Army to Pursue 'With Urgency' Autonomous Systems Strategy.

Author:Lee, Connie

Following the release of a document that outlines the Army's vision for autonomous systems, the service is now looking at ways to make that vision a reality.

The service last year released the "Robotics and Autonomous Systems Strategy," a document that stated its intention to pursue these capabilities "with urgency." The strategy outlines the Army's five capability objectives, which include: increasing situational awareness; lightening soldiers' physical and cognitive workloads; sustaining the force with increased distribution, throughput and efficiency; facilitating movement and maneuver; and protecting the force.

Maj. Mike Dvorak, robotics branch chief at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, said the service is now working on an execution strategy that will "lay [out] the specific details of how we're going to get the capabilities." The document is being produced by the Maneuver Center of Excellence and ARCIC, he said at the National Defense Industrial Association's Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference in Springfield, Virginia.

"We've always needed something a little bit more granular than what we've had with the RAS strategy," he said. "It doesn't tell you the specifics of... specific capabilities crossed against the reality of technology and resources and what we're going to get and when. It was pretty broad."

The blueprint, which will either be referred to as a "roadmap" or "execution strategy," will outline the Army's plans through 2035. It is scheduled to be completed in June, he said.

The service is examining ways to operationalize robotics and autonomous systems in multiple domains in an annual war game called Unified Quest that uses systems at different technology readiness levels, Dvorak said. Unified Quest consists of about 20 events, he said, and provides an opportunity for Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to provide feedback on the outcomes. The roadmap will "connect the dots" and leverage technical information from events such as these, he noted.

Jose Gonzalez, deputy assistant secretary of defense for tactical warfare systems, said the Defense Department is also working on an overarching unmanned systems roadmap, which will be the first that the department has released since 2013. The document focuses on the need to develop interoperability among systems, secure networks and develop human-machine collaboration, Gonzalez said.

"The seamless integration... between man and machine with this gradual reduction in the...

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