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)
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.
• 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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.