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Old 05-06-2013   #41
Bob's World
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Slightly different take:
- At peace since '45.
- Required to sustain a warfighting military in peace due to decision to use a containment strategy to counter / compete with the Russians.
- Existence of such a military resulting in two very dangerous and detrimental effects on the very nature of US governance:
A. Empowering Presidents to commit the nation to a long string of "conflicts of choice" without the cooling off period and public debate that the founders intended; and
B. A corresponding shift from the intended balance of power, with the executive robbing from the Congress, and Defense robbing from State.
- Critical task now is to recognize both the reality and the danger of this drift, and to then get back on track.
- recognize we are a nation at peace with no immediate existential threats.
- convert the military to a size and mix of forces designed for the strategic and routine security missions of peace.
- produce new policies and tune up out-dated treaties better suited to the world we live in today and thereby free the military from many of most expensive and difficult quandries driving much of the current force structure debate.

We are our own worst enemy in so many ways.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 05-06-2013   #42
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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Slightly different take:
- At peace since '45.
- Required to sustain a warfighting military in peace due to decision to use a containment strategy to counter / compete with the Russians.
- Existence of such a military resulting in two very dangerous and detrimental effects on the very nature of US governance:
A. Empowering Presidents to commit the nation to a long string of "conflicts of choice" without the cooling off period and public debate that the founders intended; and
B. A corresponding shift from the intended balance of power, with the executive robbing from the Congress, and Defense robbing from State.
- Critical task now is to recognize both the reality and the danger of this drift, and to then get back on track.
- recognize we are a nation at peace with no immediate existential threats.
- convert the military to a size and mix of forces designed for the strategic and routine security missions of peace.
- produce new policies and tune up out-dated treaties better suited to the world we live in today and thereby free the military from many of most expensive and difficult quandries driving much of the current force structure debate.

We are our own worst enemy in so many ways.
Okay, WWII was "war" compared to last 60 years in that it involved the country as whole and the size of the conflict. I agree with what you wrote about how the nation has strayed from the original intent of the founders, but times do change. So with what you wrote what are your ideas for force structure?
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Old 05-06-2013   #43
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Bob I'm reading your older posts about this topic so if you previously posted your ideas I apologize.

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Old 05-06-2013   #44
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Gute,

Times do indeed change, and yet, in so many ways how we frame and approach problems is still stuck in the Cold War. How we approached problems during the 165 years prior to WWII is far more relevant to the world of today than how we approached them from '45-90.

Containment demanded control and land force deterrence. The current world demands neither. Today we need influence and are back to our historic maritime nation primary mission-set and can once again relax somewhat in our own geostrategic security now that we are no longer carrying the adopted geostrategic vulnerability of Western Europe in the face of a real land threat to the same.

This means we need a Navy designed to conduct strategic deterrence missions and to ensure freedom of the high seas for our merchant fleet and those of others that service our economic requirements. This means we need a small, but potent, expeditionary capability such as provided by the USMC and a handful of Army units. This means we need a SOF force fully capable of rapid DA anywhere in the world if necessary, but primarily out and about in the areas where our strategic interests are most reliant, ensuring we have the degree of understanding and the solidity of personal relationships necessary to prevent what is preventable, and to deal effectively (and appropriately) with what is not. We also need to refocus our air power on strategic/deterrence missions. We can probably skip a generation on tactical fighters. The Army needs to migrate warfighting missions to the Guard, and the Active force needs to get very lean and stay home more to do the training and maintenance that they have been deferring the past 15 years.

Mostly though, we need to take the "We can go to war now" COA off the table for the President. This will force us to lead with diplomacy or punitive expeditions; but will allow time for a public debate prior to committing the nation to long, costly violence to force our will upon some government, people or place.

I realize senior leadership in DC is full of "good Cold Warriors," so the forces of inertia are strong. Those old dogs show little inclination to learn new tricks. We also are battling the military industrial complex and powerful lobbies from places like Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel who warp our policies in their favor. It is a riptide that may drown us.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

Last edited by Bob's World; 05-06-2013 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 05-07-2013   #45
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Default If I were Secretary of Defense for a Decade

Bob's World,

I agree. That was the exact response I was going to write. Plus, it lets me take the idea a little further into detail. I would make the assertion that the Iron Triangle of politics which governs our Active and Reserve components, along with their composition, can only truly be influenced by the President, Secretary of Defense (advised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff), and acts of Congress. Economic downturns have the nice effect of forcing consolidation (for better or for worse) but otherwise Congress is useless.

