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The Future of the Army: Fewer Soldiers, More Robots, More 'Lethality'

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Legged Squad Support System will relieve troops of their 100-pound equipment load.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Legged Squad Support System will relieve troops of their 100-pound equipment load. // U.S. Army

In the future, an Army brigade might have 3,000 human troops instead of 4,000, but a lot more robots, according to recent remarks by General Robert Cone, the Army's head of Training and Doctrine Command.

"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," Defense News reported he said in a speech at the Army Aviation Symposium. 

Continuing, he noted that the Army had devoted more resources to "force protection," keeping the troops safe, at the cost of some firepower. "I think we’ve also lost a lot in lethality," Cone said. 

Robots could reduce the force protection burden, giving the Army more killing power per brigade. 

Those robots could be a pack bot like the Legged Squad Support System perhaps, or a conventional-looking semi or fully autonomous vehicle like Lockheed Martin's Squad Mission Support System.

The lesson? If Google is doing it, DARPA is also doing it, but with more lethality.

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