The US doctrine of defending "freedom in all the world” (George Bush 2005) demands a professional and expensive military. Navy and Air Force are capital-intensive, Army and Marines are manpower-intensive, and
manpower is increasingly expensive, especially
health care. Shrinking the Army and Marines is an obvious way to reduce defense expenditures. Robots might one day replace soldiers and Marines, but not in the near future according to Rob Maline, Enterprise Director, Joint Ground Robotics. Experiences in war zones have proven that robotics can satisfy critical operational needs, but more research and development will be needed. The US military has only just begun to understand how to leverage unmanned systems in the joint battle space. In future warfare robots will have much more to do. Robots allow soldiers presence in hostile environments at reduced risk of exposure and loss of life and limb. Requirements under development call for doing the same things soldiers normally do, only with unmanned systems such as Counter-IED, autonomous convoy OPS, EOD missions. There are plans to do more than just extend the reach/sight of US soldiers but to employ robots as "Teammates/Co-workers/Co-inhabitants".
To speed up the creation and deployment of ground robotics technology for the Defense Department and other government organizations the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC) , a non-profit industry organisation was established in 2008 and consists today of about 200 large and small commercial companies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations, both traditional and non-traditional. At the annual NDIA Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference & Exhibition industry and government meet to identifying the technologies that will be able to meet the future needs of US defense. Check the video below for en short insight in topics, trends and solutions.