Pentagon's Animal Kingdom

When ABC News really, really wants to know about robolobsters, mind-controlled sharks, mechanical pack mules, and terror-fighting dolphins, they know just who to call...robo_lobster_beach.jpg"Animals have been part of military operations since there have been military operations," said Noah Shachtman of "They have been the fighting man's best friend for generations and in modern-day warfare that's still the case."

While there are no sharks yet in uniform and cyborg insects are still in development, Shachtman finds some encouragement in the military's more unusual programs."The Defense Department is what, $600 billion a year?" he asked. "That leaves a lot of room for all kinds of kooky projects. I wouldn't say there's an order from Donald Rumsfeld to build mechanical bees or something like that, but especially in DARPA, there's a desire to explore and freedom to look into things that may or may not work out militarily."He believes that, although many of DARPA's programs are scrapped before they're seen through, it's one of the few places in government research where dreaming is considered an asset."I wouldn't interpret that to mean we're going to have an army of dolphins and robotic bears attacking the enemy anytime soon," Shachtman joked.
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