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Thread: Returning to a Division Centric Army

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    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    Default Returning to a Division Centric Army

    General Chiarelli said the modular force is “not as efficient as a division” and that he is looking at “adjustments” to it.

    My question: What will be adjusted?

    Much more in this article.

    http://www.dodbuzz.com/2010/09/23/ar...whacks-coming/

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    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    The question to start with is "efficient by what metric?"

    This is part of the standard self-flagellation by flagellation between centralized, financially efficient and decentralized, combat efficent organizations.

    For example; efficent combat units have organic maintenance capabilities, but financially efficient units have the maintenance centralized at a higher echelon (and company commanders can just get in line to get their vehicles fixed). Same argument applies to any support function I can think of (intel, signal, trans assets, etc).

    The discussion of precision guided munitions (PGM) vs conventional munitions was more interesting. I'd like to see a rigorous study of the advantages of PGM vs. iron rounds, integrating the consequences of increased gunnery to make up for less technically sophisticated munitions. That is, does increasing gunnery with the money saved on PGM increase the guns' accuracy and precision to a greater extent than the PGM allows?

    This sounds suspiciously like GEN Chiarelli was directed to come to a specific solution and is attempting to rationalize the answer that has been imposed upon him.

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    I like the theme he's taking with PGM: one of the ongoing legacies of DESERT STORM is this myth of clean precise war that was fostered through the 90s in Serbia and Kosovo, and into OIF. PGMs are all very nice when you have the luxury of relatively undefended precise targets but less so perhaps against an adversary that is dispersed, concealed and able to retaliate and/or defend itself.

    The articles pretty vague on how the modular force is “not as efficient as a division” and more so on the nature of the “adjustments” to it that he may be considering. My first thought is that the modular brigade structure seems to have been working fairly well to support the long campaigns of the last decade...

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    This sounds a lot less like anything to do with the structure of the army. It sounds a lot more like the Army, or at least certain members of it, want to get a handle on the enormous war profittering (for instance, of contractors & industry- hence the JRAP, MTLV, Hummer issue) in evidence since OIF I (anyone remember Halliburton? Civil contractors? etc.). The issue of PGms sounds a lot like an argument over "value for money" than it does "measures of performance/effectiveness". But that's just IMO from this side of the "pond". Perhaps there are domestic issues, tacitly presupposed by the article, which I am unaware of.

    For my money the brigade based army is a sound idea in principle (in fact the Soviet army before it disolved had already come to that conclusion too). The only problem I have with the BCTs is the lack of true manouvre capability. They need at least three manouvre battalions and a cav/recon bn and one (as a minimum) proper arty bn (with 24 not 16 tubes). By the way, while I'm on my hobby horse get rid of the combined arms bn in the HBCT and return to flexible, task organsied (I know, this is still practiced) pure bns (two of each). A HBCT has four armour companies (two per Bn) that's one battalion's worth of armour for what kind of an overhead? Dammit, I need a fag (that's a cigarette to you), I'm really grumpy this morning.
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 09-30-2010 at 11:17 AM. Reason: A spell checker would be nice....

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    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    By using the word efficient and not effective one must assume costs. The following link is from an article by Lt. Colonel Melton which has been before, but is now about five years old, but I think it still applies and might very well be the adjustments the general is talking about:

    http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/milreview...g05/melton.pdf

    Here is another article I came across:

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf

    For those who don't have time to read and are unfamilar with Lt. Colonel Melton, he argued in his article that the small BCTs had caused the Army to have to create additional types of BCTs, which increased overhead. He recommened combining BCTs, attaching FA battalions to BCTs even if the FA battalion is not firing in support of the BCT, establishing an engineer hqs in the BCT, combining sustainment and maneuver brigades (which may have already been done - combat support brigades), BGs command BCTs.

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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Remember deja vu is a glitch in the matrix

    You know...
    I used to be a tad cynical towards the DA Civilian/Contractor (present complany excluded of course) who would tell me oh that concept (pick your topic from organization design to personnel policy to operational approach) is in vogue again... and then they would dig deep in their historical files to show you the other three times the pendulum had swung back and forth...

