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Thread: BfSB

  1. #1
    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Default BfSB

    So the Alaska National Guard has decided (or more to the point had it decided for them) that they are going to change there infantry units into a BfSB (Battlefield Surveillance Brigade). For those of you who are familiar with what a BfSB is, could somebody please, please tell what there actual purpose is? Are they removing the ISTAR capabilities from the HBCTs and SBCT's? And why does it make sense to have a very perishable and complicated skill set regulated to the NG? Especially the Alaska Guard that has had all kinds of difficulties in the not very distant past? Really, I mean it, I want somebody to convince me that this is a GOOD idea and has great merit so that I can stop bitching about it and angering my superiors.
    Reed
    P.S. I have shelved the 68x MH specialist job and have chosen to return to the infantry, where I am much happier.
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default It's a good idea and the Alsaska Guard is a natural for it.

    You've probably seen these (LINK), (LINK),or have more info on it than is here but given the talent of the Scouts, it fits.

    Georgia Guard has one and it's doing okay.

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    You've probably seen these (LINK), (LINK),or have more info on it than is here but given the talent of the Scouts, it fits.

    Georgia Guard has one and it's doing okay.
    Alaska Guard has had nominal performance and personel ratings for over two decades now. Our reading and technical ASVAB scores are the lowest in the NG. What State mission does a BfSB have? If a BfSB makes any sense (and other then Ken's word, I find little to recommend it) it would be in the form of an active duty component unit. So HOW is it a good idea? Ken, you are normally fairly verbose and clear, so lets have it.
    Reed
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Didn't think I needed to get verbose with someone who'd worked

    with the Scouts of the 207th...

    First, AVSAB and Tech Test scores are not the be all and end all for many jobs. Test score are absolutely not a predictor of combat skills, I'll tell anyone...

    The AK Guard probably has had "<i>"nominal performance and personel ratings for over two decades now"</i> due to the fact that the US Army -- and thus the ArNG -- has been wandering around in the marginally competent mode for two decades. IOW, we've lost our way -- so people got graded not on how well they can do their job but on how they look and their paperwork. Neither one of those things count for much in a war.

    What state Mission does an Infantry Battalion have? What State Mission does an Eskimo Scout Det have? What State Mission did I have as a Tanker in the SC ArNG in 1948? Or A Cannoneer in the Ky Guard the year before that (I did get to go to the Derby for free on a state Mission... )? I've got a Guard Strategic Signal outfit near where I live -- they could pass out water after a Hurricane as well as the Rifle Company from the same Armory.

    Secondly, most of the ~1,500 -2,000 folks in the AK ArNG (last time I checked) were from rural areas and most were natives in the two Scout Bns -- how much and how good schooling? I wouldn't expect 'em to have great scores -- nor would I care that they don't, there'll be enough smart city boys to man the high tech side (just like those who man the AK Air Guard and Army Guard avn units). Most of the Scouts have bred in and environmentally enhanced scouting skills that no amount of training can replicate; they're great scouts and I can't think of any group of people who could do a better job of long range surveillance. They're a national treasure whether you like 'em or not. Like I said, it's a natural fit.

    As to that the population factor and the size of the Guard and you couldn't support more than one regular Infantry Bn, the two Scout Bns are small -- a BfSB is small. Sorry you're unhappy, I still think it's a good idea.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    I worked with these guys at JRTC in the mid nineties. I was not all that impressed. We all had heard about their mythical tracking skills but we never saw it. They weren't bad soldiers as NG goes but they certainly weren't any kind of super scouts that I could see.

    SFC W

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Were you on a rotation or working at Polk at the time?

    Try 'em in Alaska. They do cold and ugly -- hot LA (even in winter) isn't their locale without some additional training.

    Not that they're super soldiers or super scouts, long as I was around only met three of those (and I sure wasn't one). Good, yes -- but not super, job's too hard for more than one out of a 100K or so (if that many) to be super. No unit is gong to be super and even the good ones go through bad patches.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    I was with the OPFOR at the time and they were there as OPFOR augmentees for their AT. In addition to working with them in the field, we also had to administer a PT test to them. As for the weather, it was actually very cold at the time but as it turns out, they don't do well in wet cold. I will say this for them. Years of running behind sled dogs meant that even the oldest one of them passed the run by a lot, not so much the other events though.

