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II.

BACKGROUND AND LITERATURE REVIEW

In many ways, September 11, 2001, marks a transition point for the United States military. This infamous day not only ushered in a new era of conflict against terrorist organizations, but it also began a continuous process of transformation within the military

Services, particularly the Army and the Marine Corps. recognizable enemy on a well-defined battlefield, the U.S.

who waits techniques,

for battle on its own terms.

This enemy is

and

procedures

to

exploit

weaknesses

and

avoid

Instead of facing a clearly now fights a patient enemy constantly studying tactics, situations in which the U.S.

has

a

technological

or

military

advantage.

This

has

forced

a

continuous

process

of

adaptation in response to counterinsurgency warfare, as

this

ever-changing

enemy.

The

documented in the recently published

new Army

emphasis on Field Manual,

FM 3-24 (Counterinsurgency), clearly demonstrates this shift in how the U.S. Army fights.

The evolving battlefield brought more than just a change in warfighting doctrine; it also demanded changes in the hardware the U.S. military has used for decades. Simply looking at readily available photos of currently deployed forces compared to those from early in the conflict reveals the changes. The Army now wears a new uniform, body armor, helmet, and other individual gear and employs heavily armored vehicles, robots, and jamming devices. With an all-volunteer military, force protection is arguably more important now than in previous wars. As such, much of the new equipment is for added Soldier survivability. The single, most important stimulus in these hardware upgrades is the current enemy’s weapon of choice and greatest killer: the improvised explosive device or IED. Accounting for roughly half the U.S. casualties in Iraq and about a third of those in Afghanistan, the IED created the need for the MRAP vehicle. Given the rapidly evolving battlefield and materiel requirements, speed in defense acquisition is arguably more important now than at any time since World War II.

With this emphasis on speed in defense acquisitions in response to warfighter needs, significant research effort has been dedicated to rapid acquisitions in recent years.

5

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