Wesley: Robotics have key role in multidomain operations

By Ashley Tressel / April 24, 2019 at 5:01 PM

COLUMBUS, GA -- Army Futures Command deputy chief Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley says robotics and artificial intelligence will play a key role in the service's multidomain operations concept for competing against near-peer adversaries.

"In future warfare, the [ability] to bring all sensors, all shooters, with access to integrate both at any headquarters is going to be fundamental," Wesley told industry leaders at the NDIA Robotics Capabilities Conference here today.

"The need to conduct multidomain command and control across the services is going to be answered by the idea of artificial intelligence and machine learning," he said. "The very first place we want to invest in artificial intelligence is not a robot that fights another robot, it's helping us make decisions faster in a more efficient and effective way."

Wesley said combined with lethality and extended range, robots can help close the gap with potential adversaries in multidomain operations, which demand a high level of synchronization between disparate battlespaces.

"The advantage you get by stacking domains . . . you can bring multiple domains into one space -- the total is greater than the sum of the parts, and you create overmatch," he said. "But you can imagine the complexity of aligning cyber, which happens in milliseconds; [electronic warfare], which you can't see; air, which moves at about 500 miles an hour; sea which moves about 30 knots and ground, which moves around between 2 miles an hour and 30 kilometers an hour. How do you synchronize all that? That gets really complex. It gets more complex when you add the fact that different services at different echelons are responsible for those domains."

Wesley added the Army should act quickly to capitalize on the heavy investment already made by industry in research and development of these technologies, before the United States' adversaries beat it to the battlefield.