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Macgregor: Don't Waste a Draw-Down

Macgregor: Don't Waste a Draw-Down

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http://youtu.be/8dlYY2hs59M <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/8dlYY2hs59M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>armedforcesjournal.com/2012/02/8817152 
Don’t waste a drawdownAs budgets shrink, let’s rethink how we organize, train and equip theArmy
BY DOUGLAS MACGREGORIn 1950, there were 563,000 Soldiers on active duty in the U.S. Army — yet, as General of the ArmyOmar Bradley put it, “
It was an Army that could not fight its way out of a paper bag 
.”In the five years following the end of World War II, the Army’s four-star generals had transformed a mightyweapon into a light constabulary force on wheels, designed for occupation duty in Japan and Germanyand not much more. As the U.S. withdraws from its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, fiscal pressures are certain to exact a toll onthe Army’s end strength. Yet there is no need to repeat the mistakes of the mid-20th century.In fact, the size of a military institution’s budget may well stand in inverse proportion to the originalthinking it creates. A smaller budget that cannot buy everything can be exploited to engage in theunconstrained thinking that creates new fighting power. Corporate thinking — the kind that dominatestoday’s Army — emphasizes the value of numbers, but how armed forces organize, train and equipmakes a far greater difference to the outcome than the quantity of troops. After World War I, the German Army was reduced to 100,000 men, a fraction of its historic strength.Knowing that Germany could not afford to field large, expensive armies, and preferring in any case toavoid another destructive war of attrition, the German General Staff turned to new ideas: new combatformations based on new technology, new leadership and new tactics.Further east, another giant military was downsizing in the face of economic pressure. In 1923, Lenindemobilized most of the 5 million men in the Red Army, leaving a standing professional force of 600,000men to defend one-sixth of the world’s land mass. Forced to think unconventionally, the leadership of theRed Army produced a vision of future war centered on aircraft and armored forces that eventually rescuedthe Soviet state from destruction in 1943-45.Both Soviet and German military leaders zeroed in on the central importance of J.F.C. Fuller’sobservation: “
The fighting power of an army lies in its organization for combat 
.”Today’s U.S. Army needs to do the same, focusing on the creation, maintenance and expansion of newfighting power in three ways.First, maximize ready, available combat forces within the limits of current resources and adopt mission-focused capability packages as the building blocks of the Army’s tactical organization for combat.Second, streamline the institutional Army to support deployable combat power and eliminate wasteful andredundant overhead.Third, integrate operational Army command and control across service lines and harmonize Armyrotational readiness with air and naval forces.
Finding the right mix of ready, deployable high-performance combat forces that emphasize mobility,survivability and lethality (not mass) for integrated “
all arms
” operations is vital. Today, accurate,devastating strikes from the air, land or sea using precision-guided conventional or nuclear weapons areenabled by manned or unmanned persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) andnear-real-time targeting. In practically every strategic setting, “
” is both the existential threat to andpivotal enabler for all surface forces, whether land- or sea-based. Contemporary air and naval forces alsocan allow ground forces to economize, to concentrate ground combat forces only when and where theyare needed while denying the opposing force the ability to mass against them.However, air and naval forces alone cannot seize or secure objectives of operational or strategicimportance on land to the enemy. U.S. Precision strikes from the air and sea can incapacitate enemycommand and control, but the confusion and paralysis thus engendered is always temporary unlessground forces exploit the strikes quickly and decisively.The challenge is to organize ground forces to conduct operations that magnify and exploit the strikingpower of the joint force. This means the Army must provide high-performance combat forces thatemphasize mobility, survivability and lethality (not mass) for joint, integrated, “all arms” operations. Theseformations must be self-contained, survivable, mobile combat formations (mission-focused capabilitypackages) organized around maneuver, strike, ISR and sustainment. In addition, these combatformations must be able to perform nonlinear and dispersed, mobile operations in a much more lethalbattle space than anything seen since 2001. As I argued in Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation under Fire, the Army needs conceptual roadmaps that eliminate brigades and divisions. In their place will rise combat maneuver groups (CMGs) of roughly 5,000 to 6,000 troops commanded by brigadier generals with lieutenant colonels in the key staff positions. CMGs are meant to plug directly into joint force headquarters without deploying the additionallayers of single-service command and control provided by large, ponderous division and corpsheadquarters. This organizational paradigm remains the most attractive and promising way to integratecombat forces within a multiservice framework of maneuver, strike, ISR and sustainment operations.Historically, the Army has had plenty of success with this force design. Examples include Brig. Gen.Bruce Clark’s brilliant command of Combat Command B, 7th Armored Division, at St. Vith in Belgiumduring the Battle of the Bulge, Col. Paul Freeman’s command of the 23rd Regimental Combat Team atChip Yong Ni in Korea in 1951 and Col. John Hort’s composite command in the battle for Sadr City in Iraqin 2008.SHAPING EFFECTIVE FORCESWhat should these capability-based force packages look like? Light infantry? Mobile armored forces,theater missile defense forces or ground-based strike forces? Should they include multiple rocketlaunchers and unmanned combat aircraft along with communications and robust logistics elements toperform in austere theaters on short notice?Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the recently retired Army vice chief of staff, provided the answer when hereturned from service in Iraq: “
