Larry Lewis, Ph.D.
Vice President and Director


Larry Lewis is the Vice President and Director of the Center for Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence at CNA. His areas of expertise include lethal autonomy, reducing civilian casualties, identifying lessons from current operations, security assistance, and counterterrorism.

Lewis spent a decade analyzing real world operations as the project lead and primary author for many of DOD's Joint Lessons Learned studies. For example, he was the lead analyst and co-author (with Dr. Sarah Sewall) for the Joint Civilian Casualty Study (JCCS) in support of GEN Petraeus, GEN McChrystal, and ADM Olson (SOCOM); GEN Petraeus described the study as "the first comprehensive assessment of the problem of civilian protection." His other areas of expertise include counterinsurgency and high value targeting in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Colombia, and elsewhere. In addition, he authored the 2012 "Lessons from a Decade of War" report for CJCS. He also served as senior advisor to the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and was on the U.S. delegation to the CCW regarding Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS).

Lewis has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Rice University.


September 4, 2020

Larry Lewis says, "One thing is clear: The U.S. has not learned from its past."

Washington Post: "As U.S. Air War in Afghanistan Surged, Investigations Into Civilian Harm Plunged"

June 6, 2020

Larry Lewis says, "U.S. numbers tend to be too low, and outside estimates tend to be too high. The truth is in the middle."

Rolling Stone: "America's Longest War Takes a Deadly New Turn"

April 24, 2020

Larry Lewis says, "One of the hardest things as you move out on this is that OSD policy doesn't own a lot of things, so resources are going to be an issue."

Foreign Policy: "Pentagon Asks for More Cash to Cut Down Civilian Deaths"

December 9, 2019

Larry Lewis writes, "Despite commitments made to the international community and in its own AI strategy, the Pentagon has done little to act on promises to address safety risks unique to the technology of AI or to use AI to enhance safety in conflict."

War on the Rocks: "AI Safety: Charting out the High Road"

June 18, 2019

Larry Lewis says, "In the US and the UK we have very formal processes [for airstrikes], this coalition is not using them ... And when you mess up, bad things happen."

The Guardian: "'The Saudis Couldn't Do It Without Us': The UK's True Role in Yemen's Deadly War"

June 4, 2019

Larry Lewis says, "We may think it's expedient to take the gloves off but if you look at history . . . if you take a heavy-handed approach, you actually can hurt yourself in the long term." [15:57]

Slate's The Gist: "Saving Civilians, and the Mission"