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Army's Cut of 'Future Soldier' May Impact Med-Tech

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the we-have-the-technology dept.

Biotech 184

docinthemachine writes "The U.S. Army has decided to axe its $500 Million 'Land Warrior Soldier of the Future' program. If this goes through, the loss of future medical technology will be enormous. Many do not realize the enormous amount of medical technology that trickles down from the military. The program was working on develops new HUDs, 3D vision systems, and bioarmor. Surgeons today are using this technology (via DARPA) to develop new robotic surgery, bioimplants, intelligent prosthetics and more." That's the downside. The reason for the program's cutting is fairly obvious: "Unfortunately, land Warrior is part of the Army's Future Combat System (FCS) Initiative. This is the roadmap for an unprecedented hi-tech modernization of the Army. What new? How about an air force of completely unmanned remote controlled fighters- it's in the budget! Unfortunately, the entire project is so far over budget it becomes a target for cuts. Originally at $60 billion, then $127B, recent estimates have balooned to $300 billion total cost (yes that's billion with a B) and some are calling it the biggest military boondoggle ever."

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not quite.. (5, Insightful)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172336)

Originally at $60 billion, then $127B, recent estimates have balooned to $300 billion total cost (yes that's billion with a B) and some are calling it the biggest military boondoggle ever.

At I believe it's still at least 100 billion short of the iraq invasion, which currently holds the record as the biggest military boondoggle. ever.

Re:not quite.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172952)

And how'll you be paying for that war sir? Cash, credit, runaway inflation, Chinese bt'n'st, or just charge it to your^w someone else's descendants?

(Is this like game carts? Billions with a B are 8x larger than billions with a b?)

Re:not quite.. (2, Insightful)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173610)

No the invasion was VERY sucessful, the occupation and "mop-up" has been very tough going. I still wouldn't call it a military boondoggle, because we are engaging most of the enemy (terrorists) in that fight and we have not been attacked on US Soil. The biggest military boondoggle that comes to mind was Hitler not allowing the Armor he had in Reserve to be applied to repelling the Normandy (D-Day) invasion as he didn't think it was real. Releasing the armor would likely have crushed the invasion and the war would have continued longer (don't think the Nazi's would have won though).

Re:not quite.. (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173824)

The biggest military boondoggle that comes to mind was Hitler not allowing the Armor he had in Reserve to be applied to repelling the Normandy (D-Day) invasion as he didn't think it was real. Releasing the armor would likely have crushed the invasion and the war would have continued longer (don't think the Nazi's would have won though).

From what I read, there were two related issues on D-Day: (1) Hitler equivocated on what to do with his armor in preparation for a possible attack; his generals proposed a few options, and he didn't commit to any of them, he compromised, and (2) on D-Day itself, he couldn't be reached in a timely manner to deliver the command to send all of the armor to where it (perhaps) should be. This may be due to the Allies feinting an invasion elsewhere, so he may not have been sure the attack on Normandy was real, as you said above. However, overall, I am not sure this qualifies for the 'biggest military boondoggle'. The Russia strategy, as a whole, or specifics in it, probably qualifies more (if you want to focus on WWII at least).

Re:not quite.. (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173860)

I still wouldn't call it a military boondoggle, because we are engaging most of the enemy (terrorists) in that fight and we have not been attacked on US Soil.

The key mistake in this argument is the assumption that the people we're fighting in Iraq are people who would, if not so occupied, be flying planes into US buildings. Now, some of them probably are, but the best evidence -- given how al-Sadr, bin Laden et al are using the war as a recruiting tool -- is that most of them are people who, before the war, may not have liked the US very much, but didn't actively hate it enough to go out and try to kill Americans; even if those Americans were right next door, not halfway around the world!

Before 9/11, there were plenty of Americans who didn't have any warm'n'fuzzy feelings about the Middle East, but they weren't in any rush to go and enlist to sit out on some chunk of sand in Saudi Arabia either. After 9/11, recruiting stations had lines around the block. If you can't see the parallel here, you're blind.

Re:not quite.. (1)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174198)

Your parallel is obtuse: Before 9/11, the jihadis obviously had a but more going in the motivation department than we did. Otherwise, there would have been no 9/11. Your tired attempt to blame America for Islamist Imperialism has somehow failed to convince me. I hope that this does not mean I am blind. One thing we may agree on here--many of these people had no interest in harming America five or ten years ago. The hard part seems to be proving that America's actions have caused this Islamist Jihad. It seems much simpler, more credible to say (and here I fear we disagree again) that from the evidence in the Nineties and even from 1979 on, this was coming, and we are lucky to have drawn the problem to a particular geographic location: Iraq. Remember this: if the Soldiers come home without winning, this time, the war will follow them. This is a lesson which perhaps ONLY Americans could reasonably have failed to learn by this point in history--so why doesn't Europe see this?

Re:not quite.. (3, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174650)

I don't think he's claiming that America's actions caused the jihad. He's claiming that it has made it worse, or rather, that it may be making it worse by providing recruiting tools.

It's based around the (debatable) idea that 9/11 was a one-shot with no follow-through. I think that part of what made 9/11 so horrible was that everybody was expecting it to be part of a campaign, one which was easy enough since the country is full of soft targets. I don't know if it didn't materialize because of the toppling of the Taliban, or increased enforcement (including Guantanamo and wiretapping), or just because they didn't plan well.

At this point proving causation is just impossible. They have a lot of bones to pick with us, but the rhetoric is often obtuse and bragging. The real question is not what got us here, but where we go from here. Most people are agreed that simply dropping the Iraq war is not an option, including (I suspect) the grandparent poster. But "winning" in the usual sense may also not be an option, in which case you're kinda stuck between a rock and a very difficult policy decision.

Re:not quite.. (1)

Illserve (56215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174242)

No, the war would have ended at about the same time, except that the Soviets would have occupied all of Germany instead of half of it.

At that point the situation was so badly deteriorated that it was largely a question of how long it took the soviets to physically move their tanks there.

Re:not quite.. (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174364)

I'm not sure about that. Truman was strongly anti-communist. What you may have seen was a US/UK vs Russia for control of post-Nazi Germany. Interesting alternative history theme for a sci-fi novel perhaps. As I recall the Alternate History that Harry Harrison? did was based on the Nazi's winning the war.

