Measures for assessing levels of situational understanding (MOPs and MOEs) would have utility for materiel development and evaluation, analytical modeling and simulation, human factors research, as well as TSU training. It is possible that physiological correlates to such measures could be confirmed, and limited instrumentation could be operational, for validation of materiel development trials conducted in the mid term. By the far term, it should be possible to assess the range, resolution, and reliability of Soldier and TSU situational understanding in relevant operational environments in real time.
Recommendation 11: In an immediate initiative, the Army should engage the S&T community (from both human and materiel perspectives), users, trainers, and other stakeholders in Army networks, to produce measures for assessing levels of situational understanding needed by the TSU.
Balancing TSU Maneuverability, Military Effects, and Survivability
In the context of what the Army expects a dismounted TSU to do—across all the missions and tasks anticipated in future unified land operations—overmatch requires a mission-appropriate balance of maneuverability, survivability, and military effects (including lethal, nonlethal, stability, and humanitarian effects). For dismounted operations, the fulcrum on which maneuver, survival, and effective action must be balanced is the Soldier’s combat load. When the balancing act fails, the consequences degrade TSU and Soldier capability in all three areas. Based on presentations and discussions with Soldiers, the committee found that, in practice, the dismounted Soldier’s combat load is far too great, often exceeding the upper limits stated in Army doctrine.
Excessive Soldier loads degrade not only maneuverability of both individual Soldiers and TSUs but also their resilience, survivability, and effectiveness. With such heavy burdens, traversing rough terrain and making rapid changes in direction, speed, and orientation greatly increase Soldiers’ susceptibility to injuries. The load is excessive because the various subsystems and components of the Soldier and TSU systems are being optimized independently of each other.
Just as important for decisive overmatch are the potential benefits of getting the balance right. The Committee identified potential benefits for improved Situational Understanding; advantages in gaining and maintaining surprise or in immediately seizing the initiative even when an opponent acts first, through the ability to outmaneuver the opponent; more effective options for use of robot systems to support dismounted units; finding the right balance of body armor (individual protective equipment, or IPE) with other factors that contribute to Soldier load; and other benefits.
Materiel developers explained that IPE development and manufacturing programs go to great lengths to ensure sufficient sizes are available to effectively fit the diversity of body shapes and sizes in the Soldier population. However, they