Accession Number:

ADA509729

Title:

Task Equipping Body Armor

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2009-02-26

Pagination or Media Count:

11.0

Abstract:

Senior military commanders are hindering tactical-level operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the Marine Corps Warfighting Publication on counterinsurgency operations, counterinsurgency operations are best conducted in a decentralized command structure with an emphasis on initiative and adaptation at the tactical level. However, at this time, several strategic- and operational-level commanders are restricting decentralized decision-making by mandating maximum levels of body armor employment to their tactical-level subordinates. Centralized decisions mandating excessive body armor negatively affect mission accomplishment due to the negative effects that wearing body armor can have on Marines on the battlefield. The current forms of body armor in the Marine Corps are heavy and restrict personal mobility and agility. The average Marine carries 97 to 135 pounds in combat load when they should be carrying a maximum of 50 pounds to be effective. Marine Corps body armor also ventilates poorly and can prevent Marines from properly cooling down while conducting missions. This can prevent them from being able to operate effectively due to fatigue and overheating in demanding environments. In extreme cases, body armor can even contribute to Marines becoming heat casualties. The additional weight and heat from wearing full body armor can negatively impact mission accomplishment of maneuver units by influencing what terrain becomes restrictive. Wearing body armor around civilians can communicate the wrong message from an information operations IO perspective. If the local populace believes that Marines are more interested in hiding behind their armor to safeguard their own lives than providing security for them and their families, it will become exceedingly difficult to gain their trust.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Stress Physiology
  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Protective Equipment

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE