During its information gathering process, the committee identified many opportunities to improve the capability of dismounted tactical small units (TSUs) in ways that could potentially contribute to ensuring that future TSUs have decisive overmatch across all the tasks and missions described in Chapter 2. In the committee’s judgment, many of these opportunities will have their greatest effect only if both materiel and nonmaterial factors from across the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities (DOTMLPF) domains are integrated in an optimized “capability solution,” in accordance with the four overarching recommendations presented in Chapter 3. Such opportunities, or capability options, have interactive consequences, positive and negative, that will require the rigorous assessment and design approach described in Chapter 3 to find the best set. These interactive consequences often extend across two, three, or more of the operational capability categories discussed in Chapter 2: situational awareness, military effects, maneuverability, sustainability, and survivability. Thus, a set of capability options covering all five categories will typically need to be evaluated together during rigorous systems engineering (see Recommendation 2). Even so, the committee found that the most promising options, at least in terms of costs and payoffs the committee could evaluate, given its limited assessment base, can be roughly categorized into five high-priority capability-improvement areas:
• Designing the TSU
• Focusing on TSU Training
• Integrating the TSU into Army Networks
• Balancing TSU Maneuverability, Military Effects, and Survivability
• Leveraging Advances in Portable Power
In each of these high-priority improvement areas, there are various options to consider and integrate, including improved or alternative technology options as well as non-materiel improvements in organization, doctrine, and other options that fall within the committee’s definition of the human dimension. Work on many of the technology options is already in progress. Rather than make specific recommendations on which options are most worthy, this chapter explains why certain of the options are most likely to achieve overmatch following rigorous systems-oriented assessment.
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
The lack of an analytical foundation for squad performance limits future advances in capability to what infantry leadership is advocating at a given time; it precludes development of a stable TSU architecture. While the TRADOC Analysis Center has some force-on-force models that could be used, it has not used these to develop measures of performance (MOPs) or measures of effectiveness (MOEs) for the TSU. MOPs and MOEs for the current squad are based on operational experiments to assess particular materiel systems using scenarios developed for the experiment.
The Army has adopted 72 hours as the mission-duration standard for squad performance. A standard operation would require each Soldier to carry a “sustainment” load of about 60 pounds for the 72-hour mission, in addition to an assault load of about 45 pounds. This standard represents a “worst case” load, in the sense that a mission duration less than 72 hours would reduce the Soldier load. As a consequence of the 72-hour standard, Army developers have pursued multiple alternatives for manned and unmanned support vehicles, such as the M274 mechanical mule and the planned Soldier Mission Support System.
Robotic augmentation of TSU functions is a design consideration of enormous potential for Soldier and TSU capabilities in the future. However, proponents and developers of support vehicles for the squad continue to ignore the need to address many basic shortcomings that have been identified using prototypes, including several issues relating directly to TSU design. These include such things as: provisions for operator and maintainer manpower; vehicle mobility that is less than that of dismounted Soldiers (which means the vehicle cannot keep up with dismounts in complex terrain); load security when separated from the TSU formation, as well as other “minder” distractions; safety of dismounted Soldiers; and tactical noise and other signatures.
In addition to support vehicles to assist with load-carrying, there are portable unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance, “port bots” for special purposes, and exoskeleton systems to consider in future designs for the most capable TSU organization. Appendix H provides descriptions of current relevant programs in robotics technologies.
As discussed in Chapter 3, until the Army develops a better understanding of TSU requirements, it will have no choice but to continue using worst-case approaches and faulty support concepts. The Army has a mature set of metrics for Armored Systems and Mounted Combat, which, together with models and simulations, can predict or estimate engagement, battle, and campaign outcomes for a given set of performance data and conditions. Analogous capability is needed for designing and evaluating dismounted TSU concepts. Using foundations developed in the 1980s, objective metrics, as recommended in Chapter 3, can be developed for social processes that are critical to achieving decisive overmatch, even if the scores on some metrics are not necessarily on an ordinal scale (that is, they are not ranked from a highest to lowest score). It should be possible for the Army to develop metrics for the dismounted Soldier and TSU in operations such as direct fire, movement, indirect fire coordination, information collection, mission planning,
culturally aware behavior, situational awareness and understanding, and decision-making. These metrics, in the form of MOPs and MOEs, could be used in the near term as a basis for establishing realistic goals for future capabilities, as well as setting acquisition objectives and training readiness standards.
Development and analyses of TSU options will require collaboration among multiple Army activities, including the TRADOC Infantry School at the Maneuver Center of Excellence and the TRADOC Analysis Center, the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI), the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, and the Army program executive offices for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) and Soldier (PEO Soldier).
Finding: The task of developing metrics for the Soldier and TSU lacks organizational focus and responsibility. A single organization should have the responsibility for developing the metrics for dismounted Soldier and TSU operations.
Recommendation 5: The Army should transform and sustain the design of the TSU, including re-assessing unit organization and size, by the following actions:
a. Develop representative measures of performance (MOPs) and measures of effectiveness (MOEs) for the primary dimensions of TSU performance, and ensure these measures incorporate human dimension criteria.
b. Assemble a consortium of stakeholders to implement iterative work-centered analyses of the Soldier task workload and the TSU and Soldier-system performance required by increasing the scope (range, quality, thresholds) of TSU MOPs and MOEs. The analyses should enable development of predictive analytical models of Soldier physical and cognitive task and mobility performance, Soldier-to-Soldier task and mobility interaction within a TSU network, and TSU task and mobility performance.
c. Expand the TSU task and mobility model to predict influences of weapons, information collection, and information technologies on TSU MOPs and MOEs.
Such a TSU task and mobility model could be expanded in the mid-term to include individual Soldier and TSU social network factors as well as training states.
Changes in TSU design will require not only considerations for future missions and equipment but also adequate attention to the human Soldiers. Capabilities of the TSU and of the Soldiers in it are highly dependent on each other. Enhancements to TSU performance and effectiveness should also enhance performance and effectiveness of the individual Soldier. Likewise, Soldier enhancements should increase the performance and effectiveness of the TSU. For example, sharing situational awareness within the TSU enhances an individual Soldier's situational awareness. Enhancing the shooting skills of
one Soldier will, in turn, enhance the lethality of the TSU. Future capability enhancements to the TSU and individual Soldiers should be designed to provide a synergistic effect that is greater than the sum of incremental improvement from each enhancement by itself.
As the Army considers encouraging enlisted careers reaching beyond the 20-25 years now the nominal standard, a shift in the expertise and experience levels of individual Soldiers might well have profound results on TSU performance, allowing the Army to capitalize on the training and experience of longer-serving deployment veterans.
In listening to and questioning Soldiers, troop leaders, and materiel designers, the committee learned that what is broadly known in the research and development (R&D) community about human physiological performance applicable to TSU dominance is not being applied by the Army. This deficit in applying critical information to understand and improve Soldier performance is discussed in the sections that follow.
Most accept that sleep loss or extreme heat will affect physical performance. Less accepted, but well established in research, is that cognitive performance is just as profoundly affected by lack of sleep, temperature extremes, time zone shifts, poor nutrition, and extreme elevation changes. In particular, cognitive ability declines substantially with sleep loss (Miller et al., 2011; Thomas et al., 2000; Van Dongen et al., 2004). Depending on the individual, performance decline due to lack of sleep can be as much as 1 percent per hour after last rest. So, Soldiers operating 24 hours without sleep, assuming they were fully rested at the start of the 24 hours, may be operating with as much as a 24 percent cognitive deficit.
Seventeen to nineteen hours without sleep, which many consider not much more than a long day, can have the same impairment as alcohol consumption at the legal standard for driving under the influence (Williamson and Feyer, 2000). While there is wide variation among individuals in performance decrement from sleep deprivation, there is no correlation between individual self-assessments of their “alertness” and measured performance (Van Dongen et al., 2004).
As with raised blood-alcohol levels, “Can do!” spirit does not restore brain function, and it is the higher-order functions of judgment and analytical reasoning that fade first. Miller et al. (2011) discussed how “…sleep deprived leaders appear to have a diminished capacity to recognize their own sleep debt, as well as the sleep debt of their subordinates.” The researchers surveyed recently returned combat veterans attending the Army Infantry Officers Advanced Course. Nearly 70 percent reported that their superiors received less or much less sleep than needed, 55 percent reported they themselves received less or much less than needed, and 47 percent reported their subordinates received less or much less sleep than required. The veterans noted that they averaged 4 hours of sleep per night during the periods of high operational tempo (OPTEMPO) that made up almost half of their time deployed.
The mental abilities required to achieve success exploiting network-centric capabilities are those most vulnerable to battlefield stressors that include sleep loss, environmental extremes, dehydration, and high OPTEMPO. Functional brain imaging
studies show that sleep loss selectively deactivates the prefrontal cortex, the brain region where anticipation, planning, and situational awareness culminate (Thomas, et al., 2000; Wesensten et al., 2005a).
While the research literature on performance losses from a degraded physiological state is fairly robust, the committee found mention of these degradation factors missing in small unit leaders’ considerations of operations planning. The mission planning aid described later in this chapter (see Recommendation 14 and preceding text) would be a tool for delivering this knowledge to small-unit leaders for operations and mission planning.
Most of the research on the physiological bases of degraded performance has concentrated on single-attribute relationships. Additional research is needed to understand the relationships among multiple degrading factors, such as the effects on physical, cognitive, and emotional performance attributes of combinations of sleep loss, poor nutrition, poor hydration, temperature extremes, exposure to extreme motion (air and ground vehicles), high elevations, and prolonged physical fatigue. Such research could better quantify the relations between the degrading factors and performance attributes relevant to mission planning, predictive simulations, and the models used for analyzing alternatives. Further, there is an equally urgent need for research evaluation of training, pharmacologic, and heating and cooling mitigation strategies, to include both the short-term and long-term effects of a mitigation strategy on Soldier fitness and Soldier health. For example, both Ritalin (methylphenidate) and modafinil are in some use by the U.S. military as antidotes to sleep loss, but little is known of the effects of such use on cognitive or emotional performance (Wesensten et al., 2005b). A second objective in this research should be to develop biomarkers that could indicate to TSU and other small unit leaders the physiological readiness of their Soldiers. Even when the OPTEMPO requires the assignment of Soldiers with reduced physiological performance, it is critical that mission planners understand the decrement in performance their TSU may encounter. A more complex third objective would be to learn how Soldiers differ in their sensitivity to the performance degradation factors and if such a sensitivity might be the basis for selection measures.
In the near term, physiological readiness could be inserted as a “must-do” checklist in TSU mission planning: “Have the Soldiers had a night’s rest?” or “Is there an extreme elevation change planned?” And so on. When such precautions are not possible, both the assignment of squads to particular tasks and the number of squads allocated to a task should reflect a quantitative knowledge on the part of mission planners of the expected physiological efficiency of each unit.
Small unit leaders reported that, on occasion, they had seen peer leaders perform while influenced by an emotional state brought about by family or domestic issues from home, by recent casualties, or other sources. Training should be incorporated into courses for small unit leaders to make them aware of the need for “mindfulness” in their decision-making and troop leading. This training could take the form of game scenarios that highlight the role of emotion regulation in tactical decision-making. Doctrine should be
developed to guide leaders sensing the potential for emotion-driven degraded leadership in others or themselves. Research would be needed to develop effective measures of leaders’ emotional states and the relationship to decision-making in high-stress and extreme environments, the effectiveness of the developed doctrine, and the effectiveness of leader emotion-regulation training. Research should also explore the potential for neurosensing of the emotional state of Soldiers and their leaders.
In parallel, perhaps, with the research on emotion regulation for leaders, research should seek to determine the attributes of resilience in Soldiers: the ability to perform effectively throughout the extremes expected in unified land operations. Such extremes are likely to include “three-block wars”—ranging from lethal fire and maneuver to humanitarian assistance and back to lethal fire and maneuver in a span of minutes. Increased resilience could also make Soldiers and units more survivable, both physically—able to survive threats posed by the enemy and the environment—and mentally—able to resist depression and assaults on cognitive ability, such as post traumatic stress disorder. Army research can provide new knowledge applicable to selection, assignment, and training strategies for increasing the levels of Soldier and TSU resilience.
The Army Center for Enhanced Performance, originally an enhanced performance program at West Point, has grown to have 100-plus affiliated professionals; it provides direction for basic training and interventive training events to several Army units. If institutionalized with Department of Army support, the center’s results could be applied to expanded R&D program efforts in small unit leadership and small group social dynamics at ARI, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, the Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) at ARL, and elsewhere.
Optimizing the TSU Social Network
Each TSU forms a discrete social network that must function efficiently. But little is known beyond the intuitive level about how the social network is forged within a unit, how it is maintained, and how personalities influence that process. For example, cohort training, in which Soldiers continue training and serving with the same unit beyond Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training, showed some success in experiments during the mid- to late-1980s. The concept of keeping dismounted infantry units together for training and service over extended periods thus has merit, but its potential still needs to be objectively evaluated with other options (including combinations of such options), such as the master trainer concept discussed below.
