FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- The U.S. Army's Program Executive Office Soldier has launched an Internet-based survey system to support its mission to aggressively incorporate Soldier feedback into everything it does.

More than 30 surveys, announced on AKO and available to Soldiers through a link on the PEO Soldier Web site, are designed to give Soldiers a forum to communicate their thoughts and suggestions up the chain of command. The surveys cover everything from clothing and individual equipment-gloves, goggles, and battering rams-to individual and crew served weapons such as the M4 carbine and the M110 sniper system.

As the Army continues its efforts to employ the Soldier-as-a-System concept, Soldier feedback is critical. Soldier-as-a-System calls for everything a Soldier wears and carries to be streamlined, integrated and effective. While the Army's skilled laboratories, research centers, and contractors develop and modernize the next generation of equipment for the battlefield, everything comes down to what the men and women on the ground actually need, use, and accept as beneficial. Web-based surveys have already proven to be a direct and effective way to shine a spotlight on that essential point of view.

An earlier version of the online survey system was used to gather comments regarding the new Army Service Uniform. PEO Soldier received more than 80,000 responses to this survey alone. Converting such extensive feedback into actionable changes is no simple task.

As Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, PEO Soldier, noted, "We had experts from Operational Forces Interface Group do the mathematical and statistical analyses of the responses so that we could categorize the feedback that we received to support good decisions."

"In meeting battlefield requirements, we find that there is rarely a silver bullet that will take care of all existing uniform or equipment requirements," said Brown. "It is an integrated process, and we manage the Soldier as a system to get there."

As long as technology improves to create more lightweight, efficient, unobtrusive solutions to the challenges every Soldier faces, PEO Soldier will find ways to integrate these products to improve Soldier capabilities, save Soldiers' lives, and improve Soldiers' quality of life.

Soldier surveys are just one of many methods PEO Soldier employs to consistently and innovatively provide the best for the best.