Go ahead, call it a boondoggle--you wouldn't be the first. The U.S. Army's massive, ambitious Future Combat Systems project aims to create a fully networked military force of robotic aircraft, hybrid-engine ground vehicles, ultra high-tech weapons systems, and battlefield sensors to bring soldiering into the 21st century. Faced with the Herculean effort of getting everything together for deployment in the middle of the next decade (maybe), the Army is just now starting some low-level spin-outs of some of the technologies it's been working on for years now already. Yes, it's costing a lot of money.
To put all of this into perspective, The Washington Post did recon from Capitol Hill's corridors of power to the dusty terrain of Fort Bliss, Texas. Its story has the staggering dollar figures, anecdotes from the field, and at least one catchy nickname (the "beer keg" UAV), and it leaves you to make your own decision about whether the effort is worth it.
Read the full story at The Washington Post: "The Army's $200 Billion Makeover"