US Army reckon substitution thousands of troops with robots

LONDON: The US Army is considering replacing thousands of soldiers with robots as it deals with sweeping troop cuts. A senior American officer has said he is considering shrinking the size of the Army’s brigade combat teams by a quarter and replacing the lost troops with robots and remote-controlled vehicles. The American military is still far from fielding armies of Terminator-type robotic killers though. Ideas under discussion instead include proposals to see manned lorries and transporters replaced by supply trains of robots vehicles. 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. Some reports suggest it could dip below 450,000 by the end of the decade. In response, Gen Robert Cone, head of the army’s training and doctrine command, is considering shrinking the army’s brigade combat teams from about 4,000 soldiers to 3,000 and using more robots, according to Defense News, a US military magazine. He told a seminar: “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. He said the army should also follow the lead of the navy in using technology to cut manpower. “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?”

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