While many contributing factors helped shape the battle space (air interdiction, close-air support, artillery), ultimately war demands closure with the enemy force within theminimum safe distance of artillery. Our 
armored systems
enabled us to close with and destroy theheavily armed and fanatically determined enemy force often within urban terrain with impunity 
mobile armored firepower in a range of variants is the foundation for a survivable, groundcombat force in modern warfare.
In joint warfare, mobile armored forces provide the capability to initiatedecisive offensive operations with a credible maneuver force against any enemy, conventional or irregular. Why?
Regardless of how good the individual rifleman’s training and equipment may be,machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades compel him to halt and take cover 
. Whenthese conditions of symmetry apply, the light infantry turns to the radio for help from Air Force and Navy
air power, artillery and, as seen throughout the Iraq occupation
, tanks
. And in a fight with a capableenemy with air defenses,
air power — manned or unmanned — cannot be everywhere tocompensate for a lack of combat power on the ground
Unlike light infantry, mobile armored forces can take hits and continue to advance, bypassing or punching through all types of resistance. Effective at joint operational maneuver, they canencircle and destroy sub-national or irregular groups, shatter opposing conventional forces
andhold nation-states hostage to American political demands. Properly employed, mobile armored forces canreinforce the striking power of air and naval forces and signal escalation dominance to the enemy(conventional or irregular) by shifting rapidly between dispersion and concentration.More important, we may look at areas where the U.S. has tangible strategic interests in an effort to predictwhere future operations may arise.
From the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea, the Baltic to theRed Sea or the Caribbean Basin, there is no demand for large numbers of light infantrymen. Infact, light infantry is plentiful in all the states that border these bodies of water 
. What these stateslack are the matchless capabilities the Army can provide: effective mobile command and control,
mobilearmored firepower 
, layered, integrated theater missile defense, sophisticated combat engineering andlogistics.BEYOND COMBAT FORCES At the same time, reorienting the institutional Army to the post-Iraq and Afghan environment demands anew command structure designed to train it, prepare it and launch it for either joint expeditionary warfareor homeland defense. Today, Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is responsible for boththe training and design of the force, but it has little or no impact on the readiness of Army combat forcesto deploy and fight. Meanwhile, Army Materiel Command is expected to develop weapons and equipmenton the basis of requirements developed at TRADOC. Lastly, Army Forces Command exerts little or noinfluence over the training concepts developed at TRADOC, but it must nevertheless ensure thereadiness of the force.In an information-age environment where technology is racing ahead at breakneck speed, thinking aboutwarfare should not be separated from the process of technology development. It makes sense to linkreadiness and training in one headquarters while combining materiel development with force design,education and doctrinal development in another. This action would reduce three four-star headquarters totwo. It’s long overdue in the unending fight for more combat capability and less overhead. Across industry, the impact of change in technology and markets follows a similar track: Neworganizational models that comprise fewer layers emerge as industries consolidate to attain faster decision processes, greater use of teams and more educated employees to solve problemsautonomously. Today, an operational force design with fewer echelons of command and control and afaster decision cycle can employ joint, integrated capabilities with ground maneuver elements to providethe coverage needed to exploit the joint potential in the Air Force and Navy ISR and strike capabilities, aswell as advanced aviation and ground combat platforms.Without unity of command, unity of action is impossible. Having fought for their very existence against theGerman
, the most sophisticated armed force of its time, no group of military leadersunderstood this point more thoroughly than the Soviet High Command. The most strategically importantoffensive of World War II, Operation BAGRATION, showcased the importance of unified command of allair, land and sea-based forces. “
 All arms
” operations derive inspiration from the Soviet experiencebecause Soviet command structures integrated functional capabilities — maneuver, strike, ISR,sustainment — across service lines inside a seamless, unified command-and-control operationalframework. All previous efforts to create permanent joint force headquarters designed to command and control forcesfrom the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have failed. However, reductions in defense spendingcan be exploited to change this condition, provided the Army’s senior leadership will step forward with a

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