Mattis’ Infantry Task Force: Righting ‘A Generational Wrong’

US Army soldiers participate in an international infantry competition in Lithuania. (source: Breaking Defense)

US Army soldiers participate in an international infantry competition in Lithuania. (source: Breaking Defense)

December 3, 2018 | Source: Breaking Defense, breakingdefense.com, Bob Scales, 26 November 2018

Eight months ago, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis created the Close Combat Lethality Task Force to right a generational wrong. A retired Marine Corps infantryman himself, Mattis understood that America's close combat forces, consisting of less than 4% of those in uniform, had suffered more than 90% of American combat deaths since the end of World War II. His intent was to make our infantry formations dominant on tomorrow's battlefields.

Most efforts at reforming the Pentagon are premised on the development and acquisition of things—guns, planes, ships, missiles, satellites
—all at ever-increasing expense. However, close combat demands far more than superior weaponry. At its essence, the close fight is a uniquely human experience that matches one small unit against another in a duel to the death. Victory comes to the side that has superior will, cunning, intelligence, tenacity, and skill at arms.

Thus, technology is only one of the Task Force’s five lines of effort. Three others embrace the intangibles of the human dimension:  personnel policy, training, and human performance in combat. The fifth is a future-gazing effort to leverage emerging, as-yet unproven science—from new lightweight materials to cognitive performance—to achieve leap ahead advantages on tomorrow’s battlefields.


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