As Soldiers move toward more interactions in electronic forums such as chat rooms, Facebook, and text messaging systems, it should be possible to automate the monitoring of each squad as an effective social network. This could yield huge benefits at low cost, if commanders were able to easily identify squads with degrading social
Selection figures prominently in achieving overmatch inasmuch as selection processes form the basis for recruitment, assignment, training, and retention decisions. Were one to succeed in defining the optimal squad or squads at a structural level, then it would also be possible to develop tools for maximizing the efficiency of individual squads during the process of personnel assignment. It is no secret that squads vary in their effectiveness and that this variation reflects the interaction of the personnel that make up each squad. While there has been a significant effort to enhance leader training and development at the squad level, there has been very little effort devoted to the notion that the squad—as a group of interacting personalities—forms a network that must function optimally if the squad is to achieve its potential. Just as commanders can improve the performance of individual squads by transferring squad members to different squads to overcome personality conflicts, it is possible that cohesive TSUs whose members work well together can be constructed based on achieving a proper mix of personalities.
Significant numbers of Soldiers are required for the volunteer Army, and the infantry specialties have traditionally not been the most selective. As a consequence, small unit leaders reported to the committee that, especially after first combat, on the order of 30 percent of their Soldiers were no longer effective and were thus a drain on the small unit for the remainder of the deployment. Although the Army’s selection and placement process, Tier One Performance Screen (TOPS), is improving the prediction of initial training completion and first enlistment retention program, the selection technology could be further developed to learn if a propensity to become combat ineffective, at least in the perception of the small unit leader, can be predicted. Whether the outcome is an expansion of the Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System (TAPAS), another off-the-shelf or new psychological instrument, or a neuroscience-based biomarker, the need is critical if TSUs are to be more effective. Careful research on this theme might also reveal the role of leader traits and TSU composition on a Soldier being informally classified by a leader as combat ineffective.
In all of the committee’s data collection visits, a theme heard from the training base as well as from recently deployed Soldiers is that, through concentrating on the human dimension, the Army could exploit the talents and abilities of Soldiers to get closer to excellent performance, rather than settling for the lowest common denominator performance that was acceptable in the Cold War era. Using individual differences as a future force multiplier was an overarching recommendation in the recent National Research Council study, Opportunities in Neuroscience for Future Army Applications (NRC, 2009, Pp. 103-104):
Conclusion 17: Neuroscience is establishing the role that neural structures play in the individual variability observed in cognition, memory, learning behaviors, resilience to stressors, and decision-making strategies and styles. Differences from one soldier to the next have consequences for most of the Army applications discussed in this report. Individual variability influences operational readiness and the ability of military units to perform assigned tasks optimally, but it is in many ways at odds with the conventional approach of training soldiers to be interchangeable components of a unit.
Recommendation 17: Using insights from neuroscience on the sources and characteristics of individual variability, the Army should consider how to take advantage of variability rather than ignoring it or attempting to eliminate it from a soldier’s behavior patterns in performing assigned tasks. The goal should be to seek ways to use individual variability to improve unit readiness and performance.
Exploiting the talents and abilities of individuals would apply to Army recruiting and training across the board, not just to dismounted infantry. But taking advantage of these individual differences at the level of dismounted TSU operations has several facets.
The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), although undergoing change, is an objective measure of physical readiness recognized as being combat relevant. Passing the APFT is a critical milestone for recruits to become qualified in a Military Occupational Specialty. Recycling trainees in initial entry training to give them more time to reach the fitness goals has been a constant feature of Army training. A recruit scheduled for Basic Training is also scheduled for follow-on Advanced Individual Training. With each Basic Training recycle, a follow-on Advanced Individual Training “seat” is vacated, resulting in wasted training resources. (Similarly, a trainee recycled in One-Station Unit Training “vacates” the remainder of his training seat.) A predictive screen for application in Military Entrance Processing Stations that would predict APFT potential success at the outset should be developed and used to schedule a recruit’s Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, or One-Station Unit Training, with or without physical training remediation. This would reduce Army training expenses for trainees, transients, holdees, and students and possibly improve trainee morale and retention. Fielding such a measure would be a needed administrative precedent for exploiting other facets of individual differences.
It is very likely that the differences in cognitive abilities and temperament among Soldiers exceed differences in physical appearance or ability. The Armed Forces Qualification Test, a subset of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), is a respected measure of cognitive ability, and the ASVAB as a whole is a useful indicator of vocational affinity. These instruments are used to make both accession decisions and assignments for Military Occupational Specialty training. ARI developed TAPAS, which is another accession decision instrument that assesses temperament and interests. The use of TAPAS in a battery along with ASVAB and TOPS (the latter to assess educational attainment) is significantly improving training completion rates. This R&D should be broadened to determine if instruments deliverable in the Military Entrance Processing Stations could usefully predict learning styles, which could yield
training base economies. To be successful, this effort would need to develop alternative training course syllabi for trainees with a preferred learning style, to capitalize on the potential for reduced training times and reduced recycle times or attrition.
Company and battalion commanders affirm that the difference in performance among squads (and among platoons) is large, suggesting factors of two or three or more between the lowest and highest performing units. Most of the research on small unit performance has focused on the leader as the central determinant of unit performance differences. The favorable fielding of TOPS provides a foundation for further and accelerated exploration of the role of team member attributes on collective team performance. This could then lead to research to define cognitive, noncognitive, and physical performance attributes that contribute to excellence in TSU performance.
If useful relationships are found among individual Soldier attributes and TSU performance, then further R&D could explore methods for filling TSU vacancies based on optimal complements to already assigned personnel already in a TSU. While using such data to make optimum assignments from a centralized authority may be beyond near-term feasibility within the Department of the Army, the potential for both avoiding poor TSU performance and for gaining broad excellence should not be entirely ignored. The personnel pipeline flow rates are sufficient that garrison or lower-level assignments could be made to attain most of the potential performance gains.
Finally, the Army may not be aware of much research, government-funded or otherwise, that could be highly relevant. For example, personality measures being studied for use by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in assigning astronauts compatible for long-term missions to Mars may have utility in TSU assignments, perhaps for use as diagnostics in improving sub-par TSU performance or as markers for potential poor performance.
Changes in TSU design will require not just considerations for future missions and equipment but also adequate attention to the Soldier as a human. Capabilities of the TSU and of the Soldiers in it are highly dependent on each other. Enhancements to TSU performance and effectiveness should also enhance performance and effectiveness of the individual Soldier. Likewise, Soldier enhancements should increase the performance and effectiveness of the TSU. For example, situational awareness within the TSU enhances an individual Soldier’s situational awareness. Enhancing the shooting skill of one Soldier will, in turn enhance the lethality of the TSU. Future enhancements to the TSU and Soldiers should be designed to provide a synergistic effect that is greater than the sum of incremental improvement from each enhancement by itself.
Several near-term actions support the goal of achieving decisive Soldier performance:
• Institutionalizing the functions of the Army Center for Enhanced Performance;
• Assembling a “Physiological Readiness Check List” for use in training and operational testing and refining development of nonintrusive physiological status monitors;
• Expanding research in the social processes of small units; and,
• Expanding research in individual differences, especially as applied to physical readiness screens used in recruitment and military training.
Recommendation 6: The Army should evaluate Soldier performance for the future mission effectiveness of the TSU in the near term by leveraging existing research and development and by considering all DOTMLPF (Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities) domains.
Mid to far term actions toward maintaining decisive levels of Soldier performance in TSUs include:
• Provide near-real time physiological readiness state reporting from Soldier and TSU to the command chain using physiological state monitors
• Leverage personality inventories, such as TAPAS, to determine the cognitive, noncognitive, and physical performance attributes that predict TSU performance.
• Conduct analyses to predict probable increased TSU MOP and MOE levels attainable if two-year and five-year technology goals are met and anticipated improvements are implemented.
• Explore the potential to discern the state of the social network, morale, and other performance-relevant attributes from the communications among the TSU members without invading individual privacy and without individual identifications.
Recommendation 7: To maintain the currency of representative measures for the primary dimensions of Soldier and TSU mission performance, the Army, including its doctrine and training, research and development, acquisition and testing elements, should undertake a recurring program (at least biannual) to re-evaluate Soldier performance considering the analytical foundation for the functional design of the TSU, including numbers of Soldiers, grades and specialties, career experience, organization, and external support requirements.
Not only will Soldiers and TSUs be expected to do more, but an increased emphasis on exploiting human-dimension knowledge will demand innovative approaches to training. Focused training is essential to improving the performance of Soldiers and TSUs to levels that can ensure overmatch. Small unit training and leader training are more important than ever, not just because of sophisticated technology but because the TSU is the centerpiece of future Army operations.
The TSU must have mastery of the methods, tactics, and technical knowledge and skills required to accomplish the assigned missions before the missions are undertaken. Current senior Army leader training emphases are that future missions comprising the entire range of military operations, including counterinsurgency and wide area security as
well as combat operations, are to be expected; greater use must be made of the full spectrum of training technology, virtual, constructive, and real; and commanders have full responsibility for the state of training of their units.
TSU “Master” Trainer
To fully exploit available information technology, as well as maneuverability and military effects technologies, the TSU must have additional training resource coordination and leadership capacity to facilitate mastery-level TSU performance. The master TSU trainer, as envisioned by this committee, would be assigned at company or battalion level for continuity of training and rapid assimilation of new technology. Such trainers would serve in a dedicated training capacity and would have special qualifications in skill acquisition and learning. They would be key advisors to the commander on TSU matters. These trainers would not be in the normal operations planning role of the operations staff; they would have a role analogous to a sideline and practice coach, being sure the team fielded is fully prepared for the contests ahead. The master TSU trainers would not be expected to be TSU players. The Army’s current “player-coach” model of unit training leadership is short of what is needed to exploit the mission command networks and systems and military effects equipment (including weapons) provided for TSU use. The master trainer would understand and employ the full potential of the training technologies available, wherever the company/battalion is posted or deployed.
The TSU master trainer would assess the strengths and weaknesses of each TSU in the company/battalion; understand the existing systems and new technologies available in the next readiness cycle; and prescribe a training syllabus to get each TSU to a mastery level on both current and forthcoming systems.
Attributes for TSU master trainers might include legitimate academic degrees in education or psychology, as well as TSU leadership experience at levels above the company. Subject to periodic performance review, the TSU master trainers might be in “tenured” positions similar to master recruiters in the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
TSU Training Attributes
TSU training must be experiential (scenario-based) and situated in realistic environments (live, virtual, or constructive); it must mirror the complexity of real-world operational environments; it must be accessible when units are deployed as well as at their home station, and it must rapidly incorporate and share the recent experiences of other units in similar situations. While commanders may be responsible for their unit’s training, subordinate leaders must be given the means to accomplish the training. That is, TSU leaders must have training support to enable the near-full-time training of their TSU with minimal TSU Soldier downtime while leaders “prepare the training.” To be effective with respect to both cost and training transfer, the training architecture must take a holistic view of the TSU and TSU leadership; the training architecture, training technologies, and facilities; and the training support staff. This holistic view should
TSU Training Objectives
The first step, the one on which all else depends, is to define the objectives of TSU training properly: define the skill requirements at a level of detail sufficient for developing training content and evaluating delivery means. TSU training content should include adaptability, which can be based in part on ARI work on training for adaptability. Cultural awareness and cross-cultural skills should be included, which can be based in part on work by ARI and the Marine Corps’ “Operational Culture” approach. Training in social interaction—being a “good stranger” in a host culture—might build on the Strategic Social Interaction Modules program of the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA). The training objectives should reflect the TSU performance metrics (MOPs and MOEs) established in accordance with Recommendation 3 of this report and discussed in both Chapter 3 and preceding sections of this chapter.
Realistic Sociocultural Training
Achieving TSU training objectives for noncombat tasks in stability operations may require an increased level of fidelity in virtual and constructive training facilities to recreate complex sociocultural situations. Leaders and instructors will need training development and management tools for rapid construction of training scenarios, rapid and inexpensive translation of a deployed squad’s real-world experiences into training for other squads, and tools to pick the best (most cost-effective) type of training environment and level of fidelity for the training objectives. Training environments may be anywhere along the “live-virtual-constructive” (L-V-C) continuum and may often combine elements of two or more of these training environments. In virtual and constructive training environments, more realistic synthetic entities, especially with methods to improve behavioral realism, are needed. This can be accomplished in numerous ways with current technology, as illustrated by the following examples.
Autonomous Conversational Characters. To enable the TSU to train on skills requiring interaction with the local population, the current generation of games and simulations would need to be upgraded to include autonomous characters capable of conversation. The TSU should be able to have bidirectional interaction with these characters, including both verbal and nonverbal forms of communication. The characters should provide a plausible cultural representation, which is an area requiring ongoing research in terms of verification and validation criteria for cultural fidelity. Such conversational characters would support a host of different training applications, ranging from providing counseling skills for leader development and cultural awareness training to providing conversational (language) support to dismounted Soldier training for wide area security competency. The conversational and social capabilities should eventually be integrated
Social Simulators. A social simulator would model groups of people and their relationships to one another. It should show the potential second and third order effects of operations in the human terrain so that TSUs can see how a local contact or action may affect the population of an area over time. While not claiming to be predictive in nature, these models should provide plausible reactions to information, interaction, and operations in an area. A local interaction with one individual can potentially have an outsized effect on the network of relationships of that individual. As with the human representations of individuals, further research is required for how one would provide verification and validation of a social simulator illustrating the current state of the art. Successful validation of such social simulation models is described in a recent National Research Council Report (NRC, 2008) and by Louie and Carley (2008).
Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG). Use of MMOG environments augmented with autonomous non-player characters can support operational training for both combat (offensive/defensive) tasks and stability tasks. Ideally, the MMOG would support the use of a social simulator. Assuming that the software meets requirements for use on Army installations, an MMOG can be used to support home station training, as well as training at institutions (e.g, Army schoolhouses) and in the deployed force. One such system, called EDGE, is now being developed by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.
