By Thomas Brading, Army News ServiceAugust 23, 2019
SPRINGFIELD, Va. -- Army leaders met with industry partners Tuesday to focus on new ways to outfit Soldiers with lighter weight, wireless, and tech-compatible systems, looking at revamping the Adaptive Squad Architecture.
"For years, dismounted Soldiers have been overburdened by equipment which, while highly effective, often isn't integrated with other equipment," said Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, PEO Soldier.
The restructure pinpoints Soldiers, at the individual and squad level, as the linchpin for ASA's future modernizations. It's one of the largest reconstructions conducted by PEO Soldier, Potts said
A Soldier's lethality, mobility, and overall safety is "at the heart of the matter," he said.
Potts, who took over PEO Soldier last year, unveiled his organization's new vision to more than 100 industry leaders Tuesday in Springfield, Virginia. The goal is harmonizing Soldiers and squads as an integrated combat platform, similar to a Black Hawk helicopter or Abrams tank.
"(The Army) wouldn't buy a tank piece by piece," said Col. Travis Thompson, Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team chief of staff, to stakeholders. "So why would you buy a Soldier's kit that way?"
The Adaptive Squad Architecture targets tomorrow's battlefield, and creates ways to modernize, train, and structure ground forces within the architectural framework laid out by the Army, Potts said, adding, "The goal is to collaborate with private companies to provide next-generation capabilities and increase the lethality, mobility, and survivability, while countering emerging threats."
"This is a collective venture (with the Army and industry partners) to change the paradigm of bringing capabilities to Soldiers," Potts said, adding, "I'll own the architecture. I just want the ability to plug in and plug out."
Although the broad view doesn't initially affect Soldiers, in the future their daily lives will change as modernized equipment becomes standard in their kits. The framework provided will "deliver capabilities to the field, faster, more effective, and cheaper" than before, according to Thompson.
In a grassroots effort to ensure effective modernization of new capabilities, Potts has welcomed input from ground-level Soldiers who are impacted by their decisions the most.
Tapping into how Soldiers feel about their equipment helps leaders develop an architectural path forward.
"Soldiers designing systems for Soldiers is dependent on [Adaptive Squad Architecture,]" Potts said, adding, the "from the bottom up" path to an integrated combat platform depends on the thoughts and ideas of every Soldier.
Potts, along with other senior leaders, has traveled the nation listening to Soldier's needs, giving them a voice of change regarding their equipment.
Dismounted Soldiers may carry from 50 to 70% of their body weight in gear. In the past, with each piece of new technology a Soldier received, came the burden of more weight to carry around, along with the challenge to find more space to secure it.
Lighter gear will be found by eliminating excessive power sources and heavy cords currently lugged around, and streamlining multiple tech capabilities through a single hardware device.
"Our lethality comes from improving Soldiers' kits," said Potts.
This is a "new approach formed by old failures," said Col. Troy Denomy, Soldier Warrior project manager. "Ultimately, this will get us very quickly to a point of sustained overmatch against our adversaries."