Soldier Modernization: Lightening The Warfighter's Load Remains A Major Obstacle For The U.S. Army November 11, 2010

Lightweight soldier equipment and technology is crucial to Soldiers and Marines fighting a discrete enemy in Afghanistan. On a daily basis they are being forced to make life threatening choices about what they take on any given mission because the combined weight of their soldier technology and equipment prevents them from being agile, mobile and effective warfighters. Such is the size of the problem that too-heavy life-saving equipment is being left behind and lives are being put at risk. So, what is being done to rectify this urgent situation?

Defense agencies in the US, Canada and allied nations are focusing on sourcing and integrating the most affordable, lightweight soldier equipment and technology, rapidly spiraling out new and advanced kit to those who need it most. US Army PEO Soldier, for example, is making substantial progress in lightening the soldiers load while still delivering next generation capabilities through programs such as Nett Warrior, a recently named evolutionary step forward from the world’s first future soldier program, Land Warrior. So many lessons have been learned in advanced soldier system integration that are relevant to discussions today, including weight reduction but also how to reduce size and manage power better,  that Brigadier General Peter Fuller, Program Executive Officer, PEO Soldier, US Army has agreed to share his views on these and other topics at the  Soldier Technology US conference in 2011, a forum dedicated to the identification of lighter weight, soldier equipment and technology. General Fuller will be accompanied by a team including Colonel Wil Riggins, Project Manager Soldier Warrior, Colonel Douglas Tamilio, Project Manager, Soldier Weapons and Colonel Stephanie Foster, Project Manager, Soldier Sensors and Lasers.

Furthermore, the military Science and Technology community is increasingly funding research and development of technologies to reduce the soldier’s burden. In the US this is being achieved out of offices including the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, OASA (ALT). Dr Marilyn Freeman, who heads up this multi-billion dollar budget office, will be discussing her strategy to reduce weight at Soldier Technology US 2011, accompanied by leading figures from the US military science and technology community too including Susan Butler, Acting Director, NATICK RDE Soldier Center.

However, despite continued investment from both the acquisition communities, required changes aren’t happening fast enough. Catalysts are required in the shape of well informed individuals who bridge the end user community and political leadership for example, Major General (ret’d) Bob Scales, Former Commandant, US Army War College in the United States, who has a significant role to play in this regard. Bringing to light new and clear options to rectify this urgent situation, Major General (ret’d) Scales is another key figure in the global effort to enhance capabilities for the allied warfighter who has agreed to offer his views at Soldier Technology US 2011.

To find out more information about how size, weight and power will be addressed in detail by those in positions to make effective changes to capabilities for soldiers, marines and special operators in North America visit the Soldier Technology US website today, it’s one event that all those involved in soldier modernization must attend.

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