spectrum of operations3 extending from stable peace to general war in an environment of persistent conflict. The latter introduces the requirement that the Soldier be resilient—physically and mentally. ‘Future land operations’ exclude the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan although the study will draw on those and other experiences as appropriate.

The primary focus of the study will be the equipped, trained, and supported (full Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities) individual Soldier, and the study will address both materiel and human capabilities. The human component includes physical (health and fitness), mental, and social attributes including cognitive (knowledge and skills) and noncognitive (temperament, strength of character, social awareness, etc.). Each Soldier is unique, and talents and traits, including cognitive abilities, will vary considerably among the Soldiers in a particular unit. The Soldier is an integrated system—materiel and human.

The intent is to avoid the traditional approach of “building material systems around the Soldier,” and to facilitate the development of an Army composed of Soldiers and small units that can be adapted to whatever mission is assigned.

This clarifying guidance became crucial to the study approach adopted by the committee, serving as a touchstone for affirming what many readers of this report may initially see as controversial premises assumed and positions defended.


The SOT contains several terms that are defined below for the purposes of the study:

   Decisive: An adjective that refers to the ability to settle or decide an outcome; to be conclusive. The focus for this study is on making Soldiers in small units the successful decisive element on future battlefields and other areas of operations. Soldiers must take decisive action in the continuous, simultaneous combinations of offensive, defensive, and stability or defense support of civil authorities tasks (U.S. Army, 2012, Pp. 5-6). In doing so, Soldiers and the tactical small unit (TSU) must be effectively inside the opponent’s decision-making cycle to act preemptively and not just reactively. For Soldiers and TSUs to be decisive, they must overmatch their opponents in all missions.


3“Full spectrum operations” was the Army’s operational concept at the time the SOT and the clarifying guidance were drafted (U.S. Army, 2011a). As of November 2011, “unified land operations” became the Army’s operational concept, and “range of military operations” replaced “spectrum of conflict” (U.S. Army, 2011b; U.S. Army, 2012). See Appendix C for current doctrinal terminology.

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