The Army after tomorrow

The Army after tomorrow

The Army is out of one war and trying to wind down its second, but service officials are not waiting until they cross the Afghan finish line to begin plotting for what’s next.

The service has two major problems. First: It will likely get smaller as it goes, winding up with an end strength in the low 500,000s or even high 400,000s. Still larger than it was before Sept. 11, but down from its wartime peak. Second: The Army really wants to keep its highly valuable corps of battle-hardened noncommissioned officers and mid-grade officers. But if it goes back to a “Sgt. Bilko” life inside the garrison, cleaning latrines with toothbrushes, those troops are going to walk.

So the Army brass is already doing something about this. Within 24 hours, in fact, came news of two developments that the Army hopes puts it into a good place to deal both with smallness and to offer soldiers some real soldiering into the middle of the decade. Secretary Panetta announced Thursday that two Army brigades now based in Europe would go away  –but that rotational units would take their place for regular exercises with the Europeans. And the head of Training and Doctrine Command told our senior colleague Matt Cox that tomorrow’s Army units could “specialize” in global regions or hotspots, like special operations forces, to stay ready for crisis response.

Ironically, Panetta’s announcement about American soldiers leaving Europe could ultimately mean that they spend more time training in Europe. The brigades based there today have spent a lot of time in Iraq or Afghanistan, but rotational units going over to Europe would mean troops would actually do stuff there in war games with NATO or other allies. The Pentagon is hoping for an elegant solution here: It saves the cost of American soldiers and their families living overseas, but preserves the U.S. commitment to NATO and Europe that has been in effect for decades.

That’s assuming DoD makes good on its rotations and the Europeans want to play ball with the kinds of war games the U.S. Army is interested in.

As for TRADOC’s “regional alignment,” this could give units the chance to deploy many places the Army may not have traditionally operated, and with their soldiers arriving as experts in the local dynamics. Here’s how Cox broke it down in his story Friday:

The concept, known as “regional alignment,” is similar to the way special operations forces assign areas of responsibility to its units. It’s one of the options Army senior leaders are considering as they attempt to plan how the service will operate around 2020, ensuring units are prepared to cope with the complexities of tomorrow’s battlefields.

“I talk to young soldiers all the time — if they are on the fast track to go to Afghanistan, they are focused, because they know exactly what they are going to do. But if they are not, they are saying, ‘What is this home station stuff? What do we do?’ ” said Gen. Robert Cone, commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

What they could do is get a slice of the globe and try master it, so that if anything unpleasant took place inside their AOR, they’d be ready to parachute in — perhaps literally — and go to work immediately. Army officials haven’t said this yet, so this is just Buzz talking, but “regional alignment” could be a first doctrinal step toward playing in the Air-Sea Battle game. If the Army knocks on the door of the Air-Sea Battle dorm room with armful of pizzas (in this case, a concept for how it would get ready to deal with the many Western Pacific powers) the other inhabitants might be much more welcoming than if the new roomie showed up empty-handed.

It’s equally possible that the Army brass could discard “regional alignment” for all the difficulties it might cause. How quickly could big Army units respond to crises, especially when the Marines are already forward deployed in Japan and Guam and already in sync with the Navy’s amphibious forces? And how well could the Army apply specialization — what size units would do it? Would they keep their areas permanently or rotate them, and if so, how often?

No answers yet, other than the Army is clear that it does not just want to go back to its prewar self — it wants to keep evolving.

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Imho, this makes alot of sense.

1. There really isn’t a threat of being overrun in europe by an overwhelming enemy in europe. Asia can potentially snowball out of control.

2. We have a ton of allies there. Unless every ally there decides to leave NATO, runs away, or fights like Fr****, we have a multitude of choices on how to respond. Asia has two, count them that’s TWO allies that’s readily prepared and capable.

3. You asked how long will it take for big Army to respond to crises. The answer I always get is Airborne in 24 hrs with a foolproof plan, air support, armor, and air drops that go flawlessly.

Two of four BCTs? Good start, but if the rotational scheme works as touted, bring the other two back as well.

Off topic, but anyone figure out yet who’s paying for the euro missile defense?

Leave the airborne unit in Italy, bring the last mech BDE home.

There are currently one airborne brigade, one stryker brigade, and two heavy brigades in Europe. Those last two were create with the expansion of the Army and are most likely the ones to disappear.

Actually, the 170th IN BDE was re-flagged from 2/1AD, and the 172nd In BDE was re-flagged from 2/1ID. Both units were already in Germany. 2nd Cav Reg (SBCT) is really the only European brigade sized unit that was added in the last decade. The 173rd expanded from the 1/508 ABCT and the provisional SETAF Infantry Brigade beginning in 2000.

I think the army will have to make due with what it has for the decade, No new toys are heading its way. Someways they should have known this playbook form the early 90s. While new networks are great and some new reconnaissance technology may get them new toys the BIG programs may not make it threw like they hope. They don’t need them anyway.

I love speculative article being presented here as a way to discuss the future of the U.S. Army…when in fact the Army has no future…as demonstrated time and time again by those in government who have no clue on what missions the Army will perform in the future after Afghanistan. Smart soldiers will leave the service, fed up with politics,and just how politicians (the career creeps who cried in front of the camera like that that traitor McCain to send our country off to war to further their own political agenda). The smart soldier will leave the Army because the amount of foreign nationals who really present a major security risk is the at its highest since the nation was first formed. The smart soldier will leave the Army because there will be chronic garrisohnization of all state side deployed units..with no money at all for maintenance, or new equipment, prohibiting the Army from carrying out its assigned missions. Yes,the American military is now washed up. Face it.

