Strategic Insights: The Landpower Robot Revolution Is Coming [report]

Steven Metz
2014 unpublished
Military technical revolutions have a distinct pattern. When new technology becomes available, it initially is used to augment existing operational methods and tactics. In Europe, for instance, the first firearms were used to give formations of pikemen more punch. On the battlefields of World War I, tanks were moveable pill boxes supporting slogging infantry attacks. Airplanes were used like old-fashioned cavalry, scouting for the infantry and artillery. Later, they supplemented infantry and
more » ... illery by strafing and bombing. Even the first atomic weapons were simply a very effective way to do the work of traditional 500 pound bombs and incendiaries. Only later was the revolutionary potential of these new technologies unleashed when visionaries devised radically new ways to use them and different formations to optimize their impact. Over and over, technological innovation came first, and revolution followed. Now this is happening again with military robots. Their potential is clear and stunning, particularly for America's ground forces. Robots may help the Army resolve its most pressing strategic dilemmas: first, finding a way to have wide ranging, protracted presence with a deployed force small enough to avoid becoming an "antibody" in a foreign culture and economical enough to leave in the field for an extended time and, second, surviving in environments replete with sensors and precision weapons. As Paul Scharre of the Center for a New American Security explains: Uninhabited systems can help bring mass back to the fight by augmenting human-inhabited combat systems with large numbers of lower cost uninhabited systems to expand the number of sensors and shooters in the fight. Because they can take more risk without a human onboard, uninhabited systems can balance survivability against cost, affording the ability to procure larger numbers of systems. 1 Robots, when paired with a small number of troops or possibly even operating alone, Strategic Insights: The Landpower Robot Revolution Is Coming Public reporting burden for the collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington VA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to a penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if it does not display a currently valid OMB control number.
doi:10.21236/ada618292 fatcat:ouszi737ajhrpbm6th4pcnum2e