Author Biography

Lieutenant Colonel Brendan Balestrieri recently graduated with a PhD in International Relations from Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. He also holds a Master's Degree in International Studies from Korea University and a Master's Degree in Communication with a focus on Public and Media Relations from Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a battalion commander in the United States Army Reserve.



Subject Area Keywords

DPRK-North Korea, East Asia, International relations, International security, Psychology, Science and technology & security, Security studies


A critical component of deterrence is signaling, or how states communicate desired images of themselves and their intentions.[i] While scholars advocate for a re-examination of classical deterrence theories in light of the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems, some view the impact of AI and autonomy as a force that will diminish human agency as a component of deterrence and interactions between nations. This article argues the contrary and posits that the emergence of AI and autonomous systems will magnify the importance of human agency by enabling decision-makers to more accurately gauge credibility, will-to-fight factors, and the national resolve of their opponents based on aggregated sentiment analysis and psychological profiling of civilian populations. Furthermore, this article contends that traditional forms of signaling are undermined by the pervasiveness of AI, autonomous systems, social media, metadata, and the ability of nation-state actors to more accurately surmise the credibility and national resolve of an opponent.

[i] Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics, New Edition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), xvi, https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvc77bx3.


The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.