Re:not quite.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174358)

Sorry, the biggest military boondoggle was your dad thinking he could keep your mom from fucking him in the ass. Nine months later, dipshit twiddlingbits popped out!

Re:not quite.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174432)

Well, call me cynic but another World Trade Center bombing would have cost less in dollars and in human lives. Yes, I do consider Iraqian lives to be human lives.

Plus, saying that you are engaging terrorists, hence you are successfully fighting is a bit like entering a friendly country with a battalion of tanks, beggining to blow some things then being fired at and then suddenly realize that this friendly country was in fact full of enemies! Damn! You were so right to come there !

You will excuse me if I stay anonymous...

FUD (5, Insightful)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172340)

Sounds to me like this is being reported by someone who wants to keep the program running, so they are trying to fud it up with implications that medical science will be harmed.
If the U.S. didn't get into wars all the time, then wouldn't that both save lives and cost less money?

Re:FUD (4, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172432)

Although historically medical advances were military in origin (major surgery mostly), the major diseases that confront wealthy societies have very little to do with combat. Take cancer or heart disease or diabetes as examples (although depleted uranium may be a way to generate cases) - we don't have any shortage of people with these complaints. Civilian society is driving medicine forward in these fields. What is more, vaccination against common fatal infections was arguably the greatest medical advance of the 20th century, and this did not come about because of the army. Just to give credence to your point :)

Re:FUD (4, Insightful)

legoburner (702695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172870)

Indeed, I would wager that $300Billion pumped directly into medical research would have given a hell of a lot more results than 'land warrior' trickle down.

Re:FUD (2, Funny)

ksb (517539) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173058)

Although perhaps without the availability of captured 'enemy' personnel to experiment on.

Re:FUD (3, Funny)

legoburner (702695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173090)

nah, $300billion would buy a lot of "homeless shelters"

Re:FUD (1)

wiit_rabit (584440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173910)

The problem in buying $300B in homeless shelters is what do you do next year? Another $300B?.
Its the 'give a man a fish' vs. 'teach a man to fish' problem.
What is the $300B vs. GDP? What is $300B vs. the total budget?

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173228)

Outside of war, you don't have a big, fat stream of friendlies to sew back together. Iraq is at least giving doctors lots of experience, and plenty of nearly hopeless cases to devise new experimental techniques for.

Re:FUD (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173920)

Outside of war, and possibly some US cities, doctors don't need much experience sewing battle casualties back together.

Better for them to spend their time learning useful things.

FUD by the Opponents (5, Informative)

cluckshot (658931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173896)

The US Army has been very much at the fore front of modern medicine. Obviously the future list of benefits isn't in yet but here is a short list of a few benefits I can think of right off the top.

Coumadin - Primary anticoagulation and colt prevention drug used in medicine -- Developed as Sodium Warfarin to kill RATS.

Most Skin Grafting and venous grafting technology arose from combat surgery and recovery. This includes the modern advances heading towards organ replacement that began as tissue replacement efforts under US Army funding.

Most Rehabilitation technology (No comment needed here)

Most Nutrition Research -- Yeah folks they were from the 1860's on the primary research effort into human nutrition

Vaccinations of nearly all types. -- Yes I know there is some history before and outside the Army but most of the efforts to contain disease are US Armed Forces based this is world wide.

Water Purification -- Most of the efforts at good potable water development are US Armed Forces developments.

Mapping - Not just GPS folks the US Armed forces have been involved in this to the limit and it benefits all mankind including those around the world who use the Satellite technology for such. This is cheaply available because of the US Armed Forces.

Weather -- The US Armed Forces provide a very large part of the weather research around the world and millions owe their lives to it. This is on going research

Electrical and Magnetic Technology advances. -- Funny how those typing on computers can complain so about the US Armed Forces. Computers wouldn't be hear and that famous OS Microsoft sells wouldn't be here either.

Education -- You know all those kids from the far East who are knocking us Americans out of a job because their schools work? Well they learned in schools largely patterned after US Armed Forces Schooling technology. The contribution of the US Armed Forces to Human Learning is very deep.

I know it may not be popular to say so but the US Armed Forces have done a lot of good.

To be fair, in this "Free Trade" world, the new technology is more likely to displace an American from his job than it is to make him one. But that is a matter of US Tax and Trade policy it is not one of the US Armed Forces. The US Armed Forces are in their R&D beyond belief. Here is a short list of what is coming: [1] Cars that drive themselves saving millions of lives and billions of barrels of oil and stopping much damage to the environment. [2] Faster and better computers. [3] New Energy Technologies. [4] More disease control. Are there bad things? I am sure some things will always go wrong. But on the whole, the loss of US Armed Forces Research is nailing the lid on the casket of the USA in future generations.

Re:FUD by the Opponents (0, Troll)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174476)

So, what you're saying is, you're in favor of government-subsidized scientific research. Cool.

Please, back up your claim that the Army has made huge advances in the field of education, and that these advances have been widely adopted in places like India and China. As someone who has been through a couple of Army schools, I never saw any particularly advanced educational technology (unless you count the Scantron sheet as an Armed Forces invention). The schools did a good job teaching us, but their methods always seemed pretty straightforward, and I attribute their success to the highly focused, disciplined atmosphere.

I'm less skeptical of your claim that the Armed Services is pioneering new energy sources, but I'd be interested in seeing some backup for that.

Finally, I don't think that the military has been a major force driving computer technology since their widespread adoption by private industry in the 70's and 80's. If they were really the driving force, do you think they'd have let all our semiconducter manufacturing capacity go to Malaysia?

The problem with your claims (besides the fact that they're entirely unsourced, and most of the advances would have been made independent of the military) is that we're dropping $400B into the military every single year! If you throw that much money at a particular set of problems, you can't help but get some interesting advances out of it. The military is a crappy research and development program. The military is a crappy jobs program. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things, and I don't think it needs to apologize for that. But we spend as much on military expenditures as the rest of the world combined, and there is no need for that.

The military-industrial complex is out of control, and needs to be drastically scaled back. Unchecked government spending is doing grave harm to our national interests, and I believe that drastically reducing military spending is the best way to do that.

