What an Army Does XXI Century Need ?

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

In the aftermath of the war with Hezbollah last summer, Israeli generals were criticized for monitoring battles on plasma screens in the bunkers located a few dozens kilometers away from the battlefield rather than using binoculars and being closer to the troops.

This fact told me that technology is out there to revolutionize the army. If cameras, internet, and plasma screens (which project images captured by the cameras and brought to the bunkers via networks) allow generals to better view the batlle being far away than by observing it at a close range through binoculars, then there is no need in any troops at the front lines either. The mobile armed devices equipped with cameras and driven by tele-soldiers-operators can do a better job than humans. A tele-soldier-opertor can sit in the front of a plasma screen in his barrack hundreds miles away from the battlefield and better view enemy than being face to face to it. Being secured by the distance, he would better and faster aim the remote weapons and shoot more accurately. The current technology allows doing that !

The reason why such troopers-manipulators are not being built is rooted in elementary mental inertia. The army is perceived as the school of bravery. It is associated with human troops, with strong, agile, fearless fighters. Army completely consisting of soldiers-operators each remotely driving his own mobile fighting machine contradicts the traditional image of the army. Can you imagine an army of 2,000,000 compact mobile fighting machines driven by 2,000,000 tele-soldiers looking at 2,000,000 plasma screens instead of the real 2,000,000 troops fighting in the field ?

However, such machines would completely eliminate any combat casualties. They would be incomparably better at house-to-house searches and in fighting in close quarters. The only problem is that such fighting machines have to satisfy 3 requirements:

  1. To be more or less of the same size as humans (in order to be able to search houses and fight in close quarters);
  2. To be able to navigate all terrains that humans can;
  3. To consume as little matter for energy replenishment as humans do (say 1-2 kilogram a day) and be able to move on this supply 20-30 km.

All these engineering challenges are surmountable with the current state of the art. The nation that builds such fighting machines first will make armies of all other countries obsolete. Quite like Alexander's Sarissa did.