Topic: Soldiers' Load
Factors Causing Soldiers' Overload
The Factors of Soldiers' Load; A thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; Master of Military Art and Science, by Stephen J. Townsend, Major, USA, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1994
1. Lack of Appreciation for the Problem.
- lack of awareness of doctrine, management techniques, etc.
- unwillingness to take action to correct
2. Fear and Fatigue.
- Fear-Fatigue-Fear cycle
- magnified by uncertainty over threat, mission, support
3. Fear of Risk.
- desire to plan for every contingency
- fears of the staff: unit failure, soldier discomfort
4. The Fire Load.
- false beliefs: ammo = high morale, out of ammo = defeat
- lack of reasonable SOPs or lack of enforcement
5. Drag of Orthodoxy.
- tradition and the conservative military mindset
- tyranny of the SOP: worst-case, total uniformity
6. Discipline and the Enforcement of Standards.
- Failure to establish or enforce/inspect packing lists
7. Nature of the Soldier: "from hoarding to ditching".
8. The Lack of Transport (strategic and tactical).
9. The Myths of Training.
- misconception that training capabilities = wartime
- problems created by the way we train: structure of exercises, funding, tooth vs. tail focus
- simulations don't necessarily help
10. The Failure of Technology.
- new capabilities = more weight
- increasing requirements can kill weight savings
- "load creep:" excessive durability, isolation of decisions, multi-purpose items, "close enough"
11. Terrain and Weather.
- special equipment needs
- effects on mobility: heat, gradient, soil conditions
12. Physical Conditioning: the APFT vs. the foot march.