Re:FUD (1, Troll)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172904)

If the U.S. didn't get into wars all the time, then wouldn't that both save lives and cost less money?

True, if the US didn't go into wars, Germany would not have invaded France 3x, Japan would never have bombed Pearl Harbor, Kuwaitis would be doing the happy dance every day and the Taliban would make sure that nothing bad ever happened to non-Muslims either in Afghanistan or abroad.
Damn, should have thought of that sooner.

If the US didn't go into UNJUSTIFIED wars... (2, Interesting)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173080)

We wouldn't have failed patheitcally at 'managing communism' in Korea.

We wouldn't have had an enourmous display of incompetance and uneffectiveness in Vietnam.

We wouldn't have attacked Saddam in 93...our ally a few years previous...because he invaded Kuwait who were friends of our NEW ally Saudi Arabia which oppresses women and backed the 9/11 terrorists.

We wouldn't have lost 3k people, wounded 40k and blown $400Billion chains WMDs,,,no wait, stopping Saddam from getting Yellow Cake for nukes, no wait to stop Saddam from supporting Al-Quieda...no wait...to Free the oppressed Iraqi people....who actually had it pretty good compared to many places in Africa which were unfortunately oil-less.

Re:If the US didn't go into UNJUSTIFIED wars... (2, Insightful)

Net_fiend (811742) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173786)

No wait...we should have let Saddam get nukes...no wait...we should let President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad get nukes so he can blow up the Israelis *then* us as he has said. Because we all know the Holocaust was a myth.http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/12/14/ira n.israel/ [cnn.com] And any who would help the 'Zionists' should be wiped off the face of the earth. http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/10/26/ahma dinejad/index.html/ [cnn.com] http://www.aljazeera.com/me.asp?service_ID=9898/ [aljazeera.com]

Because we should wait until something happens to us first...no wait http://www.september11news.com/111wtcreutersitaly. jpg/ [september11news.com] we did already. Maybe our country *is* wrong and we should listen to better leaders http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/09/20/chave z.un/index.html/ [cnn.com] as our leader is obviously the devil incarnate.

Maybe we've lost too many soldiers and should pull out...no wait...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_toll#War _and_military_action/ [wikipedia.org] ...we've lost more in those than any other time...wait wait...might we have lost close to as many in Katrina? Where are the war drums beating for those people? Where are the people complaining that those families still don't have homes to move back into?

But I digress.

Re:If the US didn't go into UNJUSTIFIED wars... (3, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173948)

So, what exactly is your plan for stopping Iran getting nukes? Destroy their two biggest enemies (al-queda and Saddam)?

Since 9/11 the US has helped Bin Laden achieve his major war aim (US troops out of Saudi), destroyed Iran's enemies and given control of Iraq to Iranian allies.

Maybe you'd better learn to look before you leap.

Re:If the US didn't go into UNJUSTIFIED wars... (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173984)

Tell me how many Iraqi civilians are now dead.

Also, bringing the holocaust into this is totally uncalled for.

Re:FUD (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173454)

Most of those were decades ago, America is still starting wars today. And for the record Afghanistan and Iraq are now much WORSE places to live than before the Americans got their chubby hands on them.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173434)

If the U.S. didn't get into wars all the time, then wouldn't that both save lives and cost less money?
I know. What were they thinking putting those towers right in the flight path of those planes? Stupid Americans.

Re:FUD (1, Informative)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174032)

Sounds to me like someone is very left leaning and history challenged. But hey that seems to be the best way to get +1 Left Leaning Slashdot Groupthink.

"If the U.S. didn't get into wars all the time, then wouldn't that both save lives and cost less money?". That is patently false. I could come up with examples of this all day long, but we will stick with a few basic ones. First we have the transportation industry, planes, trains, and automobiles all have gone through great leaps and bounds in technological advancement due to wartime needs. Manufacturing processes have gone through leaps and bounds due to wartime needs. The interstate was built because of wartime needs. Radar was developed primarily for wartime needs. The very computer you are typing on was developed due to wartime needs. The internet you are connected to...DARPAnet. Things developed by the military have expanded our manufacturing and exports an incredible ammount and has kept us the largest exporter for a long time. The trade defecit that everyone is so fond of talking about exists because we import more than we export because we are the worlds largest consumers by a large margin.

Now, to be fair, if you just aren't aware of the military history beyond the middle east (we have had a military for a very long time). One of the biggest "inventions" to come out of our jumping around out there has been "Gee, we should put air conditioning in our tanks when we go to the desert". We have had quite a few advances in vehicle and personnel armor, but that doesn't exactly have alot of effect on the general populace beyond police forces etc. The shenanagins going on now should hardly be held up as the example for how the military operates. This IS another vietnam, not in the bloodiness or all the ways people like to compare the 2 wars, but in the fact that its a bunch of dumb politicians making stupid decisions and tying the military up in bullshit and not letting anyone get anything meaningful done. This war has been run primarily by Rummy and the Shrub (aka. "the decider") and has been one stupid "Mission Accomplished" style PR circus after another. We are still winning the war, hyuk, see we have a pretty banner that says so, and we are gunna have another press conference to deny the obvious and explain we are going to "stay the course" in getting precious little accomplished). Original estimates for this mess was $50-100B and were going to be paid back inside 2 years by Iraqi oil revenue...5 years later and something like 300B later, they are finally saying its looking like more 500+B and STILL won't admit they totally fucked this mess up.

Re:FUD (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174400)

Well yeah I would think so, maybe this person's livelihood relies on such a project continuing to receive funding?

Is putting a lot of people out of work in the process of shitcanning a military contract worth "saving money?" Cuz this is the US federal government we're talking about here, the money is going to be wasted regardless of where it's spent.

Re:FUD (2, Interesting)

ImpTech (549794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174570)

I work for a company that is involved in several military contracts, including FCS, though we have nothing to do with Land Warrior. From some conversations I've had with vendors we work with, the Land Warrior system is being cut because it doesn't work, and because the company developing it is apparently incompetent. As a result, FCS is moving to the Future Force Warrior system as a replacement.

This is much ado about nothing. One system sucked, so the Army is dumping it in favor of a better one.

