First it was announced that drones were going to replace the scout helicopter OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and now robots may soon be replacing thousands of troops on the battlefield.
DefenseNews.com reported, “During remarks at the Army Aviation Symposium in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 15, (General Robert) Cone quietly dropped a bomb. The Army, he said, is considering the feasibility of shrinking the size of the brigade combat team from about 4,000 soldiers to 3,000 over the coming years, and replacing the lost soldiers with robots and unmanned platforms. “I’ve got clear guidance to think about what if you could robotically perform some of the tasks in terms of maneuverability, in terms of the future of the force,” he said, adding that he also has “clear guidance to rethink” the size of the nine-man infantry squad.”
The news of shrinking BCT’s comes in the midst of the Afghanistan war coming to an end and a budget conscience Pentagon who must face the realities of sequestration. The Pentagon believes it is the right time make the military a smaller force, but with better use of technology to make up for the reduction in force.
DefenseNews.com continued, “He mentioned using unmanned ground vehicles that would follow manned platforms, which would require less armor and protection, thereby reducing the weight of a brigade combat team. Over the past 12 years of war, “in favor of force protection we’ve sacrificed a lot of things,” he said. “I think we’ve also lost a lot in lethality.” And the Army wants that maneuverability, deployability and firepower back.”
Don’t get too excited about the possibility of robots on the battlefield happening any time soon. It is still quite a ways off before it will be a reality.
During an DefenseNews.com interview with Lt. Gen. Walker, he called the possibility, “the “deep future” — about the 2030 to 2040 time frame — he said that “we’ll need to fundamentally change the nature of the force, and that would require a breakthrough in science and technology.”