You and I generally agree, but do we really want to pull out a heavier unit in favor of forward-basing a light infantry brigade?

All our real wars have required the Army. Air power alone did not work in Bosnia, the Croatian Army defeated the Serb Army which decided that war. During the bombing of Serbia during the Kosovo “war”, air power alone did eventually persuade Milosevic to come to terms, but he held out seemingly forever. Even then Army from several nations including Russia were sent in to establish peace. Air power and naval power are required, but the Army and Marines are required for any large war. Period.

The Army isn’t evolving. It’s repeating the time tested error of preparing to fight the next war like the last one.
Focusing parts of the Army on regions is not going to help us develop core competencies we let wane during the last decade.

The Special Forces has a very specific & unique mission. They do it extremely well when we keep them focused on it. Contrary to their primary role as our FID experts we let them and kept them doing direct action missions and the Army had to devote resources learning the SF mission. Now we want to keep that going?

Just insanity.

Obama is a traitor and he is an errand boy sent by grocery clerks” Col kurtz…from ” Apocalypse Now”

It would be great to see the Army take the lead again in Missile Defense. If they could regain their engineering MOJO and dump the politician leaders and bring in technical leadership. I hate to see that they are talking about sending Patriot and IAMD over to MDA. MDA has a ton of money and throws it away by the truck load. How many programs in MDA are dead or soon to die? 2 or 3 ??? How many others are low hanging fruit because of poor performance or run away costs? None of the programs in MDA come out ready for fielding. They require a hundred engineers and managers to just keep everything working in a nice benign environment.
All the Army has to do is understand that real systems engineers and real subject matter expertise is out there and ready to work for the future of the Army. Real Developmental Testing early and often. Get the products ready for real OT&E.
This is how the Navy did it. They have successfully divested themselves from MDA as a separate entity that gets the big bucks through MDA funding lines.

In the wake of ODS/S, many argued that wars can be fought surgically, with precision strikes from the air. We’ve seen since — as the followers of Douhet were disproved during WWII — that ground forces are not just relevant, but vital. The Army will have to change, as surely the Air Force and Navy must, to meet future misions with limited resources. No doubt, there are lots of big changes to make in the operatrional and institutional Army. Not everyone will be happy with the changes, and the institution won’t be perfect. But I remain optimistic that our Army — driven by its leaders — will adapt successfully.

We are. We always pay for euro-defense.

That’s how it works. THAAD is funded by MDA. Patriot is an established Army program. The problem is that the left hates missile defense (as much as they love Russian missiles). and the right loves tossing money at the pentagon.

MEADS died because it was too much too soon (not compatible and too expensive). SLAMRAMM died because it was a sacrificial lamb and it was too expensive. JLENS may or may not be cut.

There are plans for 9 THAAD batteries. AEGIS ashore. and we have GMD.

orly — who is telling you #3? Must be the same guys that say the USMC can respond with a robust force anywhere in the world in 6 hours, conduct a successful amphibious op on any coast and raise the flag in the enemy’s capital before lunch?

Wait a minute. It is the same guy! You!

Orly #1 — You must have never been taught that the presence of US troops do more than keep a country from being overrun. They also communicate an American commitment to the region. You don’t think Guam and Okinawa and post WWII Japan are/were in immediate danger of being overrun do you?

#2 — Libya provided us an awesome opportunity. We flew more than half the sorties. dropped the majority of ordnance and the Europeans were “in charge”. All for a totally new and friendly regime in Libya! Not! BTW, only TWO allies in Aisia? Hmmm, Australia, Phillipines, S. Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. Darn! I ran out of fingers on one hand but I THINK that’s six. Not including other nations that in certain situations we could count on like the Brits?

This is TOO easy!

I just want to throw an interesting fact in here.

During WW2 more pilots/crew died in the 8th Air Force over Europe than the entire Marine Corp KIA in that war.

That’s because of insisting on daylight bombing raids that gave the Germans a shooting gallery, if I remember correctly.….

Not just that.

The idea was to wage a war of attrition against the Luftwaffe and it worked. We could replace our fighter and bomber losses, they couldn’t do the same with their experienced pilots and best fighters.

Major Rod:
I think need a reading lesson. The post says the MEU is fwd deployed near the Worlds Hot Spots. They can respond to most crisises in those areas in 6hrs.

You need to read more carefully. I didn’t say ANY WHERE in the world, I said Hot Spots.

There are 3 MEUs at sea at any 1 time, they operate in a Split MEU formation w/each ship 100s even 1000s of miles apart. Often 1 ship in the PG, N. Africa, HOA, Arabian Sea, E. Africa, Mollocan straits, W. Pac/E. Indies, & Okinawa can hit most of E. Asia in hours.
All inter-connected by the V-22 they can RESPOND to most of the worlds Major Hot Spots in a matter of hours, hours Rod.


Read more carefully next time.

Just to clarify, each of the 3 MEUs deploy with 3 ships each. So in a Split MEU Formation they continuously patrolling the Major Crisis Regions around the world.

