Autonomous Robotic Weapons: U.S. Army Innovation for Ground Combat in the Twenty-First Century - Case Studies of Mechanized Doctrine Development in Ge
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This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. This monograph analyzes three case studies and compares them to determine some of the critical factors behind models of successful and unsuccessful innovation. These case studies include the German and French Armies and their mechanized doctrine development 1919-1939 and the U.S. Army's autonomous robotic doctrine development 2005 - 2025. The twenty-first century provides a challenging, complex, and dynamic operational environment for US military planners to effectively link tactical ways and means to achieve strategic ends and to ultimately enforce US national policy. The US Army's current Unified Action doctrine states that Unified Land Operations must be executed through decisive action, and by means of the two core competencies of combined arms maneuver and wide area security.4 This doctrine outlines a wide-ranging mission set for land component forces, and therefore maneuver officers will need to develop innovative solutions to effectively train and prepare Soldiers to rapidly respond to a variety of these world-wide contingencies. The recent US troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, in conjunction with subsequent reductions in national defense budgets, and lower force levels are congruent with a lack of overall popular support for the mass deployment of US combat Soldiers abroad. In the recent post-war environment, US military planners increasingly strive to develop innovative ways to achieve greater capabilities with fewer resources. Concurrently, many civilian applications and developments of both digital and robotic technology continue to advance at an unprecedented pace. The proliferation of this technology has rendered unmanned, remote controlled, and even autonomous robotic systems accessible to both state and non-state organizations alike. The potential applications for these robotic systems are continually expanding and their capabilities may be exploited for both benevolent and malevolent designs. Though many of these early robotic innovations manifested in Iraq and Afghanistan, the vast capabilities and growing implications of these armed robotic weapon systems have not yet been fully realized. It is useful to consider and compare the insights of genius-inventor Nikola Tesla who predicted extraordinary advancements in robotic capabilities for our near-term future, with the observations of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who cautioned against the stalwart resistance to change inherent within powerful military-industrial bureaucracies.Contemporary operational planners, much like their predecessors in the inter-war period, must be attuned to the changing characteristics of warfare. These changes in the contemporary operational environment will likely incorporate autonomous robotic capabilities at an unprecedented pace. This project seeks to determine if maneuver officers in the US Army are fully anticipating the requirement to field and develop autonomous robotic ground weapon systems, and create a comprehensive doctrine to effectively integrate these systems with other emergent technologies. It further determines whether powerful institutional norms, rooted in decades of battlefield dominance throughout the twentieth century, have formed a cognitive resistance to such innovative doctrinal development or to paradigm shifts that may be required to prepare the US Army to dominate ground combat operations in the 21st century.


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