Senators Love Robots

The Senate Armed Service Committee loves drones. They're so smitten, in fact, that they're trying to force the Pentagon to prove why any new weapons system should be manned at all. Check out this snippet from the Committee's version of the 2007 Defense budget:fembots.jpgThe Secretary of Defense shall... develop a policy applicable throughout the Department of Defense on research, development, test, and evaluation, procurement, and operation of unmanned systems [which] shall include the... preference for joint unmanned systems in acquisition programs for new systems, including a requirement under any such program for the development of a manned system for a certification that an unmanned system is incapable of meeting program requirements. (emphasis mine)Now, this unmanned romance began a long time ago. Six years back, SASC Chairman John Warner called for one third of all military vehicles -- both in the air and on the ground -- to be robotic by 2015. Nobody expected it to happen, literally. But, as National Journal noted at the time, "Warner has already achieved his first objective. He has fired his shotgun into the heavens and gotten everybody's attention."

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