View Full Version : infantry in modern world

September 15, 2002, 10:12 PM

Thought the above might be of interest to many here at TFL. Wondered if we might add anything to the discussion.

Jeff White
September 16, 2002, 07:11 PM
Many of the ideas talked about here have some merit. But in a lot of cases, the technology isn't ready yet. And I think it's dangerous to rely on technology.

The introduction of manportable global positioning receivers in the early 1990s has had a bad unforeseen consequence in the Army and Marine Corps. As they have become smaller, lighter and more widely distributed, our soldiers and Marines have forgotten how to navigate without them. Oh, we still give conventional land navigation training lip service. It's still a requirement in all of the leadership schools, but a soldier or Marine uses his PLGR out in the unit. The Army Infantry School is even adding PLGR tasks to the EIB (Expert Infantryman Badge) test. Why is this bad? Because unlike a magnetic compass that almost never fails, PLGR is a complicated device that requires batteries, and can even be jammed. Some people at the Field Artillery School at Ft. Sill OK made a jammer with electronic components they bought at Radio Shack for under $100. So jamming GPS signals is well withing the capability of a relatively unsophisticated enemy. And if it goes down many units are severely degraded.

As we add this technology, we have to look at the total cost. Can we buy enough of these wonder weapons to equip a large enough force to fight a major war against, say the North Koreans or Chinese? Is it a good trade off for the increased logistic load? Remember every cubic foot of lift you fill with batteries and computer equipment is a cubic foot of lift you can't use for bullets. We are already trading off a lot of the capabilities of our heavy forces for systems that will be less lethal and more vulnerable to enemy fires, because they are lighter and easier to deploy. I'm worried that we are rushing headlong down the high tech road, without really formulating a master plan on how the force will be shaped and how it will fight. Building and buying neat high tech weapons, just because we can, may turn out to be a bad thing in the long run. FOG-M promises to be great, but will we be able to buy enough of them to fight a big war? The rest of the stuff, the Infantryman as his own tank, is still science fiction and will be for the foreseeable future.

We would be better served by transferring most of this money into ammunition and ranges. If anyone doubts that the best we have can be beaten everyday by 1970s technology, all they have to do is read the after action reports from NTC. Almost every three weeks, the best most high tech units we have are beaten to a pulp by trained motivated soldiers who use outdated equipment.


September 16, 2002, 07:34 PM
Couple of my thoughts.

KE/HVM and mini-nukes/anti matter weapons will be a reality for infantry sooner or later. Unless something like a forcefield is developed that would make armor useless for most practical purposes.

Avoiding detection (stealth) and speed/mobility will be key to surviving.

RPV (remote piloted vehicals) or programed unmanned vehicals will probably become more important. Since they don't have to carry a human they can me faster (higher G force) or smaller (easier to hide) or both.

For real world today I think spending more on training and actual experiance would help a lot.