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Thread: Retooling the Artilleryman

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    Default Retooling the Artilleryman

    Fires Bulletin, Sep-Dec 07: Retooling the Artilleryman
    The 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery (2-17 FA), Steel, had returned from Ramadi, Iraq, in 2005 for only a few months when chatter started within the ranks about another deployment. For the Artillerymen of Steel, the talk about when Steel would return to Iraq seemed less important as to how it would return. Training is vital to every battalion, but 2-17 FA had not completed its transformation from a 155-mm Paladin unit into a 105-mm howitzer unit yet. The question was obvious: Train as infantry, train as Artillery or train as both?

    The battalion commander attacked the problem by preparing the Redlegs for both missions—and not with 50 percent effort into each—ensuring Steel would be a multifunctional battalion able to accomplish FA as well as infantry missions. The battalion received essential support from the brigade commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 2nd Infantry Division, to ensure the Soldiers were “kitted out” like infantry.....

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Two choices

    I have had this discussion with an Artillery officer I know. I have proposed to him that the Artillery MUST be able to transition to infantry, or better yet, MPs, upon transition to stability operations. He argues passionately that they cannot do both mission.

    The bottom line is that once an Army Brigade Combat Team transitions to stability operations, the Artillery is poorly suited for that mission. They become a drag on resources unless they can transition. I could argue that in a BCT, somewhere between one-third and one-half of the soldiers in the unit are not suitable for stability operations depending on the type of BCT.

    The Army has built a leaner, more lethal force that is not capable of performing the missions that is has been given.

    Seems to me you have two choices (given that we cannot turn down missions). One, we look at expanding training for artillery, armor, ADA, and any other pure combat force so that they can perform MP, not infantry, missions to allow them to be relevant in stability operations, or you build and field a specific division/brigade designed for stability operations.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default "She ain't always as pretty as the other girls...

    but she can cook.", is a euphemism that comes to mind. Artillery units, and other specialties have proven up to the task of doing both - as have many other specialized units and MOSs. There are consequences, and they may not be optimized in education, MTO&E, etc. - but they are doing it. The enabler has been leadership at all levels, it has proven the lever by which FA units (and others) have reorganized for stability related tasks.

    Keep in mind that many FSOs and FECs are working non traditional roles within HQs and staffs to good measure. FSOs are often being called on to be Intel officers at the company level (I don't mean as in graduates from the MI ADV Course - but as analysts asking the "so what is the enemy trying to do questions based on new and existing information). FSNCOs are also being tasked to put their gray matter to other tasks as well such as IO or Intel (we re-rolled ours to good effect).

    The GPF of today are capable of reorganizing to meet the tasks that grow out of METT-TC - they are both bright and adaptable. Will other tasks atrophy some - yes. That is the risk - and resources will have to be applied on the back end to really address them, however units are also mitigating this some by conducting training in theater - mortar and FA shoots for example, or in some cases they are asked t perform more traditional tasks in support of larger stability type missions - firing illum over large graveyards to prevent insurgents from caching IED materials and arms/equipment in those "sacred" type places during LIMVIS.

    My personal observation is that FA units have provided a source of manpower and leadership in an existing, homogeneous organization to successfully complete a number of missions in a variety of conditions. They have met the challenge and shown what soldiers and leaders are capable of. We will probably never be resourced to be fully optimized for the range of military operations across the full spectrum of war, but we do have the human capitol required to adapt relatively quickly to meet them, and we are capable of resourcing and delivering the material and equipment they require to do so.

    Best regards, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 12-02-2007 at 04:20 PM.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default EBO is D3A

    One of the benefits with Artillery is their concept of Targeting. All the confusion about some of the complexities of EBO concepts just melt away whne you begin to look at it from the standpoint of D3A. That should become the new holy mantra of the Army in my humble opinon. Decide-Detect-Deliver-Assess. That is some Strategic Stuff there. all in 4 little words with big effects both leathal and non-leathal and anything in between.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Steve, good point - the targeting cycle has been around for a long time - since when people had to make choices about what (and how) to attack/influence, where and when to do it, again with how best given resources, and then if they were successful enough not to have to go after it again. I think that has been some of the unspoken thinking - we've been doing EBO stuff for a long time - we just did not need to obfuscate it with seemingly complex processes. I don't mind that we've written down how we might think about it, but the problem with doing so is that if you put it down into a Joint doctrine there is enough disparity and culture generated by the means and ways of doing it that it can create some real arguments as to how it plays out.

