In an effort to modernize its capabilities, the Army will soon be issuing to its soldiers futuristic devices that replace night vision goggles, allowing soldiers to shoot around corners, see through dense vegetation and smoke, as well as distinguish enemies from friends.
“It is no longer just a night vision device,” said Army Col. Christopher Schneider, the project manager for the system that can be employed both night and day. “The enemy can’t see we’re targeting him until we pull the trigger.”
Capabilities such as the new goggles are part of a vast modernization program to keep the Army ahead of potential rivals. As the United States conducted wars over the past 17 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, China, Russia and other nations studied American military capabilities.
“Our adversaries have been studying our strengths and our vulnerabilities and are developing capabilities to exploit those vulnerabilities,” Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, said in a 2017 speech. “They’ve steadily eroded our competitive advantage and are rapidly closing the capability gap that we have long enjoyed.”
The Army is currently undertaking the sweeping modernization program, which will include an overhaul of its weapons, training and tactics in order to maintain its edge over potential foes.
“We still maintain overmatch, but they are closing the gap,” Army Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy said in a recent interview.
Other changes underway in the Army will include the replacement of the current M4 service rifle and the extension of infantry basic training from 14 weeks to 22, adding more marksmanship, physical fitness, land navigation and other war-fighting skills.
According to USA Today, the Army “is also revamping artillery, vehicles and other equipment, but some of the most dramatic breakthroughs are to make individual soldiers and squads deadlier. Commanders say that’s necessary because American ground forces can no longer fight as in the past, when they gathered overwhelming combat power before an invasion.”