The U.S. Army is spending $16 million to get a new hand-held, binocular-like device (TLDS or Target Location Designation System) that combines day/night digital viewer, with zoom and a laser range finder, and target designating laser. The TLDS takes several separate bits of equipment and combines them into one unit. In addition, a small computer is built in that takes care of identifying the user and passing target information onto artillery and air units. This makes it easy for the fire controller on the ground to identify and locate a target and get artillery or missiles on the target quickly. Speed is often crucial in combat situations and it does wonders for troop morale when they know that TLDS will get it done quickly and accurately.
Current systems for doing all this are heavy, bulky, and do not mesh easily with digital communications systems. Because electronics keep getting smaller and more powerful, the army has to hustle to take advantage of new technology before it is superseded by demonstrably superior stuff. Despite years of cuts in the army budget, something like TLDS is seen as essential new tech for battlefield success.