The secretive Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) based on Fort Meade, Maryland conducts research, provides instruction, and advises military organizations and units in Afghanistan. The AWG is composed of members of the armed services and are from a variety of units; however, many of their members are Special Forces Soldiers. One of their special projects is to lighten the load that infantrymen carry in Afghanistan. The mobility of the Soldier is dramatically reduced due to the large assortment of military gear worn and carried. The gear is considered "essential" to military leaders for safety and force protection - and mission accomplishment. Granted, some of this equipment is "high-speed, low-drag, and lightweight"; but 100 lbs of lightweight gear still weighs 100 lbs! Body armor and helmet are one of the heaviest items worn. Then there is the additional stuff like water, ammunition, radios, batteries for the radios, GPS systems, night vision devices, medical supplies, emergency signaling devices, knee pads, elbow pads, food, and more. It doesn't take much for a Soldier to end up carrying 100 pounds of gear when he goes on patrol. Now put this Soldier into a mountainous terrain like the Korengal Valley in northeastern Afghanistan and you have a problem. The enemy, who knows the terrain, can scoot around in sandals, a weapon (which he can cache until needed), and some ammunition. He might have one person in his patrol who carries a light radio. Our infantrymen are simply out-maneuvered on the battlefield when they are on foot.
Read more about what the Asymmetric Warfare Group is doing to help out the Soldier in "Lighting the load for soldiers", Standard-Examiner, February 19, 2011. Click on the following link to learn more about the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) - http://www.awg.army.mil/.