Armed Forces News

San Diego, Feb 2021: Lt. Cmdr. Nick Stoner, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 1, discusses unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) capabilities with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday at Naval Base Point Loma. Gilday visited Sailors to see how Navy EOD is evolving operational concepts and investing in capabilities to build a more agile and resilient fleet. (Navy photo by Lt. John J. Mike)

The Department of the Navy has released an Unmanned Campaign Framework that it says will enable Sailors and Marines to better perform their jobs.

“These sustained investments will yield new capabilities extending well beyond the effectiveness of stand-alone platforms or human-centered systems,” Acting Navy Secretary Thomas W. Harker stated in the white paper’s introduction. “They will transform naval warfare by providing asymmetric advantages to each and every sailor and Marine.


In his introductory remarks, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike M. Gilday said that expanded use of reliable unmanned systems is essential for the service to fulfill plans to build a future fleet that will consist of “smaller platforms that operate in a more dispersed manner.”

Adaptation of a greater unmanned presence should “ignite the creative and cunning nature of our Marines so that our forward-deployed forces are even more lethal and useful to the joint force,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger stated.

Human operators would gain from increased robotic presence in several ways:

* Automation of routine and repetitive tasks.
* Decreased risk to human life, and better access to uninhabitable environments.
* Better ability to operate in complex environments.
* Faster and easier decision-making for humans at the top command level.
* Increased awareness and improved ability to exploit the operating environment.
* Increased resilience, connectivity and real-time awareness.
* Increases in range, endurance and persistence that far exceed limitations of human operators alone.
The report outlined how systems now in place are contributing to the effectiveness of operations in the air, on the ground, and on and below the surface of the ocean. The future of unmanned platforms will hinge upon cooperative relationships among the services, academia, industry and allied partners, a willingness to embrace a trial-and-error approach, and a reduction of parochial barriers that in the past have hindered progress, the report stated.

Ultimate success would hinge upon determining how an unmanned system would operate autonomously, maintaining a competitive advantage over adversaries, and clarifying ethical principles for the use of unmanned weapon systems.