It make no sense, sènior (4, Insightful)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172374)

So the questions have to be: if the results of this research are so amazing;

1. why aren't companies like Pfizer investing in it? (probably they are?)
2. why doesn't the US Government have the sense to invest directly in such things?

Do we really have so little influence over the State, and the State is so stupid, that our best hope is to encourage the State to invest indirectly in such research by funding military development and hoping we get the sort of spin-off we're looking for?

And even more significantly, have we ACCEPTED this state of affairs?

This is OUR money that's being spent.

Re:It make no sense, sènior (2, Interesting)

sporkme (983186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172538)

have we ACCEPTED this state of affairs?
Yep! Actually, worse!

Re:It make no sense, sènior (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172832)

Ask a hundred average americans if they would not mind having their taxes raised to fund medical research and ask the same people if they would not mind having their taxes raised to fight terrorism and see what kinds of answers you get.

The fact of the matter is the americans are in favor of having a large and powerful military. It makes us feel like men.

Re:It make no sense, sènior (3, Insightful)

lixee (863589) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172846)

This is OUR money that's being spent.
That's, in part, the answer to the infamous "Why do they hate us?" question.

You can mod me down now.

Re:It make no sense, sènior (3, Insightful)

kinnell (607819) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173046)

1. why aren't companies like Pfizer investing in it?

The trouble with investing in government programs is that the entire project can be ditched overnight for the benefit of someone's political agenda

Re:It make no sense, sènior (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173272)

1. why aren't companies like Pfizer investing in it? (probably they are?)

Well, libertarian or not, you're going to have to accept that just because a technology is really cool, doesn't mean the private sector wants to invest in it, even if they got guaranteed patent rights to it. The risk/return/time horizon profile may not be justified compared to other investments.

2. why doesn't the US Government have the sense to invest directly in such things?

I suppose you could ask the same thing about the space program.

Re:It make no sense, sènior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174100)

1. why aren't companies like Pfizer investing in it? (probably they are?)

Pfizer's own accounting indicates that it invests more money in Advertising than in actual cures. And invests the most money in finding "treatments" instead of cures.

Pfizer has no interest in funding something like future land warrior, as it would lead to actual medical treatments and drugs that would be actual cures. And that would cut into Pfizer's current business model.

USA need future soldiers ! (0, Redundant)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172384)

They must go to Iran, then to North Korea, then to Irak, then to Afghanistan, etc... They need a lot of super warriors to succeed...
(Or perhaps they should instead hire Dolph Lungren, Jean-Claude Vandamme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Sylvester Stallone, etc; one of these guys alone can kill thousands of ennemies !).

The next Terminator (1)

noz (253073) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172434)

"Come with me if your tax dollars are wasted."

the Pen, sir, is mightier (1, Troll)

RunFromRobots (722656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172478)

Give me my country back,
we don't want your military industrial complex
ASSHOLE

You? Mighty? Not. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172570)

It's not *your* country, cocksucker. So fight for it. Oh, wait, you peacenicks don't fight. Oh well. Now go clean my toilet, sissy. I just took an epic shit.

Re:You? Mighty? Not. (1)

RunFromRobots (722656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172998)

this country belongs to few, you are correct and they would have me fight and die for their cause

Re:the Pen, sir, is mightier (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173114)

Unless you are at least a hundred years old, it was never your country.

Why (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172496)

Why spend millions of $$$ on things like armor or HUDs when all it takes is a cheap IED to blow up a humvee?

It would probably be cheaper to invest in peace and avoid war all together.

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172534)

"Why spend millions of $$$ on things like armor or HUDs when all it takes is a cheap IED to blow up a humvee?"

Can you put a price on a life? No, really - serious question. I realize our government can and does. Corporations can and do. Should the rest of us?

Spend a few million, save a few dozen lives, money well spent in my opinion. (Of course, it's unfortunate that due to politics and dirty dealing, it's more like a few billion spent, with no real explanation of where the extra few billion have gone, but hey.)

HUDs? Cheap IED? There, you're out of your freaking mind. What do HUDs have to do with an exploding IED taking out a humvee? So, you're suggesting the ability to acquire targets more reliably and quickly, thereby a) saving your soldiers lives, b) saving civillian lives, and c) saving allied lives, shouldn't be pursued because, hey, a humvee could get blown up anyway?

I'm not seeing the line of reasoning.

"It would probably be cheaper to invest in peace and avoid war all together."

Certainly, it would be. If your idea of peace is living under the boot heel of, say, China.

And I'm hardly fear-mongering with that statement. The truth of the matter is, if the US starts to fail to continue developing the technical edge of the military, it can and will fall.

History is awash with examples of this.

War won't suddenly stop because the US says, "Well, golly gee rest of the world, we're dun gonna stop shelling out cash on our military, and we're gonna.. I dunno, waste it some other way." (Do you really think it'd get spent wisely either way? Hah!)

Re:Why (2, Insightful)

alba7 (100502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172616)

Ok, the cold war was won by outspending the enemy through insane amounts of technology.
But you have to realize that this really was psychological.
And it works both ways.
If you have nothing but money to go against will power then you will eventually go broke.
Think of a suicide bomber as a very cheap and very smart self guided missile.
Compare this to the millions of dollars a single cruise missile costs.
If you want to win modern asymetric wars, then you will have to do what is necessary.
Not what you fancy.

http://www.exile.ru/2006-November-17/how_to_win_in _iraq.html [exile.ru]

Re:Why (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173752)

Suicide bombers are weapons of fear. They kill soft targets and that is about it. Your average person could carry 400lbs of HE at the top end of the range. Add shrapnel to the mix and all your going to do is kill people and destroy vehicles. Your not going to do anything to most armored targets besides move them and maybe dent them. The Iraqi insurgency got smart and has stopped using them as much. We kill enough of their people as it is without their people killing themselves.

Actually, it was a draw (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174042)

> cold war was won

Well, it was won just like Vietnam was won. The USA just doesn't admit defeat. Remember, there was a treaty saying that weapon stashes would be diminished, and after that Russia fell apart.

Re:Actually, it was a draw (1)

alba7 (100502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174372)

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia,
Romania and Bulgaria are now part of NATO. The status of Ukraine is in limbo.
So Russia is now back to where it was after World War I.