Assessment Tools for TSU Training
Objective measures of performance fed back to the trainees make the difference between effective training and “busy-work.” Technology for rapid unobtrusive performance data collection during L-V-C sessions must be built into the training technologies. Instrumenting virtual, constructive, and simulator-based training with machine learning algorithms can enable individualized, automated assessment of trainee performance and can be a useful aid for leaders and instructors. Near-real-time training feedback allows leaders to adapt training to the appropriate level for the TSU and for individuals, to accurately diagnosis performance deficits, and to increase the training challenge to steepen the slope of the learning curve. (Soldiers learn more quickly when feedback shows skills are being quickly acquired.) Machine learning for diagnosis and feedback would be a significant instructor tool. Use of neurophysiological measures to estimate “operator state” might improve the resolution of training assessment and individualization. Development and fielding of a robust training management system for small unit leaders with improved record keeping for analysis of training effectiveness and digital record keeping for individuals is an enduring priority. Current Army proposals and programs for training avatars have two components: (1) a facility for collecting and exploiting for training management the training performance data on individual Soldiers, and (2) graphical representation of the individual’s performance attributes in virtual environments. Research may indicate virtual avatars linked to actual performance would
Simulation Technology and Devices for Automated Training
The benefit of automated tools for training management of small units is unquestioned, having been well demonstrated by ARI since the 1980s, and it could proceed without waiting for the virtual representation to be proven. Appendix F discusses two areas where improvements relevant to Army training needs could accelerate and accentuate the effectiveness of training through the following simulation technologies, which span the L-V-C training spectrum:
• Authoring Tools. The cost of scenario authoring is a leading limit to more pervasive and practical use of integrated L-V-C training. Advances in scenario authoring tools are needed that reduce the cost of developing new training scenarios to meet new operational requirements and operational environments.
• Tools for Immersion Training. Trainee immersion, so critical for the L-V-C integration concept, is especially challenging for application to dismounted TSU operations, where each Soldier should experience a unique, perceptually realistic relationship with the immediate terrain. Realistic simulation of walking, running, crawling, and taking cover—all routine TSU member behaviors—are technology challenges to be overcome to make the immersion experience valuable for Soldier training.
In one of two training sites visited by the committee, technology was installed to provide trainees fall-of-shot feedback in basic rifle marksmanship; however, it was not being used for more than a modest fraction of its potential. The feedback system appeared to be used more as a means of keeping non-firing trainees occupied than as a training assist. Improved instructor training would ensure understanding of the important role of feedback in learning.
Adaptive and Accelerated Training
Training that is tailored to an individual’s progress is in widespread use in maintenance and other technical training in the Army and in the other services. A fresh look at the constituent skills needed by a TSU Soldier might reveal areas in which this approach could be usefully applied, although this fresh look would need to include variances from the current lock-step One-Station Unit Training structure. Technologies to aid adaptive training with physiological measures are coming from psychology and neuroscience and are approaching commercial availability for consumers. Machine learning could simplify the results for instructors and speed and focus the results for
trainees. Using nonveridical feedback in virtual environments could accelerate the speed and accuracy of training for initial entry and skill sustainment training of units. In virtual or other scenario training, providing trainees explicit comparison between seemingly similar (or dissimilar) situations would enable development of abstracted representations of situations. This builds robust, flexible knowledge bases that afford transfer to new situations. Other adaptive training techniques include the following:
After Action Review (AAR) Systems for Squad Operations. AAR is an essential step in the training process (Meliza et al., 2007), and AAR systems have been shown to increase the effectiveness of learning considerably (Katz et al., 2000; Katz et al., 2003; Schurig et al., 2011). To meet the TSU training imperative, all simulations and games used for training should have an automated AAR system included as a standard part of the system. The AAR shows detailed cause and effect in both offensive/defensive and stability operations so that a squad can review what it did right and what it did wrong; it also suggests ways of improving. The AAR should be linked directly back to the learning objectives and assessment tools populated by the authoring tools described above.
Adaptive Tutoring. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of personalized tutoring (Fletcher, 2011; Bloom, 1984). The differences in learning between standard lecture-based learning and personalized tutoring are dramatic. To accelerate and accentuate the effectiveness of TSU training, a significant focus should be placed on developing adaptive training systems that model and assess the user and consequently personalize the learning experience by providing tailored feedback and instruction. To accomplish this, the system will continually assess the state of the learner, including physiological monitoring as well as knowledge and skill assessment. It will provide feedback and tutoring as well as motivation, and it will adapt the pace and content of the instruction to optimize the learning path for the individual. As has already been pointed out, the feedback for such systems can be tied back to the learning objectives and the authoring of content for the system.
Mobile Learning Applications. One of the barriers to training is access. It is limiting to think of training occurring only when the Soldier or TSU is in a classroom, a simulation facility, or a training area. It is now possible to bring training to the TSU wherever it is, through the use of mobile devices. It will be possible to deliver standard instruction not only through web portals but also on smart phones and digital notepads. As autonomous conversational characters are ported onto mobile devices, it will become possible to train on human dimension skills such as negotiation, counseling, and building trust. Human terrain applications will enable greater effectiveness in the sociocultural dimension of the mission set.
Currently, initial entry training includes just 45 minutes on general nutrition and health. For TSU Soldiers, this initial training must include the effects on cognitive as well as physical performance of nutrition, hydration, sleep, dietary supplements, tobacco, and
alcohol, as well as food and water hygiene safety. Training should cover both the acute—next-hour and next-day—effects and the chronic effects that occur over months and years. Nutrition, hydration, and other life style choice lapses could be built into the Army’s first-person game1 distributed to recruits and Soldiers.
As part “team manager” and part “team captain,” the TSU leader must lead by example and by counseling the other TSU members on the physical and cognitive performance effects of nutrition, hydration, sleep, dietary supplements, tobacco, and alcohol. Researchers and scientists maintained that lack of positive leadership led to Soldiers mis-use of available rations. Medical researchers reported that high dysentery rates for units deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan were largely attributable to lack of ration discipline.
Finding: To achieve overmatch, Soldier and small unit training will have to emphasize both physical and cognitive performance, especially in areas of leadership, physical and cognitive fitness and resiliency, aptitude in human and social-cultural awareness, and ability to perform under severe stress from combat, information overload, physical demands, weather, severe temperatures, etc.
The development of training objectives has a rich history in the training literature. The science of work analysis has struggled for many years to define training objectives in a way that is measurable; has face validity; and considers the individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities and the demands of the specific job to be trained (Wilson et al., 2012). Cognitive task analysis methods have proven useful in interviewing experts, extracting key knowledge, and identifying learning objectives (Clark et al., 2008; Crandall et al., 2006). More recently, Mission Essential Competencies have been defined as a unique approach for training analysis in military settings. The process for developing Mission Essential Competencies is both task- and worker-oriented, representing a blended job analysis approach for understanding the requirements of the job (Bennett et al., in press; Garrity et al., 2012; Alliger et al., 2012).
Recommendation 8: The Army should focus training for the individual Soldier and TSU in the near term as follows:
• Define TSU training objectives to produce TSUs that perform acceptably on the TSU MOPs and MOEs.
• Produce nonintrusive physiological status monitors to allow self-awareness and command chain assessments.
• Apply results of research in individual differences to the administration of TSU training.
1In video games, “first-person” refers to a graphical perspective rendered from the viewpoint of the player character. Perhaps the most notable genre to make use of this device is the first-person shooter, where the graphical perspective has an immense impact on game play.
• Expand sociocultural training capabilities to produce necessary TSU skills within time and resource constraints expected for TSU deployments.
• Expand instructor development to incorporate current theories of learning and feedback.
• Develop a concept for TSU master trainers to be assigned to company or battalion level to ensure continuous effective training of TSUs.
• Develop tools for TSU leaders (and leaders at higher levels) to assess Soldier and TSU training readiness against the TSU MOPs and MOEs.
• Ensure that effects of nutrition, hydration, sleep, dietary supplements, tobacco, and alcohol on cognitive and physical performance are incorporated in all modes of training of Soldiers and noncommissioned officers, including electronic games as well as live, virtual, and constructive simulations for individual (self) and group training.
Recommendation 9: In the mid to far terms, the Army should refine its focus on training for the individual Soldier and TSU by increasing the resolution of its suite of assessment tools to allow tracking of Soldier and TSU skill acquisition through and during each individual and collective training event, including live, virtual, and constructive simulations and electronic games.
Soldiers and TSUs currently have limited organic capability (e.g., radios) to integrate maneuver and fires in all environments to achieve tactical overmatch. They must have “reach back” and “reach forward” capability in the areas of mission command, intelligence, fires, mission planning, location/tracking of forces, social networks, and all of their associated enablers.
Based on the approaches used in recent years, the Army believes integration can be achieved by providing Soldiers and TSUs with a geolocation system and radio-enabled information systems that are integrated into current and evolving Army networks, such as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical. This perception arises in large part from Army development programs: Future Force Warrior (part of the canceled Future Combat Systems), Land Warrior (canceled program), and the more current Nett Warrior (formerly known as Ground Soldier System). All of these programs focused on providing Soldiers a Global Positioning System (GPS)-based personal location system combined with data communications that enable a Soldier to view his location, the location of other Blue force personnel and vehicles, information on enemy spot reports, mission command graphics, text messages, and similar warfighting information. The goal of these Army systems was to enable situational awareness at the Soldier level, not necessarily to integrate the Soldier within the small unit.
Network integration includes the development of dynamic communications, information, and socio-cognitive networks as well as associated enhancements in the DOTMLPF domains. The capability needs associated with these three types of networks were described in detail in Chapter 2 and are summarized here:
Communications Networks. For communications networks, advances are needed in hardware, frequency spectrum (particularly for bandwidth rates), and user interfaces. The Army is attempting to address these needs with the Nett Warrior Program, which is experimenting with smart phones, leveraging the technology comfort of Soldiers. However, the low-bandwidth spectrum currently available at the TSU level limits its use, making the system dependent on commercial cellular networks. At the TSU level, high bandwidth rate communications networks are needed that can operate in austere locations, in complex terrain (e.g., urban or mountainous), in all weather, and can overcome cyber security threats in the tactical environment. Night operations require communications devices whose light and noise do not compromise one's security and are usable with night vision devices.
Information Networks. Information networks provide TSUs with access to a variety of databases and sensors (ground and air, manned and unmanned). Capabilities should provide access to both internal/organic (assigned to the TSU) and external information sources, such as the Tactical Ground Reporting Network (TiGRNET), brigade databases, or streaming video from an unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to battalion headquarters. Linkages to data information sources such as TiGRNET and battalion/company/platoon databases must allow the TSU and Soldier not only to access mission-relevant information but also to provide critical intelligence information as input—making every Soldier a sensor. Sensor networks should provide critical information on the identification, location, and tracking of friendly, enemy, and noncombatant personnel, especially in cluttered, urban environments where GPS signals are weakened or completely blocked. Sensors are needed that can sense through walls or on the other side of obstacles. Sensor missions organic to the TSU (requiring internal capability) are discussed briefly below. The design and development considerations for organic sensor technologies are discussed in the section on Network Integration Priorities, and a more extensive assessment of sensor capabilities and technology opportunities is provided in Appendix G.
Socio-Cognitive Networks. Dynamic socio-cognitive networks link to databases that can help characterize a person's community and identify his/her association with overlapping communities. A growing array of such networks can be used to identify and interact with local leaders and visualize social connections. Means to extend network access to Soldiers and TSU will increase knowledge and understanding of the human terrain.
Integration of the TSU into these three types of networks can only be achieved through concerted DOTMLPF efforts. In both combat and stability operations, all three
networks support the Soldier’s and TSU’s ability to rapidly shape the operational environment before engagements by exploiting every aspect of the populace to their advantage, thereby helping to erode the threat from the noncombatant populace and to achieve minimal collateral damage or loss of noncombatants.
TSU Organic Sensor Capabilities
Both organic (internal to the TSU) and supporting (external) sensor capabilities are essential to TSU overmatch. The external information derived from sensor systems maintained by, and sensor data processing at, higher echelons comes to the TSU over its communications links with the larger Army network.2
The three general sensor mission categories at the TSU level are situational awareness, force protection, and precision targeting. Sensors providing situational awareness yield timely information about current events within the spatial proximity of the squad, such as locations of dismounted threats, approaching vehicles, or potential targets within buildings. Navigation sensors for use in a GPS-denied environment fall into this situational awareness category. Force protection sensors are used to provide adequate warning to minimize lethal engagements involving rockets, artillery, mortars, small arms fire, mines, improvised explosive devices, and chemical-biological-radioactive-nuclear agents. Precision targeting sensors provide fire-control information to Blue Force weapons; examples include infrared seekers or the counter-battery solution generated from weapons location radar. Electronic warfare sensors are an important fourth mission category for the Army generally, but for the dismounted TSU the principal organic sensor application in this area is for anti-jamming, which can be considered a form of electronic force protection for the TSU. Table G-2 in Appendix G, with the accompanying text, characterizes sensor tasks and technologies relevant to squad-level operations in these three sensor mission categories.
The integration of Soldiers and TSUs into the Army network would satisfy capability needs in all of the areas required to increase decisive overmatch, especially situational understanding, maneuverability, and survivability.
