Small units will be called upon to operate independently for extended periods of time with increasing OPTEMPO. For the Soldier and TSU, this translates into sustainability needs for power and energy less tethered to the logistics base. It also signals the need for innovations in training both on the ground and in the Army’s traditional training centers (or schoolhouses).
Energy is a ubiquitous quantity, and the term is often used interchangeably with “power,” which is the rate at which energy is used. By the first law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy), energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another. In a sense, it is the “currency of the universe” in that everything we see, measure, construct, and do has an energy budget associated with it. As a result, there is a continuing search for dense forms of energy that can be readily applied to the insatiable appetite of a growing world population. Energy can be extracted from its storage in the atomic nucleus, chemical bonds, or gravitational field and from energy sources such as the wind and solar radiation (which ultimately derive from nuclear energy sources in the Sun).
Two prior National Research Council (NRC) studies considered power and energy for the dismounted Soldier exclusively (NRC, 1997; 2004). These studies concluded that power reductions and conservation must be part of the overall solution to meet Soldier’s needs, but in ensuing years energy and power demands for the dismounted Soldier have only increased as the numbers and variety of electronics in his equipment have proliferated. This study, unlike the earlier studies, examines the needs for power and energy within the overall context of ensuring that dismounted TSUs have decisive overmatch through superior capabilities in the areas of situational understanding, military effects, maneuverability, supportability, and survivability.
Why Energy is a Problem
The focus of this study is the individual solider and how to make him/her overwhelmingly superior to any adversary. The revolution in digital technology has made it possible to equip the Soldier with unprecedented capability such as real time situational awareness through computer displays that overlay data on maps showing the location of friend and foe, local Internet-like capability, and personal weapons that use electronic systems to enhance lethality. All of these capabilities are powered by local energy sources carried by the Soldier. If one looks at the Soldier on today’s battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq, the image is one of a grossly overloaded Soldier in the hot desert sun, struggling with total