Last updated at 12:51pm on 10th April 2007 We may have seen it all before in science-fiction films. But the bionic warrior is in fact a vision of real-life warfare in the 21st century. U.S. defence chiefs hope to have their troops kitted out in the outlandish combat gear as soon as 2020.Included in the Pentagon’s Future Warrior Concept are a powerful exoskeleton, a self-camouflaging outer layer that adapts to changing environments and a helmet which translates a soldier’s voice into any foreign language.
Scroll down for more…
The future soldier will also benefit from ‘intelligent’ armour, which remains light and flexible until it senses an approaching bullet, then tenses to become bulletproof.
Perhaps worryingly, several of the planned enhancements seem to owe more than a little to Hollywood blockbusters such as Robocop, Aliens and Predator.
But officials are quick to point out that many of these systems are already working in prototype form, or are refinements of proven technologies.
Some of the blueprints will be unworkable without eagerly awaited advances in nanotechnology, but researchers remain confident. And perhaps with good reason.
The sheer scale of U.S. military research spending and the pace of recent advances in aircraft stealth technology and guided precision bombs are staggering.
Project specialist Jean-Louis DeGay, a former captain in 75th Ranger Regiment, said: “We’re already trialling equipment and technologies that did not exist a few years ago.
“The air force has just debuted its new stun gun and five years after the concept of an exoskeleton was first discussed, we have fully functioning prototypes.”
He told Soldier magazine: “Five years ago, nobody thought we’d have a portable hydrogen fuel cell, but we’ve got them now.
“They’re functioning, and we’re just trying to make them smaller. And if I’m honest, nothing speeds up the development of technology like war.”
If the U.S. military’s vision of the future is even half-right, Britain’s armed forces will have their work cut out trying to keep up.
Even comparatively understated attempts to improve our troops’ battlefield technology, such as the Bowman digital battlefield radio system, have been blighted by years of delays and embarrassing technical blunders.
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S.service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for
LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq
|E-Mail Ballots for Military QuestionedThursday, November 02, 2006WASHINGTON — A New Jersey congressman raised questions Thursday about a new military voting program that lets service members request and submit their ballots by fax or e-mail.The Defense Department, however, said the program is as secure as possible, and any risks are detailed for the military members when they access the e-mail system.In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Democratic Rep. Rush Holt said the electronic registration and voting service is well-intentioned, but could expose troops to identity theft, or allow hackers or others to tamper with the ballots when they are in transit.“After the Defense Department was stopped from implementing a program like this two years ago because it was full of security holes, I’m angry and astonished that they’re doing it again without review, scrutiny, and oversight,”said Holt.He said that while U.S. military personnel should participate in the political process,”no one is served by introducing possibilities for error, insecurity, and fraud.”Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the Defense Department has set up a secure absentee voter program that will allow military members to request and receive absentee ballots. The new program, she said, lets people vote without relying on the regular mail system.As part of the program, many states allow military members deployed overseas to return their completed ballot via fax or the Internet. Those ballots, Smith said, will not pass through the hands of any government officials until they are received by a local election authority.“The e-mail-to-fax operation does have risks, but we have taken every precaution to limit those risks,”said Smith. She said U.S. service members have been told of the potential privacy concerns with the system, so they can make an informed choice about whether to use the program.___On the Net:Federal Voting Assistance Program:http://www.fvap.gov/Defense Department:http://www.defenselink.mil|