A crucial concept to guide this integration into the Army network is the necessity of ensuring that TSU leaders and individual Soldiers have sufficient situational
2The overview in this section, which is drawn from Appendix F, focuses on sensor needs organic to the dismounted TSU and how that sensor capability interacts with other TSU capabilities across the DOTMLPF domains. Appendix F reviews the capability needs and technology solutions for both organic and supporting sensing missions.
understanding. As discussed in Chapter 2, full situational understanding requires all three levels of situational awareness, namely:
• Level 1 situational awareness is the perception of disaggregate elements of information acquired from data received from sensors either directly or indirectly; plus
• Level 2 situational awareness, often referred to as situational understanding, is achieved when Level 1 perceptions are further combined, interpreted, stored or retained for use by a Soldier or TSU, plus
• Level 3 situational awareness is reached when Level 2 perceptions are applied to project possible future events and anticipate outcomes.
Coupling the network with geolocation sensors will provide a much-needed Blue Force tracking capability to locate and track not only members of the TSU but also adjacent units. The location of threat forces will be derived from the combination of access to sensors (including imaging and streaming video from robotic air and ground vehicles) as well as from spot reports and other intelligence data. Access to databases and systems (e.g., DARPA’s Tactical Ground Reporting system, TIGR) will provide cultural data and other counterinsurgency-focused information. In addition to situational understanding being enhanced for each Soldier, the TSU will also benefit from enhanced shared situational understanding.
Enhanced situational awareness, the ability to rapidly transmit and receive tactical information (e.g., mission command graphics and fragmentation orders), access to intelligence organizations and lethal systems supporting the TSA, the ability to rapidly generate and access reports, enhanced capabilities to plan and rehearse missions, and improved ability to support on-the-spot training and rapid utilization of lessons learned will all contribute to Soldiers and TSUs making sound decisions on application of military effects and dominating both lethal and nonlethal engagements. As noted below in the section on “Balancing TSU Maneuverability, Military Effects, and Survivability,” the lethal capability organic to a dismounted TSU must be enhanced with the ability to access, coordinate, and integrate joint fires (e.g., from company mortars through close air support) to suppress and destroy enemy targets, especially at extended ranges (those beyond capabilities of organic weapons), if the TSU is to have decisive overmatch in all combat missions. However, these essential joint fires are only fully capable of supporting the TSU if the TSU is always and continuously integrated into the network through which joint fires are requested.
Rapid real-time access to maneuver-related mission command graphics, terrain information, and other maneuver-related information (e.g., location of obstacles) will
greatly enhance Soldier and TSU mobility. Access via the network to supporting joint fires for both suppressing and engaging threat systems will also enhance overall maneuverability. Integration into logistics networks will enhance the ability to rapidly resupply a TSU when needed, thus reducing need to carry excessive ammunition, food, water, etc. and thereby contributing to reducing Soldier load.
Survivability and Sustainability
With enhanced situational understanding and maneuverability, the vulnerability of Soldiers and TSUs to threat systems and fratricide incidents should be significantly reduced. Improved access to medical evacuation information networks will assist in maintaining the lives of wounded warriors. Network-supported access to physiological data on individual Soldiers and TSUs will assist leaders in making better decisions with regard to resupply (water, nutrition, etc.) and rest cycles. Advanced warnings of weather extremes will also be helpful.
The Army has focused on materiel solutions to achieve the benefits of network integration, but all elements of DOTMLPF must be considered, especially doctrine, organization, training, and personnel.
Multiple doctrinal issues must be addressed to integrate the Soldier and squad into the network. Determining the critical information requirements for Soldiers and TSUs is the most critical issue. Some related work has been done by the ARL/HRED Field Element at Fort Benning, Georgia. However, much more needs to be done. The information requirements should also be identified by phases of a mission. For example, for an offensive mission, information requirements should be identified for the planning, pre-assault, assault, and consolidation as shown notionally in Figure 4-1. In the type of operation illustrated in Figure 4-1, enemy information is critical during all phases of the mission, whereas historical information is very important during planning but has little significance during the other phases of the mission. Similarly, different members of the TSU may have varying levels of need for information—e.g., the Squad Leader has a much greater need for information than a rifleman.3
Another doctrinal issue is the development of TTPs for utilizing these network capabilities. For example, in the Smart Sensor Web experiment conducted at Fort Benning in 2002, TTPs such as remote reconnaissance, information overwatch, and watch my back were developed by the participating Army and Marine infantry platoons. Remote reconnaissance involved the accessing of remote sensors in the objective area by
3The Army Science Board is currently reviewing information needs for squads in its study on “Data-to-Decisions.” The committee believes this is an important complementary effort to this study.
Fire Team Leaders while the Platoon Leader and Squad Leaders were planning a mission. As Fire Team Leaders identified information pertinent to the impending mission, they fed it directly to their leaders as “real time” intelligence for planning the mission. Information overwatch exploited the fact that during a multipart mission (one with more than one squad objective) one squad is in the assault, one squad provides covering fire, and a third squad stands by to take over the assault or covering fire task in the next part of the mission. The stand-by squad is assigned the task of information overwatch—it digests the available tactical information and passes only critical information to the assault squad or covering fire squad, as appropriate. Finally, watch my back was a tactic involving a last-minute check with the sensor network just before entering to clear a building or room.
New TTPs like these three are needed to take advantage of the capability of today's information systems at the TSU level, A good starting point on this has been made at the company level by providing an information overwatch team called the Company Intelligence Support Team (CIST).4 As networks become more intelligent, and the function of fusing/assessing information and notifying Soldiers and TSUs becomes more and more automated, TTPs will need to evolve.
Additional TTPs, closely related to the organization of the TSU, will need to be established to address the degree of network connectivity for each member of the TSU. For example, if all members of the TSU receive radios, it must be determined which and when members of a TSU transmit and receive. For example, during an assault, riflemen may only receive while Fire Team Leaders and above will both transmit and receive. However, during the establishment of a defensive position, all members of the TSU may need to transmit and receive.
4Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) Publication 10-20, Company Intelligence Support Team Handbook, will assist leaders in understanding the mission and purpose of CISTs and how to better use these teams. This small-unit intelligence capability enables the company to maintain situational awareness and possibly even attain brief periods of situational understanding and information superiority.
There may also be a need to determine who talks to whom in a point-to-point tactical network. An example of such a TTP would give a Fire Team Leader the ability to communicate selectively with all members of his fire team, the other Fire Team Leader, the Squad Leader, or a combination of these options. The Squad Leader would be able to communicate selectively with all squad members or with just the Platoon Leader, the Platoon Sergeant, and/or the medic. This doctrinal issue may also be modified by unit Standard Operating Procedures.
TTPs will also need to address those capabilities a TSU should exploit—for example, the integration of both organic and external fires into the TSU’s maneuver operations to defeat line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight threats that inhibit TSU movements. .For instance, will Squad Leaders be able to utilize communications and information networks to achieve effects from joint fires at ranges outside small arms range in austere environments?
Obviously, new TTPs will require new training programs. Training equipment and facilities will need to be developed that stress the use of the new materiel, the new TTPs, the new organization, etc.
Computer simulations will need to be developed that include the use of information systems—for the computer-generated virtual Soldiers and TSUs as well as for the live trainee-participant’s user interface. (For example, the trainee-participant may have a “radio” with which he can talk to the avatars of other networked live players, as well as with the computer-generated virtual players). Similarly, the computer-generated players will need to exhibit human behaviors that would be influenced by the use of dynamic communications, information, and socio-cognitive networks (for instance, the computer-generated players would need to exhibit varying levels of situational awareness).
Live training facilities would likewise need to be upgraded beyond being benign brick and mortar facilities; they would have both a realistic electromagnetic environment that could cause interference, as well as realistic building materials that might also interfere with the operational use of information systems at the TSU level. As an example, the current use of steel CONEX containers as buildings causes unrealistic radio propagation problems that can be detrimental to training. Training systems will also need to incorporate networked robotic systems.
Small unit leaders will need to be educated and trained on how to best exploit this evolving capability of being integrated into the network. Their professional development will need to address “reach back” and “reach forward” capability in the areas of mission command, intelligence, fires, mission planning, location/tracking of forces, social networks, and all of the associated enablers for these functions. Leaders will need to be not only tactically competent but also technically competent to adequately exploit the network.
There are undoubtedly numerous other doctrinal and TTP issues that will need to be addressed in order to integrate the Soldier and TSU into the Army network. TRADOC
The Army has reacted to the need for exploiting the network at the company level with the organization of CISTs, but similar organizational changes must be considered at platoon and lower levels. For example, who within a TSU will be equipped with what information system? Most likely, every Soldier will be equipped with a geolocation sensor to provide his location. via the network, to leaders at the TSU level and higher. However, whether or not every member of the TSU needs a radio is questionable. There may well be situations where all members of the TSU need to transmit and receive, while there are other times when many members of the TSU need only receive. There will be need for appropriate support personnel at the platoon and company level, to include a team to assist TSUs with dealing with electronic warfare and cyber attacks. The integration of networked robotic systems into the TSU-level organization also needs to be addressed.
From the perspective of today's Soldier and current personnel selection methods, one might ask two questions:
1. Are the current selection criteria for infantry Soldiers adequate to support the integration of Soldiers and TSUs into the network?
2. Are current Soldiers and TSUs ready to be integrated? With respect to this question, think about the difference in radio chatter one might expect in a firefight when comparing a highly trained Ranger TSU versus a regular Army TSU. Most likely the latter would have less transmission discipline. Is this because of training and experience alone, or does selection also play a role?
It is extremely important that Soldier-network interfaces (voice, digital, haptic, etc.) and the information being conveyed be designed to accommodate the skill levels of Soldiers and TSUs. A significant part of the overall systems engineering effort is to optimize the impact of these interfaces and accompanying information on Soldier and TSU performance and effectiveness.
There will also be a need for more information technology-savvy repairmen and software programmers at the company level. The latter will be needed to aid in rapid changes to systems to adjust to electronic warfare and cyber attacks. Related materiel considerations include improved frequency spectrum allocations for TSU networks, maintenance support and repair parts, and possible changed power requirements generated by these networked systems.
Materiel advances are needed in the technologies supporting the communications, information, and socio-cognitive networks. Advances in network science, sensors, system interfaces, and power systems are critical for future enhancements. The Army is addressing many supporting materiel developments.
The current Nett Warrior program claims to be an integrated situational awareness system for the dismounted leader. The focus of the system is to graphically display the location of TSU leader and Soldier locations on a geo-referenced map image. A secure radio connects the display (currently similar to a smart phone) to other Net Warrior systems and the larger Army network. Access to the larger Army network provides higher echelon data and information products to assist in decision-making and development of situational understanding. Soldier position information will be available through the use of the Army Rifleman Radio (JTRS HMS Rifleman Radio (AN/PRC-154)).
As General Stan McChrystal once stated: “You don’t give a senior leader a Blackberry or an iPhone and make them a digital leader.”5 The integration of information and geolocation systems does not in itself provide dominance and ensure optimal decision-making and situational awareness capabilities for the Soldier and TSU. For example, a network connection may assist with providing data for developing an individual Soldier's Level 1 situational awareness, but even the Level 1 awareness and especially Level 2 and 3 situational awareness will be most efficiently developed with strong human dimension enablers such as enhanced training and education, leadership development, shared knowledge and experiences, and qualified personnel.
What is truly needed is an integration of DOTMLPF enhancements in the areas of dynamic communications, information, and socio-cognitive networks with improvements in personal and local sensors. Examples include integration of sight and sound situational awareness inputs to the individual Soldier, information collection sensors on robotic platforms, biometric sensors for identifying civilians, and, sensors or other devices supporting the location and tracking of dismounted personnel and warfighting platforms.
Emphasis in the near term should be on developing organic communications capabilities with some access to adjacent units and immediate higher echelon organizations. Among potential materiel solutions are the following:
• Enhanced real-time, point-to-point, long range, high-bandwidth, non-line-of-sight communications. This capability is particularly important in complex and urban terrain, where transmission propagation is often severely degraded. However, improvements in range and other features typically increase power needs.
5Ackerman, Spencer; “Stan McChrystal’s Very Human Wired War;” Wired; January 26, 2011; available online at www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/stan-mcchrystals-very-human-wired-war/.
Consider the use of relay systems—either within the radios (similar to current vehicular systems) or through the use of relay points (especially utilizing robotic systems). Bandwidth rate issues can be addressed either by assigning higher frequencies to the TSU (a low-tech approach) or by developing technologies to manipulate the frequencies available to provide bandwidth rate improvements.
• Radios that can be remotely manipulated by leaders. In this case, leaders can determine and control remotely who transmits/receives and who only receives during various phases of a mission.
• TSU-level network management systems that provide the ability to switch from broadcast transmissions to point-to-point protocols to set up tactical social networks. With such systems, TSU leaders can, with the flick of a button, determine whether they are talking to an individual or to selected groups of individuals—below, at peer level, and above.
• Hands-free interfaces that require minimum time for accessing and sharing information. It is important for Soldiers and TSUs to focus their attention on assigned tasks, the mission, and the objective. Interfaces (especially wearable, lightweight screen displays; and voice, gesture and haptic interfaces) must be designed to quickly and efficiently convey and collect information to/from individual Soldiers and TSUs critical for accomplishing assigned tasks and missions. Additionally, these interfaces must operate in all weather conditions, day and night, without compromising the security of the Soldier or TSU. The same interface doesn't necessarily need to be in use during an entire TSU mission; video may be essential during planning, whereas a single image may suffice during execution. For example, during the planning and rehearsal phase, TSU leaders may want to use large tablet-size devices, but during the execution of a mission, devices should be no larger than a smart phone.
