Non-state armed groups using children include guerrilla movements, paramilitary organizations, ideologically or religiously-driven groups, armed people's movements, and many other types of military or quasi-military organization.
Campaigners claim the secretive campaign has killed hundreds of civilians.
Britain already has hundreds of remotely-piloted drone aircraft ranging from tiny surveillance helicopters to large Reaper drones armed with deadly hellfire missiles.
Children recruited for military purposes may take one or more of three types of role: they may be trained for, and then directly participate in, hostilities; they may be used in support roles such as porters, spies, messengers, lookouts; or they may be used for tactical advantage as human shields or for political advantage in propaganda.
Since the 1970s, a number of international conventions have come into effect that try to limit the participation of children in armed conflicts, nevertheless Child Soldiers International reports that the use of children in military forces, and the active participation of children in armed conflicts is widespread.
"When you see the success, frankly, that the Navy has had in terms of lowering the numbers of people on ships, are there functions in the brigade that we could automate - robots or manned/unmanned teaming - and lower the number of people that are involved, given the fact that people are our major cost?
" However, there are no immediate plans for autonomous robots to be deployed with lethal firepower.Several robot ground vehicles have already been tested in Afghanistan, including the Squad Mission Support System, a six-wheeled robotic buggy to carry soldiers' kit and baggage.America has meanwhile waged an aggressive drone campaign targeting insurgents and al-Qaeda terrorists in the border regions of Pakistan.National Hispanic Heritage Month Message from Army Leaders.Generals are studying proposals as the US Army is to slim down from 540,000 to about 490,000 soldiers by the end of next year.He told a military symposium: "I've got clear guidance to think about what if you could robotically perform some of the tasks in terms of manoeuvrability, in terms of the future of the force." Options under discussion, he said, included trains of robot vehicles that would following vehicles with human drivers in long supply convoys.