Back in 1999, I enlisted in the U.S. Army and started my adventure with basic training. While there, I was subjected to a new life experience, but I still recall what was hanging on the walls of my training company and spontaneously throughout the training post. In what seemed like the hallway of every building were prints that displayed the Army’s Land Warrior Program. During the course of basic, my fellow initiates and I were being hammered with many foreign acronyms, profanities, new types of pain, and sometimes a Drill Sergeant who would point at one of the prints and say, “That is the future, Privates, if you graduate you may just be good enough to be part of it”. From our most common push-up posture, we would look up in awe at the cool-guy holding an advanced rifle loaded with all kinds of futuristic optics, and wondered if we were to deploy to the Balkans, would we also be so cool.
Yet a deployment to the Balkans later, and none of us were that cool, in fact no one in the Army was that cool. The Land Warrior Program remained what it had been when I enlisted and was prior to that, when the program was initially launched in 1989 – but later received the official title, Land Warrior in 1994.
As my time in service progressed and I was assigned to new duty stations, training and deployments, the cool-guy prints followed me. They evolved with time, the guns, gear, and uniforms would metamorphisize and sometimes eclipse through various names such as the Future Force Warrior, Nett Warrior, Ground Warrior Ensemble, Ground Solider System and Battlefield Automation Programs. However, by the time I left active duty in 2011 – nothing real had come of the program – and nothing has yet to arrive in 2016.
In its inception and still struggling format, Land Warrior was set to deliver four base integrated technologies to the individual soldier.