    SFC W

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Default Scouts of 207th

    I have not worked with them yet. I have been in the Behavioral Health Section Sgt. Slot for my 2 drills w/ the AKNG. I will be transfering back to the infantry by Sept. What I have seen of them has not impressed me that they are up to technicaly complicated jobs. They may have once had a woodsman advantage, but how is that going to help them fly a UAV or operate GSR?? Not picking a fight, but nothing I have seen supports what you say you have seen.
    Reed
    P.S. and none of this answers what we need BfSBs for in the first place. The various "intel" augmentations we have seen in Iraq have produced very few real benifits. More boots on the grounds and combat brigades are clearly needed, not more gadgets, and believe me, the MTOE is gadget heavy.
    Last edited by reed11b; 05-21-2009 at 05:53 AM.
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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    Default

    The BfSB is just the old corps MI BDE with shift toward a HUMINT/CI focus and away from many of the 'big' systems like GSRs. There's no significant change in the mission from when they were corps MI, but as a part of all the other terminology changes (what's the actual difference between a "brigade" and "brigade combat team") we just had to have one more.

    As to state missions, unless you're expecting mass riots somewhere that need a large influx of troops to augment the local PD (a la LA '92) you'll be fine with a BfSB.
    Brant
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Scouting isn't

    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    ... What I have seen of them has not impressed me that they are up to technically complicated jobs.
    "a technically competent" job in the sense you use it and I wouldn't expect anyone to try to place them in such jobs.
    P.S. and none of this answers what we need BfSBs for in the first place. The various "intel" augmentations we have seen in Iraq have produced very few real benifits. More boots on the grounds and combat brigades are clearly needed, not more gadgets...
    We can disagree on all that. A lot of folks would disagree with you on the intel benefits in Iraq. There's a reason Rifle Companies now have intel cells...

    I don't think more boots or brigades are needed -- I'd sure like to see some that were better, though.

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    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    I'm more interested in the structure of the BfSB and wonder if the BfSB would be more versitle if it was an Infantry Brigade Combat Team or Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team with enhanced military intelligence capabilities and a Ranger battalion instead of a RSTA squadron?

    This design may not fit with the true purpose of the BfSB, but a Ranger battalion and two maneuver battalions would seem to me to add flexability and "bite" compared to the current design.

    Also, with some talking about creating stability & security brigades would it not make sense to team SBCTs with the SFGs? Maybe this is already being done.

    Hell, combine all three into Special Forces Brigades - take the Stryker BCT with enhanced MI, add a Ranger battalion and a SFG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gute View Post
    I'm more interested in the structure of the BfSB and wonder if the BfSB would be more versitle if it was an Infantry Brigade Combat Team or Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team with enhanced military intelligence capabilities and a Ranger battalion instead of a RSTA squadron?
    Ranger BN? No, not by the definition of what a Ranger BN is now. In times past, companies designated as Ranger units were attached to corps, divisions and brigades for recon and raiding but now the Ranger designation and heraldry is owned by the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Ranger Training Brigade.

    This design may not fit with the true purpose of the BfSB, but a Ranger battalion and two maneuver battalions would seem to me to add flexability and "bite" compared to the current design.
    Flexibility and bite? How about a true cavalry squadron that can fight for information or observe and report?

    Also, with some talking about creating stability & security brigades would it not make sense to team SBCTs with the SFGs? Maybe this is already being done.
    I don't know why a SBCT would need to be paired with an SF Group for stability and security but maybe they would.

    The 75th Ranger Regiment was using some Strykers for a while for combat ops but I thought it would make more sense for SOCOM to "own" a light armored cavalry regiment and not try to make the Rangers into something they were not intended to be.

