The US Army is aiming to downsize their brigade combat teams from 4,000 soldiers to 3,000 over the next few years, and replacing the lost soldiers with robots.
It’s no surprise that the US Army is planning on replacing human combatants with robotic ones, but the number at which (120,000 soldier replacements over the coming 5 years) is. While robots and unmanned systems are already pretty commonplace on the battlefield, with drones from most armies already in questionable command of arms, it’s no wonder any army wouldn’t be eager to replace its human soldiers with replaceable mechanical ones. However the number at which the US Army aims to replace them over the coming years is staggering and by no means an easy feat.
While it’s unclear as to what responsibilities will be placed upon the robotic soldiers, there are hints at mostly supportive roles, with the commander of Army Capabilities Intergeneration Center, Lt Gen. Keith Walker talking about tooth and tail, or ground operations and supporting structure;
“Right now our force is roughly two-third tooth and one-third tail, so as we decrease the size of the Army you may end up reducing one-third tooth and two-third tail, but what if you could slide that fulcrum? Maybe it’s one-half to one-half. The point is you get to keep more tooth, more folks that actually conduct operations on the ground and less supporting structure.”
Either way, it’s unnerving to have a side with considerable less human loss than another that’s entirely down to technical superiority. Something that can only lend itself to real ethical debates about future warfare. Let us know your opinions on the matter in the comments below.