Force operational analysis.

Major General Charlton was commissioned in 1984 as a Distinguished Military Graduate and Infantry officer through Army ROTC at Washington State University. He has served in Infantry leadership positions at every level from Platoon through Brigade, including multiple combat deployments. His experience includes assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment and as a Ranger Plans Officer at the Corps level. His strategic leadership assignments to the Joint Staff, J-5 as the Chief of the Iraq Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom and as the Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs (Middle East).

Major General Charlton’s most recent assignments include significant operational, strategic, and force development responsibilities. From January 2012 to March 2013, he served in Afghanistan as Deputy Commander, Regional Command-East, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, Operation Enduring Freedom. Subsequently, he served as the Commanding General, Brigade Modernization Command, Fort Bliss, Texas. In that position, Major General Charlton was responsible for research, development, and evaluation of technological and organizational initiatives to ensure the warfighting readiness of the Army’s Brigade Combat Teams. His decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal. Major General Charlton’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Washington State University and master's degrees in Information System Management from Webster University, General Studies from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

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