Body armor saves lives. Modern ballistic body armor is truly a “game-changing” innovation that gives U.S. soldiers a significant battlefield advantage over adversaries. Militaries have long invested in protection, such as helmets and armor, but today U.S. troops have greater protection than their historical predecessors or contemporaries around the globe. Nevertheless, this protection has limitations and dismounted troops remain vulnerable to a range of threats.
Current body armor systems suffer from three major shortcomings:
- Current body armor does not adequately protect against blast-induced brain injury, a critical threat to soldiers.
- The weight of current armor negatively affects soldier performance.
- Despite their weight, current systems still leave vulnerable areas exposed.
The Super Soldiers series covers findings from the Center for a New American Security’s study on dismounted soldier survivability that was conducted for the Army Research Laboratory. The series examines opportunities to improve dismounted soldier survivability in the near-, mid-, and far-term through changes to policies, improvements in equipment, and by harnessing emerging technologies. There is no magic solution for improving soldier survivability, but there are many opportunities that the U.S. military can seize upon that can yield significant improvements.