The history of warfare and international security is the history of technological innovation, and today is no exception.
The ability to work and learn from home as so many of us have been doing for nearly a year now was practically unheard of not so long ago. We may take the technological advances that make this possible for granted these days, but they are the result of years of innovation. A fierce determination by the United States Military to remain ready, relevant, and the world’s premier military force has brought about many of the technological advances we enjoy today, including the development of a little thing we like to call the internet. We are currently living in what the World Economic Forum has dubbed “the fourth industrial revolution,” one characterized by “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” This is occurring at a rate that has no historical precedent. The 2020 COVID-19 quarantines look nothing like those of 1918, for instance. At least in the technological sense.
The United States Army is no stranger to being on the cutting edge of technological advances. In fact, it’s one of the world’s foremost leaders. One only has to look at the most obvious ways they advance the technology cause: the development of the SB-1 Defiant and V-280 Valor aircraft, light tank prototypes, and the ever more ubiquitous autonomous aircraft otherwise known as drones. Of particular note is the Army ALIAS program, which aims to make aircraft such as the Blackhawk optionally piloted drones. With such capability, they could pick their own landing zones, fly at near ground level, and even pilot themselves better than with humans at the controls, according to Military.com.
It’s easy to point to such big-ticket items, with their wow factor, but equally impressive is the depth of attention the Army is paying to ensuring its technological dominance. For instance, the Army is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to implement the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A), which combines more than 30 existing systems and allows soldiers to add trainings, language skills, and even hobbies to a central database that more accurately reflects their abilities. This type of technological upgrade will provide commanders with a real-time view of their forces and their capabilities, while also allowing them to identify and correct weaknesses.
Even gaming industry technology is finding a new purpose in the military. In 2018, the Army closed a $478 million deal with Microsoft that will provide Soldiers with 100,000 HoloLens headsets. This will allow for more refined and state-of-the-art training as well as have implications for real-world combat situations. Infantrymen and other troops will have heads-up displays they can use for a number of in-field applications with the potential for even more tech-savvy uses in the future. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Squad X Experimentation Program seeks to nest robots into the Army and Marine Corps to take over menial tasks, freeing up soldiers to focus on more important maneuvers.
Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, states “the distinction between war and peace, combatant and noncombatant, and even violence and nonviolence (think cyberwarfare) is becoming uncomfortably blurry.” The Army recognizes that the state of warfare has changed drastically in the last few decades. It’s currently looking to technology to create a product that would effectively “see through walls and dense foliage.” This technology will allow Soldiers to identify friend from foe and more easily locate and track targets, and even allow tanks to see through their own armor to track enemy vehicles.
The Army is pursuing programs that will improve existing technologies and merge different technologies in innovative ways. One such example is utilizing AI and quantum computing to improve image recognition and target identification, thus allowing for the development of more autonomous weapons and cutting-edge systems. CHA is proud to be among those working to develop such technologies for our Armed Forces. Our Army has always been comprised of men and women of superior strength of character, working to protect our nation from threats of all kinds. Technological advances are simply giving them additional superpowers to ensure they remain “Army Strong” well into the next century.