average age is 36. Twenty-seven percent of his peers attend college. He deciphers 500,000 pages of technical manuals. The best and brightest who are skilled in computer diagnostics can command $75,000 per year. Does this technician maintain the new Comanche helicopter with its four onboard supercomputers? No. The technician I have described maintains your new automobile. If this is what today's mechanic(s) need to do their job, think what tomorrow's warfighter will need.
A related question is whether "smart" systems of the future will permit use and maintenance by smaller staffs of people. Binkin (1994) suggests that the number of personnel needed by the armed services depends on many factors, such as what tasks specific units are expected to do, how they are organized (combat-to-support ratio), what skills are required, and guiding personnel policies (how people are assigned and used). The influence of technology comes into play when calculating the number of people needed and the qualifications that specialists and technicians need to operate and maintain the military equipment. As new systems and advanced technologies are introduced, the effects on the military workforce will largely depend on the degree of equipment complexity, which is directly related to its reliability, maintainability, and availability. Binkin concludes, for example, that the military has consistently been underestimating the number of maintenance personnel that will be needed for new equipment.
The Army's current job classification system distinguishes between electronic equipment repairers and electrical/mechanical equipment repairers; there are currently twice as many of the latter than the former. However this level of distinction is far too coarse. Some truly advanced systems, for example, are likely to require maintenance MOSs that are system-specific. These new MOSs will need to be supported by analyses of tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities—especially cognitive tasks (National Research Council, 1997b). Different jobs using similar equipment can involve different tasks and skills. By the same token, apparently dissimilar tasks can involve similar fundamental jobs and skills. Only comprehensive task analyses can decompose the nuances of such jobs.
In any case, most military leaders caution against assumptions that future "smart" technologies will replace human sol-