Of most importance is the ability of the TSU to access, understand, and share information. A critical situation being viewed by one member of the TSU should be rapidly and efficiently understood and shared with all members of the TSU. Neuroergonomics might be used in the design of information systems to achieve more efficient operation, especially in minimizing information overload.6 Potential materiel solutions include the following:
6As described in the National Research Council report on Opportunities in Neuroscience for Future Army Applications (NRC, 2008), neuroergonomics is an emerging field within the broader field of brain-machine interfaces, which explores the ability of the brain to directly control systems beyond traditional human effector systems (hands and voice) by structuring the brain’s output as a signal that can be transduced into a control input to an external system (a machine, electronic system, computer, semiautonomous air or ground vehicle, etc.). In the Army context, the goal of neuroergonomics is to facilitate a soldier–system symbiosis that measurably outperforms conventional human-system interfaces (NRC, 2008).
• Adaptive automation. This is a novel neuroergonomic concept for a human-machine system that uses real-time assessment of the operator’s workload to make the necessary changes to information systems to enhance Soldier and TSU cognitive performance. This and similar advanced technologies are needed to minimize the detrimental effects of information overload.
• Individual cognitive decision aids. Advanced information systems (including sensors) are needed to provide “actionable” information to a decision maker. Additionally, cognitive decision aids (cognitive agents, decision aids, expert systems, augmented cognition, etc.) would improve a leader’s decision making capabilities.
• Position location and tracking information in environments in which GPS signals are strong; but more importantly, those in which GPS-denied (signals are significantly degraded or even blocked) environments (e.g., urban operations). The Army has made great strides in GPS-based systems for dismounted personnel. Significant work is still needed for similar tracking accuracies in GPS-denied environments. Technical areas that show promise are enhanced inertial measurement units, radio frequency ranging/triangulation, and algorithms that manipulate all available information.
• Information being received or transmitted should be tagged to identify who has vetted it, its source, its age, and any other information that allows the users of the information to quickly assess its value to that individual or organization. The tagging and the visualization of tagged information should be automated as much as possible.
• The users (Soldiers and TSU leaders) of information must have the ability to—in an automated fashion—prioritize information for mission command, information collection, and dissemination purposes. For example, during the planning phase of a mission, Soldiers and TSU leaders may be able to handle large amounts of information; however, during the assault Soldiers and TSU leaders should receive only the information critical to the accomplishment of their tasks during that phase of the mission.
• Soldiers and TSU leaders need access to both internal (organic) and external (supporting) sensors for information collection, including those on robotic ground and air platforms. Before deciding what sensor capability is organic to the TSU and what is provided by higher echelons, one first needs to determine which critical capabilities are needed to make a TSU more dominant on the battlefield. For example, the need for real-time remote reconnaissance may be satisfied by a robot, by some other organic asset, or by an asset at a higher echelon. The need may vary during the planning and execution of a mission. Additionally, one needs to ensure that other capability needs (e.g., ability of the operator to develop local situational understanding) are not reduced with the addition of this robot technology or information collection asset.
As a general principle, the design, development, and testing/validation of organic sensor capabilities must ensure that the TSU’s sensors contribute to decisive advantage and do not impair other tasks critical to the TSU’s operations. For all sensor applications, it is the TCPED process that makes the sensor useful to the warfighter. The TCPED
process includes: Tasking the sensor, Collecting and Processing the sensor data, Exploiting information from the data, and timely Dissemination of information to those who need it. In instances of external sensor applications, whole communities are involved with supporting TCPED.
A dismounted TSU does not have the manpower to divert to complicated TCPED activity, yet the TCPED process is needed to provide information relevant to the TSU mission that is timely and actionable. A key challenge for the Army is to figure out how to facilitate TCPED for the TSU while providing the TSU with the degrees of freedom necessary to conduct operations. The effective TCPED solution that will contribute to TSU overmatch is likely to require an unprecedented degree of automation with very low latency. Automation is the only practical way to close the TCPED loop and ensure that organic sensor technology does not adversely preoccupy the TSU’s Soldiers. Similarly, the human-system interface is a critical design consideration for organic sensors because anything that affects the unit’s cognitive load and ability to focus on immediate task performance requires serious evaluation.
Other considerations on whether an organic sensor capability adds to or detracts from TSU overmatch are the size, weight, and power (SWAP) requirements of the technology. As explained in Appendix G, reducing SWAP requirements is a major factor favoring an open system architecture for sensor technology designed for the dismounted TSU. An open system architecture also provides a foundation to tailor sensor packages for different missions and target types, reducing learning curve and training requirements and simplifying the dissemination of time-critical information.
TSU-organic sensor technology should be developed to meet requirements specifically scaled to the operational needs of the TSU. For example, Appendix G discusses organic situational awareness sensing capability designed to provide a higher level of sensing out to 900 meters from the TSU’s location (the primary ring), with a lower level of sensor capability extending to 1,800 meters (the secondary ring). Table G-1 in the appendix and the text accompanying the table expand on these and additional design considerations for TSU-level sensor systems.
Near-term materiel solutions to integrate the TSU into socio-cognitive networks include:
• Real-time Soldier/TSU access to TiGRNET-like capabilities during dismounted operations and away from static high-bandwidth connections (e.g., hardwire SIPRNet [Secure Internet Protocol Network] connections); and
• Biometric devices built into Soldier/TSU systems to support the recognition of persons of interest during counterinsurgency operations.
In the mid to far term, the goal should be to fully integrate communications, information, and socio-cognitive networks together into a single network. Solutions of particular importance include the following:
• Full integration into the Army network, including integration with autonomous systems networks. Interfaces with autonomous systems would require gesture recognition, in addition to audible and digital interfaces.
• Network-enabled intelligent “Soldier/TSU leader assist” tools to provide alerts of critical information or dangerous situations, assistances with planning and execution of missions, and automatic reporting that requires minimal Soldier/TSU leader input. As an example, the network would quickly begin to populate (with unit location, unit identification, name of individual, current unit activity, etc.) a medical evacuation request once the network detects a critically injured Soldier (keying off sensors that monitor life signs). Then the TSU leader need only add minimal information and hit the send button.
• Network support of information-sharing outside the TSU—for example, sharing information with coalition forces (e.g., operating with host nation forces in counterinsurgency operations)—would require advances in language translation systems and multilevel security systems.
• Soldier devices should be enabled with a full range of biometric sensors. In support of the counterinsurgency operations, the socio-cognitive information network would convey to the Soldier/TSU leader information such as: (1) identification of a person's community, (2) identification of a person's association with overlapping communities, (3) identification of and interaction with local leaders, and (4) the ability to visualize a leader's/person's social connections.
• The network should also identify behavioral trends of both enemy and civilian activities to alert Soldiers and TSU leaders of anomalies.
Integration of the Soldier and TSU into the Army’s networks will require near-term investments in Army networks such as the following:
• Communications network enhancements including TSU-level network management, remote control of radio transmission modes, and hands-free display interfaces capable of operating in all weather conditions, day and night, without compromising the security of the Soldier or TSU;
• Information networks capable of providing position location and tracking information in GPS-denied environments, automated tagging of information received to aid visualization, prioritization and dissemination, and access to level 1 situational awareness data from supporting sensors; and
• Socio-cognitive networks capable of providing real-time access to such things as reports on tactical ground activities from collateral units and biometric databases for identification of adversaries.
Network capabilities required in the mid to far term include the following:
• Integration with autonomous systems networks and user interfaces in addition to audible or digital interfaces, such as gesture recognition;
• Network applications, such as an intelligent TSU leader assist tool to provide critical information alerts, assistance with planning and execution of missions,
automatic reporting, and behavior trend analyses of changes in enemy and civilian activities; and
• Network-enabled support of information sharing with collateral forces.
Recommendation 10: To achieve decisive overmatch capabilities, the Army should fully integrate the Soldier and TSU into existing and planned communications, information, and socio-cognitive networks, while ensuring that the network enhancements required for this purpose address all DOTMLPF domains.
Measures (MOPs and MOEs) for assessing levels of situational understanding would have utility for materiel development and evaluation, analytical modeling and simulation, and human factors research, as well as TSU training. It is possible that physiological correlates to such measures could be confirmed, and limited instrumentation could be operational, for validation of materiel development trials conducted, in the mid term. By the far term, it should be possible to assess the range, resolution, and reliability of Soldier and TSU situational understanding in relevant operational environments in real time.
Recommendation 11: In an immediate initiative, the Army should engage the science and technology community(from both human and materiel perspectives), users, trainers, and other stakeholders in Army networks to produce measures for assessing levels of situational understanding needed by the TSU.
As noted in the introduction to this chapter, the interactive consequences, positive and negative, of any particular capability option can extend across several, if not all, of the five capability categories (situational understanding, military effects, maneuverability, sustainability, and survivability) used in Chapter 2 to describe what dismounted TSUs must be able to achieve across the entire range of military operations. Finding the best combination (or combinations) of options for ensuring decisive overmatch will require balancing these consequences at the system level—for both the TSU system and the Soldier system—as argued in Chapter 3.
A particularly strong level of such interactions occurs for options to improve maneuverability, military effects, and survivability. The committee’s initial approach to discussing these three capability categories was to present options for maneuverability, military effects, and survivability separately. However, the draft discussions for these three capability areas kept crossing over into each other. In the context of what the Army expects a dismounted TSU to do—across all the missions and tasks anticipated in future unified land operations—overmatch requires a mission-appropriate balance of maneuverability, survivability, and military effects (including lethal, nonlethal, stability, and humanitarian effects). What the committee found is that, for dismounted operations, this difficult balancing act typically ends up being carried out, literally, on the backs of
Soldiers. For dismounted operations, the fulcrum on which maneuver, survival, and military effects must be balanced is the Soldier’s combat load. When the balancing act fails, the consequences degrade TSU and Soldier capability in all three areas.
The Army defines “combat load” as the minimum mission-essential equipment, as determined by the commander, required for Soldiers to accomplish anticipated combat operations. Army Field Manual 21-18, Foot Marches, divides combat load into three categories (U.S. Army, 1990):
• Fighting load—about 48 pounds of clothing, weapons, helmet, load-bearing equipment, and enough ammunition for the task at hand. However, cross-loading of machine gun ammunition, anti-tank rounds, mortar rounds, and radio equipment will drive load higher than 48 pounds.
• Approach march load—about 72 pounds; includes fighting load plus the remainder of basic load of ammunition, small assault pack, lightly loaded rucksack, and poncho roll.
• Emergency approach march load—between 120 and 150 pounds; includes approach march load and all other equipment that must be carried when operating in terrain that is impassable to vehicles or when air/ground transportation is not available).
How closely has the Army been able to adhere to the doctrine implied in these definitions of combat load, and how well has that doctrine worked in giving dismounted units decisive overmatch? Based on presentations and discussions with Soldiers, it is obvious to the committee that, in practice, the dismounted Soldier’s combat load is far too great, often exceeding the upper limits stated in Army doctrine such as the above definitions. A vignette from recent operations in Afghanistan illustrates how excessive Soldier load can degrade not only maneuverability but also military effects and survivability.
During Operation Resolute Strike by the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, conducted in Afghanistan on 8-9 April 2003, the high desert temperatures, bright sunlight, and approach march loads averaging over 101 pounds per man quickly wore out these physically fit dismounted Soldiers. Each Soldier's water supply was exhausted within the first 12 hours of the operation. The combined effects of the heat and the weight of the combat load made moving even relatively short distances of a few kilometers on relatively flat terrain very debilitating. Unit leaders had to increase rest breaks substantially and drastically increase the resupply of water. Even these trained paratroopers were unable to cope with the physical exhaustion caused by heavy combat loads in harsh climatic conditions.
(U.S. Army, 2003)
Concern about Soldier loads can be traced back decades. In 1950, Colonel S.L.A. Marshall wrote The Soldier’s Load and the Mobility of a Nation to address problems with
a Soldier’s combat load, based on insights and information he collected during the Normandy Invasion in 1944 (Marshall, 1950). Although many changes have occurred in Soldier equipment since World War II, the dismounted Soldier continues to carry his “mission load” on his back, and he is more heavily burdened with mission equipment today than in previous military conflicts.
With such heavy burdens, traversing rough terrain and making rapid changes in direction, speed, and orientation greatly increase Soldiers’ susceptibility to injuries. A study by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command found that 24 percent of medical evacuations from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom were due to noncombat musculoskeletal injuries and 72 percent of medical discharges were from chronic musculoskeletal injuries.7
As these examples illustrate, excessive Soldier loads degrade not only maneuverability of both individual Soldiers and TSUs but also their resilience, survivability, and effectiveness. Given these wide-ranging negative consequences, why are dismounted Soldiers still carrying excessive load? Among the reasons that TSU leaders mention8 are (1) weight of the fielded equipment, especially water, batteries, ammunition, and personal armor; (2) mandates from higher-echelon commanders requiring personal armor (individual protective equipment [IPE]) exceeding mission risks; (3) Soldiers’ lack of confidence in timely supply (which leads them to want to carry more ammunition, batteries, etc.); (4) doctrinally controlled requirements, such as carrying enough supplies (again, ammunition, batteries, water, food, etc.) for 72 hours of operations; and (5) inadequate delineation of a mission’s scope, leading to carrying nonessential items “just in case.” An important lesson from this wide-ranging list of probative causes of excessive load is that the load is excessive because the various subsystems and components of the Soldier and TSU systems are being optimized independently of each other. From a systems engineer’s perspective, excessive Soldier load and all the capability degradations resulting from it illustrate the suboptimal configuration, to the point of being dysfunctional, of a system (both the Soldier and the dismounted TSU) designed, acquired, and deployed as piece-parts.
