Some amazing changes are in the works for US infantry
On Feb. 8, Defense Secretary James Mattis, probably everyone's favorite
human Marine, sent a memo (below) to top Department of Defense officials regarding the establishment of a Close Combat Lethality Task Force, which will improve "the combat preparedness, lethality, survivability, and resiliency of our Nation's ground close-combat formations."
Mattis makes the compelling point that these close-combat formations — AKA grunts — make up 90% of our casualties, and therefore deserve to be modernized, better equipped, and expertly prepared.
His task force is the solution — or at least a solution, and potentially an awesome one.
Breaking Defense points out that the task force will concentrate on training, personnel, and policy. Infantry will mirror special operations in its elite training tactics and its selection process.
"We know from experience...that intelligent soldiers are far more effective and far less likely to become casualties," said Bob Scales, a leading infantry advisor for Mattis.
It's still early in the stages of making effective change (per Mattis' memo, the first step the task force will have taken is to identify existing problems to address and lay out the roles and responsibilities of those involved in solving said problems. But there are plenty of suggestions from the military community (no surprise there).
Training with drones, improved close-quarter and subterranean tactics, and arming troops with advanced technology (think robots and self-breathing apparatuses) are a few topics of speculation. Dialogue about personnel policy changes include everything from over-manning squads (grimly, to anticipate casualties) and better collaboration between branches.
Ultimately, the fact that SECDEF is focusing his attention on the selection, training, and deployment of our infantrymen is a strong indication of his determination to improve the way the United States fights its wars and his commitment to improving America's global reach — but equally important is the emphasis on human life in the equation of warfighting.