    The other thing I'd say is that it also gets at something Steve Blair wrote me the other day about the dichotomy in war - "Everything in war is very simple but the simplest thing is difficult - dead Prussian theorist." There is allot of friction that goes into D3A as it plays out on the ground, not the least of which are the unintended consequences generated from action in a complex and interactive environment charged with fog, friction and chance. I think that is the reason that as a mantra you'll find "Decide-Detect-Deliver-Assess" more culturally acceptable in the USAF and USN then the USA. That is not to slight our other services, but it does recognize that there are some unique conditions in which ground forces, air forces, and naval forces predominately operate in.

    Best Regards, Rob

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Hi Rob, I agree about the friction part. Friction is most likley to reveal itself on the ground IMO. It is not something that the AF or USN would see or have to deal with like the Army would. From their world friction is almost none exsistant... fly a plane..drop bomb....go home...check if you hit it. Meanwhile the army sees that there is a ton of rubble blocking a road so a food shipment can't get through or an ambulance or whatever. The Army has to deal with that right now. "The Remore Control Services" just kind of wonder what the problem is. The final effect is best understood from a "Ground Assessment" before you start the cycle over again. Again just my opinion.

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    but she can cook.", is a euphemism that comes to mind. Artillery units, and other specialties have proven up to the task of doing both - as have many other specialized units and MOSs. There are consequences, and they may not be optimized in education, MTO&E, etc. - but they are doing it. The enabler has been leadership at all levels, it has proven the lever by which FA units (and others) have reorganized for stability related tasks.
    We accept all missions. We do not have the luxury of saying "no, that is not my job". You hit on some key points regarding utilizing any unit outside thier normal specialty. 1) Training - Do they have the training (and the doctrine) to be able to competentaly accomplish the mission. 2) MTOE - do they come to the fight with the right equipment for the job. Did they have that equipment to train-up with prior to getting into theater.

    Full Spectrum operations requires specialized training and equipment. We are learning on the fly. I think to simply say "don't worry, you guys are good, you can handle it" is denying the problem.

    We will get through this because we have to. But if we don't recognize the problem and make the appropriate changes to our training, MTOEs, and Doctrine, then we will just repeat this mistake agian in the future.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    I agree with you up to a point:

    We will get through this because we have to. But if we don't recognize the problem and make the appropriate changes to our training, MTOEs, and Doctrine, then we will just repeat this mistake agian in the future.
    But the requirements of being all to end all probably guarantee that we will always have a learning curve - the best we might do is adapt faster then the enemy.

    The MTO&Es are not going to change too much - again it goes back to be structured to be the GPF to meet the full spectrum workload outlined as our responsibility - relevant and ready landvpower. The best we might hope for is recognition the full spectrum tasks require full spectrum MTO&Es and an expanded METL for those units which justify maintaining equipment and justifying resources.

    The doctrine I believe will be most helpful is the capstone stuff and its supporting doctrine -ex. the new 3-0 justifies 3-24, etc. It will help leaders recognize and adapt faster to changes in conditions.

    However, reading what SWC member Ken White (who really has been around since Jesus was a Pvt.) has penned here over time has led me to consider my own 22 years differently. Why do we seem to have to constantly relearn things? I'm beginning to think its more a condition then a problem. We're never going to be resourced in time, personnel, equipment, etc. to be prepared for all the military situations which might confront us - nor do I think we've ever been (although there have been time where by virtue of preparing for one thing, we were better prepared for another). As soon as you sink resources into the type of war you fought, or think you fought, or in this case are fighting, but want to conclude, somebody who has been watching you fight and who is concerned you are going to come to their neighborhood decides how to fight you differently enough to where you are not as prepared. Its the nature of an interactive, thinking enemy.

