In light of the changing threat, the Army is placing increased emphasis on developing a more flexible, combat ready military force that can respond quickly to any crisis situation, capable of deterring aggression and, should deterrence fail, of defeating the enemy throughout the operational continuum. The cornerstone of this flexible force is the Army's Light Forces. The Light Forces are comprised of combat, combat support, and combat service support units that participate in and support the close battle. Their mission is to defeat threat forces in a low-intensity conflict, while retaining a capability for employment in mid to high intensity conflicts and Operations Other Than War (OOTW). Light Forces are the "option of choice" for peacetime engagement and conflict prevention. We must take advantage of new technologies and field equipment that is more lethal, survivable, maintainable, smaller, lighter weight, and easily transportable.
Previous military operations demonstrated the need for rapid deployment and insertion of light forces as the "first-to-fight." In dealing with regional and urban conflicts, the prepositioning of equipment is less practical than it was in Europe. Operation Desert Storm exposed the vulnerability of our "first-to-arrive," lightly equipped contingency forces (airborne, in the case of the Army) to Third World threats equipped with heavy armor.
All elements of the future advanced land combat force must be highly deployable, able to execute missions outside the operational envelope of opposing forces, and survive against "a myriad of lethal anti-armor weapons" and other non-traditional, non-lethal weapons.