    Hell, combine all three into Special Forces Brigades - take the Stryker BCT with enhanced MI, add a Ranger battalion and a SFG.
    Maybe we need to define some terms here. You seem to be using the term "special forces" in a general way to refer to special operations or elite light infantry. In the US Army the term refers to the special forces groups that have their roots in the WWII OSS Operational Groups and Jedburgh teams. A unit isn't called "special forces" just because it has a unique mission.
    Last edited by Rifleman; 07-16-2011 at 04:02 PM.
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    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    Ranger BN? No, not by the definition of what a Ranger BN is now. In times past, companies designated as Ranger units were attached to corps, divisions and brigades for recon and raiding but now the Ranger designation and heraldry is owned by the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Ranger Training Brigade.
    Why not change the definition.

    Flexibility and bite? How about a true cavalry squadron that can fight for information or observe and report?
    It's my impression that the BfSB is a corps level unit and one that needs to conduct deep reconnaissance and surveillance. A Ranger battalion would do this and conduct raids. Having two airborne qualified or air assault infantry battalions would give the brigade and the corps a maneuver element that could be moved quickly based on reports by the LRS. I also believe that by being a "recon oriented" IBCT, the brigade would have the strength to function as a BCT if needed.

    I don't know why a SBCT would need to be paired with an SF Group for stability and security but maybe they would.
    Many believe the Stryker vehicle is suited for the SOSO role, peace keeping. This is also a role for the SF (two of many). This focus on COIN, SOSO, peace keeping will require military organizations to fill the gap. IMO this how it might be filled - SF groups and SBCTs working together in a low to medium threat environment.

    The 75th Ranger Regiment was using some Strykers for a while for combat ops but I thought it would make more sense for SOCOM to "own" a light armored cavalry regiment and not try to make the Rangers into something they were not intended to be.
    Great idea, but the SBCT could also be used in this role. Maybe the Stryker ACR proposed by Colonel Benson in 2002 with two ground squadrons and one air recon squadron.

    Maybe we need to define some terms here. You seem to be using the term "special forces" in a general way to refer to special operations or elite light infantry. In the US Army the term refers to the special forces groups that have their roots in the WWII OSS Operational Groups and Jedburgh teams. A unit isn't called "special forces" just because it has a unique mission.
    You are right. SBCTs are not special forces - I should have used a different name/description. There is talk about more cooperation/interaction between special and conventional forces.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-16-2011 at 05:12 PM. Reason: organization error. Quote format inserted to make Q&A clear.

  14. #14
    Council Member TAH's Avatar
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    Default BFSBs

    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    So the Alaska National Guard has decided (or more to the point had it decided for them) that they are going to change there infantry units into a BfSB (Battlefield Surveillance Brigade). For those of you who are familiar with what a BfSB is, could somebody please, please tell what there actual purpose is? Are they removing the ISTAR capabilities from the HBCTs and SBCT's? And why does it make sense to have a very perishable and complicated skill set regulated to the NG? Especially the Alaska Guard that has had all kinds of difficulties in the not very distant past? Really, I mean it, I want somebody to convince me that this is a GOOD idea and has great merit so that I can stop bitching about it and angering my superiors.
    Reed
    P.S. I have shelved the 68x MH specialist job and have chosen to return to the infantry, where I am much happier.

    BFSBs are an out-growth of the transformation/modularization of the Army. In one respect, they are a combination of the "old" division Military Intell (MI) Bns and the Theater Intell Bde (TIB).

    MI had advocacy/proponency for a while, did nothing with it and it got punted over to the Armor/Cav branch as a "recon" issue.

    Lots of Counter-intel and HUMINT types in the BFSB's MI Bn (s). By design there are supposed to be 2 MI Bns and a Recon Sqdrn. Most BFSBs are finding it hard to field more then one MI Bn. Of the 10-11 projected, 4 are active and the rest are Army National Guard.

    In no way shape or form can a BFSB do what an "old" division cavalry sqdrn or ACR could do. The ACR function will end up being done by a BCT and DIV CAV is still being explored.

    The MI Bns has lots of HUMINT teams, lots of Counter-intel teams, a Prophet SIGINT team of 3-4 collectors and a Shadow UAV team. Pretty much more of the same capabilities found in a BCT.

    The recon Sqdron has two recon troops of 2 platoons and a Long-Range Recon/Surveillance Co.

    Great unit to pair up with a rear-area HQs for RACO or to reinforce a Main Effort BCT. Not enough capability alone to meet the information needs/requirements of a DIV, Corps /JTF commander.

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