And if you consider the Stans in central Asia to be independent states
then Russian imperialism was really set back about two centuries.

They did lose. Heavily.

Re:Why (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173350)

"HUDs? Cheap IED? There, you're out of your freaking mind. What do HUDs have to do with an exploding IED taking out a humvee?"

The US government wants to load up the soldiers with more and more expensive hardware, while the 'bad guys' can kill them with a few bucks worth of explosives and a cheap cell-phone. Like managers everywhere, they have an expensive solution to the wrong problem.

"So, you're suggesting the ability to acquire targets more reliably and quickly"

Will allow them to kill more innocent civilians faster, thereby increasing the number of 'bad guys' they have to fight.

"The truth of the matter is, if the US starts to fail to continue developing the technical edge of the military, it can and will fall."

The US military _ALREADY HAS_ failed. It's a cold-war military in 21st century urban combat against guys with AK-47s, RPGs and cell-phones; didn't you even read about that recent US military war game where the officer playing the 'bad guys' took out the US fleet with fishing boats and anti-ship missiles that cost a tiny fraction of the amount the US government spent on their ships?

You talk about how 'the US military can and will fail' when they can't even control Baghdad, for Bob's sake!

Re:Why (1)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173288)

Yes, we can all get along with our friendly neighbors Kim Jung Il, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein. Are you one of those people who think its cheap to have economic sanctions? How intuitive...

Re:Why (1)

TufelKinder (66342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173794)

That's what so many people fail to realize: the US investment
in the military and defense is an investment in peace.

Steve Austin: astronaut. A man barely alive. (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172508)

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better...stronger...faster. and errrrrrrrr over budget.

Damnit. (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172518)

I'm not a big fan of war, but that thing was pretty badass. Plans for all sorts of sci-fi tech, adaptive camoflauge, bio-monitoring, crazy HUD stuff in the helmet, basically a stillsuit underneath it all, liquid reactive body armor, all the way up to eventual exoskeletons... Shame to see it axed. That said, the guy they have modeling the crap in every picture i've seen looks pretty svelte for the role, i dont think speedskaters are the soldiers of the future.

Re:Damnit. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172568)

I'm not a big fan of war, but that thing was pretty badass. Plans for all sorts of sci-fi tech, adaptive camoflauge, bio-monitoring, crazy HUD stuff in the helmet, basically a stillsuit underneath it all, liquid reactive body armor, all the way up to eventual exoskeletons... Shame to see it axed.


That's why it's being axed.

It's a load of horseshit.

Have you seen the sorts of prototypes they've been showing off? They don't look like battlefield systems. They look like toys. Few looked actually deployable, and only a couple looked really useful.

I'm a big fan of random, pointless research. But I don't like it being sold as something else. This is an out-of-control R&D project that's been light on the "D."

at least they got the PC game ready! (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172542)

So they're over the schedule and over their budget, but at least they got the pc game out in time [army.mil] . Beat that, Duke Nukem Forever!

How about this? (5, Insightful)

EyyySvenne (999534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172580)

Many do not realize the enormous amount of medical technology that trickles down from the military.
Many do not realize the enormous amount of medical technology that would emerge from spending $500 Million on it directly.

Re:How about this? (2, Informative)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173736)

500M is a small amount of funding for medical research. It is estimated the cost to get a new drug to market can be upwards of $1B. The latest figures I can find on Google say medical research spending in was $95 billion in 2003 with a 57/43 mix of private to public funds. So 500M is about 1/2 of 1% of 2003 levels. If the 500M in question was 100% spent on NIH projects it would be less than 2% of the NIH's 2005 budget. Spent wisely on targeted diseases or problems the money could be helpful but just tossing it onto the pile isn't significant.

no it's not... (4, Funny)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172638)

> $300 billion total cost (yes that's billion with a B)

No, that's billion with a 'b'. You mean 'Billion'; that's billion with a 'B'.

Waste of money (4, Insightful)

lupine_stalker (1000459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172640)

I wonder if it occurred to any of the that the approx. $300 billion could be used to provide food, medical supplies, clean water and decent housing to most of Africa, propelling America to a saint-like status, and eliminating most anti-american bias that has accumulated.
Remember that Monty Python quote: "But what have the Romans given us?" "Roads" "Ok, besides that, what have the Romans given us?" "Sewerage systems." And so on.
How would an extremist go about recruiting people to his cause when the country was the source of their food, water and etc. (not meaning to sound condescending).

Re:Waste of money (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172714)

Interesting. But note that the Romans fell to Germanic tribes when they could no longer support their military.

Has anybody studied late Roman history and modern Middle Eastern history enough to intelligently compare and contrast the situations? (I haven't.)

Re:Waste of money (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173376)

"Has anybody studied late Roman history and modern Middle Eastern history enough to intelligently compare and contrast the situations?"

Well, Martin van Creveld, one of the most famous recent military historians, called the invasion of Iraq "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them". More recently he's taken to calling the US military in Iraq "stupid" and "totally incompetent"... if that's any help.

But then he's an Israeli, so he'll have to deal with the consequences if the civil war in Iraq spreads out across the Middle East.

Re:Waste of money (1)

Net_fiend (811742) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173912)

One reason it would be a bad idea to leave now. As much as our country may not like it we have helped create said situation. And now it is our responsibility as the leading nation in this world (also as the power that helped to put the country in this position) to help quell this problem. It is in *no* one's interest for Iraq to go into a civil war...oh wait. yes it is. Iran would be more than happy to have a civil war break out so they can swoop in and be the savior of fixing said civil war. As far as the money 'wasted' I don't see it that way. We have people screaming bloody murder because we have a few thousand troops die. (Iraq/Afghanistan) For our country to lose a few thousand troops in any war is not a totally bad thing. Keep in mind this is a *war*. In wars soldiers/civilians die. Its a fact of life. If you don't want soldiers to die then go try and talk those young men out of joining the military. It is *their* choice to fight for their country regardless of where the President/Congress sends them. Contrary to popular belief those troops fight to uphold the Constitution of the United States, *not* the President. Thus, our country to further help those troops survive. Throwing a ton of cash at the problem: death. In order to create troops that are far less likely to die or get harmed in combat. Which to me is a farce. No matter what we do we will have troops who die in combat. But even if we had 10 soldiers fall in combat people who don't even have family in the military would raise hell saying that 10 is too many. Well too bad. You don't have room to complain. Those families (for the most part) are proud that their family members are in the service. It is a joke that this article talks about Medical benefits that trickle down. The money could go to a multitude of items including AIDs research, a bajillion dollar Super Computer that compute the end of wars so we wouldn't have to go to war, and could answer "The Question" without an answer of 42.

