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Camp Pendleton Marines Playing Catch Up On Technology Front

Camp Pendleton Marines this week have been testing advanced technology like drones and unmanned submarines as part of the military’s attempt to speed up the process of getting this type of equipment into the field.

“We don’t have any choice. If we stay where we are, we’ll have a 20th century Marine Corps in the 21th century,” said Lt. General Robert Walsh, the deputy commandant for combat development and integration.

Drone gets ready for flight at Camp Pendleton exercise, April 26, 2017.

Like the military as a whole, the Marines have been focused on desert warfare for over a decade — while the Chinese, Russians and North Korea were becoming more high tech.

To catch up, the Marines are looking at buying technology off the shelf. They want to see how well the military can adapt to some of the technology that has already been developed by the private sector.

Robert Walsh, Marine Lt. General, deputy commandant, on Red Beach, April 26, 2017

The Advanced Naval Technology Exercise began April 19. Vendors were at Red Beach Thursday, including the San Diego-based company Ocean Aero. The company was testing the military application of its unmanned submarine, which runs on wind and solar power. It maps the ocean floor and was developed with private money from the oil and gas industry.

The Marines say some of the equipment may never see the light of day, while others may be in service in the next couple years.


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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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