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    ... oh that concept (pick your topic from organization design to personnel policy to operational approach) is in vogue again...
    If we were to revert back to muzzle-loading rifle-muskets it would support the kinder, gentler, population-centric COIN approach, as opposed to the firepower-intensive Fulda Gap model. We could save on ammo costs as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    If we were to revert back to muzzle-loading rifle-muskets it would support the kinder, gentler, population-centric COIN approach, as opposed to the firepower-intensive Fulda Gap model. We could save on ammo costs as well.
    Would never fly...the lead ammo is too environmentally-unacceptable...

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    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    If we were to revert back to muzzle-loading rifle-muskets it would support the kinder, gentler, population-centric COIN approach, as opposed to the firepower-intensive Fulda Gap model. We could save on ammo costs as well.
    Muzzle loaders? That's too effete.
    Sabers. 1850 Staff and Field Officer Sabers.
    Eliminates ammunition costs, allows for exception precision in targeting, virtually eliminates the possibility of collateral damage, useful in offence or defence, quiet, promotes morale and esprit de corps.

    @Hacksaw - if you're in Honolulu, first round is on me.

    Re: the PGM/conventional munitions debate - This is one where the pendulum has only gone one way so far. GEN Chiarelli is the first senior leader I've heard questioning the value or efficiency of PGM. I am curious to see if there is serious, quantifiable research done on this or some instantaneous and unreasoning ad hom attack on whoever questions the superiority of gadgets.

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Mayhap

    Something along the lines of determining exactly how and if PGM and associated delivery mechanisms may or may not change the calculus when one talks about field artillery?

    Just a guess, very interesting article though
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

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    I had the chance to attend a Fires conference in which General Ridge posed the PGM question as "How much precision can we afford."

    In that vein, GMLRS makes a lot of sense because one guided rocket has the same planning value as six standard rockets, as well as twice the (UNCLAS) range. When accuracy for the standard round is 10 mils a 1M CEP is a tremendous improvement.

    There was the implication that we could save money on PGMs and apply that towards more gunnery instruction. When you are using AFATDS the degree of accuracy possible is significantly higher than with standard techniques. When you are using a system like the M777A2 that can receive Fire Commands to the nearest tenth mil your accuracy increases as well.

    You still have to account for the five Requirements for Accurate and Predicted Fire, four of which fall squarely on the artillery unit. An Artillerist on another forum that I frequent mentioned that when he was shooting in OIF he shot "cold stick" which means he made no attempt to quantify some non-standard conditions. Specifically, he stated that he shot without accounting for the differences in propellant lot. When you have dozens of different lots of propellant on hand it may be difficult to use the proper one (on the sun section) and quantify the effect on MVV (on the FDC).

    With a system like PGK, the round would automatically compensate for that error and impact where the guidance system directed.

    Excalibur is a different deal. It offers the ability to hit and kill a single building, or even a room in a building, with an increase in range over standard 155MM rounds, a near vertical angle of fall, and a small warhead that limits collateral damage. It also requires certain charges and the Fire Commands must be digital. Thus it has some limitations. It is also the most expensive FA PGM.

    As for what we can afford, we have JDAMs in service or in development that can do all these things, but once you factor in flight time they may not be any cheaper.

    I would like to ask those more senior to me if it would ultimately be cheaper to use aircraft to generate targeting information and then fire the mission from a SPLL or HIMARS.

    But then, I do have a professional bias.
    Last edited by SethB; 10-01-2010 at 03:10 AM.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default The Wheel reinvention begins...

    Chiarelli was in a Division in Desert Storm. He saw what Divisions did in Iraq in 2003. He commanded a Division there. Divisions work great in the Desert -- we found that out in North Africa in WW II. He saw that...

    He's never fought anywhere else and is Armor, the Combat Arm of Derision; they believe in MASSS. However, What we found in virtually all other types of terrain WWI and in the Pacific, in Italy, in Northwestern Europe during WW II, in Korea, In Viet Nam, in Afghanistan -- and even in Mexico and the Civil War -- was the Divs aren't much good anywhere else, they're too big and unwieldy (I'd say totally unnecessary and even an impediment in the form of underemployed and overindustrious Div Cdr and Staff except for the fact we haven't adjusted that admin / log effort to cope with the absence of the Div); so you break up into Regimental Combat Teams, Brigades or Combat Commands which do work and work well. The Div supports them and the Div Cdr gets to visit and ask odd questions.

