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Proceedings Paper

Investigation of alternative organizational structures for a digitized platoon
Author(s): Linda L. M. Bossi; David W. Tack; Harold A. Angel; Paul G. S. Vilhena; John Frim
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Paper Abstract

To evaluate the effect of digitization on platoon effectiveness and investigate the suitability of different platoon structures, a twelve-day field trial was undertaken with a Company of light infantry at Fort Benning, Georgia. Test missions were conducted in both day and night conditions, in wooded and urban terrain environments, in each of three organizational structures, with and without digitization. The three different organizational structures included our current in-service 8-man Section, a 13-man USMC squad, and a distributed model comprising six four-man teams. Results of this study confirmed that the effectiveness of a dismounted platoon is significantly enhanced by the use of select digital enhancements in the areas of navigation, situation awareness, communications, and command. During night operations, digitally-enabled capabilities were the difference between mission success and failure. None of the organizational structures tested proved to be universally better than the others at optimizing the benefits of digitally-enhanced capabilities, although each had their strengths and weaknesses. However, considerable insights were gained in the organizational structure issues of distributed small unit command and control, swarming formation tactics, and the tactics, techniques, and procedures necessary to employ small units effectively in a NCW environment.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 May 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6249, Defense Transformation and Network-Centric Systems, 62490P (2 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.668250
Show Author Affiliations
Linda L. M. Bossi, Defence Research and Development Canada (Canada)
David W. Tack, HumanSystems Inc. (Canada)
Harold A. Angel, HumanSystems Inc. (Canada)
Paul G. S. Vilhena, HumanSystems Inc. (Canada)
John Frim, Defence Research and Development Canada (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6249:
Defense Transformation and Network-Centric Systems
Raja Suresh, Editor(s)

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