Future Challenge: Getting Marines to Bond with Robotic Battle Buddies

Lance Cpl. Brandon Dieckmann, an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, India Co., leads a robotic mule known as the Legged Squad Support System through an open field at Kahuku Training Area July 10, 2014. (Photo by Sarah Dietz/U.S. Marine Corps)

The chiefs of the military’s unmanned systems departments see a near future in which robots operate side-by-side with ground-pounders downrange. And they already foresee their biggest challenge: establishing an emotional bond of trust between man and machine.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned Systems Frank Kelley said Marines might someday bond with their unmanned systems the way today they bond with and trust their military working dogs.

“Someday we may be able to replace that image of the Marine and the dog with an unmanned system,” he said at the Sea Air Space expo near Washington, D.C. “We need to be prepared with these relationships, with these warfighting relationships, relationships with Marines and sailors and machines alongside.”

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Hope Hodge Seck
Hope Hodge Seck is a reporter at Military.com. She can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.