The Army will go forward with its plan to study how to improve the performance of basic infantry squads, top service leaders told Congress this week, but it will not issue any more equipment to soldiers already loaded down with weapons, armor and equipment.
"We'll look at the squad as a collective whole, not nine individual soldiers, and determine how to enable it from the bottom up to ensure that the squad has the training, leadership, doctrine, power and energy, protection, and lethality to win when we send them into harm's way," Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told lawmakers, per an Army announcement.
"As an Army no one can challenge us at corps level, division level, brigade level or battalion level," he said. "I want to ensure we've done as much as possible to make sure that the same degree of overmatch exists at squad level." While Dempsey didn't give a date to senators for when a review would happen, he did say it wouldn't result in more gear given to individual soldiers, who are "already strained by the load they have to carry in combat."What that could mean, however, is that soldiers get better versions of radios or other gadgets they're carrying today -- or maybe even some altogether new kind of device. It could even mean tomorrow's soldiers have a lighter load: Take a look at this Air Force story about how joint terminal attack controllers are beginning to use new, lighter digital equipment, which has saved them a ton of weight when they're downrange calling in air strikes.
Staff Sgt. Michael Hickey, assigned to the 607th ASOG, said nearly 35 pounds of gear has been replaced by a small, wearable computer and the hand-held Rover 5, which makes their equipment more "practical" for the field.The JTACs' lighter, digital equipment also lets them send more information to more air crews, according to the story, and the Army will no doubt try to emulate or beat all those advances as it tries to figure out how to make its squad better connected and more lethal.
"Here, with the terrain, and where we're fighting in Afghanistan, it allows us to carry lighter equipment, move further and do the dismounted job in the mountains," he said. This allows the controllers to travel further with an added stealth and subtlety they haven't had in the past.