National Academies Press: OpenBook

Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields (2013)

Chapter: Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System

« Previous: Appendix C-- Army Terminology and Doctrine Relevant to Dismounted Soldier Missions
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×

Appendix D

History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System

This appendix summarizes efforts taken by the Army over the last two decades to analyze Soldier requirements using a systems perspective, including the 1991 study by the Army Science Board (ASB) and subsequent Soldier-as-a-system program developments (ASB, 1991).

THE 1991 ARMY SCIENCE BOARD STUDY

In December 1991, the ASB published a report entitled Soldier as a System, which stressed the importance of treating the Soldier in a systems context (ASB, 1991). Since then, development efforts for the Soldier have often been referred to as “Soldier systems” or as supporting Soldier-as-a-system. Given the complexity of the systems being considered for the Soldier of the future, and depending on whether or not one identifies Soldier devices (e.g., weapons, body armor, night vision goggles, sensors) as components, subsystems, or systems; the Soldier may also be considered as a system of systems—a collection of task-oriented or dedicated systems that integrate their capabilities to create a new, more complex system that offers more functionality and performance than simply the sum of the constituent systems. In a similar manner, the tactical small unit (TSU) can be viewed as not merely a formation but as an organization or, better yet, a system-of-systems, which should be optimized to efficiently and effectively accomplish core and supporting missions in a constrained environment.

The 1991 ASB report, while 20 years old, still has a number of findings and recommendations that the committee believes remain applicable generally to the Army’s future unified land operations and specifically to the subject of this study: ensuring that future dismounted TSUs and Soldiers have decisive overmatch across the gamut of those operations. Even though the ASB report dealt primarily with the multiple facets of materiel-related capabilities and the need for an integrated perspective, today there is broad recognition that multiple facets of the human dimension, in addition to the materiel dimension, are critical to this broad range of missions and operating environments. Thus, the need to treat the Soldier as a system—a system with both materiel and human dimensions—is even more critical today than it was at the time the ASB report was written. In particular, the following excerpt from the Executive Summary of that report seems appropriate to the contemporary environment:

All the multiple components of the Soldier System—the programs, organization, systems, technologies, and soldier types—interact and interrelate. The justification for treating the Soldier System as a major system with integrated management perspective, although potent, must not overlook the difficulties of such an approach. The Soldier System Manager must manage complexity of a high order. (ASB, 1991, p. 1)

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×

Two themes in the 1991 ASB report seem particularly relevant to today’s environment: the need for and importance of (1) an integrated architecture design and (2) a systems engineering methodology. The ASB report defined architecture as follows:

… a substantive definition of the elements within the Soldier System and a definition of how each of these elements is to interface with each other; a substantive definition of the primary elements outside the Soldier System with which the soldier must deal and a companion definition of these required interfaces; and a reasonably complete definition of the expected implementation concepts for fielding, both in timing of individual element introduction and in the ability/inability to use in part or mix/matched with existing inventory items. (U.S. Army, 1991, p. 33)

The report defined system engineering as follows:

… System engineering establishes the desired requirements; defines a system architecture specifying form, fit, and function of the elements to ensure compatibility and interchangeability of the parts; and maintains the configuration in documentation available to all contributors to the development and provisioning activities. (ASB, 1991, p. 34)

The report went on to observe that both a design architecture and a systems engineering methodology were essential to realizing the system Soldier and went on to make a number of recommendations for pursuing these critical elements.

FOLLOW-ON TO SOLDIER AS A SYSTEM

The recommendations of the ASB report are supported by a subsequent review, Objective Force Warrior Technology Assessment, chartered in 2000 by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology.1 The charter to the Independent Review Team (IRT) that conducted the study described the Objective Force Warrior as possessing the agility and versatility to operate with overmatch across the spectrum of conflict, environmental complexity, and mission set: offense, defense, stability, and support. It is interesting to note the similarity of this charter to the Statement of Task given to the current committee.

The IRT made recommendations related to power, weight, lethality, human performance, training, and integration. In particular, the IRT concluded as follows:

   Early integration avoids suboptimal science and technology (S&T) investment,

     System-level design is needed to determine early S&T investment, and

     An organization with the Objective Force Warrior systems design capability could not be identified among the presenters.

The IRT also assessed systems integration and modeling to be in need of redirection and model integration as needing additional funding. The IRT’s recommendations were as follows:

____________________

1Personal communications between Ed Brady, chair of the IRT for Dr. Andrews, and Peter Cherry, committee member, who was also a member of the team.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×

   Implement an integrated S&T approach, to include:

   —Creation of a warrior systems design office

   —Provision of adequate funding, and

   —Development of a virtual prototype of the warrior system.

