Small Wars Journal

Army, Struggling to Get Technology in Soldiers’ Hands, Tries the Unconventional

Army, Struggling to Get Technology in Soldiers’ Hands, Tries the Unconventional by Helene Cooper – New York Times

The platoon of Army Special Operations soldiers was on a routine night patrol in eastern Afghanistan when one of them suddenly opened fire on what looked to the others to be a bush.

The bush, it turned out, had been obscuring a militant fighter. He was detectable only to the one platoon member wearing prototype night vision goggles that could detect heat signatures — a happenstance that Army officials say probably saved many lives.

That incident took place in 2015. Three years later, soldiers in the field still do not have the new night vision goggles, and that is just one example of a process that can take a decade to get new weapons from the lab to the hands of troops. Worried about that lag, the Army is creating a new and decidedly unconventional department to address it: the Futures Command…

So on March 26, top Army leaders will travel to Huntsville, Ala., to announce details of their plan for the Futures Command, which will focus solely on developing new weapons and getting them “downrange” faster. The doors of the command are expected to open by the end of July, and it is supposed to be fully operational a year after that…

Read on.