- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Army is looking to get leaner, more lethal and more agile after having fought two ground wars over the past decade and now facing budget constraints, a Pentagon official says.

Heidi Shyu, who heads the Army’s acquisition, logistics and technology office, said the armed service is committed to those goals even though “fiscal pressures will limit the resources we have.”

Speaking at the Association of the United States Army earlier this week, Ms. Shyu said making soldiers’ protective gear lighter is a key priority.

“We’re looking at weight reduction across the spectrum,” she said, adding that success in the effort would ease the “overburden of soldiers in small units [who] carry an incredible burden on their backs.”

The Army will continue investing in advanced weapons, such as the XM-25, a new, small-arms grenade launcher with “smart” targeting technology that allows a grenade to hone in on enemies while avoiding direct fire, she said

“Soldiers love it, can’t get enough of it,” Ms. Shyu said of the weapon, which soldiers have nicknamed “the Punisher.”

Part of making soldiers more agile is giving them equipment that will last longer in austere environments, with greater fuel efficiency and longer battery lives, she said.

Vehicles also will become more versatile and sustainable, Ms. Shyu said.

Examples include the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which will be lighter and more mobile than a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle (MRAP), and the new Paladin Integrated Management ground combat system that will have more electrical power than most military vehicles, the Army official said.