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Army tech on display at AUSA 2012

by Mike Hoffman on October 22, 2012

The Army’s largest conference of the year kicks off Monday morning at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. with Army Secretary John McHugh’s keynote speech.

Hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army, it’s a great chance to learn about the Army’s ever-changing innovation strategy. Last year, service leaders placed a focus on the their Science & Technology priorities set. This year, expect to hear plenty about the Army Network and Capability Set 13.

The Army has harped for years about updating it’s Network. It still sits as the service’s top priority. In October, it took a major step forward in getting that Network into soldiers’ hands in Afghanistan.

The Army is fielding the first sets of Capability Set 13, the service’s advanced battlefield communications system, in October to the 10th Mountain Division who will deploy with it next year. The systems includes the Army’s latest smartphones, advanced satellites and tricked out MRAPs the service has been boasting about.

Plenty more of the Army’s latest technical gizmos will be on display from the most advanced surveillance cameras to the latest sniper scopes to the lightweight UAVs. Military.com’s crack team of reporters will be on scene to keep you updated on all the conference’s news.

If there are any points of interest or questions you’d like us to ask, please write those suggestions in the comments box. We’ll be constantly monitoring it. Also, follow @DefenseTech on Twitter all week long for live updates.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

ltfunk3 October 22, 2012 at 6:51 am

You should ask if the Taliban has superiour technology in each area. If not why do they think re-enforcing failure is a better strategy than learning from the winners.

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Guest October 22, 2012 at 10:09 am

Yes, because the Taliban have definitely been thrashing us on the battlefield, as one can tell by the casualty ratios between ISAF and Taliban forces. We should totally emulate their strategies of sending toothless, illiterate, apes with rusty old rifles and sandals out to fight! Technology bad!

Idiot.

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Guest October 22, 2012 at 10:38 am

To elaborate further: The advantage the Taliban has has NOTHING to do with technology. They are not "winning" because they are defeating the ISAF in combat. Apart from isolated ambushes and base attacks, they have never outright destroyed a NATO force in pitched battle. They have the advantage of being able to lay low and wait for us to leave an area, or lose the will to fight. They can hide in the mountains until we decide to pull out. They also have a disproportionate psychological effect whenever they kill someone.

It doesn't matter to them how many thousands of fighters die every year, but ever IED that goes off in a market, every soldier shot by a sniper, and every raid they carry out in a place like Kabul (no matter how much it fails or how quickly it's put down) will strike fear throughout the country and generate TONS of media coverage.

In short, their advantage is political, not martial

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ltfunk3 October 22, 2012 at 11:41 am

I always find it disturbing that the enemy is described as "toothless, illiterate, apes with rusty old rifles and sandals" when they are winning. I mean what does it say about the losers ?

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majr0d October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm

"Toothless, illiterate, apes in sandals?"

OMG we've been fighting "itfunks"!!!

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ltfunk3 October 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Well no wonder you cant win

Pharsalus October 22, 2012 at 6:55 am

I suppose this continues the path from Soldier to hyper-tech silver-winged Paladin. It seems like these days, every grunt wants to be an 733t killer…

Seriously, all this tech is good and well in small conflicts, unofficial ops and border wars. The moment more than a million soldiers are involved, there will be no gadget-money nor gadget-batteries. It will be back to steel helmets, Tommyguns and a mark one compass to find your way.

And, guess who's best at doing stuff with decrepid tech? Well, not the US Army… :)

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Dan Gao October 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

If anything the transformation into hyper-tech soldiers isn't moving fast enough. Far too often are the Taliban able to have a "fair fight" with US troops, where each side relies on instinct, eyeballs, and getting the drop on the other side. Our training is what gives us an edge here, but training doesn't allow you to see through smoke and obscurants, or know where your buddies are when they are out of sight.

Only with our recent fielding of the latest network are squads given access to blue force tracking and networked comms for each soldier. Add thermal goggles and weapon sights, micro UAVs/UGVs, and advanced weapons like the XM25 and you give our soldiers the ability to see and kill the enemy in any weather conditions, time of day, or terrain. This is what we are and should be striving for. This is what is needed for modern conflicts. If you pit a smaller unit equipped as listed above against a larger formation of grizzled soldiers with no tech but a lot of brawn, the former is going to outmaneuver and out gun the latter any time.

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Lance October 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Overall I dont think you'll see to much on small arms XM-25 is still in ''Testing'' ICC is dying off in many ways since the Army is spending millions buying new M-4A1 and upgrading them with some PIP features.

I do hope US companies win. France and Belgium which are very unreliable sort of allies sould not be bribing Generals over there projects, like htey are with every DoD project now. All for US companies showing off AM General's JLTV looks awesome.

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Dan Gao October 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm

The XM25 is set for series production in 2014, so “testing” is winding down, contrary to what you’re implying. LSAT tech is showing great promise too. So yes, there is quite a bit on the small arms front around the corner.

Not sure what the rants about France and Belgium have to do with anything…

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Guest October 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm

You know what? Better tech saves lives. Look at our casualty rates for Iraq and Afgahnistan compared to our last major conflict where the enemy used irregular warfare tactics. We have improved our ablilty to locate the enemy and return fire. Our KIA are in the thousands instead of 10s of thousands. We loose more Soldiers to traffic accidents state side than to enemy fire in theater. I will those kinds of numbers any day.

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ltfunk3 October 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm

You cant win a war by trying to save lives.