Re:Waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173268)

>anti-american bias

I dont agree with pretty much anything you wrote, but let me just point out this: It is not just bias and for some good reasons, too! If you want to maintain the notion it's just bias out there you can just as well forget about pouring out the money.

Re:Waste of money (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173332)

How would an extremist go about recruiting people to his cause when the country was the source of their food, water and etc. (not meaning to sound condescending).

I don't know but they could check and see what worked in the United States.

Re:Waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173854)

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life."

Re:Waste of money (2, Insightful)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174034)

I wonder if it occurred to any of the that the approx. $300 billion could be used to provide food, medical supplies, clean water and decent housing to most of Africa, propelling America to a saint-like status, and eliminating most anti-american bias that has accumulated.


This is a fantastic idea. We'll just let any old gang of thugs do whatever they want with our money, and we won't even pretend that we could do something about the organized murder and repression, even if we did care. Better yet, we could send legions of volunteers into "Africa". Even though most of these well-intentioned youngsters and age-ing hippies would simply be killed outright, that would still be better than spending money on nasty old war. And since we would make no distinction between governments in Africa, then we would aid genocide as well as democracy, since all life is precious, and value judgements have no place in covolized discourse, and without a military, we will rely exclusively upon "civilized discourse" of the sort which has aided and abetted the genocide in Sudan.

Whoops, I mean Africa.

Pacifism is for people who have no concept of evil. I am an agnostic, and I do not believe in God, but I have seen enough evil, and know that it is worth fighting against. The alternative is--well--the absurd yet commonly advocated scenario I gave in the first paragraph.

If you truly are interested in "propelling America to Saint-like status", then get on board the anti-jihad program. Nothing keeps Muslims more miserable than Islamist oppression.

And I hope nobody feels I am being overly prickly, or straying from the topic. Hopefully Freedom is not too right-wing a concept for slashdot. The post itself is pretty powerfully slanted to the left--this reply is slanted to the right--if, of course, you think freedom is a right-wing concept.

Re:Waste of money (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174640)

Rofl! Yes, that's it. Hand out money like candy to bribe people into liking you! That's never been thought of before!

Guess what? It doesn't work. The top 2% of the elite get all the money, the people get nothing, and then start hating America for propping up yet another corrupt regime.

Despite the fact that a handout of that size would simply never happen, I struggle to believe it could ever be successful. We are talking here about people who have simply not learned how to live in a society like ours. The human decency, respect for rights, independence of judicial courts, all those things essential for the proper functioning of a representative republic or constitutional monarchy simply don't exist. This is a cultural problem that cannot be solved with money, only with nation building, and that's done with the blood of patriots, as someone once said, not free money.

Loss of Med Tech, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172646)

Here's a question. If you had to take a count of the number of lives saved by the military's med tech, versus the number of lives taken by the military's other tech, what's the difference?

That's a lot of math. We're talking Hiroshima, Agent Orange, Iraq, etc.

Re:Loss of Med Tech, eh? (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172734)

How direct do you want to get? People killed per day by American troops? Or people killed per day by American weapons - regardless of who is wielding it? Or people killed per day by weapons that may be derived from American military research?

Let's say we count weapons that American dollars R&D'ed directly. I'm willing to bet that medical technology that are a result of American military R&D saves more lives per day than American guns and weapons can take away; by a wide margin.

Take the math further (1)

wasted (94866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173038)

Here's a question. If you had to take a count of the number of lives saved by the military's med tech, versus the number of lives taken by the military's other tech, what's the difference?

That's a lot of math. We're talking Hiroshima, Agent Orange, Iraq, etc.


And how many more lives would have been lost if the US hadn't used the bomb, and tried a land assault against a Japan unwilling to surrender? It could be (and has been) argued that it would be in the neighborhood of a million. So, you could say that nuclear weapons technology has saved a lot of lives.

Re:Take the math further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173088)

And how many more lives would have been lost if the US hadn't used the bomb, and tried a land assault against a Japan unwilling to surrender?

Well, dropping one bomb on a military target to show it's power, and then the next on an island near the mainland to show you have more than one would probably have had the same effect and killed about 90,000 less people. But then, the bomb was dropped as a warning to Stalin, not for some fanciful notion of saving lives. The people in charge didn't care a jot about saving lives - Japanese or American - at that point in the war, just as they don't care today about American or Iraqi deaths so long as the oil flows.

America is ruled by an aristocracy that is no more concerned about the peasants than any mediaeval European counterpart, certainly less than good old George III was about the colonists who enjoyed many priviledges that the English in England didn't.

you have to pay for those tax cuts from somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172710)


Monsanto and some of the richest people and corporations in the country need your help !

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061209/ap_on_go_co/co ngress_rdp [yahoo.com]

come on citizens we need to make sacrifices, didn't you know a war is on ?

Robots? (1)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172820)

Originally at $60 billion, then $127B, recent estimates have balooned to $300 billion total cost

How about running these robots on Linux? That should cut the cost down to a mere price to download the robot parts....

Re:Robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174168)

Actually, it was going to run Linux: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Warrior#Software [wikipedia.org]

...of course, Slashdotters could still rag on America's Army(TM) without reading the facts (aka Wikipedia). ;)

fix funding (4, Insightful)

idlake (850372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172864)

Just because the military and space exploration have traditionally funded research efforts that have "trickled down" doesn't mean that that's the best way of funding those efforts. What indirect funding through the military has accomplished in the past is to separate politicians from interfering directly research; that's been valuable, but it has also given us a bloated military and lots of wars, because that bloated military wants to do something.

