17 Mar 16. US Army Putting Finishing Touches on Autonomous Systems Strategy. The Army is putting the finishing touches on its robotics and autonomous systems strategy, according to the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center.
The strategy, expected to come out this year, is in “the final stages of editing now,” Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster told Defense News in an interview at the Association of the US Army’s Global Force Symposium. The ARCIC team is coordinating with the joint staff and other services to make sure its approach is compatible with joint forces’ autonomous development and that it also aligns with the deputy secretary of defense’s Third Offset Strategy to maintain overmatch, he said.
Robots and autonomous systems made their way onto the Army Training and Doctrine Command’s “Big 8” list of initiatives — unveiled at the AUSA conference this week — that it needs to develop to stay ahead of global threats and maintain overmatch against present and future adversaries.
The strategy, informed by some war-gaming and through an Army Warfighting Assessment at Fort Bliss, Texas, seeks to achieve “six main things” through the use of robots and autonomous systems, McMaster teased out.
The first is these systems should help protect the force at increased standoff distances, McMaster said: “They allow you to hopefully gain contact with the enemy under favorable conditions.”
Secondly, robots and autonomy-enabled systems can help improve situational awareness and provide persistent monitoring of the environment, he added. However, this doesn’t just mean to transmit visual observations, McMaster said, but will also have “other means of information collection so you can understand your environment better.”
The Army has looked very hard at systems that can lighten the soldier’s physical load, but it also is looking to lighten the cognitive load as well, McMaster explained.
Additionally, the service is looking to gain the ability to sustain the force with less risk to soldiers by using more autonomy-enabled systems for both air and ground delivery, McMaster said.
The Marine Corps and the Army dabbled with sling-load cargo resupply in Afghanistan for the course of a year using Lockheed Martin’s K-MAX unmanned helicopter. One of the aircraft crashed and the Marine Corps and Army completed its operational assessment using the remaining aircraft, but did not pursue the capability beyond that. (Source: Defense News)
17 Mar 16. DoD, Intel Leaders Partner on Space Capabilities. Space is crucial to U.S. national security, and the Defense Department and intelligence agencies are working together well to ensure the United States dominates that domain, officials told the House Armed Service Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee March 15.
Access to space, building a Joint Space Operations Center and the close working environment between DoD and the intelligence community were among the topics discussed in the hearing.
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, the commander of Air Force Space Command and DoD’s point man for space, said that cooperation is the best he has seen in his service.
“The No. 1 lesson learned from the [Joint Interagency Space Operations Center] is the critical partnership we have with the [National Reconnaissance Office] and the intelligence community; it’s better than I’ve ever seen in my 35-year career,” Hyten said. “It’s remarkable the progress that we’re making, and that partnership is critical to the future.”
Robert Cardillo, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said adversaries are trying to counter U.S. space capabilities and eliminate the decisive advantage America has. The interagency center “is an amazing effort between the [intelligence community] and the DoD to share information — whether that’s indications and warning or whether it’s on defensive kinds of maneuvers that we potentially could do — through a whole unity of effort between the two organ