U.S Military To Use Robots As Soldiers In Battlefield
The Pentagon is considering replacing thousands of troops with robots, a
military commander said recently, marking the first time a DOD official
has publicly acknowledged that humans would be replaced with robots on the
Gen. Robert Cone, head of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, made the
comment at the Army Aviation symposium on Jan. 15, according to a report
in Defense News, a trade publication covering the military. He said that
robots would allow for “a smaller, more lethal, deployable and agile
“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,” Cone said.
DOD did not respond to a request for comment on Cone's remarks.
Cone also said that one-quarter of a 4,000 troop Brigade Combat Team could
be replaced by robots or drones. His announcement comes as the entire
Pentagon is shrinking, including troop reductions. DOD officials have said
that the size of the force would shrink from 540,000 to 450,000 by 2020.
The Pentagon and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
have been aggressively pursuing robot technology. DOD has already invested
billions of dollars with companies like Boston Dynamics, now owned by
Google, to develop the technology.
So far, the company has developed the AlphaDog robot, designed to haul
heavy military equipment for soldiers. Last year alone, DOD spent $7
million on the Avatar Program, which is attempting to find a way to upload
a soldier's consciousness to a robot. It also spent $11 million on a
program that is developing robots that act autonomously.
These robots, combined with the already widespread use of drones and
robots to detect bombs, are prompting fears that the human element would
be removed from combat. Human Rights Watch and the Campaign to Stop Killer
Robots, an international coalition concerned that robots could replace
humans, have launched preemptive campaigns to ban their use.
If more advanced robots are used in battle, it would be years down the
line. Lt. Gen. Keith Walker told Defense News that widespread use of
robots could not occur until the “deep future” – sometime between 2030 and
“We'll need to fundamentally change the nature of the force, and that
would require a breakthrough in science and technology,” he said.
The Fiscal Times