Military Power

Intelligent systems technologies have the potential to revolutionize the art of war. The eventual impact on military science may be as great as the invention of gunpowder, the airplane, or nuclear weapons. Intelligent weapons systems are already beginning to emerge. Cruise missiles, smart bombs, and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft have been deployed and used in combat with positive effect. Unmanned ground vehicles and computer-augmented command and control systems are currently being developed and will soon be deployed. Unmanned undersea vehicles are patrolling the oceans collecting data and gathering intelligence. These are but the vanguard of a whole new generation of military systems that will become possible as soon as intelligent systems engineering becomes a mature discipline (Gourley 2000).

In future wars, unmanned air vehicles, ground vehicles, ships, and undersea vehicles will be able to outperform manned systems. Many military systems are limited in performance because of the inability of the human body to tolerate high levels of temperature, acceleration, vibration, or pressure, or because humans need to consume air, water, and food. A great deal of the weight and power of current military vehicles is spent on armor and life support systems that would be unnecessary if there were no human operators on board. A great deal of military tactics and strategy are based on the need to minimize casualties and rescue people from danger. This would become unnecessary if warriors could remain out of harm's way.

Intelligent military systems will significantly reduce the cost of training and readiness. Compared to humans, unmanned vehicles and weapons systems will require little training or maintenance to maintain readiness. Unmanned systems can be stored in forward bases or at sea for long periods of time at low cost. They can be mobilized quickly in an emergency, and they will operate without fear under fire, the first time and every time.

Intelligent systems also enable fast and effective gathering, processing, and displaying of battlefield information. They can enable human commanders to be quicker and more thorough in planning operations and in replanning as unexpected events occur during the course of battle. In short, intelligent systems promise to multiply the capabilities of the armed forces, while reducing casualties and hostages and lowering the cost of training and readiness (Maggart and Markunas 2000).

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