A “LIE” no but when comparing against the timelines to put forces in action it is decietful. Simply put does “hot spot” = “where the crisis is” or not?

Marine enthusiasts cite the MUE’s 6 hr response capability to respond to crisis in comparison to the airborne’s 18hr. Now you want to slice hairs? It’s not a reading lesson I need. It’s a truth in advertising class you missed.


Your misrepresenting the facts Rod..

If you understood the capability you would know the differences between the 2 is not the MISSION (as in crisis, etc.) but the LOCATION. The MEU’s Mission & capabilities list Dwarfs the 82nd’s Bde.

If you had to get to a REMOTE area of the World in 18hrs, like Kazakhstan or Mongolia call the 82nd. Its landlocked and 1000+mi fr/the sea. Once there the 82nd’s pretty limited & has to be relieved in 48hrs, correct? Once there whats their range, in both distance & mission Rod..? Pretty limited.

Most of the worlds trouble areas of the World are in the MEUs striking range. It can launch an Immediate response in 6hrs & have the ships in position for the rest of its full combat power in about 24. That was in my original post.

The Full Offensive Power of the MEU dwarfs the 82nd’s Brigade.

So I’ll let spell it out SLOW. The MEU can put an initial response force on the ground in 6hrs & its full force in 24hr. Thats a force far more Offensively capable than the 82nds BCT. Once on the ground it can control an area the size of Rhodes Island w/a Combat Radius of 400mi.

@ Major Rod:
Also, keep in mind, in 6hrs the MEU can launch the same type of force that seized Rhino & began conducting missions 100miles out within hrs of landing.

I’m not misrepresenting the facts. You keep repeating the 6/24 response time talking point which totally ignores the fact the MUE has to “happen to be” OFF THE COAST! If what you said was even slightly true the MUE would have been in the Desert Shield and OEF AOs before the 82nd or the 10th ID respectively vs anywhere from 2 WEEKS to a MONTH later. The reality is that much of the three MUE’s designated AORs, hot spots or whatever term you’d like to use is not inside the 6/24 window.

As for the combat power of a MUE (which is near the size of an Army division) of course it has an edge. That’s why you want to compare a Marine MUE against an Army BDE. Did you ever look at that airflow link or are you still only reading Marine history books? The USMC didn’t invent combined arms (Army WWI). You are still desperately in need of that truth in advertising class. BTW, the 6/24 talking point is from a different thread. Couldn’t win there so you are trying here?

This is all very simple time — space relationships. Airplanes go faster than boats. Miss those Seaseme Street episodes? (We can both be pithy)

Then why weren’t they in the Desert Shield, and OEF AORs before the Army?

Shoulda, woulda, coulda?

On Sept 9, 2010 the 15th MEU had Harriers in A’stan conducting CAS, an Infantry Co w/a CH-53 Det in NW Pakistan doing Hum Assist Ops, a ship patrolling the Persian Gulf/Strait of Hormuz.

The 3rd ship was in HOA conducting the IHR mission for the crew of the Magellan Star held by Somali pirates.

This all occurred over a 24hr period. The flexibility of the MEU allows it to range fr/Crisis Response to Full Combat Operations.

Except they didn’t conduct missions within hours of landing. They needed several hundred C-130 and C-17 sorties in the first couple days before they pushed out. An airborne brigade would have been in exactly the same situation if they were given the mission.

Slight correction Rod, a MEU is a battalion sized force. A MEB is more in line with an Army division. The element currently in Helmand is MEB (-).

And I’ll clarify myself. A MEU consists of an O-6 command element, a battalion landing team, a logistics battalion, and an aviation squadron. About 2000 Marines.

You’re right (of course). I was confused after reading Carl’s post in the Marine modernization thread.

I probably need to go back and reconsider Carl’s position that the MUE has more combat power than an 82nd BDE task force. As we both know a task force just isn’t the infantry bn’s.

My problem is his assertion that once an airborne brigade hits the LZ they’re stuck there. Take a look at the Armed Forces Journal article about the logistics for the Marine’s Rhino operation I linked in the Marine article. He asserts that a MEU can hit the ground and kick ass across the countryside with Rhino being an example, except the 15th MEU conducted that air assault which was way deeper inland than a Marine unit probably should and as a result required hundreds of flights in the first couple days to put it on the ground and give it both combat power and legs.

@ Maj Rod: Its hard to have a talk when you dont even know facts.

1) The MEU 2300man Combined Arms Force. Its capable of Crisis Response, Long-Ranged Helo Raid, Clandestine Raid, & Special Missions including DA/SR, IHR, & Hostile Takedowns (GOPLAT & VBSS).

2) They can launch Full Spectrum Combat Ops fr/100s of miles away in 6hrs. Each ship in a Split MEU operates at 100s-1000s of miles dispersion. I just gave you an ex.

3) In Desert Storm The 13th MEU(SOC) was in the PG & pulled up off the coast of Kuwait when Iraq invaded. They conducted VBSS on Iraqi ships, raided Iraqi island Radar & Comm sites, & their Force Recon DAP called in CAS, & while they were there they conducted an Embassy Evac in Somali 600mi away.

4) There were only a few 100 82nd & 10th men & they were doing BASE SECURITY for a SOF base not Ops. You cant name 1 Op they did in Oct or Nov ’01.