     Energize the Soldier Integrated Concept Team and strengthen S&T input.

INDICATORS OF FAILURE TO INTEGRATE TSU AND SOLDIER DECISIVE OVERMATCH CAPABILITIES

It was disappointing—at least to the current committee—to learn that the Army’s responses to the ASB recommendations for the Soldier in 1991 and similar recommendations from the IRT in 2000 have not been successfully integrated in the way that dismounted TSUs and Soldiers are prepared for the missions they face. If anything, the current and projected demands upon the dismounted Soldier and the TSU are greater and more critical tactically, operationally, and strategically. The importance of implementing a systems approach and creating a single management authority to equip and prepare the dismounted TSU and the Soldier cannot be overstated. Nevertheless, despite numerous mentions of the “Soldier as a system” as being key to Soldier and TSU performance and consequent warfighting effectiveness since at least the 1991 ASB report, the Army has not adequately applied systems engineering discipline to either the Soldier or the dismounted TSU.

Although the Army’s combat development community (e.g., the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command) has identified many physical and cognitive performance capabilities that would enhance Soldier and TSU enhanced warfighting effectiveness, even a cursory comparison of desired to currently fielded force capabilities identifies numerous capability gaps. Given the range of TSU and Soldier capability gaps to be addressed and the complex solution space of potential Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities (DOTMLPF) solutions, the Army should be applying systems engineering discipline to close these gaps, just as it does for its major platform systems and other systems-of-systems that currently have decisive overmatch. However, DOTMLPF enhancements for individual Soldiers and TSUs appear to be based on independent efforts (“eaches”) rather than on integrated systems engineering. This issue is not limited to Army combat developers; the materiel development community—comprising the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and the Program Executive Offices and program managers under the Army Acquisition Executive—also exhibit this limitation.

The committee believes that the following problems and failures in recent operations—Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)—exemplify the lack of success in applying adequate systems engineering discipline.

Network Integration

In dismounted operations, Soldiers and TSUs are often not integrated into the Army network. One result is that they are too often surprised in tactical situations, resulting in unnecessary casualties. Dismounted TSUs and Soldiers lack sufficient timely situational understanding of the locations of their supporting assets, the enemy, and noncombatants.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×

Battery Proliferation

Numerous batteries of varying sizes, shapes, and power outputs must be used by dismounted Soldiers and TSUs as power sources, and spares for all of them must be carried, as part of the Soldier load, to meet the nominal dismounted operation time requirement of 72 hours.

Soldier Load

The poorly designed “everything on the Soldier” approach to support dismounted operations significantly stresses the Soldier and is the largest contributor to noncombat injuries: 24 percent of medical evacuations in OIF and OEF have been for non-combat musculoskeletal injuries.2

image

  FIGURE D-1 Soldier with combat load. SOURCE: Dr. Marilyn Freeman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, “Providing Technology Enabled Capabilities to Soldiers and Tactical Small Units,” presentation at the 2011 AUSA ILW Winter Symposium and Exposition, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, February 23, 2011.

Force Protection

Force protection measures to ensure the highest degree of survivability are uneven across the spectrum of operations performed. Body armor focuses on protection of the torso and head, and its significant weight increases the Soldier’s exposure to harm and contributes to the Soldier load problems.

Unregulated Fielding of New Technology

On multiple occasions, committee members heard from military combat veterans about technology “solutions” that had been rapidly fielded to the OIF/OEF theater of operations but

____________________

2COL Gaston P. Bathalon, Commander, Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, U.S, Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, “The Soldier as a Decisive Weapon: USAMRMC Soldier Focused Research,” presentation to the Board on Army Science and Technology, February 15, 2011.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×

were never used in TSU operations. Instead, the new technologies ended up being stored in a CONEX (metal shipping container) for various reasons, including human-system interface problems; lack of training; excessive weight for value added; and lack of integration with existing systems.

Deficits in Soldier Resiliency

Recent successes with “resilience-training” programs indicate that resiliency has been a problem, and much more improvement is needed. As evidence, there were 303 suicides in calendar year 2010, which is about double the number in 2003. After returning from deployments, 20-40 percent of Soldiers had been referred for mental health problems such as traumatic stress disorder, depression, and interpersonal conflict.3

The Army has released two important reports on the health risks, including behavioral health and risks such as suicide and prescription drug abuse, faced by the active force and veterans of OEF and OIF.

     Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, Suicide Prevention Report 2010 reported on “indicators of stress on the force and an increasing propensity for Soldiers to engage in high risk behavior.” In addition to the 239 suicide deaths across the entire Army (including the Reserve component) in FY 2009, 160 of whom were active duty Soldiers, the report noted that there were 1,713 known suicide attempts during that same period (U.S. Army, 2010, p. i).

