DESIGNING THE TSU

The principles for achieving overmatch discussed in Chapter 3 would allow the Army to leverage Soldier performance as never before and to determine what TSU design would be most dominant across the full range of combat and stability operations.. A systems approach would focus on developing the metrics and opening the TSU design options to incorporate the full capabilities of Soldiers and equipment.

Ideally, the TSU would be viewed as a system-of-systems and not merely as an organization or formation. A proper system-of-systems analysis would then be able to determine design parameters for the optimal size (number of Soldiers), organization (number of fire teams, duties), and equipment (communication, lethality systems, etc.) of the TSU. The lack of published U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) documentation (e.g., an initial capabilities document or capabilities development document) that could help guide TSU design is a definite handicap. Although some future TSU missions may be similar, the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that have been effective at squad level in Iraq and Afghanistan are unlikely to provide overmatch capabilities against all future adversaries.

Since World War I, the size of the Army squad has varied from 8 to 12 men. In the same time, the Marine Corps squad has been relatively stable at 13 men using three fire teams, except for a short period in the late 1970s when a Marine squad consisted of only 11 men. Army squad organization and size has been studied and reconsidered many times since World War II, starting with a 1946 infantry conference held at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and continuing at least through a 1998 study at the time that the light infantry brigade was being reorganized (Melody, 1990; Hughes, 1994; Rainey, 1998). The recommendations on squad organization and size in these studies flow from underlying functional factors assessed by the authors or study participants: recent deployment experiences; expected future squad missions; available equipment (e.g., weapons and communications), and non-materiel factors such as doctrine, leadership, and tactics. In short, squad organization and size have always been viewed as following from underlying factors, and the objective of the assessment has always been to improve future small unit performance in expected conditions of deployment. Given more-recent Army experience (deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan) with extensive use of dismounted small units conducting missions independently, the change in expected TSU missions under a wider range of military operations (i.e., stability tasks as well as offensive/defensive tasks; see Appendix D), and changes in available and emerging equipment to carry out these missions, the Army needs to conduct a new round of TSU organization analysis unconstrained by assumptions about numbers of Soldiers per unit, roles of unit members, etc.

The current TSU organization is not necessarily optimal. For example, it is conceivable that three fire teams (two rifle fire teams and one machine gun/grenadier/XM25 fire team) with appropriate changes in TTPs may provide significant improvements in maneuverability, military effects (particularly lethal effects), and survivability over the current two identical fire teams. The interplay among factors such as TSU size and organization with other DOTMLPF options is discussed further



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