What would it take to transform U.S. infantry into a higher-caliber force modeled after the elite 75th Ranger Regiment? For starters, find recruits in their mid-20s and offer them $250,000 bonuses and a $60,000-a-year salary.
That's part of a working concept officials from the Pentagon's Close Combat Lethality Task Force (CCLTF) have been turning over for the past year in efforts to take Army and Marine infantry to a higher level of lethality.
The task force is the legacy of former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general and infantryman, who set out to place a new priority on a group that bears one of the heaviest burdens of warfare: the grunts.
Since its 2018 launch, the CCLTF has helped to find money in the Defense Department's budget to accelerate high-tech programs, such as smart augmented reality goggles for soldiers.
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