Why the U.S. should pay more to train military dogs
More military dogs are being used in training and counterterrorism operations than ever before, according to a Pentagon report released Friday.
The report, titled “The United States Needs to Spend More on Military Dogs: The Case for an All-Dogs Army,” said the current Army has a $5.8 billion warfighting budget and is preparing to spend $8.8bn in the next fiscal year, the latest year for which data is available.
In a statement, the Army said its dogs are “trained to respond to both enemy attacks and civilians, with the most basic and specialized training being provided to Special Operations forces.”
The report noted that more than 10,000 dogs have been trained to detect explosives and smoke at least as well as detect threats in an environment where other dogs may not be able to detect them.
The U.K.-based Animal Aid Society, which has lobbied for the animals’ humane treatment, said the Pentagon report is “fantastic” but called for an additional $300m in funding for training and rehabilitation of military dogs in the field.
The AP reported last year that the military is spending more than $7bn to train and equip its soldiers for dog fights.
The report said the most expensive dog training program, which costs more than twice as much as other similar programs, is the dog-training program called “Advanced Training and Operations,” which is aimed at military personnel who have undergone basic training and are currently assigned to the U,S.
Army’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
The program, called “Hawk” is meant to give these soldiers “a realistic chance to succeed,” the AP reported.
But it also includes a “Training for Combat” program that includes dogs trained to sniff out roadside bombs, minefields and roadside bombs on vehicles and trains, and to track insurgents.