The Army approach to addressing excessive Soldier load has been misdirected. The repetition of calls from user and industry representatives for near-revolutionary advances in materials to bring about weight savings to lighten the Soldier load raises unrealistic expectations: Materials weight savings will be at the margins, whereas almost half of the weight is in the bulk items of water, food, fuel (including batteries), and ammunition.9
7COL 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.
8The reasons listed here are the committee’s distillation from many conversations with squad leaders and platoon and company commanders recently returned from combat deployments, as well as members’ reading of news accounts and feature stories from the popular media. The point is not the extent to which one factor or another actually contributes to excessive Soldier load but the perception that soldiers are overloaded for what seem to be “good reasons” at the time.
9In the report, “The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load. Dismounted Operations in Afghanistan April-May 2003, Task Force Devil Coalition Task Force 82, Coalition Joint Task Force 180, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM III,” water, food, fuel (including batteries) and ammunition accounted for about 55 pounds of the emergency approach march load of between 120 and 150 pounds. Water and food accounted for about 33 pounds.
The above discussion highlighted the negative impacts on TSU and Soldier performance and effectiveness when Soldier load becomes dysfunctional as a result of the imbalance caused by optimizing one or another capability at the expense of others. Just as important for decisive overmatch are the potential benefits of getting that balance right. The following benefits are just a few examples the committee selected for their salience to capabilities for the TSU/Soldier missions and tasks highlighted in Chapter 2.
Balancing maneuverability, military effects, and survivability will also enhance situational understanding. For a dismounted Soldier engaged in an operation, it is difficult to concentrate on what is going on around you, let alone interpreting accurately the stream of information coming over communications systems (when fully integrated into the network that is now only fully available at higher echelons) when you are physically exhausted, perspiring profusely, and breathing heavily. Concentration and decision-making abilities, such as required for full situational understanding, suffer as fatigue increases (NRC, 2009).10 A recent DARPA study on ambushes found that, in the first 5 minutes of an ambush, Soldier and TSU lethality accuracies are quite poor, but increase as the unit settles into the fight.11 Some of this performance decrement probably results from the response to surprise and disorientation inherent in being ambushed, but the exhaustion caused by quick reaction drills under fire while carrying heavy combat loads also plays a role, as well as constraints on agility. Similarly, threat forces in Afghanistan were known to attack U.S. TSUs just as they were returning from a patrol, when the unit was most fatigued and its situational awareness was degraded.
The physical means for achieving military effects at the dismounted TSU level—personal and crew-served lethal weapons, nonlethal weapons, ammunition, the communications and other electronic devices to call for and guide supporting fires or reinforcements and to conduct stability operations, the power sources these weapons and devices require, and so on—all contribute to Soldier load. Obviously, improvements in the weight efficiency (unit of effect per unit weight) of these carried components and
10See also the discussion and cited references in the “Physiological Readiness” section of this chapter.
11LTC Joseph Hitt, Program Manager, Tactical Technology Office, DARPA, “Lightening the Soldier’s Load,” presentation to the Committee, December 13, 2011.
Often overlooked, however, are other synergistic enhancements of effectiveness from an optimal balance of maneuverability, the equipment for military effects, and survivability. For example, a significant factor in overmatch is for the dismounted TSU to have advantages in gaining and maintaining surprise or in immediately seizing the initiative even when an opponent acts first, through the ability to outmaneuver the opponent. With high mobility and agility, coupled with superior situational understanding, a TSU can quickly gain and maintain a tactical offensive advantage or initiate protective defensive actions when needed. Coupling enhanced mobility and agility with the right combination of lethal and nonlethal capabilities (including integrated organic and supporting fires) will give dismounted TSUs increased effectiveness in combat operations and the flexibility for appropriate and decisive response across the range of stability operations.
With respect to lethal weaponry, the direct fire capabilities of infantry squads and platoons have improved markedly over the past 10 years through programs under PEO Soldier to improve both personal and crew-served weapons. As discussed in Appendix J, these improvements have reduced the weight of both current weapons and their ammunition, improved reliability, and increased their effective range. Further advances in these areas are currently in development in PEO Soldier programs and in the Army laboratories and engineering centers. A good example of new lethal capability is the XM25 counter defilade system, a shoulder-fired weapon that launches a 25 mm round that explodes at a set distance from the firing point. This developmental weapon, which has been deployed in limited quantities in Afghanistan, gives dismounted units the ability to accurately target enemy combatants behind walls or in other defilade positions that cannot be effectively targeted with other infantry direct fire weapons.
The traditional and most responsive indirect fire system organic to infantry units is the mortar. Mortars have the battlefield role of providing maneuver leaders with immediate indirect area and precision (recently developed) fires. The Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) is currently the Army's lightest brigade combat team (BCT) and is organized around dismounted infantry. Thus, it provides the clearest illustration of how mortar support is provided to a dismounted TSU under current DOTMLPF. Each of the three types of IBCT (light infantry, air assault, or airborne) has the same basic organization. Within an IBCT, mortars are organic to (found within) each company, battalion, and cavalry squadron, but mortars are not organic to individual rifle squads—the current manifestation of the dismounted TSU on which this report has focused. Infantry battalions serve as the primary maneuver force for the brigade and are organized with a headquarters and headquarters company (HHC), three rifle companies, and a weapons company.12 Each rifle company has a 60mm mortar section.
12An infantry weapons company has anti-tank weapons (e.g., Javelin) and heavy machine guns (e.g., 50 cal and the MK-19 40mm grenade machine gun).
13See FM3-90.6. Available online at https://rdl.train.army.mil/catalog/view/100.ATSC/F8845901-E30D-4488-A923-86825263F32B-1308728592977/3-90.6/chap1.htm.
support of the battalion and its maneuver companies. The battalion mortar platoon provides “general support,” with priority to the company involved with the most decisive operation—to reinforce that company's organic mortars.15 The battalion mortar platoon consists of a mortar platoon headquarters, a mortar section with a fire direction center, and four mortar squads. The platoon’s fire direction center controls and directs the platoon’s fires. Although each mortar squad in the mortar platoon is equipped with both 120 mm and 81 mm mortars, the authorized size of the squad only permits it to operate one of the two systems at any one time (arms room concept).
Each IBCT rifle company has a mortar section with 60 mm mortars. A company employs these organic (to the company) mortars to support the attack, block ingress/egress routes, and prevent repositioning of enemy reserves. A rifle squad would get supporting fires from the company mortar section or from the battalion’s mortar platoon through a call for fire, typically made by a trained forward observer from the company’s fire support team. In short, when a rifle squad is operating “on its own” and not as an integral part of a larger company-level action, its access to supporting mortar fire—or any joint fires—depends on having a fire support team member present or having access to the network. As discussed in Appendix J, doctrinal, training, materiel, and leadership changes will be necessary to enable rifle squad leaders to request supporting mortar and other joint fires.
Considering both combat and stability operations, dismounted TSU and Soldier maneuverability and lethality needs vary with roles, missions, and phases of a mission. For example, maneuver TSUs—those that close with and neutralize the enemy—will require more maneuverability than the heavy weapons TSUs in maneuver platoons and especially those in a heavy weapons company. Additionally, since the heavy weapons TSUs are laden with not only heavy weapons (e.g., heavy machine guns, mortars, anti-tank weapons) but also the ammunition for these weapons, their need for improved mobility is more urgent than greater agility. With regard to phases of missions; the TSUs will carry maximum load to assembly areas, a smaller load to pre-assault positions, and finally their combat load during the assault.
Flexibility with respect to military effects becomes even more demanding when TSU mission objectives require a dismounted unit to be prepared to shift rapidly among traditional lethal combat, nonlethal means of projecting force, and stability objectives where effectiveness is measured in terms of communication with the local population, building capacity for civil operations, or humanitarian objectives.
Tactical maneuverability (combination of mobility and agility) is difficult to achieve in complex, austere, and harsh terrains and at a high OPTEMPO. Mobility for the Soldier and TSU must be equal to or better than adversaries to effectively close with and neutralize the enemy utilizing fire and maneuver. Survivability focused on heavy personal armor will reduce mobility, so survivability ensembles must allow for
14See FM 3-22.91. Available online at http://www.marines.mil/news/publications/Documents/FM%203-22.91%20Jul%202008%20PT%201.pdf.
15See FM 3-21.20. Available online at http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/fm3_21x20.pdf.
adversary-competitive mobility, while keeping casualties within strategic expectations. TSUs also need better maneuverability in complex terrain (e.g., urban, mountainous, jungle). For urban operations, TSUs must not be constrained by ground-level doors and windows for assaulting a building, nor stairwells for vertical movement within a building.
Right-sizing the Soldier’s load will obviously enhance both the mobility and agility of the TSU as well as the individual Soldier. But overall TSU maneuverability requires more than just decreasing the Soldier load. For instance, a major concern with the current technology for robot systems that could carry a substantial portion of a dismounted TSU’s gear and supplies is whether such systems will be able to “keep up” in difficult terrain or combat conditions and not detract from the unit’s ability to maneuver. If the survival of a carrier robot becomes an issue, how much is the unit’s mobility and agility in a close fight compromised? Similarly, at what point does scaling down or removing portions of IPE, or leaving back at base a heavy crew-served weapon, make a unit less agile because of increased vulnerability?
Solutions to assure survivability at the Soldier and TSU level range from developing superior weapons and sensors to technologies for ballistic and climate protection to fundamental considerations for lightening the Soldier’s load. Across the range of military operations, the protection function alone consists of “…capabilities to identify, prevent, and mitigate threats to assets, forces, partners, and civilian populations to preserve combat power and freedom of action.” (TRADOC, 2010)
As a result of Iraq and Afghanistan, many people would believe that the infantry Soldier’s survivability in the future depends only on better and lighter armor protection.16 This emphasis on increasing the ballistic protection of the Soldier to increase survivability has hindered maneuverability and endurance of both the dismounted TSU and the individual dismounted Soldier by adding to Soldier load and constraining Soldier agility.
For dismounted missions, those capability decrements can have substantial negative effects on survivability and military effects. Although optimization studies of the trade between increased Soldier ballistic protection and degraded capability to maneuver, endure, and act effectively may have been done, the committee could find no evidence of such trade studies. If the survivability benefit of increased IPE weight were optimized against the weight and agility-constraint consequences, the committee believes that survivability can be significantly enhanced through such indirect consequences as the Soldier’s and TSU's abilities to maneuver more effectively against an enemy and maintain or seize the offensive. The hard part is finding the right balance of IPE with other factors that contribute to Soldier load. In addition, such analytical exercises are only of real value to ensuring future overmatch when they are built on realistic, validated measures of performance and effectiveness.
16Soldier and TSU protection includes not only personal and vehicle armor but also operating base protection and protection during movement.
An optimal balance of maneuverability, survivability, and means for military effects also has beneficial second-and third-order effects on survivability. For instance, decreasing Soldier load may reduce heat exhaustion as well as physical injuries—especially musculoskeletal injuries. Without the degradations to performance and effectiveness from these environmental injuries, dismounted TSUs and Soldiers will be less vulnerable to combat-related wounds and death.
Opportunities for balancing maneuver, survival, and military effects fall in all of the DOTMLPF categories. The optimal balance at the system level is unlikely to be simply a matter of reducing Soldier load, improving weapons and ammo, using a robot carrier, or any other single, materiel-focused approach. As argued in Chapter 3 and again in the “Designing the TSU” section of this chapter, there are multiple options for improving capability in one area or another, but ensuring decisive overmatch requires putting together the whole package and, most important, ensuring that a contribution in one capability is not outweighed by unintended decrements to other capabilities essential for overmatch across the entire range of dismounted TSU missions and tasks.
The entire panoply of potential opportunities cannot be explored here. The committee has selected a few examples that: (1) seem to have the highest potential payoff, from the limited knowledge base available to the committee, (2) illustrate the importance of considering opportunities (and negative impacts) across the full range of DOTMLPF, and (3) can be addressed meaningfully in the near, mid, or far terms (within 5 years, 5-10 years, and beyond 10 years, respectively).
For reasons of resupply, the Soldier's combat load is currently based on mission durations of 48 to 72 hours. Mission durations are decided upon by unit leaders based on experience and mission needs, but the 48 to 72 hour duration also reflects the guidance provided in doctrinal documentation and unit standard operating procedures. A substantial fraction of a Soldier's load is the basic load of food, water, ammunition, batteries, etc., required for 48 to 72 hours of operations. This basic load requirement drives up the weight of the approach march load (as in the example of Operation Resolute Strike, described above) and especially the emergency approach march loads These loads are further increased for Soldiers carrying heavy weapons and the ammunition for them.
Given this dependence of the basic load on mission duration, doctrinal guidance on mission duration needs to be evaluated in light of the experience gained with the performance and effectiveness consequences of current Soldier loads in challenging environments during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Advances in load-carrying technologies (e.g., semi-autonomous logistics robots), resupply and sustainment technologies (e.g., renewable energy systems for recharging batteries), access to automated reports in network technologies, integration of fires (which might reduce
dismounted TSU loads for heavy weapons ammunition), and other advances in materiel technologies need to be evaluated with mission duration as an independent variable, rather than assuming one nominal mission duration.
TTPs also need to be established for the optimal utilization of mobility planning tools, load-carrying technologies (e.g., robotic platforms), enhanced logistics capabilities (e.g., aerial resupply, use of renewable energy systems), and changes (if any) to the TSU organization, as described below.
