As budget cuts due to the sequester begin to pile up, the Army is feeling more pressure to decrease its number of soldiers in combat roles. One way the Army may shrink its ranks is by adding more unmanned devices.
According to Military Times, Gen. Robert Cone, the head of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, revealed at a recent symposium in Arlington, Va., that the branch is considering decreasing its brigade combat team from about 4,000 soldiers to 3,000 and replacing the soldiers with robots and unmanned ground vehicles.
"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, as quoted by the news source.
Using robotic technology is not a new development for the military. While no unmanned vehicles or robots were used when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, the military currently has more than 7,000 unmanned platforms in its inventory, according to Popular Mechanics. These products range from aerial systems to ground devices that can diffuse bombs and inspect other suspicious items.
The Army may be helped by unmanned technology over the coming years, as the branch is forced to reduce its size. USA Today recently reported that the latest defense budget plan will reduce the Army to 420,000 troops by 2019.