noted their surveys showed that a significant portion of solders in the field have been issued the wrong size, usually degrading their mobility to a very measurable degree. Improvement in assuring that sufficient fitting skill and knowledge as well as size inventory is required. A broad survey of TSU Soldiers will be needed to determine the appropriateness of fit of issued IPE. From those results, a development and engineering program may be warranted to improve the tools for fit determination at issue points (near term).
Experimental trials are needed to develop models for predicting the vulnerability of dismounted individual Soldiers and TSUs to engagement as a function of Soldier load and measures/indicators of individual/TSU mobility and agility such as dash speed (e.g., cover to cover). Engagement factors included in these trials should include visual detection, identification, and targeting of the opposing element in relevant combat-encounter scenarios (e.g., Blue Force-initiated contact, ambush of Blue TSU, urban/village setting with sudden transition from stability operation to kinetic fight). Environmental factors including terrain, elevation, and weather would be later parameters to add to the models and scenarios incorporated in the trials.
The types of engagements included in these trials need to cover the range of engagement scenarios that dismounted units may encounter in future unified land operations, including stability operations as well as conventional combat (offensive and defensive tasks). The goal should be to develop realistic, validated models for use in evaluating a wide range of current approaches and innovative concepts for managing Soldier load to achieve an optimal balance of TSU and Soldier maneuverability, military effects, and survivability.
Recommendation 12: The Army should initiate and maintain a program of experimental trials to inform improved models for assessing the effectiveness of dismounted Soldiers and TSUs as a function of Soldier load and measures/indicators of mobility and agility. The program should include an iterative process to explore innovative concepts for balancing TSU maneuverability, military effects, and survivability, as well as continuing exploration of more traditional approaches such as lightening individual items carried and offloading Soldier load onto robotic carriers.
Flexibility with respect to effective action becomes even more demanding when TSU mission objectives require a dismounted unit to be prepared to shift rapidly among traditional lethal combat, nonlethal means of projecting force, and stability objectives where effectiveness is measured in terms of communication with the local population, building capacity for civil operations, or humanitarian objectives. Little is known about the effects of nonlethal weapons on adversaries or about their impact on engagement decision complexity for the Soldier. The effectiveness of nonlethal actions used as an alternative to lethal means will depend to a great extent on the perceptions of those being confronted.