The 15th MEU(SOC) had been conducting Ops for JSOC since Oct, including the Oct 20, 2001 rescue of a DELTA FORCE team by the MEUs TRAP team.

@TMB: Within hrs of landing Half the Force Recon Marines began conducting SR missions, other broke into small teams combined w/Infantrymen called ‘Hunter-Killer’ teams that spread 100mi out for ambush & interdiction (look up Highway 1). Another group of Infantry attached to the SEAL team that provide Initial Terminal Guidance & left to conduct SSE.

The MEU Marines that came in the next cpl days were support Marines & equipment that built Rhino into Expeditionary Airfield that could support large cargo planes.

If you were reading the info instead of Hi-Fiving each other you’d see that.

@ TMB: You keep referencing C-17 & C-130s landing on Rhino. That was the purpose of the mission.

It was requested by JSOCs TF Cmdr Navy SEAL RADM Harward who ordered the 15th MEU, who were attached to JSOC, to seize an Exp Airfield to resupply & support SOF missions.

I keep referencing C-17s and C-130s because TF 58 needed them to conduct their mission just like an airborne brigade would have needed them. Those planes (including the ones flown on D-Day) were flown out of an airbase in Pakistan which was established the first week of October. There was also a carrier battle group to provide support. The Marines themselves flew right off the decks of the two MEUs, but a lot of their equipment and a lot of their supplies came from Pakistan. Every bird launched from the sea also had to refuel at a FARP in Pakistan before they got to Rhino.

I don’t understand the point of your last sentence. No kidding someone ordered the 15th MEU to seize an airfield, that’s what we’ve been talking about.

I don’t see a point to heavy units in Europe given the political issues we had trying to move heavy equipment by rail leading up to OIF. An airborne unit in Italy gives us a heck of a QRF right on the doorstep of the middle east and Africa.

I tend to agree. The forward basing of a Stryker BCT and Airborne BCT in Europe give the US a light and medium force that is essentially capable of strategic deployment within a large region by aircraft as small as C-130s.

While I doubt it would happen, I think moving the 173d to Germany would be a good move. It could replace the 170th at Baumholder, putting it in close proximity to Ramstein Air Base. The 173d’s current usage of Aviano AB is a logistic nightmare. I’ve been there, done that, and it is one huge pain in the rump. The training opportunities in Italy can be restrictive, which already has the brigade (HQs & 2 Inf Bns) deploying to Germany a few times a year.

Of course, with all the money and political wheeling and dealing done with the Italian government to allow to construction of basing for the rest of the brigade at Dal Molin, it’s kind of hard to picture the Italy basing being abandoned. One option might be moving US Africa Command (along with Special Operations Command, Africa) from Stuttgart and co-locating them in Vicenza with US Army Africa (formerly SETAF). The Navy’s AFRICOM component is already in Italy. Some associated supporting units (intel, commo, MP) might have to also be moved to make the best use of the Vicenza facilities.

Mazaar — e — sharif 24 — 26 Nov ’01, Bagram Air Base 25–26 Nov ’01. Who doesn’t know his facts again?

And since you want to focus SOC (Special Ops Capable) I could start listing TF Dagger’s exploits who were first in Afghanistan. The Army doesn’t do MUE’s. We do Task Force organizations. Seems to work. We kept getting into combat first. BTW, TF Dagger was also a JSOC organization and guess what? They had conventional Army units assigned to it also. Go figure?

What point are you trying to make by doing a laundry list of Marine Ops or MUE capabilities? Demonstrating you read a lot of Marine history/info papers and Marines are quite preoccupied with claiming “firsts”? I’m not the enemy. Wait, I am aren’t I because I didn’t wear a Marine uniform? My point has always been the US has a lot of tools in its tool box. The Marines being one of them. The problem is you guys think you are the only one. Get a grip and deflate the head a bit.

TMB — Hmmmm, thanks for the clarification after your explanation it sounds like a waste of time reading it though. Doesn’t seem they made their point in the article.

He transitioned to this thread and I’m not sure what point he’s trying to make over his humming the Marine Corps hymn. Not sure he’s making the same point here as he does laundry lists of MUE capabilities without making a point.

It’s hilarious that you just keep rambling about a MUE with no point.

A MUE is conducting CAS, Human Assist Ops and a rescue on the ocean. Big Whoop! Conventional Army Infantry BN’s do multiple missions daily (and for longer tours). Add Air Force assets (just like the Navy’s integral support of a MUE) and the list gets just as long and impressive.

Not downgrading the MUE’s capabilites or exploits. It’s cool stuff but they aren’t the only ones capable of juggling balls. The Army just isn’t so preoccupied with keeping track. An Army TF of comparable size could find itself doing everything the MUE can except for taking down pirates and the MUE can’t either WITHOUT THE NAVY.

@TMB: The point of my last statement is that your drawing false conclusions fr/false assumptions. I’m not trying to argue just clear the facts.

1) Your 1st false assumption is that the MEU, like the 82d, needs to be relieved or resupplied by an outside source shortly (48hr for the 82d) after landing. Your false conclusion is that b/c of this the MEU was incapable of action until the C-17s landed days later.

This is false, the MEU is self-sufficient for 15days after landing. It didnt need the 17s. The Rhino Op was requested by SOF to bring in cargo planes to support SOF. The KC-130s are Marine refuelers that are part of EVERY MEU.

