Imagine this scenario: You’re the leader of a dismounted infantry team in combat on the front lines, and you’ve spotted a building on high ground. It looks abandoned—but is it? Instead of risking your team, you send in a robot. Using sensors and cameras, the robot feeds back data as it travels, confirming each room is empty. At the top of the stairs, however, it detects a suspected improvised explosive device (IED). You signal your team to avoid the building while the robot establishes a communications link to friendly forces nearby so you can call forward an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team to disarm the IED.
It’s a scene that the Department of Defense (DoD) is determined to bring to the front lines. “The DoD is purchasing thousands of military robots and other intelligent machines for use in conflict areas,” says Vice President Joel Dillon, head of Digital Warrior Solutions at Booz Allen. “We’re working on the toughest challenge—to integrate them into the ecosystem and equip them to be trusted teammates.”
It will take diverse technical solutions to accomplish this, but every innovation has one requirement in common: an open and connected architecture that can integrate agile technologies and connect to a multidomain network. This is a key enabler to the concept of Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), the DoD’s initiative to accelerate decision making across services and domains, based on instantaneous sharing of data—enabling widespread coordinated robotic capabilities for greater power at the edge.