    That is why we do the GPF boogaloo - aka the "Golden Mean". It provides us enough operational and strategic depth (fleshed out by some specialized capabilities like SOF) from which to out adapt our enemies across the spectrum and ROMO. It means the guys and gals who go first are going to incur a harsh damned penalty for playing the "away" game, but it provides us the flexibility to gather the needed resources to prevail.

    I'd say that is also why the best military doctrine and writing are the stuff that helps you to think about war, vs. spelling out what to do. Its not easy, there are no well resourced low hanging fruit to be had for those of us living in GPF land - but through a well organized Institution we can develop leaders who can meet those challenges and better overcome the enduring fog, friction and chance and the differences in conditions we see in each new war we fight (or an evolution of the same war).

    Best Regards, Rob

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Great thread. Couple of thoughts...

    The recent terminology shift from GPF to Multipurpose Forces (MPF) is a good harbinger, I think.

    The Marines could be ahead of the power curve and effectively leverage the old MRU(SOC) into an MEU(COIN); I submit the Army can do the same thing.

    The key is the doctrine. We did not train on COIN or ID for over 30 years because the doctrine lay dormant and we didn't want to play. We have no choice in whether we play or not; we have got to be prepared to play and play the total spectrum of warfare whenever the civilian heirarchy says "Go out and play in the traffic..."

    We will not get to choose whether that traffic is comprised of fleets of 18 wheelers or a dozen baby buggies or whatever in between; we've got to be prepared to f do it all. We owe that much to the Nation, to the troops and even to the institutions themselves. Competence is justification to the max...

    If the Doctrine says that FA Bns should be prepared to function as MPs in the post attack phase (Great idea, BTW) and the Spt Bn has to guard its own compounds and convoys, then we will resource, train for and be able to do that. If it says that Light Infantry will do the foot mobile missions, that the Stryker BCTs will do the Mech AND foot mobile missions and that Armor Bns will be able to provide Armor elements OR wheel vehicle mounted patrols OnO or any of dozens of potential variations on that theme -- then we'll do that.

    If the Doctrine says that Cat I units are authorized 10% overstrength, stabilized, fully resourced and trained and equipped for both primary and alternate (and even supplemental) missions, then we will do that. If that Doctrine says that CAT II units will be at strength, train and be resourced for their primary mission and be capable of receiving an equipment set and training for an alternate (or even also a supplementary) mission in 60 days, then we will do that. Cat II units get 80% fill and 90 days...

    We have the capability to do these things; the troops have the capability to absorb the training and do the tasks. If we spend wisely (not our strong point ) then we can provide an adequate number of Alt and Suppl Msn sets. If the Doctrine says do it, Congress will support it.

    The capability is there, all that's needed is the will in high places...

    Oh. Rob, the answer to your question is one word. We have to relearn things because of -- egos.

    The very sad thing is that our very excessive branch parochiality, our tendency to adopt fads, our rejection of anything our predecessors did, our rejection of any good ideas until they become our ideas causes the effect that as new brooms move in and sweep out the old, they always do the baby - bathwater bit...

    P.S.

    That competence? It also goes a long way toward making bad guys think twice before they mess with you in any venue...

    Lot of advantages to that...

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Hey Ken - wondering where you'd been lurking at - thought I'd see if we could get you out

    Do you really think its egos like we normally think of them? Could it be egos and lack of contextual understanding that prevents us from looking deeper and asking things like: - "wonder why they did things like that?" - until like/similiar conditions roll around and then we say - "hey that sort of makes sense."

    I'd not heard about the switch from GPF to MPF. If I took something else like machine guns - and went from GPMG to MPMG would that change the nature and capabilities of that thing, or just the term we used to describe it? The GPMG thing is a bad analogy on my part- machines are not people. Maybe I can answer the broader question I just asked myself - at least take a stab - using the MEU analogy:

    General -would mean - good for everything equally, not so good for any thing in particular (goes with the defend everywhere/not strong anywhere) whereas

    Multi-Purpose might mean on a particular training cycle the unit was tailored for a specific range - multiple purposes/multi-missions, but not all - like when a MEU SOC does its train up.

