View Full Version : General says better field technology needed

06-25-07, 07:55 AM
General says better field technology needed
By Christopher P. Cavas - ccavas@militarytimes.com
Posted : July 02, 2007

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan need improved automated language translators to communicate faster and better, a top general said June 21.

Although voice translators have been developed and are being used, “not all of them are user-friendly,” said Lt. Gen. Keith Stalder, commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The Marines want improved devices that are not only easier to use, but are better able to handle conversational-level discussions.

Improved voice translation devices were one of several technology improvements Marines need, Stalder told a mixed military and industry audience at an Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association and U.S. Naval Institute transformation forum.

Stalder said Marines also need:

•Improved ground training simulators that bring ground combat, logistics and fires together in a manner similar to aviation simulators. “This is an area that’s got tremendous potential,” he said.

•Better tactical optics and multispectral sensing devices, particularly those handling Identificiation Friend or Foe, range estimation, precision engagement and fire alignment — all small enough to fit on a rifle.

•Lighter equipment to ease the load on Marines in the field who, Stalder said, average at least 62 pounds of equipment when on patrol. Body armor weight remains a top problem, but Stalder also would like to see improvements in weapons, night-vision devices, batteries and communications devices.

•Improvements in logistics, including better supply chain management, networked diagnostic systems and systems designed for joint interoperability.

•Better communications devices that can make top secret and digital information available to Marines on a company level. Devices that combine functions, similar to a BlackBerry, also are needed, Stalder said, along with better networked integration of personal data assistants.