MARINE CORPS AUXILIARY LANDING FIELD BOGUE, N.C. (OCT. 7, 2010) --
The Marine Corps is traditionally known for accomplishing more with less, but technology can play a big role in achieving that mission .
“Technology has always been something the Marine Corps is deeply interested in,” explained retired Marine Gen. Alfred M. Gray, who was the Corps’ 29th commandant from 1987-91 and is as devoted to the Marine Corps today as he’s ever been.
Gray, several scientists, engineers and other military representatives came together at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue Oct. 7 to evaluate a state of the art surveillance demonstration.
The purpose of the demonstration was to present a technology that can ideally differentiate the enemy from allies by recognizing certain objects, vehicles and facial features, explained Ashley Johnson, one of the technology’s creators with the Office of Naval Research.
The demonstration covered 400 square miles across North Carolina, tagged as “battle space,” which could be monitored from computers at Bogue via several surveillance sensors, or cameras, positioned throughout the battle space.
Johnson added, “The service members interaction with the scientists and engineers here affords us an opportunity to mitigate risks during the development, incorporating their commentary and dialogue that otherwise wouldn’t be available.”
Gray’s wit kept the demonstration grounded, regularly asking, “What about that lance corporal on the ground?”
His insight along with the other military representatives’ collaboration with the scientists and engineers gave a broader outlook when the two sides exchanged viewpoints and discussed possible scenarios.
“It’s a geek-warrior marriage,” said Johnson. “It can sometimes be easy to make something work in a laboratory, whereas in the field we’re able to get feedback from an operator’s perspective.”
Technical advancements in the field can come at a cost, but Brig. Gen. Robert F. Hedelund, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, believes it is vital to improve the mission and Marines.
“As military budgets begin to come down, which may be faced in the near future, the science and technology becomes even more important because it gives us an opportunity to take something for the future. It’s important to be a good Marine first, and the technology will enable them to be an even better Marine.”
In regards to the future of the Marine Corps and being on the brink of the appointment of a new commandant, Gray thinks now is a great time for new ideas.
“It’s a great opportunity because we’re getting a new commandant, and everybody is looking at the future to decide what can be done to make our Corps and Navy even more relevant,” said Gray.