PAYING FOR WEIGHT IN BLOOD: AN ANALYSIS OF WEIGHT AND PROTECTION LEVEL OF A COMBAT LOAD DURING TACTICAL OPERATIONS
Lucas, Thomas W.
Lin, Kyle Y.
MetadataShow full item record
To gain, retain, or increase an advantage over enemy forces, military leaders have emphasized the importance of providing the latest and greatest technology to the warfighter. A common—possibly unintended but accepted—consequence of this effort is an increased combat load. Unfortunately, there appears to be a profound misunderstanding of how an excessive external load reduces the lethality and survivability of warfighters, as seen by the significant increase in combat loads over the past two decades. Agent-based simulation is used to investigate the effects of combat load weight. This thesis analyzes a scenario in which a 13-Marine rifle squad rushes across 100 meters of desert terrain while engaging four enemy fighters in defensive positions. Data obtained from nearly one million simulated firefights reveals that the reduction in speed from carrying an extra 15 pounds of gear—the difference between the Marine Corps’ fighting and assault loads—results in an additional casualty for the squad. Also, if a Marine is moving such that they are at least twice as hard to hit as a stationary target, the expected number of squad casualties is reduced from 8.9 to 3.5. It is recommended that a holistic approach to weight reduction be implemented in order to reduce the fighting load to under 50 pounds and the assault load to under 75 pounds. Military leaders must balance the risk and reward of each piece of gear assigned to the combat load; the difference could be life or death.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Promoting mission success for the USMC Distributed Operations squad through efficient equipment selection Charchan, Shawn M. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2006-09);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 ...
Moreno, Matthew S. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2012-12);The Marine Corps Combat Operations Center provides formidable situational awareness and command and control capability using a robust mobile data center. This capability incurs a cost in fuel and restricted mobility due ...
Hicks, Bryce; House, Jason; Styer, Varsha (Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School, 2018-06);This research used uniforms of the United States Navy and Marine Corps to explain the costs and benefits of the services consolidating uniforms and wearing a single functional uniform. This study examined the history of ...