The FARP was a secret base the MEU built everynite for JSOC. Everynite the Marines would fly in & build the base in a remote location; assist SOF enablers& run QRF in A’stan, then remove all traces before dawn. They did this nitely for 6wks fr/Oct 7-Nov 25 Rhino raid.

The pre-staged gear was placed there by the MEU, for a MEU raid, at a MEU built base.

@MajRod: I said name an Op that the 82nd or 10th led prior to Jan b/c prior to Jan there were only a few 100d there as Base security. Maj Rod, we all know the 10th or 82d did not lead any Ops at Mazar e Sharif.

Also the MEU is a MAGTF IS a Task Force, the Marines pioneered Combined Arms Task Forces.

Just stop, your just commenting to comment & argue.

That’s a very interesting fact, especially considering that that would never fly today, with the in-depth media coverage our wars get now.…

@Major Rod: We dont have to keep talking about the MEU but Im going to respond to any misstatements made. You don’t understand the concept of what a MEU is, what its capable of, or how it works but you continue to make false comments.

Your like 0 for 10. I totally understand what the MUE is. I read Marine writers also. The point is you don’t read anything but and believe all you read.

Like a notorious Marine once said, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”

The Marines didn’t lead either. Remember? JSOC was in charge…

You say your not trying to downgrade what the MEU’s capabilities yet you continue to do it. The MEU doesn’t need Carrier support, though it dramatically boosts capability, the Navy for the most part is a Platform.

This no knock to the Army,but a similarly formed Army TF would not be close to the same thing b/c the base unit, the Infantry BN, is nothing alike in training or structure. Our support, units & personnel, are nothing alike. Our Intelligence capabilities are nothing alike. A MAGTF has robust Intel capabilities even by SOCOM standards, which was noted in their report. Our Combined Arms, ISR, Sniping, Reconnaissance, & Coordination/Liaison capabilities are nothing alike. There are very few gaps in a MAGTF, a unit fully capable of all Six Warfighting Functions.

Either way I’m not going to waste time going down that track b/c it will be another long pointless argument, just something to consider.

You have to be 10yrs old, I repeatedly embarrassed you w/facts dates real data, you’ve come back w/misinformation but I’m 0–10.

What a joke.

You have to be a kid or a poser or rattled.

JSOC was Lead Command of the entire 1st Phase of the War. The Marines were ASSIGNED Missions from JSOC beginning Oct 2001. The Marines led the missions they were assigned.

You have yet to name any missions the 10th or 82d were assigned & led prior to Jan ’01 other than Base Security.

Uh, I’ve seen major.rod on other blogs, and I think you are having an attitude problem with the fact he doesn’t believe, after you went through the trouble of stating your stats. It’s OK, not everyone will agree with you 100% of the time, stats or no stats. You don’t have to win this argument.…..

I’ve named Mazaar –e-sharif and Bagram three times in two separate threads.. You have failed to address either each time. I’m not the one that’s rattled,n posing or being childish.

Again with the false advertising. Like the carrier is the only naval element in a MUE. Please name an amphibious assalt ship the navy doesn’t own?

I’m not downgrading the MUE. Just making the case its not the only tool in the toolbox as you keep ticking off cabapilities.

What’s your point?

So what your saying is that we have two IBCT’s, one HBCT and one ABCT? In that case, if it my call and I had to ditch two BCT’s it would be the two IBCT’s.

Mommy, make the bad man stop.

“Contrary to their primary role as our FID experts we let them and kept them doing direct action missions and the Army had to devote resources learning the SF mission,” .….….….…obviously, you are only focused on OEF and OIF. You also forgot that along with FID is UW as a Army SF primary mission. Green Berets are doing missions in over 70 countries. In the majority of those countries, we are not doing DA missions but UW, Civial Affairs, PsyOps and FID. See the recently declassified DVD by Frank Capra Jr. called Why We Fight Now.”

Calling units in Germany “forward deployed” implies that they can get to a fight quicker than stateside ones. This may not be correct, given that they still have to get to the ports, then sail clear around the European continent to get where they are going. A stateside unit might be just as quick as a Germany one. Also, due to training restrictions, Germany is not a training-friendly place either. Is there a reason to forward deploy BCT’s in Germany at all?
Finally, the wider issue is that these units are not going to deploy back to the states. They are drawing down, as part of a wider Army drawdown. Expect an Army division to go away soon also. What is the end-strength of an HBCT, SBCT, and ABCT? It could be that some of the ones that are most manpower heavy are going away, in order to get under the expected troop cap figure.

Marine SOC prior to 2006 where a joke. As Major Rod correctly pointed out, the SOC stood for Special Operations Capable, not the current definition of Special Operations Command as in MarSOC. It was a real hoot to see the Marine Corps try to switch their SOC force to fit the standards of the U.S. Army SOC (Special Operations Command) who’s training book the Marines stole. For the first few years the Marine drop-out rate was hitting 47%. The Marines finally had to hire retired Green Berets (see Marine Corps Times Nov. 2010) to set things right in the MarSOC selection and qualification course.

Also lets not forget the mess the brand new MarSOC Marines made in Afghanistan in their first real world mission. They had to be removed from the Theater by the Army.

The U.S. Army has carried the OIF and OEF wars on their backs by virtue of their massive 12 and 15 month deployments. The Marines, even with Big Blue, cannot sustain themselves. They are mentally and physically unable to match the deployment rotation pace of Soldiers.