     Army 2020: Generating Health & Discipline in the Force Ahead of the Strategic Reset: Report 2012 documents and emphasizes the interrelatedness of health and disciplinary issues ranging from posttraumatic stress and other behavioral health disorders to illicit drug use, other high-risk behaviors, and suicide (U.S. Army, 2012). For its update of the Health and Disciplinary Maze Model, which had been introduced in the 2010 report, the FY 2011 statistics included more than 42,000 criminal offenses, of which more than 11,000 were drug- or alcohol-related, as well as 1,012 known suicide attempts and 162 suicides (U.S. Army, 2012, p. 6). Newspaper accounts of the personal tragedies for Soldiers and their families, such as an April 2012 op-ed column in the New York Times (Kristof, 2012), help to put human faces on these awful statistics and given them real-life meaning.

A policy brief from the Center for a New American Security states that, from 2005 through 2010, service members across all branches took their own lives at an average of one death every 36 hours (Harrell and Berglass, 2011). Army suicides have climbed steadily since 2004, while suicides in the Air Force, Navy (other than Marine Corps), and Coast Guard have been stable. Although accurate data on veteran suicides are not available, the Veterans Administration estimates that a veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes (Harrell and Berglass, 2011). Like the Army reports, this policy brief notes that risk factors for suicide include

____________________

3COL Gaston P. Bathalon, Commander, Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, U.S, Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, “The Soldier as a Decisive Weapon: USAMRMC Soldier Focused Research,” presentation to the Board on Army Science and Technology, February 15, 2011.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×

traumatic brain injury and a range of behavioral symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Soldier Fatigue and Nutrition

Since 1992, more than 24,000 Soldiers have been discharged for failing to meet Army Weight Control Program requirements, and 20 percent of combat Soldiers suffer weight loss of more than 5 percent and performance deficits due to unmet nutritional requirements. Factors known to contribute to physiological and mental fatigue include night work, disturbed or restricted sleep cycles, rapid deployment across multiple time zones, and rapid deployment to significantly higher altitudes. TSU leaders appear to lack the training to ensure that their Soldiers receive the rest and nutrition they need to sustain high performance under demanding environmental conditions during challenging missions.4

____________________

4COL Gaston P. Bathalon, Commander, Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, U.S, Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, “The Soldier as a Decisive Weapon: USAMRMC Soldier Focused Research,” presentation to the Board on Army Science and Technology, February 15, 2011.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×

REFERENCES

ASB (Army Science Board). 1991. Army Science Board 1991 Summer Study - Soldier as a System. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Army.

Harrell, M.C., and N. Berglass. 2011. Losing the Battle: The Challenge of Military Suicide. Available online http://www.cnas.org/files/documents/publications/CNAS_LosingTheBattle_HarrellBerglass_0.pdf Accessed March 28, 2013.

Kristof, N. 2012. A veteran’s death, the nation’s shame. Available online http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/kristof-a-veterans-death-the-nationsshame.html?pagewanted=all. Accessed March 28, 2013.

U.S. Army. 2010. Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, Suicide Prevention Report 2010. Report of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. Arlington, Va.: Headquarters, Department of the Army.

U.S. Army. 2012. Army 2020: Generating Health & Discipline in the Force Ahead of the Strategic Reset: Report 2012. Arlington, Va.: Headquarters, Department of the Army.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×

This page is blank

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×
Page 157
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×
Page 158
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×
Page 159
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×
Page 160
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×
Page 161
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×
Page 162
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×
Page 163
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D-- History and Status of Design for the Soldier as a System." National Research Council. 2013. Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18321.
×
Page 164
Next: Appendix E-- Measures of Performance and Measures of Effectiveness »
Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $51.00 Buy Ebook | $40.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

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, the United States has used its technical prowess and industrial capability to develop decisive weapons that overmatch those of potential enemies. In its current engagement—what has been identified as an "era of persistent conflict"— the nation's most important weapon is the dismounted soldier operating in small units. Today's soldier must be prepared to contend with both regular and irregular adversaries. Results in Iraq and Afghanistan show that, while the U.S. soldier is a formidable fighter, the contemporary suite of equipment and support does not afford 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.

Making the Soldier Decisive on Future Battlefields establishes the technical requirements for overmatch capability for dismounted soldiers operating individually or in small units. It prescribes technological and organizational capabilities needed to make the dismounted soldier a decisive weapon in a changing, uncertain, and complex future environment and provides the Army with 15 recommendations on how to focus its efforts to enable the soldier and tactical small unit (TSU) to achieve overmatch.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!