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Preface This study resulted from recognition by the U.S. Army that a great disparity exists between the decisive overmatch capability, relative to prospective adversaries, of major U.S. weapon systems (such as tanks, fighter aircraft, or nuclear submarines) and the relative vulnerability of dismounted soldiers when they are operating in small, detached units (squads). The increased reliance in recent Army deployments on soldiers operating in these tactical small units (TSUs), as well as the expanding responsibilities of ground forces in the future for missions that go beyond traditional combat, provided the incentive to ask what could be done to give dismounted soldiers and TSUs a credible degree of decisive overmatch in any of the anticipated future operational environments. I would like to thank the Committee on Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields for its tenacity and dedication in interviewing numerous experts (including recently deployed Army enlisted soldiers and officers), assessing the pertinent issues, and developing recommendations to address the many demands of its statement of task from the Army sponsor (see Summary of this report). The committee in turn is grateful to the many Army and Department of Defense personnel, both civilian and military, who provided much of the information on which this report is based. We particularly thank the veterans of recent combat deployments who shared with us their hopes for those who will follow them, as well as their insights, frustrations, and triumphs in the trying circumstances of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The committee and I also greatly appreciate the support and assistance of the National Research Council (NRC) staff, which ably assisted the committee in its fact- finding activities and in production of the report. In particular, I thank the staff of the NRC’s Board on Army Science and Technology (BAST), who successfully organized the attendance of committee members and guests at major meetings in multiple locations and maintained a secure Internet forum for the members to accumulate study information, collaborate on report inputs, share expertise, and develop the consensus for the report we present here. The study was conducted under the auspices of the BAST, a unit of the NRC’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, established in 1982 at the request of the United States Army. The BAST brings broad military, industrial, and academic scientific, engineering, and management expertise to bear on technical challenges of importance to senior Army leaders. The BAST is not a study committee; rather, it deliberates on study concepts and statements of task for the expert committees that are formed under rigorous NRC procedures to conduct a particular study. The BAST discusses potential study topics and tasks, ensures study project planning and execution in conformance with NRC vi
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procedures, and suggests candidate experts to serve as committee members or report reviewers. Although the Board members are listed in the front pages of the report, with the exception of any members who were nominated and appointed to the study committee, they were not asked to endorse the committee’s findings or recommendations or to review final drafts of the report before its release. The findings and recommendations are those reached by unanimous consensus of the Committee on Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. The NRC’s approval of this report likewise does not indicate a position on the substance of the findings and recommendations but rather certifies that the study was conducted in accordance with its procedures. Hank Hatch, Chair Committee on Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields vii