The BCTs are between 3400 and 4000 troops. The Stryker brigades are the biggest because they have 3 infantry battalions whereas the HBCT has two combined arms battalions and an IBCT has 2 infantry battalions. You’re right that when they say “return stateside” they mean the colors are going back into storage and the troops disbanded. One of the proposals I’ve read (which I like) is eliminating brigades, but adding a 3rd battalion to existing ones. Give or take a couple hundred troops, each BCT has a headquarters company, intelligence company, engineer company, signal company, a recon squadron, two maneuver battalions, an artillery battalion, and a support battalion.

No, the 170th & 172d are basically slightly modified mechanized infantry brigades, they have yet to be configured into Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (HBCT).

The History Channel put out an excellent documentary about the battle, I highly recommend it:


The Marines configure their OIF &OEF rotations to match their standard shipboard deployments. To do otherwise would have been a logistical and personnel disaster. Marine units have significantly less dwell time at home

2 boys, 2 involved in living a life of computer generated false fantasy. You do not know, and you never will.

Haha, you’re right Majrod. And those countries you list are diehard allies too. Especially, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. They have glowing compliments for the US compared to a few of their neighbors.

Thoughtful article. This could become a joint discussion. As pointed out special ops, the Marines and Navy do this to varying degrees already. I am sorry to see the comment from uninformed crazies with things like President Obama is a traitor or grocery boy. I have worn the Army’s uniform in combat and have met the President more than once including visits to my alma mater, West Point. He is a very good one. We have been a lucky country to have had many of them. We do not go to war for Democrats, Republican, the Tea Party or any other political group. None of them have the authority to sign a deployment order. We fight to defend the United States…all of it.

Um, leaving aside the Army vs Marines battle going on in here (come on guys we have different missions doctrinally and I wouldn’t give up one for another.) It will be very hard for the Army to keep its mid-grade NCOs and officers once Afghanistan is over. I am of that generation, though I already walked. My generation “grew up” in a constant rotation between year long deployments DOING the mission, and year long periods prepping for the mission. I can understand that time at home station will enable more in depth training, not only in the skills the Army’s learned in OEF/OIF, but also traditional combat and mixed traditional/assymetric combat as it might play out in other parts of the world. But training, as important as it is, just isn’t real and will be pretty boring compared to real combat operations. And with the budget cuts, the temptation will be to drop the counter insurgency lessons which the OEF/OIF Vets could so effectively transmit. I think the best the Army can hope for is to retain a lot of this particular generation in some sort of long term Reserve status. Hopefully, there won’t be any large land wars for another generation. But folks in DC tend to forget that the enemy gets a vote.


Well, whether it is the 173th Airborne Brigade or a 2000 man MEU doing early entry, to this old taner, in both cases, these are just a small expeditionary force of light infantry just waiting to get overrun by a superior force of tanks and mechanized infantry somewhere along the Eurasian littoral. Without reinforcement in mass and in time, such forces are doomed to destruction against anything but the weakest enemies.

So these guys beat up the Taliban running around in trucks with the able assistance of Tajik fighters armed with second class Russian gear and of course air support by the US Navy and US Air Force. Not exactly the MEU fighting that early entry battle all by its lonesome against an able opponent, I’d say.

Here is the challenge. Take what you learned in combat, remember that you have much more to learn, and transmit that knowledge and experience to others younger than yourself. And enjoy the peace while you can.

Guys, it pains me to read comments that blatantly post information that is best served for official channels only and definitely not considerate of the potential audience that may be reading. For the sake of those in harms way keep your comments vanilla. Arguing your point is one thing, but don’t get carried away by giving out information to someone who may be factually inaccurate perhaps because they are seeking your assistance in filling in gaps. C’mon, seriously?

Really? I’ll remember that next time I pick up my pension for serving 20 years asn an Infantryman.

Do you do horoscopes also? Would be a better contribution…

Carl, not disagreeing with you or anything you said. I’m refering to the idea being bantered about ref regionally focusing conventional forces.

My focus is on anything but OIF and OEF but how to prepare the Army for the next war. Focusing units on regions replaces analysis of threats and training/developing capabilities to win the next war. A “regionally focused force” isn’t going to win the next war unless it happens to be the right size to win by itself. The whole Army must look at the threats out there and prepare itself to either address them or accept risk.

Excellent point! Agree totally!

SEE! You won one!

Good heavens, it is the Archie Elam, posting on DoD Buzz. With all due respect, old friend, do you really find it necessary to defend this Administration and its policies ? Can you strip away your personal views and even your emotions and just think green ? It isn’t easy being green, and we owe it to the young folks to make their lives easier and more fruitful, so the sacrifices mean something and they don’t have to look back at their service with regrets. I have deep doubts about Barack Obama. If this ends well, I’ll be happy as can be, but I fear otherwise.

I don’t go for blaming Obama for bad weather but let’s not measure a Pres’ value by the number of visits to an Academy. I’m sure Jimmy Carter visited the Academies also.

Oh, and I’m an O L D Grad like way back when we used to Beat Navy.

I hope this is not some politically motivated, back room decided decision that is not well thought out. Like Sec Rumsfeld usual “I know better than you” type of decisions. This “cut and run” draw down doesn’t. Leave any room for a two battlefied war…let alone a two war scenatio.