    This would allow units to be resourced beyond their base MTO&E & train on a range of METL tasks for that cycle - you could have several in the hopper with a different ranges based on the close in Strategic Intel assessment (which is going to be closer to getting it right then one that attempts to go beyond say 6 months to a year) - kind of like standing JTFs.

    I'd qualify this by saying we'll have to acknowledge that when conditions call for a large commitment there will be some risk in that not all might have had recent training in all requisite areas - but there are no perfect answers.

    I like the idea - it sounds feasible and mitigates strategic risk.

    Best, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 12-02-2007 at 11:11 PM. Reason: did not like the GPMG analogy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    We have the capability to do these things; the troops have the capability to absorb the training and do the tasks. If we spend wisely (not our strong point ) then we can provide an adequate number of Alt and Suppl Msn sets. If the Doctrine says do it, Congress will support it.

    The capability is there, all that's needed is the will in high places...

    Oh. Rob, the answer to your question is one word. We have to relearn things because of -- egos.
    I agree with you on both points. I don't think we give our soldiers as much credit as they deserve, or believe that they are as capable of taking on multiple complex missions. It is often the officers who, as you said, are parochial about their branch, that fail to fully appreciate this.

    There is more than ego. There is no glamour in stability operations ... being a glorified policeman, a "peacekeeper". Without that glamour the leadership does not want to do it and Congress doesn't want to pay for it.

    I am not sure if you could really use the same units that kicked in the door to immediately shift to providing security in a way that does not alienate the population, in a manner that co-opts any potential insurgency rather than reinforces thier themes. For the Infantry I don't think this is feasible or wise. I want them on the top of thier game. But some of the other units, like FA and ADA could make the shift. But I still have reservations on how to get the second, supplemental set of equipment into theater. It would also require the DIV HQ to be able to make that shift. But now I am just rambling.

    I remember seeing what we used to call RACO, Rear Area Combat Operations, slowly fall by the wayside. All the Corps support assets transitioned into front line units. We lost ASGs and the likes as more BCTs were built. Now we have the "Non-Contiguous Battlefield". To me, that just means that we have ceded control of sections of the battlefield to the enemy. I am wandering off down a rabbit hole but I feel that the two subjects are related. It seems to me that if we quit concentraing on lean and lethal we might make some progress toward a force that is capable of performing all the missions that we need to be able to handle.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 12-02-2007 at 11:30 PM.
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not lurking, napping. I'm old...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Hey Ken - wondering where you'd been lurking at - thought I'd see if we could get you out

    Do you really think its egos like we normally think of them? Could it be egos and lack of contextual understanding that prevents us from looking deeper and asking things like: - "wonder why they did things like that?" - until like/similiar conditions roll around and then we say - "hey that sort of makes sense."
    I think egos are the principal driver but your contextual understanding and a strong (and sad) disregard for history contribute. There are other minor contributors as well. The personnel system is itself a major contributor to both the context and ego elements. I've had more than one GO tell me that just as they finally learned the job, they moved.

    That same personnel system -- which needs to be destroyed -- is also responsible for insisting that the new brooms hit the road running and achieve rapid results; it forces the egos into overdrive and does not allow time for contextual scanning.

    I'd not heard about the switch from GPF to MPF....
    I have friends in low places...

    If I took something else like machine guns - and went from GPMG to MPMG would that change the nature and capabilities of that thing, or just the term we used to describe it? Maybe I can answer it myself - at least take a stab - using the MEU analogy:

    General -would mean - good for everything equally, not so good for any thing in particular (goes with the defend everywhere/not strong anywhere) whereas

    Multi-Purpose might mean on a particular training cycle the unit was tailored for a specific range - multiple purposes/multi-missions, but not all - like when a MEU SOC does its train up.
    Works for me. The big plus I see is that at least someone in the Pentazoo is thinking -- that's always a plus.

