Every soldier knows it. He’s carrying too much stuff. Some officials in the military have noted an increase in lower-body injuries to soldiers and some attribute this to the tough terrain to be navigated in Afghanistan while wearing 80+ lbs. of equipment.
The current body armor issued to Army Soldiers is the Interceptor Ballistic Armor, which includes a Kevlar carrier and two ceramic plates capable of stopping a 7.62 round. It weighs almost 35 lbs.
The Marine Corps however has continued to do more with less funding than the rest of the armed forces.
On Feb 4th, 2009, The House Armed Services Committee met to discuss the options of lighter armor being issued to troops in Afghanistan, where rugged terrain can add difficulties to already overladen Soldiers. According to this article, the Corps is purchasing 65,000 Scalar armor vests, similar to Dragonskin Armor. Each vest will weigh less than 20 lbs.
There is also discussion as to if troops should in some circumstances be allowed outside the wire without body armor. There are political aspects to consider. As the chief engineer at the marine Corp’s Warfighting lab in Quantico states:
“We’ve got to have the internal fortitude to come back and say: “We have the data. We made the right decision. We can’t guarantee you that nobody will die in this war.”
Our military continues to adapt and overcome. The coming years may will require even more flexibility, as military cutbacks are sure to come.