Enjoyed the *** for tat. Army vs USMC. Shocked the marine could spell so well. Anyway the draw down will be great for the PMC’s.

OK, on the surface, does make a lot of excellent cost savings, and being able to focus on battle scenariios at present and future continginies.
Trim the fat as we cannot continue to afford this now and hopefully based on what I understand
O’Bama’s military strategy will hopefully stop Koreas, Somalias, VietNams, Irag, and Afghanistan–
bring our men and women home and stop losing all of these with our tail between our legs–
All these fatalities, serious lifetime injuries-many of those that resposded vailiantly and all
their sacrifices made are asking themselves-was it worh it? Ask yourselves if American lives
were worh it-thousands of our millitary personnel now will say hell no.
Bottom Line, bear in mind that any part or all of this present O’Bama strategy has to
be “scrubed, analyzed, by our dysfunctional Congress that Americans have lose faith
in-that alone should trouble us most. Will Congress every stop lining their pockets–
47% of the House representitives today are in the top 1% of income earners in the United Statees, and almost 50% of our Senate are also in the top 1% of income earners.
Just another frustrated retired military officer .

Jimey attended The Naval Academy. You didn’t know?

What does this have to do with the topic

Yes, I know. Don’t see the resemblance?

With a STRONG President, like Mitt Romney, who stresses a strong defense, we can revolutionize and update the armed forces and consider various organiztional structures as necessary. FIRST, we muct get rid of OBAMA!

The France jokes are played-out. Besides, it’s a myth anyway.….

Actually Jimmy was the guest speaker at my graduation.

That does not change how badly he hurt the military.

ROTFLMAO! Now that is O L D!

Seriously, in our current political environment the “other side” gets blamed for everything since the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the seeds of what we have today were really planted over the last two decades. Hold Obama accountable for either steering us even deeper into the hole or if you like the guy, just continuing the established course into the hole, but either way its a very deep hole that we are looking at. Once I thought that the events of 9/11 were the impetus to break our country out of the death spiral, but.… it would appear that it was just a minor perturbation.

Neutralize the controls and push forward on the stick and throttle….… .… … :-)

“How quickly could big Army units respond to crises, especially when the Marines are already forward deployed in Japan and Guam and already in sync with the Navy’s amphibious forces? And how well could the Army apply specialization — what size units would do it? Would they keep their areas permanently or rotate them, and if so, how often?“_________________________________________________________________________________The Army can respond quick enough. One thing to remember, when the Army deploy, you have a full fledge war declared by Congress, the Army move as a whole, thats how it’s set up. It’s hard for the Marines to occupy a Country because they are not a large enough force, the Marines are more of a shock force. the Army have a shock element and a “hold” element, thats why it’s called an Army, and not a force or corp. Each branch is set up to do different things, together they are a formidable Military.….that is all you need to know.

In response to #1. I am aware of that, but do you truly need that many troops for a nonexistent enemy? Also, history proves my point on this, otherwise the US would never had participated in the Korean/Vietnam wars and just let asia burn on that bet. Also, TIMES have changed. Those big bad missiles can wipe out Japan and their defenses apparently, especially with nukes

In response to #2. How many are CAPABLE? How many are PREPARED? How many have assets like Airfields and Ports in good condition? TWO, South Korea/Japan.

In response to #3. Let’s face it, me and you keep throwing “optimals” at each other. We should just start getting realistic and go with worst case. S. Korea can get overrun/obliterated by N. Korea. We will suffer another Pearl Harbor in Yokusuka, and those big bad missiles we keep worrying about will take out Japanese defense, get nuked, and/or have a Bataan deathmarch. All those other allies are NOT prepared AT ALL for full on war with either N. Korea/China except for Austrailia.

Also, since you are an expert, if Japan/S. Korea gets wiped off the map with our only troops in the region (which ARE in Japan/S. Korea btw) along with our navy, what would be your assault plan with Airborne?

Can a suggest a quick read on the history of air assault into a prepared defense? Perhaps the German drop on Crete would be very illustrative since the paratroops were dropping into an at least reasonably defended island.

IOW, if for whatever reason we were having to mount an assault into EITHER the islands of Japan or the virtual island of Korea, the airborne MIGHT have a role but it would not be going in alone… not by a LONG shot. (At least not if anyone other than I managed to read the history book.… !)

If the Chinese or N. Koreans mounted any kind of devastating attack on Yokuska (or Okinawa, or Guam) on a par with Pearl Harbor, I think that the land invasion of an occupied Japan or Korea might well be quite a ways on the back burner and the folks in N. Dakota and Whiteman Missouri, and way out there down in the briny deep might be getting wakeup calls very quickly.

But what do I know.…

Missiles/RADAR have changed modern warfare by along shot. If war was announced right now, I would believe alot of Chinese aircraft would create a CAP in scramble time correct?

Long range SAMs/Antiship missiles also change this too correct? How long and where would they be deployed?

DId we EVER have obstacles like that on a mass produced “Made in China” scale?

Invasion/occupation, perhaps. Obliteration, more than likely.

#1 What number of troops and which “nonexistent” enemy are you talking about? ref Korea. If we had not had troops in Japan the Korean War wouldn’t have happened and S. Korea would not exist.

