Courtesy of Tactical Life

Gen. Mark Milley testified this summer before the Senate Armed Service Committee and expressed the U.S. Army‘s need for a new 7.62 rifle. Dubbed the “Interim Combat Service Rifle,” or ICSR, the proposed weapon would be issued to infantry units for the purposes of defeating enemy body armor.

Body armor, you know, as worn by the Russian military. Concern with an 82nd Airborne trooper’s ability to defeat a Russian infantrymen’s body armor is classic “been out of the game for too long” thinking. This is understandable though. The U.S. has been bogged down with counter-insurgency operations for the past 20 years. Focus has shifted to light infantry for these mission sets.

The Russians on the other hand, their preference is mechanized infantry, armor and artillery. Although concern over the 5.56’s ability to penetrate body armor seems pragmatic, it focuses on the wrong problem sets in America’s next conventional war.

A perfect example is the 2014 war between Russian and Ukraine. An entire Ukrainian mechanized brigade was eliminated in minutes after they were struck by a barrage of GRAD rockets. An entire armored column, gone in just moments.

Regardless of how war with Russia — or China — would actually be fought, the ICSR is a possibility for U.S. troops.

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Army photo by Capt. Charlie Emmons, TAAC-E Public Affairs