The US Army is embarking on a potentially decade-long quest to prepare soldiers to operate in the Digital Age.
In a $52 million initiative to create what it's calling the Internet of Battlefield Things, the Army Research Lab plans to redesign everything the soldier wears – and uses – so that it connects to the military's vast digital communications networks.
This is far harder for the Army (and Marines for that matter) who have many more "things" to track and empower (soldiers and vehicles) than the Air Force or Navy with ships and planes in combat.
And while the problem of security to prevent hacking is obviously a huge concern, I take some comfort that the Army is aware of this and that the hacking-prone Internet wasn't designed with this kind of threat in mind.
This kind of success is absolutely vital to have virtual squads.
Come to think of it, virtual vehicle drivers, at least, might be possible, if the connections were robust enough.
Loading physical rounds would require a real gunner on the vehicle and it would really really look bad to have the track commander back at headquarters as a virtual leader.
Anyway, that's the objective some decades away.