Robots and drones could have all kinds of uses in the future, and right now, the U.S. Army is reportedly looking into how it can replace thousands of soldiers with robots. Business Insider reports that a senior officer has said he is thinking about cutting the size of the Army’s brigade combat teams by about 25% and then replacing the soldiers with remote-controlled vehicles and robots.
U.S. considers incorporating robots
The U.S. Army is being hit by major cuts in the number of troops thanks to government-wide budget cuts. Of course we’re still a long way away from an army of killing machines like in The Terminator movie series, but we could be about to see the first steps in that direction.
Officials are reportedly talking about manned vehicles and transporters being replaced by robot-operated vehicles which could deliver supplies. According to Defense News, the robot vehicles would run in trains which would follow vehicles actually driven by humans. At this point though, robots could be tasked only with things like delivering supplies. The army is reportedly not planning to deploy robots equipped with lethal firepower.
U.S. Army tries to slim down
The proposals about the robots come as the U.S. Army tries to cut down from 540,000 soldiers to approximately 490,000 by the end of 2015. By the end of this decade, the military could slim down to fewer than 450,000 soldiers. Gen. Robert Cone reportedly said the army should do as the U.S. Navy has done in utilizing technology to reduce the number of people required to operate. He notes that the navy has been able to reduce the number of people it needs on ships by automating certain functions.
Research on using unmanned vehicles for supply runs has been going on for some time within the U.S. Army. However, those tests have focused mainly on using robots to keep soldiers out of danger.
The U.S. has also been using drones in its battle against the al-Qaeda in Pakistan, but there’s been a lot of debate about the drone campaign. Some worry that drones make it too easy to order a strike on a target, thus potentially lowering the threshold for beginning military operations.