Document: Report to Congress on Marine Corps, Army Efforts to Reduce Combat Equipment Weight

May 8, 2017 9:44 AM

The following is the Government Accountability Office report, Personal Protective Equipment: Army and Marine Corps Are Pursuing Efforts to
Reduce the Weight of Items Worn or Carried in Combat.

From the report:
What GAO Found
The Army and Marine Corps have developed requirements for personal
protective equipment (PPE) to address operational threats in ground combat
environments, but this PPE has increased in weight over time and has added to
the total load burden on personnel. PPE primarily consists of hard armor plates,
soft armor plate carrier vests, and combat helmets. Army and Marine Corps
officials stated that the PPE provides significant additional protection when
compared with equipment used prior to operations in Iraq in the 2000s. However,
they also noted that providing this level of protection adds significant bulk and
weight to the total load on Soldiers and Marines, which could impede mobility
and hinder combat effectiveness. According to service-provided data, the typical
total load in 2016 for Army and Marine Corps ground combat personnel
averaged about 119 and 117 pounds, respectively, of which the primary PPE
represented about 27 pounds based on equipment sizes (see figure). Officials
stated that these totals have increased over time based on the incorporation of
new PPE and other equipment.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox