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.
Analyses in this Series
- The Soldier’s Heavy Load: The fourth report in the Super Soldiers series, “The Soldier’s Heavy Load,” explores the heavy burden that soldiers carry and near-term options for reducing soldiers’ load and increasing mobility, thus improving survivability.
- Emerging Technologies: The fifth report in the Super Soldiers series, “Emerging Technologies," examines far-term approaches to improve warfighter survivability through exoskeletons, robotic teammates, novel materials, and lightweight operational energy.
- Human Performance Enhancement: The sixth report in the Super Soldiers series, “Human Performance Enhancement,” explores the technology, ethics, and policy of physical and cognitive enhancement to improve warfighter performance and survivability.
- Summary of Findings and Recommendations: The final report in the Super Soldiers series, “Summary of Findings and Recommendations,” (forthcoming Fall 2018) will conclude the series by summarizing key findings and recommendations to improve soldier survivability in the near-, mid-, and far-term.