Samuel Bendett


Samuel Bendett is a Research Analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses' International Affairs Group, where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. His work involves Russian defense and security technology and developments, Russian geopolitical influence in the former Soviet states, as well as Russian unmanned systems development, Russian naval capabilities and Russian decision-making calculus during military crises.

Prior to joining CNA, Bendett worked at the National Defense University on emerging and disruptive technologies for government response in crisis situation, where he conducted research on behalf of the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (OSD-P) and Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (OSD-AT&L). His previous experience includes working for US Congress, private sector and non-profit organizations on foreign policy, international conflict resolution, defense and security issues.

Bendett's analyses, views and commentary on Russian military robotics, unmanned systems and artificial intelligence capabilities appear regularly in the C4ISRnet, The National Interest, DefenseOne, Breaking Defense, War Is Boring, and The Strategy Bridge. He was also a foreign policy and international affairs contributor to the blog, writing on Russian military technology.

Bendett received his M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University and B.A. in Politics and English from Brandeis University. He has native fluency in Russian.


February 14, 2019

Samuel Bendett says, "The emergence of such technologies is changing the approaches to the conduct of hostilities and will have serious consequences for the personnel of the armed forces, military tactics and state policy in this area."

Valdai Discussion Club: "Battle Robots Rivalry and the Future of War"

February 11, 2019

Samuel Bendett writes, “According to the Russian state media (TASS), Russian military robotic complexes (RBCs) will be able to independently recognize targets, use weapons, and interact in groups and swarms. Such plans were stated in the article by the staff of the 3rd Central Scientific Research Institute of the Russian Federation’s MOD.”

Mad Scientist Laboratory: “Autonomous Robotic Systems in the Russian Ground Forces”

February 5, 2019

Samuel Bendett says, “The Ministry of Defense said on several occasions that this UGV performed well in Syria, so we are to expect that these 12 are not the last vehicles of its kind to enter Russian service. The Ministry feels confident enough with Uran-6 to start accepting it into service. In Syria, it did not experience the range of issues that plagued Uran-9 trials.”

C4ISRNET: ‘Russia Orders a Dozen New Demining Robots”

January 31, 2019

Samuel Bendett writes, “While the private sector in Russia has achieved success in image and speech recognition, the military has been pursuing its own AI development for a variety of weapons such as aircraft, missiles, electronic warfare, radars and unmanned systems.”

Defense One: “Putin Orders Up a National AI Strategy”

January 28, 2019

Samuel Bendett says, “Going into Syria in 2015, Russia was lacking a key combat element — the ability to hit targets quickly following their identification, one of the key functions of [unmanned combat air vehicles] around the world today.”

The National Interest: “Russia's Next Deadly Weapon: A Stealth, Jet-Powered Robot Warplane”

January 24, 2019

Samuel Bendett says, “In reality, [the] Uran-9 tests in Syria should have garnered major attention from all major Russian news outlets, given how proud Russian [sic] are of their remote-controlled tank.”

Task and Purpose: “Russia's Robot Tank Sucks, But Its Military Is Adopting It Anyway”