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Ground Soldier System (GSS)

The Soldier as a System (SaaS) concept began when TRADOC submitted a SaaS Mission Need Statement (MNS) in August 2002. This MNS served three purposes. First, it established a formal Army process to address and integrate all Soldier capabilities and needs. Second, it identified the need to establish a Soldier modernization strategy that would manage the SaaS. Third, it identified capabilities required of all Soldiers to perform individual and collective tasks. The Army Requirements Oversight Committee (AROC) approved the SaaS MNS in October 2002. TRADOC subsequently chartered the SaaS Integrated Concept Team and assigned proponent lead to the US Army Infantry Center.

SaaS was designed to improve soldier capabilities by optimizing efforts across the DOTMLPF by addressing the need to improve soldier-machine interfaces to enhance the performance of present and future combat platforms. SaaS utilized a DOTMLPF capability development assessment of lethality, survivability, mobility, sustainability, and battle command and situational awareness in terms of performance, power, weight, volume, cost, training and criticality of need. These were the metrics to provide soldiers with solutions that would meet their needs within the boundaries and norms of common human performance and that provide a fully integrated SaaS approach to increase the capabilities of all Soldiers to perform individual and collective tasks.

Army Science and Technology [S&T] supported the Soldier as a System (SaaS) concept where the objective was to equip all soldiers with an integrated modular ensemble based on an open architecture that allows capabilities to be tailored for specific missions. For the future dismounted soldier within the FCS Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), Army S&T was developing technology for the Ground Soldier System (GSS). Working closely with the US Army Training and Doctrine Command and Program Executive Office - Soldier, S&T efforts focus on the Army's future SaaS requirements, that support the FCS strategy. SaaS S&T efforts also addressed technologies for the Mounted Soldier System (formerly Mounted Warrior), Air Soldier System (formerly Air Warrior), and Core Soldier System ensemble. The S&T program pursued a wide range of technologies to enable Soldier systems.

The GSS is an integrated, modular, dismounted fighting system that was designed to integrate the soldier into the FCS digital network to improve their leader's situational awareness and battle command and a Soldier's lethality and survivability. GSS improves upon land warrior capabilities by connecting the Soldier to the FCS network. GSS Capabilities Production Document described the following items that provided all soldiers with a basic level of capability:

  • Helmet subsystem with color helmet-mounted display and audio headset and microphone providing small unit COP and collaborative situational awareness
  • Weapon subsystem with daylight video sight and multifunctional laser with digital compass
  • Communication, navigation and computer subsystems
  • Soldier control unit
  • Enhancements to protective clothing and individual equipment
  • Embedded Training
  • Reduced weight, longer sustained power, greater reliability

The systems approach optimized and integrated these capabilities, to include interface with the Army Tactical Internet, while reducing the logistical footprint. S&T advances in warfighting concepts, system-of-systems (SoS) architectures, and technology components in areas such as enhanced navigation, system voice control, weight reduction, digital connectivity and power were being pursued through the Future Force Warrior (FFW) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD), and were to be inserted over time as the technology matures into the GSS. The FFW ATD was also charged with developing an analysis-of-variants system design concept that would enable expansion of the FFW concept to the other soldier variants. This concept would contain design hooks and interfaces common to all soldiers, providing a tailorable and reconfigurable SoS design extensible to all Soldiers.

On 7 April 2006, the Department of Defense released details on major defense acquisition program cost, schedule, and performance changes since the September 2005 reporting period. This information was based on the Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to the Congress for the December 2005 reporting period. There was a downward revision in the cost estimate to reflect the Army's updated requirements for the Land Warrior Ensemble and the Ground Soldier System (GSS) (-$6,687.9 million).

The program was restructured to accommodate redefined Current Force requirements. The Army would provide enhanced situational awareness battle command, and lethality capability to small, tactical units in the near term. The Army was testing ensemble variants as potential solutions. In FY06, the Army equipped a Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) with Land Warrior II (440 systems) and Mounted Warrior (147 systems) to conduct a DOTMLPF assessment. Initial operational capability was achieved with completion of the Army's RFI program in FY07.

In the far-term, the program was focused on GSS development. GSS was scheduling a milestone B decision in first quarter FY08. With the cancelation of the Land Warrior Program in 2007, the GSS became the major program to provide the advanced capabilities originally planned. The GSS has since become a replacement for the Land Warrior family of programs. The GSS also assumed responsibility for remaining Objective Force Warrior programs.




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