What big non-nuke missiles are you talking about? I don’t accept your premise that non-nuke weapons would totally destroy Japan. Nukes are a total different paradigm. Once those get employed all bets are off. There’s quite a HUGE spectrum of comflict before nukes and our stationing of troops around the world address some of that spectrum and remove a bit of uncertainty.

#2 You need to do some more study. Relook the countries I listed.


You are Mr Taxpayer.…another waste of our dollars.…we’ve been carrying those assholes for more than 60 years.

In reference to #2. I have and please, look at the facts. Against an actual foe, unless completely assembled together, these allies are IMPOTENT.

Their fleets are SMALL, some of them BARELY working. Minus Japan/Korea/Austrailia, they are child’s play. Thailand and the Philippines have hand me downs, the best the thai mini carrier and a former USCG cutter to the Philippines. How would they help out in such a conflict?

Their air forces are defense coordinated and limited in range. Tell me, which ones are modern enough and are in range of making a difference? The Philippines are having a HARD time with the Chinese violating airspace, I’m hearing half their planes work.

Their ground forces, have almost no way to get to a conflict properly. I also question their combat ability. Which troops would you trust to not rout?

When I mean “these allies” I meant Thailand/Philippines. Taiwan in such a conflict, can do nothing but play defense.

In response to #1. The cold war enemy “Russia.”

About missiles, apparently those same Antiship missiles that everyone says we should just cower away in fear from. Apparently those “huge underground missile bases” have more than just nukes. What else are they hiding?

They don’t have to totally destroy Japan, just destroy their ability to project power or defend in anyway. Hit the AA, hit the airfields, blow up the Fleet. Bombed to hell and keep doing it.

orly — #2 quit moving the goal posts. Your 1st was about ground troops, failing that you bring in ports and airfields (that we would put our forces on) in your second post. Now you want to start talking navies? It’s impossible to determine what your point is. BTW, heard of Australia?

#3 name ONE conventional missile campaign that was effective in all of history in degrading a nation’s capability to wage war. (cricket, cricket, cricket)

orly — #2 quit moving the goal posts. Your 1st was about ground troops, failing that you bring in ports and airfields (that we would put our forces on) in your second post. Now you want to start talking navies? It’s impossible to determine what your point is. BTW, heard of Australia?

#3 name ONE conventional missile campaign that was effective in all of history in degrading a nation’s capability to wage war. (cricket, cricket, cricket)

In response to #2 — If that nightmare scenario then ever happens, tell me how these nations would send their troops to the battlefield in asia? Do they have the same capabilities as we do? I would think not.

In response to #3 — OIF/Operations Northern/Southern Watch.

#2 what nightmare scenario? Moving the goalposts again?!?!?! What says troops have to be moved. Why can’t the crisis be in those countries?

#3 what didn’t you understand about “conventional missile campaign” didn’t you understand. You listed ops who’s primary tool was initially aircraft. Further the Op N/S watch wasn’t decisive. It went on for how many years? OIF was a “conventional missile campaign”?

Please don’t waste our time.

“what didn’t you understand about “conventional missile campaign” didn’t you understand.”

Sorry, you’ve moved the goalposts so much I’m starting to repeat myself.

Raise our taxes even more. We are rich, we can pay for everything, until we bankrupt.

Getting back to the real issue…troops stationed with families in Europe. I spent 6 years there, and “Yes” I loved it. However the reality of life in America today is simply that we cannot, and should not continue to subsidize European defense at the expense of our national interest. Our allies need to step up to the plate and invest in the alliance. Currently they spend far less of their GDP on their own defense, because the US continues to pay forward for them. This allows them to invest in their social programs that the Us would love to initiate but can’ t dude to shortage of domestic funding. Why are we still in Europe anyway? It is time for the Us to wake up, and our allies to show up.

Agree when you are talking about Germany and Italy specifically. We can support our allies and make common sense reductions by rotating remaining BDE’s through eastern european countries like Poland. they have been stalwart allies in the war on terror and are closest to a potential growing russian threat.

This is the typical, selfish, xenophobic American attitude on display here. You can station American soldiers with their families in nice, self-contained urban ghettoes, but they’ll still expect everyone to speak English and wonder why they get funny looks when they go into a good restaurant and order hamburgers, And you wanna make the Army even more like the Navy so that the men spend even less time at home with their families ? I’m sorry, but these changes are not necessary and they are not even good changes. Sure, you can lock our soldiers down in little podunk outposts, out of sight and out of mind from the high rollers who pay the bills and make the decisions…that will put those upstarts back in their places. And the wives and children — well, what else do they deserve that to be bored out of theit goards, with army issued schools and army issued stores and army issued housing ? Then everyone will all wail about the high divorce rate and the sacrifice of selfless service.

A hint to the clueless. It helps to actually get to know the people you are defending.

“Carrying” is probably not quite the right word. We did — justifiably in my opinon — pay to reconstruct the majority of Europe post WW2. In so doing, we shaped the Europe of today. One that has been at peace (less some notable internal struggles) for more than seven decades. By “carrying” the Europeans, we also emasculated the Soviet Union and integrated nearly all their former client states into a western, democratic way of thinking and acting. Do the Europeans always agree with us? No, and nor should they. Is it time to bring all our Army forces home (we tend to overlook the fact that the Air Force and Navy have huge footprints in Europe)? No — but some restructuring and repositioning are definite requirements. There are many advantages to keeping forces forward deployed, interaction with allies and proximity to crisis areas are way up on the list.


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