met with the Army Chief Scientist to clarify the scope of the study. The following guidance resulted from that meeting.2
The U.S. military does not believe its soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines should be engaged in combat with adversaries on a “level playing field”. Our combat individuals enter engagements to win. To that end, this country has used its technical prowess and industrial capability to develop decisive weapons, weapons that over-match those of potential enemies, such as the M1A2 tank, the F-22 fighter, and the Seawolf attack submarine. The country is now engaged in what has been identified as an “era of persistent conflict” in which the most important weapon is the dismounted soldier operating in small units. More than for soldiers in Vietnam, Korea, and WWII, today’s soldier must be prepared to contend with both regular and irregular adversaries. Results in Iraq and Afghanistan show that while the US soldier is a formidable fighter, his contemporary suite of equipment and support does not enjoy the same high degree of overmatch capability exhibited by large weapons platforms—yet it is the soldier who ultimately will play the decisive role in restoring stability.
A study is needed to establish the technical requirements for overmatch capability for dismounted soldiers operating individually or in small units. What technological and organizational capabilities are needed to make the dismounted soldier a decisive weapon? How can technology help those soldiers remain decisive on a changing, uncertain and complex future environment? The study will examine the applicability of systems engineering to soldiers and small units, as well as specific technology areas that are relevant to making soldiers decisive, particularly in conditions where we still take casualties today (movement to contact and chance encounters). Technology areas to be considered should include (but not be limited to) situational awareness, weapons, mobility, and protection, adaptation to battlefield environments (e.g., clothing, cooling), communications and networking, human dynamics (e.g., physical, cognitive, behavioral), and logistical support (e.g., medical aid, food, water, energy).
The NRC will establish an ad hoc study committee to examine these requirements. The committee will:
1. Determine the elements of overmatch capabilities necessary for a dismounted soldier to be a decisive weapon on the battlefield, Consider both the individual soldier as well as the soldier as part of a small (squad-size or smaller) unit.
2. Identify technical requirements for optimizing soldiers and small units to achieve overmatch capabilities on the battlefield. Consider technology and societal trends that may affect the balance between U.S. forces & adversaries both now and in future years.
3. Identify near-term, mid-term and far-term technologies in which new or enhanced S&T investments would facilitate the development of decisive soldier capabilities.
4. Determine the relative importance of such investments in making the soldier decisive on future battlefields.
The study will address the operations by dismounted infantry Soldiers and squad-size or smaller units in the future and include the full
2Quoted text is from the discussion paper used in the meeting between Dr. Scott Fish, Army Chief Scientist, and LTG (U.S. Army, retired) Henry J. Hatch, Chair, Committee on Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields, April 5, 2011.