- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2018

A task force favored by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is on a mission to transform combat units into war-fighting machines unlike anything on the battlefield today.

Troops throughout history are all too familiar with the saying, “Hurry up and wait,” but the Close Combat Lethality Task Force in many ways seeks to make it a memory. A cross-service group at the highest levels of the Pentagon has already been allocated $2.5 billion in resources to develop a wholly new kind of infantry unit.

“Time-honored extra duties such as handing out towels at the gym, raking sand, standing gate guard duty and picking up litter will no longer consume the time and energy of infantry soldiers and Marines,” Army Times reported Wednesday.

In short, Mr. Mattis’ envisions combat forces that are focused at all times on honing their craft to achieve overmatch in the close, tactical engagements.

“The secretary of defense has dedicated a great deal of time and effort,” Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said. “He has tasked us with gauging the readiness of the entire force, enforcing decisions, making changes in force structure. We’re no longer just an oversight bot.”

Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales added that everything is “on the table” in terms of achieving the task force’s goals.

“The readiness reporting system at the small unit level fails us,” Gen. Scales said, Army Times reported.

The task force plans to consider, for example, who should be allowed in combat units and the length of time infantrymen should be allowed to serve within their military occupational specialty.

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