Cover: Perspectives on the Battle of Wanat

Perspectives on the Battle of Wanat

Challenges Facing Small Unit Operations in Afghanistan

Published Nov 3, 2011

by Randall Steeb, John Matsumura, Thomas J. Herbert, John Gordon IV, William W. Horn


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The research reported in this document is focused on exploring alternatives for improving ongoing small unit operations in Afghanistan. The effort attempts to provide a more hands-on look at the situation that platoon-sized units face in establishing and protecting combat outposts (COPs). Using the Battle of Wanat as a case study, the authors explore and evaluate a range of alternative technological and corresponding tactical improvements. They begin the process by developing a tactical-level understanding of the circumstances and risks that a small unit faced as it transitioned from a vehicle patrol base to a COP. Future research will examine near-term technologies and tactics, along with alternative concepts of operation that could improve future outcomes for such small units.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

This report is part of the RAND occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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