Force protection countermeasures to date have largely relied on IPE that has added weight to the Soldier’s load, reduced Soldier and TSU maneuverability, and because the Soldiers are less agile, made them more vulnerable to enemy fires. Other doctrinal approaches to force protection that would help reduce Soldier combat loads need to be considered. For example, the force protection benefits of integrating the TSU into the Army network—especially for improved integration of supporting fires—should be evaluated. Such analysis may demonstrate that improved integration of fires reduces the required amount of organic fires, thus reducing the amount of heavy weapon munitions to be carried within the maneuver TSU and supporting-weapons TSUs.
Very old studies found that, as the size of a squad decreases, its maneuver becomes more successful (Marshall, 1950). However, analogous studies need to be conducted today to determine if the same findings are supported, in the context of current doctrine, mission command technologies, and training initiatives, for operational scenarios characteristic of what the Army expects dismounted TSUs to do in the future.
Such studies might consider, for example, the relative performance and effectiveness of smaller, more agile fire teams within the TSU. In the Army’s dismounted squads today, the two fire teams within a squad are organized the same way with respect to their size, weapons, etc. Would a squad with two “light” fire teams (three or four Soldiers each), carrying only rifles, plus a third fire team of four Soldiers carrying only heavier weapons (e.g., M249 squad automatic weapon, M203 machine gun, and XM-25 counter defilade engagement system) be more effective, and in which scenarios?17 A TSU organized this way would allow its two very mobile and agile fire teams to conduct swift maneuver operations while the third heavy-weapons team provides covering fire. As with other suggestions for optimizing the balance of maneuver, survival, and means for military effects, the point is not to rely on opinions for or against the current organization or this suggested alternative but to conduct controlled experiments to provide the data necessary for valid trade studies.
17Appendix H reviews the individual and crew-served weapons currently fielded, in development, and projected for future development. The M249 and M203 are currently fielded, the XM25 is considered in development, although it has been used operationally, as noted in the appendix.
The section above on “Focusing on TSU Training” dealt primarily with the training needed for all Soldiers in a TSU to optimize their performance as a unit. With respect specifically to the balance issues addressed in this section, all Soldiers need to be sufficiently physically fit to carry combat loads—even after those loads have been significantly reduced from recent excessive levels—for extended distances over all terrain and in all weather conditions. More-focused training programs will be needed for unique mission needs, such as training for operations at high elevations. Training programs need to take into account the physical capabilities of the personnel volunteering for military service; the combat veterans with whom the committee talked reiterated many times the point that most Soldiers entering basic training could not pass the physical training program.18
With respect to achieving and sustaining the optimal balance of maneuver, survivability, and military effects in operations, training for TSU leaders should include instruction on factors that affect squad mobility, including terrain, meteorological conditions, loads, load configurations, accumulated fatigue, IPE, and how factors like IPE and load configuration constrain agility. Leader trainees should be given practical exercises to increase their confidence in the validity of their planning aids. Soldier load planning and the mobility and endurance effects of different loads should be factors in all training simulations and games.
The materiel opportunities for optimizing the balance of maneuver, survivability, and military effects are quite varied in both the capabilities they enhance and the potential decrements they may cause. They should be assessed in an integrated evaluation process that takes into account the non-materiel components of DOTMLPF as well as the capability interactions among TSU/Soldier materiel components and systems. The examples discussed here, selected to illustrate the variety of opportunities, are load-carrying systems designed for use by a dismounted TSU, exoskeletons, lethal/nonlethal weaponry, IPE, mobility planning aids, improved resupply for TSUs engaged in an extended operation, Blue Force tracking technology at the individual Soldier level, and rations.
Load-carrying Robot Systems. Past attempts to offload the Soldier’s logistics burden to a manned or unmanned carrier have not been successful. However, a carrier, either manned or unmanned, might improve TSU tactical maneuverability by providing such things as information collection (formerly called “ISR”), battery recharging, or casualty transport. TSU load-carrying systems, such as the Squad Mission Support System and other semi-autonomous and autonomous systems described in Appendix H, should be
18Group discussion between the committee and a group of Army noncommissioned officers recently returned from deployment, U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Georgia, July 12-14, 2011.
considered for reducing the combat load—especially the approach march load—of the Soldier. Soldier and TSU maneuverability is hindered most by combat loads in very complex terrain and harsh weather conditions. These load-carrying systems need to be designed to operate in these same challenging conditions.
Exoskeletons. Exoskeleton suits have come a long way in the past several decades. They seem less bulky, more responsive, and more aligned to warfighter needs (as currently perceived)—albeit for a limited number of those needs. Some issues of immediate concern for exoskeleton use by dismounted TSUs are their impact on agility and battery power requirements, as well as their hydraulic actuator systems, sensors, durability, maintainability, and reliability. Even with these issues not fully resolved, there may be a near-term use for exoskeletons in infantry heavy weapons units (weapons TSUs in a platoon and the heavy weapons platoon in a company). These units carry medium machine guns (7.62 mm M240), anti-tank systems (Javelins), and ammunition for both systems. The amount of carried ammunition limits sustained engagements. Therefore, the more ammunition that can be carried by a dismounted TSU, the more lethal that unit can be. Also, a heavy weapons TSU does not need to be as agile as the maneuver (or line) TSU, since it is usually deployed in overwatch positions and not as the first unit to make contact with the enemy. Similarly, these systems may be useful for heavy weapons platoons: those carrying the heavy 0.50 caliber machine guns, mortars, and associated ammunition. In the far term, more advanced generations of exoskeletons may offer benefits to maneuver TSUs that outweigh the negative consequences of current technology.
Lethal/Nonlethal Weaponry. As discussed in Appendix J, the Army has multiple ongoing activities aimed at improving the individual weapons available to dismounted Soldiers, the crew-served weapons that a dismounted heavy weapons unit might use, and an expanding array of nonlethal weapons for use in combat or combat-related stability operations. From an operational perspective, it would be beneficial to have multi-mode weapons that allow users to easily switch from lethal to nonlethal mode and back to lethal without requiring the Soldier to physically switch weapons. TSU leaders and Soldiers need to be trained not only for proficient use of each lethal/nonlethal option but also on the TTPs to guide which options they employ under which circumstances. However, the development of nonlethal options must be informed by a better understanding of the behaviors to be expected from targets threatened with or engaged by a particular nonlethal weapon. In both combat and stability operations, if those being confronted perceive no differences in the visual and acoustic signatures of brandished lethal and nonlethal weapons, their response will likely be to presume the weapon is lethal. Without good understanding of the expected behaviors of the intended targets for nonlethal effects, a dismounted TSU’s shift to nonlethal effects could lead to an unexpected escalation from those confronted.
Additionally, given the potential threat of improvised remote control drones (even toy drones), consideration should be given to the development of TSU-level counter-improvised-drone weapons (e.g., an improvised equivalent of the XM25) and munitions (e.g., a 40 mm round that fires a wide dispersion of buckshot).
IPE for Dismounted Soldiers. Key opportunities with respect to IPE include reducing weight and stiffness while increasing body cooling. IPE is very heavy (above recommended weights) and often very stiff (e.g., plates in IPE). The combination detrimentally affects both mobility and agility. The IPE, in combination with other carried equipment and kit, inhibits natural cooling of the Soldier's body. Weight and bulk of IPE must be reduced while making the design of IPE much more flexible and comfortable to wear. Replacing hard protective plates with flexible, lightweight systems that conform to the body, minimally impede motion, and permit body cooling would be a major improvement. The committee also heard that the Army continues to have difficulty with properly fitting Soldiers with clothing and kit, including properly fitting IPE.19
A significant research, development, experimentation, and demonstration program could be initiated to integrate protective equipment with passive as well as active cooling technologies. If up to 60 percent of the physiological load from tactical load carriage derives from the need to dissipate heat from the near encapsulation of the body core with armor, while alternative cooling technologies have had some limited demonstration but little serious R&D, there appears to be substantial potential for improving this aspect of Soldier load by employing passive cooling technologies. Cooling must be seen as directly enabling full integration of Soldier-worn technologies. That is, if Soldiers find the integrated ensemble unbearable on long missions, unit survivability is compromised. If full integration is the first goal, cooling will be relegated to a lower priority as a secondary accessory. The criteria for evaluating weight saving integration should be validated TSU metrics (MOPs and MOEs) including the propensity for chronic injuries.
Materiel developers offered that IPE development and manufacturing programs go to great lengths to ensure sufficient sizes are available to effectively fit the diversity of body shapes and sizes in the Soldier population. However, they noted their surveys showed that a significant portion of solders in the field have been issued the wrong size, usually degrading their mobility to a very measurable degree.
Mobility Planning Aids. TSU leaders need a “mobility planning aid” that would predict TSU mobility in terms of speeds for both endurance distances and rushing sprints, as a function of (1) terrain (specific routes including elevation), (2) meteorological factors (temperature, humidity, wind, solar loading), (3) ration intake and hydration, (4) loads (including IPE), (5) physical attributes of the individual TSU members (fitness, anthropometry, degree of misfit of IPE), and (5) resupply points. Such a planning aid could identify the unit-specific member-by-load combination most likely to be the limiting factor in the unit’s mobility. The empirical basis for this planning aid should be developed to also predict the incremental risk to long-term injury the mission will contribute to each TSU member. Critical to getting this type of planning aid “done right” is putting together an integrated team that includes the relevant centers of expertise in Army organizations. For example, this effort might be led by PEO Soldier but should include the Maneuver Center of Excellence Infantry School, USARIEM, PEO STRI, the Natick Research, Development and Engineering Centr, and ARL/HRED. However the
19Based on committee interviews with R&D personnel at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, Massachusetts, September 15, 2011.
Army decides to lead and staff such an initiative, it must adhere to the principles laid out in Chapter 3.
Improved Resupply. Enhanced, reliable resupply systems need to be developed so as to reduce approach march loads and especially emergency approach march loads. These systems include, but should not be limited to, autonomous ground and air systems, precision aerial delivery systems (e.g., GPS-guided parachutes), and foraging/harvesting systems (e.g., renewable energy systems).
Blue Force Tracking Technology for Individual Dismounts in the TSU. TSU maneuverability could be enhanced if small unit leaders had immediate knowledge of the locations of subordinate fire teams and individual Soldiers, especially in night operations, obscuring environments, or complex terrain (e.g., urban structures). Network integration technology, such as Blue Force unit tracking in complex terrain, should be adapted to provide this Soldier-level enhancement to support TSU maneuverability.
Rations. Over the past several decades, the Army has done tremendous work in improving combat rations for both in-base and combat-patrol consumption. Work should continue to reduce the bulk and weight for a given amount of nutrition without sacrificing palatability.
TSU leader training should include instruction on factors affecting unit mobility as well as on the uses and benefits of maneuver-supporting materiel subsystems and components (planning aids, load-carrying robot platforms, renewable energy systems, aerial resupply, etc.) For instance, all TSU leaders need to be aware of how the nutritional, medical, and physical training needs of their personnel affect unit performance. Leaders need to have access to appropriate support to meet these needs.
More intelligent approaches are needed to the initial selection of personnel for the Infantry branch and then later for TSU positions. TSUs, especially those already deployed or close to deployment, cannot—without sacrificing performance and effectiveness—take on Soldiers who are not physically capable of the demands of dismounted TSU operations, especially in complex terrain and harsh weather conditions. Similarly, the physical capabilities of the individual must be considered when assigning TSU weapons to Soldiers. For example, very agile, 120-pound Soldiers should be considered for rifleman positions as opposed to assignments as light/heavy machine gun, anti-tank weapon, or mortar personnel.
Mental agility (the ability to think and draw conclusions quickly; intellectual acuity) is extremely important to the overall maneuverability, military effectiveness, and survivability of the TSU and its Soldiers. As noted in Chapter 2, mental agility is not
subsumed under maneuverability. Rather, it is a critical Soldier and TSU capability that can be supported and extended by Level 3 situational awareness and in turn supports decision-making for use of military effects. If the goal is TSUs with decisive overmatch, then mental agility must be a criterion for TSU leadership positions.
Finally, from a personnel perspective the musculoskeletal injuries problem must be addressed within all relevant DOTMLPF domains. Efforts must be made to address this very debilitating problem, which is diminishing the readiness of Army forces today while ballooning the future, long-term medical needs of Army veterans.
To maintain adequate physical conditioning, Soldiers should have access to weight training and aerobic exercise equipment in base camps. Soldiers also need access to facilities that help them meet nutritional and health needs. Finally, facilities are needed to support simulation-based maneuver training, even while in combat base camps. These same simulation-based training capabilities can support TSU mission rehearsals. (See related discussion of training technologies in the “Focusing on TSU Training” section in this chapter.)
Assessing Alternatives for Balance in TSU Maneuverability, Military Effects, and Survivability
A priority consistent with the Statement of Task for this study is assessment of both the degraded mobility and the often chronic injuries caused by the heavy loads carried by dismounted small unit Soldiers. Senior Army leaders commented to the committee that loads of 100 pounds or more are excessive, even while acknowledging that such warrior loads can be traced to Roman times. Small unit leaders attested to the debilitating effects of the excessive loads and attributed the problem to a variety of factors, as detailed above in the section on the Soldier load problem.