    This would allow units to be resourced beyond their base MTO&E & train on a range of METL tasks for that cycle - you could have several in the hopper with a different ranges based on the close in Strategic Intel assessment (which is going to be closer to getting it right then one that attempts to go beyond say 6 months to a year) - kind of like standing JTFs.
    True -- and we already have the DMETL today. We also have humungous stocks of predeployed equipment much of which is ancient and will need to be replaced soon. Or does it? A little jiggle of the POM and...

    I'd qualify this by saying we'll have to acknowledge that when conditions call for a large commitment there will be some risk in that not all might have had recent training in all requisite areas - but there are no perfect answers.
    Also true, always a possibility and 'no perfects' is correct. The key IMO, is the Intel -- I'm not nearly as confident about that piece as I am about the capability of units to do multiple missions.

    One thing that I think would help with the Intel on a global basis is to form a MilAssistAdvisoryCmd with a BG / MG Cdr as a counterpart to the SOCom at each Combatant Commander. Staff it with regional FAOs and interface it with the DAO, MEDTs and SOC elms...

    Provided, of course, that we start to realize the value of the FAOs.

    I like the idea - it sounds feasible and mitigates strategic risk.

    Best, Rob
    We'll see what they come up with. At least it's being looked at. I just hope we don't go too far down the "COIN is God" route. We're bad about over correcting...

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    Hey Ken - wondering where you'd been lurking at - thought I'd see if we could get you out

    Do you really think its egos like we normally think of them? Could it be egos and lack of contextual understanding that prevents us from looking deeper and asking things like: - "wonder why they did things like that?" - until like/similiar conditions roll around and then we say - "hey that sort of makes sense."

    I'd not heard about the switch from GPF to MPF. If I took something else like machine guns - and went from GPMG to MPMG would that change the nature and capabilities of that thing, or just the term we used to describe it? The GPMG thing is a bad analogy on my part- machines are not people. Maybe I can answer the broader question I just asked myself - at least take a stab - using the MEU analogy:

    General -would mean - good for everything equally, not so good for any thing in particular (goes with the defend everywhere/not strong anywhere) whereas

    Multi-Purpose might mean on a particular training cycle the unit was tailored for a specific range - multiple purposes/multi-missions, but not all - like when a MEU SOC does its train up.

    This would allow units to be resourced beyond their base MTO&E & train on a range of METL tasks for that cycle - you could have several in the hopper with a different ranges based on the close in Strategic Intel assessment (which is going to be closer to getting it right then one that attempts to go beyond say 6 months to a year) - kind of like standing JTFs.
    Regarding the relearning issue--I suspect it is the centralized selection process and up or out promotion system that requires one to do something "different" (even though it really isn't) in order to get a good report card and stand out from one's peers to get picked up for those career enhancing nominative assignments and promotions more than ego that is the reason for all the wheel re-invention we do (unless we equate ego to getting promoted to as high a rank as possible, regardless of actual ability).

    My take on GPF vs. MPF:
    GPF = jack of all trades, master of none.
    MPF = jack of many trades, master of some. Combat engineers are MPF--they really can fight as infantry when required

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    I have a question for all. First the importance of Military Police in SASO seems to have been down played. By that I mean instead of tasking other units to do this or creating a multi-purpose Artillery unit, why don't we just increase the size of MP units?

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Considering MPF BCTs

    I can see it working out well -

    ex. BCT Alpha receives a mission that tells it to conduct FID in a COIN environment in country #1. During its MA it decides it needs X number of MiTTs, Y number of PTTs & SPTT, and Z number of PRTs (augmented with Inter-Agency folks and contractors). It develops at Task Org that puts one BN TF like organization for the MiTTs, one for the PTT & SPTTs, and one for the PRTs - this provides the C2 and support structure within each to plan, execute, coordinate resources for, and generally sustain all of those missions while securing its own LOCs. It might decide it needs to keep one or two company sized elements back for QRF like organizations, and one or two company sized elements back for FOB security of the BCT HQs and sustainment base (if not contracted or run by a higher HQs). This does not mean its OIF or OEF - it might be in support of AFRICOM or another Regional COCOM.

