While cyborg soldiers and fully automated weapons have long been fodder for futuristic sci-fi thrillers, they are now a reality and, if the Pentagon gets its way, will soon become the norm in the U.S. military. As Defense One reported last Thursday, the Army had just concluded a live-fire exercise using a remote-controlled ground combat vehicle complete with a fully automated machine gun. The demonstration marked the first time that the Army has used a ground robot providing fire in tandem with human troops in a military exercise and, as Defense One noted, “it won’t be the last.”
Indeed, last week’s exercise represents just the latest step in the Pentagon’s relatively quiet tip-toe into converting the U.S. Armed Forces to a machine-majority force. Faced with low recruitment and an increased demand for soldiers, the Department of Defense is seeking to solve that problem altogether while also increasing the military’s firepower and force in combat.