System Design of the Rifleman of the Future

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Systems Engineering

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the IEEE Systems Engineering Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The rifleman will play a crucial role in future conflicts, so it is imperative that the Army outfits them with the right equipment. However, there is a tendency to provide them with every new technology as it becomes available. This results in a situation where the rifleman is overloaded with technology, only some of which is relevant to the mission. This effect can be resolved by treating the rifleman as a system, comprised of a soldier that is integrated with equipment, focused on performing a mission. This study uses model-based systems engineering to design the rifleman of the future, looking out to 2050. This analysis initially develops a functional model of the current rifleman, identifying the functions and subfunctions that they perform. They must be able to shoot, move, communicate, survive, and sustain. These functions are then allocated against the current equipment set including rifles, body-armor, and radios. The functional model is then updated to reflect the future mission set of the rifleman. The updated functional model is aligned against the current equipment set to identify gaps and needs. New technologies are then allocated against these gaps and needs. The goal of this analysis is to divest from science fiction and focus on what the future rifleman will need to win on the battlefield.

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