posted on Jan, 19 2007 @ 11:00 PM
The problems with this are:
1. We can't afford to fight a piddling kind of war in podunkville. How can we /brag/ about spending 127 billion '15 years from now' and expect
anyone to listen let alone contain their LMAOs? Statements like this are intended to make the world cringe as they open their pocketbooks to write a
check that only half-ass competes with the R&D weight we can bring to the table. Or at least that was the case 20 years ago. Now, with the Chinese
alone graduating a 100:1 in engineering capable specialists over our collegiate system and the USD in a permanent funk which will only get weaker, it
may well be time to reconsider fashion-armaments for it's own sake. Swords only beat Plowshares when you demand tribute from the farmer and guvmint
engineers can make EITHER ONE better.
2. The USAF, chief high priestess of the high tech temple has been /ordered/ by Congress to have 1/3rd of their deep strike systems be unmanned by
2010. And nobody is even close to making that happen. Nor do they even -intend- compliance, having abandoned a roughly 25-27 billion dollar J-UCAS
effort to maintain their precious 276 billion dollar F-35 in a direct and explicit violation of several Anti-Deficiency and probably RICO statutes.
3. Ground Forces face a much denser environmental matrix. This means they have to navigate complex obstacles and contend with multiple threats
masked by various overhead and elevated cover as well as increasingly sophisticated camouflage. From zero to 10,000m. IMO, this is beyond the
abilities of modern day robotics to handle alone and switching to teleooperated (whether the tether is real or RF) makes the entire system both less
than it's advertised for capability (you aren't replacing man, just removing him to an operator station). And increasing by orders of magnitude
both the likelihood and practicality of a threat infiltrating our NCW architecture.
Now that tomorrows gun bunnies have finally realized Uncle Sam can't protect them from just-smart-enough-for-infantry threats as a function of a 23
cent bullet for a 60,000 dollar college grant trade, the fallacy that the USArs recruitment issues have been 'solved' will have to be looked at
IMO, it is likely that, between the extended deployments and the punishing casualties (never mind the 3,000 KIAs for 100 grande apiece, we're talking
20-25,000 war cripples or the equivalent of 2.5 DIVISIONS worth of personnel), we will be lucky if Bush's 'expand the military!' scheme will
survive either practical recruiting or legislative funding cuts.
And THAT is where robotics will pay off. Because your cooks and truck drivers et al (the CS/CSS mission that the Army hastily foisted off on the
1990s reserve/guard forces) that are now doing rifleman duty will be unretainable. And nobody having -heard- of their problems will want to put
themselves on a reserve list for immediate reactivation as gun bunnies.
Which means that IF you can make robotics work under limited operational autonomy conditions (driving tail-trucks up a road to resupply a much smaller
toothy end footprint) we may see that happen.
Even as there is no reason not to create much smaller (MULE type) assault bots to take the enemy by fire under conditions where the requirement for
heavy weapons/IED to ambush a 'patrol' is less of an issue than simply sticking a bot on a street corner and seeing who tries to move up to or get
away from the attempt to take it out.
Obviously, there are also major commercial applications possible as we attempt to further devalue the work of the civillian world by replacing not
only the high-skill manufacturing jobs but also the transportation/distribution elements of our 'service economy'.
There really is no excuse to assume that robots on the ground are better than robots in the sky. Not least because robots on the ground will
jeopardize the netcentric approach (which is what FCS-as-GIG-interface is really about) to warfare by putting an open ended command link so close to
the enemy as to make 'sampling', both physical and electronic, a given down to the unit level.
However; ther potential is there to alleviate at least some of the problems of our hardest hit force elements and given we are an Empire who sustains
itself without conquest, that may end up being a good thing in the long haul.
Skynet here we come.
P.S. Snort, isn't it amazing that DERA is now an 'Inc.'? Amazing proof that crime never pays until the government hires a syndicate...
[edit on 19-1-2007 by ch1466]