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blight_ October 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Patton would agree. However, you don't win by wasting manpower, be it on stupid offensives and especially when it takes you longer to train and put troops to field than your enemy.

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Lance October 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Hope to find out more on the recent buys of M-4A1s and will we find out if Colt or Remington arms won?? To see more of JLTV programs hope AM General wins they got the best out of the three.

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mike October 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

"points of interest or questions you’d like us to ask"

Anything at all on new battery developments for all this hi-tech gear that soldiers are going to have to lug around.

Also, what are we doing to make command post footprints smaller and less dependent on massive banks of generators.

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guest October 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Itfunk are you really that stupid or are you just trying to annoy people? We could use carpet bombs and decimate those countries but we choose to not harm the civilians living there. you have no idea how much killing power the United States can use but holds back on it because it actually cares about life, unlike you perverted muslim extremists. please do the world a favor and kill yourself so we wont have to

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guest November 4, 2012 at 1:31 am

Saudi Arabia: Jewish Bloodline, Jewish State
http://www.defence.pk/forums/world-affairs/22127-

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Pharsalus October 22, 2012 at 9:20 am

"In a real war, all of this production capacity will be turned to military goods, read army smart phones."

Eh? Rather read army rifles, boots and jackets. Well, not if there's ICBMs involved, ofcourse. But any long, protracted war (which is still possible, against the better judgement of many an armchair general) wears down existing equipment *very quickly* indeed.

Slave labor camps in the US? Wow… really, you think so? Working with what, Mexicans? Ofcourse all Americans of age are needed on the front lines, defending the homeland and dwindling economic reserves.

Hmmm… I'd like to see you equip an 3.5 million man army with state-of-the-art tech goodies, SCAR rifles and tiny little UAVs.

Sometimes I wonder wether you lot (myself included, really) are aware that things can change in a heartbeat. Right now, I'm imagining Minnesota residents fighting a Canadian invasion, armed with granddad's rifle and a pitchfork. While Homeland Sec is blocking their retreat with a museumpiece Maxim…

BTW, I *have* saluted the crosses near Ypres and Verdun. Seems like a good example of what tech can and cannot do…

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Dude guest October 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

This misplaced sense of ruggedness and technophobia has no place in the modern world and is quite frankly dangerous. A civil war soldier would probably have scorned the idea of motor vehicles, automatic weapons, aircraft, and night vision. He'd probably mutter something about how we should focus more on better bayonet charge training. Yet look where history went.

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Guest October 22, 2012 at 10:50 am

I'd take a medium sized army with well trained "silver winged paladins" over three million idiots with wooden rifles and tin helmets any day. This is what what will be most effective Almost any time. If we ever do find ourselves in a situation where this is insufficient, where we need a massive, sprawling army we are probably going to have to take drastic measures anyways.

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Dan Gao October 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

These fantasies of millions of men reliving the glories of the past are just that. Sorry. We aren’t going to be involved in Stalingrad or D-Day for the foreseeable future. Even in a conflict with Iran, North Korea, or China the fighting is going to be fast paced clashes with medium sized units, ships, missiles, and armor. Unless we make the fatal mistake of attempting a nation building effort afterwards, we are not going to be using 3.5 million soldiers all at once.
Boots and jackets are essential supplies but they don’t win wars. Training and superior weapons technology do. You people are applying 20th century logic to 21st century problems.

Crawl back under your rocks, Luddites.

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Dan Gao October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Alright big boy, how ’bout you take a flight over to Waziristan, with nothing more than sandals and robes and try to go against a Reaper UAV or a platoon of networked infantry with thermal sights and Airburst weapons. See how your awe inspiring soldier skills hold up and let us know, mmkay? Bask in the glory of the “victor” side

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blight_ October 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm

He would probably die, but the thousands like him in madrassas in Pakistan would continue to come over one by one, intimidating opium farmers by night and scaring villages into cowed silence by day while planting bombs in the afternoon.

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ltfunk3 October 22, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Dosent seem to phase the Taliban.

Dont take it personally but you sound like a typical member of the loser culture we have in the military. You want your enemies to to be blind and helpless – and still you are afraid.

Giving you drones and night vision dosent give you extra capibilities it just panders to your weaknesses. And so we lose, again and again.
And really you dont even care, you dont even know what winning is.

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majr0d October 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Hold up, I'm not done urinating on your victorius troops…

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ltfunk3 October 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm

"Training and superior weapons technology do"

And it dosent stike you as odd that farmers armed with no more than and rpg and a ak47 are winning ?

If anyone should doubt that our military is stuck in a first generation WW1 mindset, just ask what wins wars to your typical serviceman. LOL.

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guest October 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm

US/ISAF losses- 2,600+ with 15,000 wounded
Afghan Security losses-2000+ killed
Taliban losses- Over 75,000

Please go to Afghanistan and join your idiotic Taliban idols. Have a nice trip loser

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Dan Gao October 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Jihad! Glorious Jihad!

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blight_ October 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm

It really does, but if we gave them anti-tank weapons and MBTs they would still win as long as they could hide amongst the populace at night and look exactly identical to the civilian population they are oppressing.

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bobbymike October 23, 2012 at 1:21 am

I agree it would be much cheaper and easier to use 'all our technology' like strategic nuclear weapons then we will see how well our enemies fair.

The real problem is, of course, we hold back and don't use our technology advantage.

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blight_ October 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

The enemy plays to their strengths.

If we simply nuked them, it's a free trip to heaven on Uncle Sam's dime. Of course, all the other civvies who had no say in the nuking…

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