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Autonomous Robotic Weapons: US Army Innovation for Ground Combat in the Twenty-First Century

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,01 May 2015

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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This monograph analyzes three case studies and compares them to determine some of the critical factors behind models of successful and unsuccessful innovation. These case studies include the German and French Armies and their mechanized doctrine development 1919-1939 and the U.S. Armys autonomous robotic doctrine development 2005 2025. Contemporary operational planners, much like their predecessors in the inter-war period, must be attuned to the changing characteristics of warfare. These changes in the contemporary operational environment will likely incorporate autonomous robotic capabilities at an unprecedented pace. This project seeks to determine if maneuver officers in the US Army are fully anticipating the requirement to field and develop autonomous robotic ground weapon systems, and create a comprehensive doctrine to effectively integrate these systems with other emergent technologies. It further determines whether powerful institutional norms, rooted in decades of battlefield dominance throughout the twentieth century, have formed a cognitive resistance to such innovative doctrinal development or to paradigm shifts that may be required to prepare the US Army to dominate ground combat operations in the 21st century.

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