"About 360 companies and about 6,000 employees are currently working on our Joint Warfighters/Best Capability projects right now," said Daniel Zanini, a former Army lieutenant-general now serving as senior vice president and program manager of SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.), one of the federal governments largest defense contractors.
Zanini spoke in a keynote session on Day 2 of the second annual RoboNexus conference, billed as the largest robotics event in North America.
About 2,000 robotics engineers and enthusiasts have gathered at the downtown Marriott Hotel here for the four-day conference.
Zanini said advancements in information technology will eventually make "each soldier, each tank, ship and plane, just another node on a huge integrated, interoperational network system."
Robotics also will play a major role in these new fighting forces, Zanini said, operating drone aircraft, submarines and land vehicles.
"As a former officer commanding ground forces, I spent much of my time on the phone asking three basic questions: Where are you? What are you doing? and "What is the enemy doing?" Zanini said.
"With a connected fighting force, you eliminate most of those questions, because all you need to do is look at a computer screen and see the answers to what you need to know," he said.
"In this way, the soldier becomes an output agent rather than an input agent, and only has to worry about doing his job correctly—not about spending time reporting information."