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Thread: "Five Challenges for Future Infantry"

  1. #1
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Default "Five Challenges for Future Infantry"

    I'm used to see armies as bureaucracies, but this article still irritates me.

    "Five Challenges for Future Infantry
    Thinking about Adaptation and Change"
    by Colonel Chris Field
    http://www.defence.gov.au/army/lwsc/..._autumn_10.pdf

    His five great challenges for future (Australian) infantry are

    1. Incorporating continuous learning
    2. Operating across the fives lines of operation in accordance with Adaptive
    Campaigning – Future Land Operating Concept
    3. Balancing the fighting force
    4. Employing LAND 400 – Combined Arms Fighting System
    5. Employing JOINT PROJECT 2048 – Enhanced Amphibious Capability.
    This is about bureaucratic projects to be implemented, not about the real challenges of future infantry in my opinion. My list would look like this

    (1) Counter the ever-increasing lethality of modern arms without adding too equipment weight.
    (2) Combine great competence with a readiness for rapid force expansion in 'darker' times.
    (3) Defeat opposing light infantry's survivability techniques.
    (4) Reverse the trend, bring back tasks and competences from SOF to infantry.
    (5) Keep the equipment inventory highly suitable to the missions at moderate costs.

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    Council Member Infanteer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I'm used to see armies as bureaucracies, but this article still irritates me.
    Couldn't agree more with you - talk about fluff. Continuous learning....???

    My list:

    1. Maintain the combined arms capability in the face of small wars and irregular opponents which sees alot of infantry-pure organizations (Afghanistan was handy for me when I took part in a combat breach with armoured engineers and tanks);

    2. Maintain good effective TTPs/SOPs in the face of mediocre opponents (yes - the Taliban are tactically mediocre) - chances are we'll need to remember things like stand-tos, clearance patrols, and actions on artillery one day;

    3. Stop trying to turn the infantryman into a walking battery carrier for various gizmos that do little for the soldier but make the CP feel better;

    4. Avoid the need for the future infantry soldier to require a page to help him put all the armour on that some senior leadership would like to see us in; and

    5. Recognize that the infantry use a variety of tools to close with and destroy the enemy and give them those tools (this one is kind of Canada specific, as some geniuses have decided that infantry do not require mortars or anti-armour weapons....)

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    Council Member Chris jM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infanteer View Post
    5. Recognize that the infantry use a variety of tools to close with and destroy the enemy and give them those tools (this one is kind of Canada specific, as some geniuses have decided that infantry do not require mortars or anti-armour weapons....)
    Your Canadian geniuses must have been talking to their NZ counterparts, as we're going down this exact path too!

    My top 5 list:

    1) Continuing to achieve combined arms competencies as the other branches (artillery, armour etc) modernise.

    2) Achieving concealment from an adversary's sensors, ground air and space (radar, thermal, image intensified, etc)

    3) Achieving self-sustainability and minimising the logistics chain required to support manoeuver (food, water and batteries especially)

    4) Maintaining mission-command, flexibility and audacity (I know a single German word goes here to sum it all up, but I don't want to insult Fuchs by misspelling it!) despite technology increasingly tying infantry formations to centralised HQ's.

    5) Maintaining core-skills competency despite the push-down of technology (map reading as opposed to GPS reliance, etc).



    Obviously, none of the above 'challenges' are original - I've merely plagiarised from what I've read of the older, wiser heads posting on the SWC.
    '...the gods of war are capricious, and boldness often brings better results than reason would predict.'
    Donald Kagan

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    Council Member Chris jM's Avatar
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    As an addendum and an after-thought, I'd add another challenge is finding a man-portable capability that allows a dismounted squad to project HE out to 1 km+
    '...the gods of war are capricious, and boldness often brings better results than reason would predict.'
    Donald Kagan

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    My top five ring similar to everyone else to some degree:

    -Return to the business of being a lightfighter...through all skill sets, environments, and against all threats (where appropriate).

    -Improve the ability to harness cultural training that enables fighting in an environment where multiple lines of operation are in play. Some of our cultural stuff is about as effective as teaching troops disassembly/assembly and weights of the components of a .50 cal HMG, but nothing about basic employment or proper manipulation.

    -Increasing and then sustaining rifle marksmanship training in the face of the "next new rifle" and caliber that is likely to arise. You cannot kill what you cannot hit.

    -Mastering the miniaturization of support equipment, like battery chargers, C2 systems.

    -In the Marine context, mastering the integration of the Infantry Automatic Rifle will be a challenge I hope to see resolved in my time. I put a few thoughts to paper and sent an article to the Marine Corps Gazette recently, so maybe they will resonate if it is published. Much of the material came from issues raised and the ensuing discussions right here.
    Last edited by jcustis; 05-24-2010 at 06:30 AM.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    I communicated with Chris Field when he was heading the Australian Army's Directorate Future Land Warfare and Strategy. The article has to be read as him working within those constraints.

    I see the "Challenges" as

    a.) Getting the best performance out of the carried load
    b.) Getting the best value out of the training
    c.) Getting the best value out of the budget.

    I'm not trying to be ridiculously simplistic, but every infantry force is going to have context specific problems, because of the army they belong to. They don't actually have problems because they are "infantry." We know how to have good infantry. We just choose not to, because we think other things are more important - and they might be. I just do not see the evidence.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Kiwigrunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post

    -In the Marine context, mastering the integration of the Infantry Automatic Rifle will be a challenge I hope to see resolved in my time. I put a few thoughts to paper and sent an article to the Marine Corps Gazette recently, so maybe they will resonate if it is published. Much of the material came from issues raised and the ensuing discussions right here.
    Look forward to reading it, needless to say.
    You’ll see it resolved in your time. One way or another, you guys will work it out. Some of us here like to talk about it a lot (who, me?) but I should like to think it’s about the least of your problems ‘over there’.
    Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. (Christopher Columbus)

    All great truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)

    ONWARD

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    1) The soldier's load.
    2) Attracting a quality recruit.
    3) Retaining quality soldiers, especially EMs, junior NCOs, and junior officers.
    4) Maintaining standards in the face of recruiting and retention problems.
    5) Having to walk the fine line between a policeman and a soldier.
    "Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper

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