    Their (RCTs, Bdes, etc) biggest downside is they do not call for enough General Officers...

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    Pendulums swing. Fourteenth iteration


    P.S.

    Design an organization that EVERYONE says is one maneuver Bn light of a full load, that decimates the Field Artillery branch much to their chagrin and has acknowledged inadequate sustainment capability built in; then determine that it doesn't work as well as is we would like. Masterful...
    Last edited by Ken White; 10-01-2010 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Typos

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    Council Member Kiwigrunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJPONeill View Post
    Would never fly...the lead ammo is too environmentally-unacceptable...
    But if we increase the calibre somewhat we could use Kiwifruit. Howz dat for a clean-green-machine.
    Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. (Christopher Columbus)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    Sabers. 1850 Staff and Field Officer Sabers.
    I own a Model 1840 Light Artillery Saber that shows signs of field use and also has the original leather straps still attached to the rings on the scabbard. It's marked 1860. I also have a Model 1840 NCO's Sword and leather scabbard that's in almost new condition. It was made by Ames and is dated 1864.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Propellant lots etc:
    It's not necessary to have PGMs to compensate for such variances. It's been standard procedures with several MRL systems to shoot one rocket, observe with radar, then self-destruct the rocket (timer) in the air in order to prevent that the following rocket salvo with corrected aim loses the surprise effect.
    It adds a few seconds and is not very efficient with large rocket calibres, but it works.

    There's also a trajectory correction system with which the launcher simply aims too high and the trajectory correction module in the rockets gets radio command to deploy air brakes at the perfect time to negate the distance error/dispersion.


    Divisions/brigades:
    It's been accepted in Europe since the Division 59 (a brigade-based design) that brigades are the way to go. The Americans learned the same in WW2 and re-learned it after the Pentomic excursion (maybe after ROAD, don't remember ROAD details now).

    I'm still struggling to learn whyTF the division has come back to favour with so many people. It's obvious to me that we should delete the division level, not the corps level.
    Brigades might actually be too large already. A very small brigade (two reinforced battalions worth) might be the way to go (=full circle to early 50's). We need very agile formations, and we've got much to do till we have them.

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    The Pentomic force structure with Battle Groups didn't work out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Propellant lots etc:
    It's not necessary to have PGMs to compensate for such variances. It's been standard procedures with several MRL systems to shoot one rocket, observe with radar, then self-destruct the rocket (timer) in the air in order to prevent that the following rocket salvo with corrected aim loses the surprise effect.
    It adds a few seconds and is not very efficient with large rocket calibres, but it works.
    That system increases accuracy, but it will not give the the 1M CEP that you can get through the GPS/INS systems that GMLRS uses.

    Rockets don't use propellant lots. They are standard. Artillery rounds do use the propellant lot code to determine MVV.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default It worked but didn't work out only because it was ahead of its time and

    the Colonels didn't like it. That and the fact that the intended equipment got stalled in the bureaucracy and only started appearing in units AFTER the decision was made to revert to the tired and true -- and easier to control if you're into centralizing things -- Brigade of ROAD. The Pentomic concept had a great many good things, but it was designed for those who are willing to delegate and trust subordinates. Not the Army way...

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    Oh well, I might be one of the only people here who knows what Pentomic force structure and Battle Groups were. I read that it had something to do with dispersing units on a nuclear battlefield in Germany.

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    Council Member 82redleg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    the Colonels didn't like it. That and the fact that the intended equipment got stalled in the bureaucracy and only started appearing in units AFTER the decision was made to revert to the tired and true -- and easier to control if you're into centralizing things -- Brigade of ROAD. The Pentomic concept had a great many good things, but it was designed for those who are willing to delegate and trust subordinates. Not the Army way...
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Oh well, I might be one of the only people here who knows what Pentomic force structure and Battle Groups were. I read that it had something to do with dispersing units on a nuclear battlefield in Germany.
    Pete, I think Ken actually served in the Pentomic Army. I know what it was, but only through reading about it.

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