Bomb-defeating robots come too late for Marine CorpsThe Marine Corps just announced a plan to buy Route Reconnaissance and Clearance [R2C] robots
By William Treseder, H1 Columnist
Yet again, the military industrial complex rears its ugly head.
The Marine Corps just announced a plan to buy Route Reconnaissance and Clearance [R2C] robots. This short-sighted move does not address any real need within the Marines, or align with the new emphasis on our expeditionary ethos.
The Pentagon is well-known for using yesterday's technology to solve today's problems tomorrow. The Marine Corps tends to do a good job of avoiding this trap, but you can't win 'em all.
The Corps picked up the scraps from the Army's Fas-Tac program, which allowed them to clear legal and organizational hurdles more quickly.
Unfortunately, the program still arrived too late.
The R2C robots are becoming official Marine Corps gear at a time when combat operations in Iraq have been over for years, and we are mostly conducting support operations in Afghanistan. Yet the Public Affairs Office seems to think of this as a success, not an indicator of bureaucratic seizure.
As a Corps, we are moving back aboard ship. The types of missions we will likely face do not bear much resemblance to the counterinsurgency fight of the last twelve-plus years. The gear we will need is therefore probably different as well.
Purchasing robots for the current fight is fine. Establishing a long-term program that ensures their continual presence is misguided at best and foolish at worst.
Plus, we all know they should have named it the Route Reconnaissance and Demolition Defeat - or "R2D2" - robot.
About the author
William Treseder writes about well-designed approaches to national security issues ranging from technology to veteran careers. He co-founded BMNT Partners, where he helps start-ups grow by solving government problems from advanced manufacturing to veteran employment. William enlisted in the Marines in 2001 and served until 2011, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. A Rising Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution where he studies 21st century conservatism, William also contributes to other national outlets such as Foreign Policy, TIME.com, and Breaking Defense.