In the end, the best way of funding medical research is by giving funding to medical research, and the best way of making advances in computers, semiconductors, material science, nutrition, etc. is to fund those areas. We just need to figure out how to make that work politically without wasting money on gimmicks like the military or manned space exploration.

Re:fix funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173500)

Manned space exploration... what's bad about that? Eventually you HAVE to go to space in person.

Re:fix funding (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173706)

And someday NASA will contribute to manned space exploration.

Re:fix funding (1)

lessthan (977374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174154)

I'm not going to touch the space comment, but I have to speak about the
because that bloated military wants to do something
comment. Exactly how in your mind did the military become the user in this arrangement? The military is the used. The politicians point and off they go. They die on the politicians' say-so. How happy would you be in that arrangement? Wouldn't you want 300 billion dollars spent on ways for you to not die? Would you be kind of pissed at people who persist in electing politicians who support 'staying the course' or better yet, politicians who support running away and leaving a perfectly innocent people at the mercy of those with even less moral fiber than an Abu Ghraib prison guard. Stop thinking about how much it is costing you and start thinking how about how much it is costing others.

This is "Insightful"? (1)

jamrock (863246) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174482)

"it has also given us a bloated military and lots of wars, because that bloated military wants to do something."

OK, I'll bite. Since you're obviously an expert, please be so kind as to tell us exactly how big the US military should be to defend the US, deter would-be agressors, fulfill international treaty obligations, etc. And do you honestly believe that servicemen and women want to go into combat, and risk life and limb? For what, the excitement of battle? Or do you believe that the military dictates foreign policy to elected officials? "We're bored, and we have all this untested high-tech shit laying around. I know! Let's invade someone!" Generals and admirals are the interface with the civilian overseers of the armed services, and as such tend to be highly-political animals, especially when it comes to defending pet programs against budget cuts. But to suggest that they instigate warfare in order to validate their weapon systems, strategy, operational abilities etc, is not only naive, it is insulting.

When war breaks out, blame the politicians, not the people who have to fight it. I do agree with your comments about effective funding for research, but by calling the military a "gimmick" you're merely parading your ignorance of geopolitical reality. Do you honestly believe that the US doesn't need armed forces? Sadly, the fact that the US can more afford a more powerful military than any other nation has tempted our elected things into pursuing adventurist policies. We have leaders who have put young people in harm's way to scratch an ideological itch. *cough* neocons *cough*

Trickles down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172886)

Many do not realize the enormous amount of medical technology that trickles down from the military.

Wouldn't it be a better use of the money to fund medical technology projects directly, without the military middleman?

nerds (2, Funny)

idlake (850372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172928)

Black outfit, plastic helmet--looks like the soldier of the future is some kind of SciFi nerd.

Verizon (2, Funny)

zaguar (881743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172974)

With some creative accounting with help from Verizon, perhaps the 300B figure could be "manipulated" to minimize budget blowouts.

Nice editing (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173032)

I was working on develops new grammar... until me fail English

Government R&D sucks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173240)

Government R&D programs are nothing but a den of corrupt thieves! Investing the same money in corporate R&D programs, which are actually accountable for their cost-effectiveness, would lead to 10x the results!

Re:Government R&D sucks! (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173492)

I remember when the Stealth Bomber was called a boondoogle, news programs saying that the military spent so much on the the bomber that it cost more than its weight in gold. The cost of the new Ford Taurus in nearly the same time frame cost more than 3 times the development of the stealth bomber.

Look at net benefits, not just benefits (1)

bmud (590967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173308)

There are advantages to military spending, sure. The real question is whether private capital markets, from which the tax revenue must be seized in the first place, are more or less efficient at improving social welfare than the simulated command economy of military budgets. I, for one, think that most military spending is so much less efficient at helping the general welfare that it's really a money sink. Cut their budget. We lose a couple of your pet medical advances, but the preferences of the general population in defining their own welfare will more than make up for it.

problem (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173416)

Yeah, some problems in the military should be cut, but not this one. The infantry soldier hasn't changed that much since WWII, at least compated to the aircraft carrier or the jet plane. It was nice that the gov't was willing to spend some money on the infantry soldier. Also, civilian technology is much more likely to flow from this project than from more remote controlled airplanes. So, yes, the money might provide more medical benefits if directly invested in medicine, but investing it in this project is likely to bring more than in another UAV. Besides, a strong military helps prevent conflict. We no longer are interested in outmanning enemies, so we must have sufficiently advanced technology to make up for the shortage in man power. And, remember, this Internet thingy with all of the tubes came out of a military research project.

Re:problem (3, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173760)

You want to help the grunt? Okay, invest your money in:

1. Body armor. First, make sure there's enough of the current generation to go around; then put R&D money into developing lighter, better armor that will offer the same level of protection without adding so many pounds to the already killing load the modern-day soldier has to haul around the battlefield.

2. Medevac choppers. Nothing new, nothing fancy, just the same Blackhawks that have been quite successfully pulling wounded troops off the field for the last couple of decades. And, of course, the medics and equipment to turn those choppers into first-class air ambulances. One of the major reasons we lost so few people in Desert Storm (trust me on this one; I was one of the people doing this job) is that we had so much surplus medical capacity in the air that any soldier, injured anywhere in the theatre, combat or non-combat, was guaranteed to be on a chopper within minutes and at a hospital within half an hour. That was the first war in history (and so far, the last) where this was true, and it shows in the casualty reports.

3. A goddamn rifle that works. The M16 and its variants have been failing American soldiers on the battlefield for forty years, for fuck's sake! Either it doesn't shoot at all ("Okay, this thing doesn't work so well in the jungle. So let's make it work really well in the jungle ... ooops, now we're fighting in the desert!") or it shoots fine, but its tiny bullets don't make a big enough hole and the enemy keeps coming.

All of the above are a lot cheaper than trying to turn our troops into something out of an anime, you know? And last but certainly not least:

4. The State Department, so maybe we can stop putting our troops into wars we never should have had to fight in the first goddamn place.

Should have x-prize style competitions... (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173490)

Just a hunch, but I'm guessing the private sector could get them up and running a lot faster.

wise decisions, humans are obsolete anyways. (1)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173522)


Look this is supposed to come online in what... fifteen to twenty years? By that time, ''soldiers'' will be sitting in Pods in Idaho, controlling swarms of robots walking around Iraq (Yes, they US will probably still be there ...) The concept of putting humans in dangerous situations will be as alien as putting humans inside a nuclear reactor is today.