    From the moment of alert and initial MA - the training base moves to support the resources required - from hardware to movement - from language and cultural training, from Inter-Agency augmentees to a CTC like path that provides a MRE tailored to that mission.

    I believe we can do that!

    Meanwhile...

    HBCT Bravo get told to do TSC where it is told to go out and do a combination deterrence against a conventional threat to an ally while conducting TSC by helping them train their conventional mechanized forces to secure their sovereignty - they also task organize accordingly based off their MA and the training base gets in line to assist and resource.

    and the list of possibilities goes on to include units training in CONUS and OCONUS against a suite of most likely enemy COAs, etc.

    I think that is an executable balance given the possibilities that exist, and well within our ability to execute - I do think getting the extra BCTs online is critical to meet the demand and have enough capability training n the various categories to meet the demand and have depth - but those can only be built so fast.

    Best, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 12-02-2007 at 11:59 PM.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    MPF = jack of many trades, master of some. Combat engineers are MPF--they really can fight as infantry when required
    Wayne- good catch! Sappers are among the most versatile and creative soldiers I know.

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    I have a question for all. First the importance of Military Police in SASO seems to have been down played. By that I mean instead of tasking other units to do this or creating a multi-purpose Artillery unit, why don't we just increase the size of MP units?
    That would be my option #2, build specific SASO or what I call Rear Area, Stability and Reconstruction Brigades/Division. I like that name because RASR (pronounced RAZOR) sounds cooler than SASO (Got to start stroking those egos early).

    I like this idea both as a rear area security element and, once the main battle is over, the elements that transition into the stability and reconstrution units. The Brigade would be built around two MP BNs, one EN BN and a CA/PA BN along with the normal support stuff. Just a thought.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    RAZOR sounds cool, it has MOJO as you say that is important. Like the organization to. MP's can hold it, Engineers can build it, CA can win support for it.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    By that I mean instead of tasking other units to do this or creating a multi-purpose Artillery unit, why don't we just increase the size of MP units?
    I think we're getting there with the ways we're restructure the ME (maneuver enhancement) BDEs and also the BTSB (Brigade Special Troops BN) - which some BCTs have made good use of - but they had to work it to fit their needs. I'd also say some of these capabilities might be built in the ARNG because we get the dual use out of it - Title 10 and Title 32. Not much $$$$ though for states in IBCTs and ME BDEs with lots of MPs - hard to get some of that Title 10 money. It also means that when policy decides to do something where we anticipate a big Stability type commitment where we'd like to have lots of MPs - it means activating the ARNG - because that's where the "bulk" would reside. But again - it does fit with their Title 32 - enabling civil support type responsibilities. However you do it - the AC and RC components are going to be (and should be) interdependent - we just need to decide both what makes sense and what is doable in the face of state politics.
    Best, Rob

    Best, Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    That would be my option #2, build specific SASO or what I call Rear Area, Stability and Reconstruction Brigades/Division. I like that name because RASR (pronounced RAZOR) sounds cooler than SASO (Got to start stroking those egos early).

    I like this idea both as a rear area security element and, once the main battle is over, the elements that transition into the stability and reconstrution units. The Brigade would be built around two MP BNs, one EN BN and a CA/PA BN along with the normal support stuff. Just a thought.
    This organization sounds a lot like one of the "augmentation" Bdes discussed early on in the transformation process-it was called a Maneuver Enhancement Bde---BOI was going to be maybe one per lower level command and control headquarters (UEx--somewhere between a div and a corps)--all depended on the COCOM's RFF and strategic tailoring IIRC. The Army used to have rear area protection/rear area combat operations (RAP/RACO) units--it was a secondary mission for sustainment/MP forces in the rear (back in the days of linear battlefields in Europe with Spetsnaz trying to disrupt our rear area activities.

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