About time if you ask me.  We’ve let risk mitigation consume our lives to the point of getting between our soldiers and victory.  Our Infantry and SOF units should be light, agile, and masters of maneuver warfare.  They should not be stumbling around in so much kit that they can hardly walk or hidden inside some armored vehicle praying that they don’t get IED’d as they race from point A to point B.  At that point, you’ve already lost the war.

A team mate of mine was doing some joint training with the Thai Rangers years ago.  The Thais were amazed at the equipment that American soldiers carried.  There was so much of it they asked, “how do you move while wearing all that stuff?”  My team mate replied, “We don’t.” -Jack

Yes, you could take that headline two ways… I just saw that a team of kinesiology researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst just received a 2.5-year, $975,000 grant through the Navy Health Research Center in the Department of Defense to study how the average 100-pound equipment load carried by soldiers affects their survivability, likelihood of injury and ability to carry out missions.

Have a look at the release from UMASS, AMHERST:

“Load is not a new issue for field commanders to consider,” says Van Emmerik, who is director of UMass Amherst’s Sensory-Motor Control Laboratory. “But while past studies typically focused on how load affects gait and the lower body, we will for the first time look at how the upper body, trunk and head coordinate in a soldier who is burdened by a heavy load, which is a fundamentally different and a more complex situation.”

Doctoral candidate Christopher Palmer, an Army employee who is an expert in motor control and military performance and a key member of Van Emmerik’s team, adds, “To us, gait is just the beginning. We’ll introduce a visual search task and track the coordination of upper body, postural control and visual acuity. No study has yet added all these, plus other factors, together in a realistic way to look at how load affects the soldier’s ability to perceive threats, his or her operational effectiveness and survivability in combat.”

Read the rest at MilitaryTimes.