Finding: Current alternatives offered by the technology communities for addressing Soldier load are to lighten the items carried and to offload sustainment materials to field robotic vehicles. Innovative concepts (as well as refinements of existing capabilities), operations research evaluations of those concepts, and field trials and demonstrations of those concepts are needed to determine which options are more promising. Airlift with precision airdrops; small (non-robotic) 4x4 vehicles; and changes in operational tactics to allow daily resupply should all be evaluated. The focus of this effort should be on attaining operational solutions rather than technology sophistication, and the impact on the Soldier load must be considered explicitly. All DOTMLPF domains need to be considered in all simulation-based and field trial evaluations. Criteria for evaluation of alternatives should employ the TSU metrics (MOPs and MOEs) discussed in Chapter 3, and these metrics should be adequate to assess contributions and factors from all
Finding: Improvements in fitting skill and knowledge as well as in the distribution of issued individual protective equipment offer potential for improving the mobility of individual Soldiers. Integration of individual protective equipment with passive and active cooling technologies offers potential to improve Soldier performance.
Finding: Experimental trials are needed to develop models for predicting the vulnerability of dismounted individual Soldiers and TSUs as a function of Soldier load and measures/indicators of individual/TSU mobility and agility such as dash speed (e.g., cover to cover). Combat engagement factors included in these trials should include visual detection, identification, and targeting of the opposing element for relevant combat-encounter scenarios (e.g., Blue Force-initiated contact, ambush of Blue TSU, urban/village setting with sudden transition from stability operation to lethal fight). Environmental factors including terrain, elevation, and weather would be later parameters to add to the models and scenarios incorporated in the trials. TSU mobility models must intimately interact with task-workload models to be used to assess information collection and weapons technologies offered as candidate equipment for TSUs. The dismounted Soldier mobility models currently in use at the Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center appear to have value as a starting point for developing models that meet the requirements for realistic and validated evaluation of both current alternatives for addressing Soldier load and innovative concepts. One approach to implementing the experimental trials and model improvements envisioned here could be through a consortium involving ARL/HRED, USARIEM, the Army Test and Evaluation Command, the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, and the Maneuver Center of Excellence Infantry School. The objective is to bring together expertise from across the currently stovepiped and dispersed centers of relevant expertise under the oversight and direction of a high-level systems engineering entity consonant with the principles set out in Chapter 3.
The types of engagements included in these trials need to cover the range of engagement scenarios that dismounted units may encounter in future unified land operations, including stability tasks as well as combat encounters. The goal should be to enable development of realistic, validated models for use in evaluating a wide range of current approaches and innovative concepts for managing Soldier load to achieve an optimal balance of TSU and Soldier maneuverability, military effects, and survivability.
Recommendation 12: The Army should initiate and maintain a program of experimental trials to inform improved models for assessing the effectiveness of dismounted Soldiers and TSUs as a function of Soldier load and measures/indicators of mobility and agility. The program should include an iterative process to explore innovative concepts for balancing TSU maneuverability, military effects, and survivability, as well as continuing exploration of more traditional approaches such as lightening individual items carried and offloading Soldier load onto robotic carriers.
Finding: The full range of prospective operations for dismounted Soldiers and TSU is very likely to exceed that experienced in current conflicts. Stability operations especially will require a mix of lethal and nonlethal capabilities that are not currently available. The emphasis in the nonlethal weapons R&D community appears to be on expanding the menu of options available to warfighters, with the expected outcomes from use of nonlethal effects being as straightforward as for lethal effects. However, nonlethal weapons should be used with an expectation of initiating a specific behavior on the part of the targets. There appears to be little research on understanding the behaviors to be anticipated with each of the nonlethal weapon technologies and the variance of these behaviors among cultures. Also, there appears to be little understanding of the engagement decision complexity that could come to individual TSU Soldiers, with attendant lengthened decision cycle times and greater opportunities for errors.
For managing Soldier load and simplifying dismounted kit, one or more “weapons” that can be readily shifted between lethal and nonlethal modes would be useful. But two downsides to such multimodal weapons are that (1) Soldiers must be well trained on the rules of engagement (ROE) and TTPs for selecting the right mode for a given situation, and (2) in noncombat encounters such as stability operations, signaling to the other side in an encounter that a multimodal weapon is in nonlethal mode could be mission-critical. The effectiveness of nonlethal actions, as an alternative to lethal effects, will depend to a great extent on the perceptions of those being confronted.
Recommendation 13: In the mid-term, the Army should undertake research to identify a range of unambiguous signals of nonlethal intent. The research should extend to the exploration of cultural differences in intent interpretation.
TSU Mission Planning Aid
Finding: TSU leaders and their commanders at higher echelons need to understand how factors across all the DOTMLPF domains affect not only Soldier load but also the more encompassing goal of balancing maneuverability, effective action, and survivability to ensure small units have decisive overmatch wherever and under whatever circumstances they operate.
Given the range of missions and tasks that dismounted TSUs may be called upon to perform in the future, even experienced leaders at the TSU level and higher echelons cannot be expected to know immediately the best combination of available options, extending across all DOTMLPF domains, for the optimal balance of maneuverability, military effects, and survivability in every environment and engagement. An easy to use mission planning aid could incorporate the relationships among options learned from prior operational experience (lessons learned), as well as the relationships among metrics, indicators, and DOTMLPF options found and validated through experimental trials and incorporated in assessment models used by the development community.
Properly designed, such a mission planning aid would include long distance endurance and sprint speed (as surrogates for engagement vulnerability), functions of terrain (specific terrain route, including elevation), meteorological factors (temperature, humidity, and wind), ration intake, loads (including IPE), physical attributes of TSU members (fitness, anthropometry, degree of misfit of IPE), and resupply points. It would identify the TSU member-by-load combination most likely to be the mobility limit for that particular TSU. If the empirical basis could be developed, the planning aid could also predict the probability that the mission would contribute to the long-term injury or disability of particular TSU members.
The mission planning aid would be used in training TSU leaders on the factors that affect squad mobility, including terrain, meteorological conditions, loads, load configurations, accumulated fatigue, IPE, and how factors like IPE fit and load configuration constrain agility. Practical exercises for leader trainees would increase confidence in using the planning aids in operations. Also, the aids to Soldier load planning and mobility and the endurance effects of different loads could be incorporated in training simulations and games.
Recommendation 14: The Army should develop a mission planning aid to assist in balancing maneuverability, military effects, and survivability, for use in training and operations by TSU leaders and leaders at higher echelons.
The importance of overcoming limitations placed on Soldier and TSU operations related to ensuring adequate power sources cannot be overestimated. The last decade has seen major advances in portable power materiel technologies, which could have outsize influence on overmatch. However, this can occur only if the Army can leverage the advances to their full effect.
Portable power issues have doctrinal implications because of their impact on TSU TTPs. Non-rechargeable (primary) batteries tend to be less expensive to purchase, have greater energy storage density, have longer shelf life, and, in general, are safer than rechargeable batteries, which may become unstable or even hazardous in extreme temperatures or charge states. Rechargeable batteries also have a relatively limited life and must be kept charged to avoid deterioration. For these reasons, primary batteries have been the predominant type used in operations, while rechargeable batteries have been used primarily for training, with only limited use in operational environments. Any portable power solution that incorporates battery recharging as a key element must therefore address these reasons why rechargeables have not been widely accepted in operational TTPs.
There are also personnel and leadership considerations. To adequately prepare for missions, Soldiers must have an accurate accounting of the state of all their equipment—weapons, bullets, equipment, water, food, and energy provisions (including batteries). To better understand battery status, advanced “gauges” are needed to give trustworthy estimates of remaining capacity. For example, even without use rechargeable batteries lose storage capacity over time, and a 100 percent reading of the charge level is a false representation of the originally designed capacity—it may well be only a fraction of the original energy storage capacity.
The size and weight of power sources can also dictate the duration of operations by affecting the load that must be carried on the operation or the particular electronics that can be utilized. These considerations in turn can affect the optimal organization of the TSU as well as training, leadership, personnel, and facility requirements.
Figure 4-2 lists prospective Soldier power solutions to meet the Soldier energy demands as compiled by the Army in the near, mid, and far terms. Appendix I discusses the state of the art in the underlying Soldier energy technologies, including the battery, fueled, and energy-harvesting systems that are listed in Figure 4-2. While the range of solutions is definitely impressive, each entry on the list comes with its own set of DOTMLPF challenges that must be met to make measureable improvements in dismounted Soldier and TSU capabilities.
Considering the current squad organization and equipment, batteries remain the energy source of choice for missions less than 72 hours. Batteries range in sizes from button cells to large single cells that are arrayed in series and parallel to achieve the requisite energy storage, pack voltage, and acceptable discharge rate for the variety of equipment required. However, Soldier criticism of battery technology is very specific and has formed the basis of the Army R&D program. Materiel shortcomings of batteries include:
• Too many battery types;
• Not energetic enough;
• Too many batteries needed for long missions;
• Too heavy and bulky; and
• Evolution of capabilities adds to energy requirements.
As described in Appendix I, battery systems will continue as the mainstay energy source for the Soldier either as a stand-alone source or as a component of an air breathing hybrid configuration. The specific energy of rechargeable batteries is approaching the specific energy of today’s primary batteries, and advances in rechargeable lithium-air batteries now provide battery-like performance on a par with fuel cells.
FIGURE 4-2. Soldier power solutions. SOURCE: U.S. Army, 2010.
Finding: Rechargeable lithium-air energy sources used as the primary energy source in hybrid configurations can replace many primary and rechargeable storage systems now in use.
In addition to small fueled engines, the Army has focused on developing several types of fuel cells for a wide range of applications ranging from “wearable” energy sources to large battery chargers. Small fuel cells applicable at the Soldier and TSU level are sufficiently advanced that they are being evaluated in the field. An advantage of fuel cells is that they have low acoustic and thermal signatures. A major drawback to current fuel cells is that they cannot operate on JP (the battlefield logistics) fuel.
Figure 4-3 illustrates the potential of the various energy storage options and provides a basis for committee findings on technology solutions considered for the TSU. The figure depicts the mass of current systems needed to provide operational kilowatt-hours of energy. Systems illustrated for comparison include six primary or rechargeable batteries (standard inventory lithium BA5590 and BA5390, lithium-polymer, lithium-air, and lithium-carbon monofluoride) plus two fuel-cell systems (direct menthanol and solid oxide). Detailed characteristics of these energy systems are discussed in Appendix I.
FIGURE 4-3. Comparison of energy options for the dismounted Soldier. SOURCE: Adapted from NRC, 1997.
The selection of a rechargeable battery storage technology as the principal choice for the dismounted Soldier’s energy source would necessitate the parallel introduction of a recharger technology sufficiently small and lightweight to be applicable at the dismounted TSU level. JP-fueled motor generators for possible use in rechargers do not scale favorably to small sizes. The successful development of a JP-fuel reforming technology would allow for small combustion engine battery chargers of low cost and light weight.
JP fuel has a weight advantage with respect to carrying additional batteries, given that it has about 10 times the available energy on a per-kilogram basis. But any calculation of the tradeoffs would need to include the weights of the JP container as well as the fuel-cell energy converter. A concept of operations for such a promising opportunity would have to weigh all factors and consequences,
Finding: JP-reforming technology will have to be developed over a wide range of sizes before the Army can exploit either rechargeable battery technology or fuel-cell technology.
The most important development for the dismounted Soldier in the near term is a rechargeable battery-based conformal central power supply to power the Soldier’s equipment ensemble. Integrating a single power source would standardize connectors and enable the Army to take maximum advantage of the best and lightest of whatever
technology is available—weapons, navigation, communications, pointing devices, etc. For the mid-term, a Soldier-portable battery recharger, powered by a logistics fuel available in theater, would dramatically extend mission duration. The most important far-term development is a rechargeable metal-air energy system (with specific energy approaching that of fueled systems).
While the Army is well on the way toward developing a rechargeable battery technology to become the principal energy source for the Soldier on the battlefield, aside from the materiel development itself, critical DOTMLPF elements have not been evaluated.
Finding: There is no doctrinal philosophy for the tactical small unit to recharge the battery: there is no organizational equipment to support recharging; there is no hint of what training would be required; and, there is no parallel materiel development of the recharger or fuel reformer that would be needed.
Solar and biomechanical energy harvesting systems have been developed to the point where evaluation by Soldiers is possible. Solar battery chargers are in the inventory. Use of photovoltaic cells with higher conversion efficiencies will reduce the weight and volume of solar harvesting techniques for use as battery chargers. Use of biomechanical harvesting will increase as the demand for energy by the Soldier decreases due to increases in the efficiency of Soldier equipment.
If the Army can somehow reduce the energy demands of Soldier equipment, energy harvesting could be used to provide a significant amount of the individual Soldier’s energy requirement. Schemes for harvesting energy must generally be used in hybrid configurations. Of the several harvested energy systems discussed in Appendix I, the most relevant at the TSU level for the near and mid terms are portable solar systems and biomechanical systems that extract energy from individual-Soldier movement.
Finding: The full impact of energy harvesting mechanisms on Soldier and tactical small unit performance has not been determined.
Leveraging these advances in energy sources will help to reduce Soldier fatigue, eliminate Soldier anxiety associated with tenuous resupply, increase Soldier confidence in situational awareness from powered sensors, and provide needed assurance that communications links with higher levels in the command structure can be maintained.
Finding: Portable power advances can best contribute to the decisiveness of future Soldiers by increasing the certainty of Soldiers that their equipment ensemble will have sufficient energy to carry out any TSU mission.
Recommendation 15: The Army should develop and maintain a robust program in advanced energy sources based on full analysis of DOTMLPF elements, with the goal of eliminating power and energy as limiting factors in TSU operations.
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