We've got robots driving themselves ( http://www.grandchallenge.org/ [grandchallenge.org] ) and many, many robots that are starting to walk effectively, and simultaneous translation is coming along... There will be things that look like ceylons, walking around, and when something interesting happens, a human will start looking at what it sees... There is little point in developing next generation battlefield kit for humans. Our destiny is to be civilians. The soldier will cease to exist, and the supervision might be outsourced from Idaho to pods in India at 1$/hour.

That can be good, for folks who want to control large populations like in iraq with little risk.
It's just as convenient for small oligarchies to control large populations, such as in Russia, Burma, China, etc... The demand will be so great that initially high costs will come down rapidly.

It's kind of an inevitable result of current developments. The main question is what non-oligarchs should be doing it about it...

Re:wise decisions, humans are obsolete anyways. (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174234)

"Our destiny is to be civilians. The soldier will cease to exist, and the supervision might be outsourced from Idaho to pods in India at 1$/hour."

Thats a bunch of baloney, robots can be hacked. The signals that control the robot remotely can be jammed or interfered with. I doubt the need for human forces will go away as quickly as you think it will, most likely it will be a hybrid battlefield.

Re:wise decisions, humans are obsolete anyways. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174488)

So that's where all the Vaughn Bode comics went -- the Pentagon.

FYI Bode's _Junkwaffel_ had a future where humans were hiding in holes in the ground, because opposed armies of automatic munitions had made the surface totally deadly.

At first, the idea would look attractive, because full military economies can run without any moral qualms, because no people are involved at all. The downside, resource depletion, might not show up early on.

                A.C.

duh! (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173618)

Here on Ward Island / TAMUCC we've got over 10 million of related research going on. This is a sad day and I hope doesn't effect us. :( http://www.sp.tamucc.edu/pulse/info.shtml [tamucc.edu]

FCS will be a failure (2)

TheSuperlative (897959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173716)

The primary reason FCS has seen such enormous escalations in costs is that it rather stupidly ignores normal military R&D cycles. The rather poor assumption is that if you envision what you want your military force to look like, and throw enough money and people at it you'll get it. In doing so, planners essentially hope to skip the next generation of military tech and instead deploy the second generation of technologies at the time one would have the first. Not only is this absurdly expensive, it is likely to prove impossible, or at the very least, will not meet the actual needs of the army at the time of deployment. Ironically, aspects of the land warrior program are the most grounded and realistic aspects of the overall FCS project, and there is little doubt the project is most in tune with the future needs of a military that will mostly be engaged in low intensity stability operations.

No intelligent project manager would even attempt FCS. It is far too ambitious to ever see tangible and wanted results from the army's perspective. A better use of resources would be to more rapidly develop the next generation of technologies, particularly improving the safety and intelligence capabilities of ground troops.

Even if it were possible, I'm not the least bit convinced that FCS will meet the army's future needs. While the goals of rapid air deployable forces makes perfect sense in stability operations, light armor does not. The greatest information systems will probably never be able to always spot and eliminate a potential shoulder fired anti-tank missile, and when that missile is fired, you'll want the extra armor and heft afforded by today's vehicles. Ultra-high tech solutions are great for traditional warfare, but we're much more likely to be fighting in Africa than in China in the next fifty years.

Taking all this in mind, they'd be much better off scrapping FCS in favor of next-gen technologies and increasing funding for land warrior.

It's too bad for the spandex... (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173730)

It's too bad the project is axed; the soldiers would have looked pretty hot in that spandex [dla.mil] ...

Thye poor foot soldier (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173732)

Doing some advanced math, it looks like they're not willing to spend two tenths of one percent of the total on this foot soldier stuff. And parents are having to send kevlar vests and helmet liners to their kids cause the Army is too cheap and/or slow. Kinda bad for morale if you ask me.

Government Jobs/R&D Programs (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173832)

The military is a terrible jobs program and overall R&D system. Of course if we're hiring lots of soldiers and improving medicine for necessary military operations, then we should harness that huge progressive activity for the greater good. But reversing the process, and putting job creation and R&D into the military just because it's got a budget, is a tremendous waste. Not to mention that funding and maintaining a huge military brings us closer to war, despite naive oversimplifications described as "deterrence". As history shows, and Einstein noticed, "you cannot simultaneously prepare for war and make peace". FWIW, that is not to say we don't need a substantial military in our dangerous and unpredictable world, but a giant one is provocative of enemies (including new ones), drives some people to expect "if we have it, we should use it, or we're wasting it", and then it gets in the way of better alternate solutions to problems: "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

We want more jobs, basic science and healthcare R&D. We clearly want to fund and operate it through the government, socialism, because we want everyone in the country to benefit equally from access and results, regardless of money and position. So instead we should spend that money directly on job creation and R&D. Simply offering more scholarships to med students, especially researchers, with most of that money would make most of the difference. Scholarships for recertifying mostly qualified foreign doctors would bring more foreign expertise, techniques, even whole theraputic systems into the country. Rather than throwing them away like we do now in order to maintain our artificially low supply vs increasing demand, just to keep privileged doctors rich and worshipped like gods. And much more could be spent increasing the National Guard for coping with increasing natural disasters like hurricanes / floods / wildfires and manmade toxic spills. Or invested in highschool level training and entrepreneur grants for locals to start re/construction companies, possibly trained with rotations through the Army Engineer Corps, or a more civilian one.

But just spending $BILLIONS, $TRILLIONS on a military jobs/R&D program is a huge waste. We want to buy those things for our country's security. Better to do it without bloating our unaccountable military further, and actually get more productive, healthier citizens. Instead of more dead/wounded people and a higher bill.

Strange, "there is not enough money" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174030)

When it comes to helping the homeless or the poor, or people in need. Geez, look at
what happened just a little over a yar ago in the gulf coast (and the condition N.O. is still in!).
Yet, they somehow get enough money to create "pseudo cyborgs" and fancy milti-million dollar remote controlled planes.
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