After a short pause however, the Lieutenant decided to put his comments on the table.
“Well Sir, the biometric finger print reader didn’t always read properly the first time and in many cases didn’t work at all. So, when the simulated blast went off and the CHOMPSKI units got mixed up, they were not properly identifying the soldier wearing it. Precious time was lost tying the unit to the identities correctly before resuming the forward movement. The amount of extraneous information being re-broadcasted to each soldier not only delivered information overload but became a serious distraction to their battlefield presence of mind. As a consequence, several soldiers began turning the functionality off and those who knew how to do it taught those who didn’t. By the time of the conclusion to the exercise, many of the units no longer had the functionality that they started with enabled.
“Additionally, as soon as the soldiers realized that the CHOMPSKI unit could be silenced and reduced in weight by removing the interior components, they did so. We believe we retrieved almost all the discarded components and have bagged them up for re-use in perhaps another project. The troop consensus is that the CHOMPSKI units are too bloody heavy and too invasive to a battlefield soldier’s presence of mind to be of any value. However, most agreed that they would prefer to keep the World War Two German Wehrmacht helmets based on its covering design and coolness factor. Many ride motorcycles on the weekends, and the helmet design is very much in fashion, Sir.”
The Colonel and the Major were extremely sullen as they listened to this recap. It was far less than the sterling review they had hoped for.
The Major said, “Thank you, Lieutenant and Sergeant, for collecting the discarded components as well as your candid feedback. I’m sure your observations will find their way into our report on the exercise. Dismissed.”
After the Sergeant and Lieutenant left, the Colonel proposed, “Well, Major, I dare say that there is little we can do to put a positive spin on these results. Wearable technology is not the solution we had hoped, at least not in this go-around. Shall we quietly shut this program down and see if we can somehow salvage our careers?”
Avery then spoke up, “Gentlemen, I might suggest that you not despair over the results quite yet. I saw a lot of promise with what you have conceived and built for battlefield communications. You are trying to solve a very complex problem, but I observed that you may not be working with all the right puzzle components.
“The drones working overhead are good at low level communications that can then boost communications to overhead satellites. But the wearable communications device may be the wrong approach. With your permission I have an idea that I need to explore further before we pronounce this project deceased or DOA. Will you grant me time to work my thinking towards a useful alternative for our collective governments?”
The Colonel and the Major showed visible signs of surprise at the request. This was not the feedback or recommendation they’d expected from the American.
“I must admit,” the Major said without inflection, “I am somewhat surprised, but pleasantly so, at your request. I might even go so far as to say that for a Yank you are not too bad, Mr. Avery. Though it is doubtful you’d ever be allowed to date my daughter.”
Avery grinned as he added, “So, I’m not too bad for a COBWEB, Major?”
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