Promoting mission success for the USMC Distributed Operations squad through efficient equipment selection
Charchan, Shawn M.
Ewing, Paul L.
Miller, Nita Lewis
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The Marine infantryman is carrying too much weight in combat. This thesis analyzes the trade-offs between individual load weights and the value that a Distributed Operations squad receives from the equipment its members carry. We use multiple objective decision analysis principles to help determine the coefficients for an integer linear programming model. The optimization model prescribes equipment assignment to individual positions that maximizes squad mission success while meeting target weights for the individual Marine. Our findings indicate that significant improvements can be made to the Marine's combat load weight and equipment composition. The optimization model provides the squad with a more efficient combination of equipment while reducing the average weight of the combat load by more than 19 percent for both the assault load and the approach march load. Also, by balancing the loads across the members of the squad, the model reduces the variation of weight across the squad positions from as much as 38 percent to less than 2 percent for all loads. By examining the trade space between equipment weight and equipment value, we assist in the creation of future Marine Corps doctrine by providing senior Marine leaders a starting point analysis for addressing this difficult problem.
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