The 'Advanced Shielded Battle Armor' program was created shortly after the material for energy based friction shielding was discovered.
While other programs focused on simpler shield implementations to give added defense to large scale mech units, the ASBA design would focus on compacting the technology, both powered armor and shields, down into a smaller package with a focus on more discretely applied firepower.
The program would evolve bulky armor down into a more infantry friendly package. This new philosophy of use (a flexible soldier instead of walking tank) would come about by passing the task of defense from armor plates to shielding.
As the true potential of shield tech was revealed, the Elemental program was started with a concentration on developing such potential. Shielding materials being rare and expensive to synthesize, the ASBA program was redirected to rebuild their prototype into a new standard production suit that would return to armor for defense. It is now the standard mid weight powered armor of the Ranger army, coming an many variations and roles.