If I were the Secretary of Defense during a decade of stagnant or declining economic prospects, I would do the following:
  1. Apply the High-Low capability mix to the Navy and Air Force:
    • Navy: 6 Large Carriers, 6 “Jeep” Carriers, 12 Boomers, 12 “Blue Water” attack subs, 12 “Brown Water” attack subs, 1 cruiser and 2 destroyers per Carrier, 24 Frigates, start producing as many cheap “Corvette” class patrol ships as all other combat ships combined (6+6+12+12+12+12+24+24=108,) and all necessary support ships...Reserve would have all ships leftover from reorganization (nuclear reactors powered down and under guard).
    • Air Force: As many ICBMs as the Navy. Same amount of money spent on UAVs/missles, as piloted combat aircraft. Plenty of aerial support (airlift included) capability. Reserves have 50-50 mix of piloted combat aircraft and aerial support aircraft. No AFNG, only Reserves.
  2. Special Operations Command (Direct Action): Consists only of a small mission tasking office run from directly under the Joint Chiefs. Personnel and equipment still comes out of each branch.
  3. Synch the Marine Corps with the Navy: 3 extra-strength MEFs (4 MEU each), and necessary additional personnel (training, embassy guards etc.) Reserves have another extra-strength MEF.
  4. Army focuses on 1) maintaining a large, well-equipped, well-trained NG, 2) performing on call joint operations with Marines, 3) and on call joint ops with Allies...in that order.
  5. Army undergoes massive consolidation with all surviving brigades adding personnel and necessary equipment until roughly between 4500-5000 soldiers strong. All companies are between 150-200 strong. Officer and NCO corps purged, increased use of Warrant Officers (Generals retired first, redundant field grades pushed into the IRR or National Guard). Reclass/Rebranch as necessary. Integrate National Guard Installations with AC Div. HQ's for joint training.
    • AC: 40 Division HQ's, 8 Training & Support Brigades, 4 Sustainment BDEs, 3 Combat Aviation BDEs, 4 Maneuver Enhancement BDEs, 3 Special Forces BDEs, 3 IBCTs (Airborne), 3 IBCTs, 3 SBCTs, 3 ABCTs, 3 Fires BDEs, 3 Battlefield Surveillance BDEs. 40 Brigades and 40 Div HQ's on 40 Bases= ~200,000 (including Pentagon and civilian staff).
    • Reserves: Only maintains IRR, 1 Div HQ, 2 Training & Support Brigade, 1 Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1 Sustainment Brigade...all other TPU units transferred to National Guard based on geography. 4 Brigades= ~20,000
    • National Guard: 30 Sustainment BDEs, 22 Combat Aviation BDEs, 30 Maneuver Enhancement BDEs, 22 IBCTs, 22 ABCTs, 15 Fires BDEs, 15 Battlefield Surveillance BDEs. 156 Brigades= ~780,000...No overseas deployments without State approval. Check on Executive Power. Capabilities distributed evenly by region.
  6. All companies are deployable as modular units under different battalions on an ad hoc basis. (MAGTF concept)
  7. Set Army recruit intake goals at twice the replacement level for enlisted and officers. Ensure that each rank requires half as many soldiers to staff as the next lower rank. Emplace an aggressive up or out policy for Active component with skills testing before every promotion (you must be proficient in the skills of the rank you will be promoted into...team leaders can run squads, lieutenants can run companies.) Soldiers who don't get promoted quickly enough are forced into the Reserves or National Guard (contingent on MOS shortages.) The end result is a Reserve force with a large supply of junior enlisted ready to become an NCO, and many excellent platoon leaders, ready to become Captain.

It saves money (assuming NG costs 1/4th active), reduces the President's capacity for unlimited warfare, and makes the AC more proficient. It is also career suicide, but I wouldn't care.
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Old 05-07-2013   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Gute,

Times do indeed change, and yet, in so many ways how we frame and approach problems is still stuck in the Cold War. How we approached problems during the 165 years prior to WWII is far more relevant to the world of today than how we approached them from '45-90.
Point well made.
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Old 05-07-2013   #47
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Originally Posted by GLADsapper View Post
Bob's World,

I agree. That was the exact response I was going to write. Plus, it lets me take the idea a little further into detail. I would make the assertion that the Iron Triangle of politics which governs our Active and Reserve components, along with their composition, can only truly be influenced by the President, Secretary of Defense (advised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff), and acts of Congress. Economic downturns have the nice effect of forcing consolidation (for better or for worse) but otherwise Congress is useless.

If I were the Secretary of Defense during a decade of stagnant or declining economic prospects, I would do the following:
  1. Apply the High-Low capability mix to the Navy and Air Force:
    • Navy: 6 Large Carriers, 6 “Jeep” Carriers, 12 Boomers, 12 “Blue Water” attack subs, 12 “Brown Water” attack subs, 1 cruiser and 2 destroyers per Carrier, 24 Frigates, start producing as many cheap “Corvette” class patrol ships as all other combat ships combined (6+6+12+12+12+12+24+24=108,) and all necessary support ships...Reserve would have all ships leftover from reorganization (nuclear reactors powered down and under guard).
    • Air Force: As many ICBMs as the Navy. Same amount of money spent on UAVs/missles, as piloted combat aircraft. Plenty of aerial support (airlift included) capability. Reserves have 50-50 mix of piloted combat aircraft and aerial support aircraft. No AFNG, only Reserves.
  2. Special Operations Command (Direct Action): Consists only of a small mission tasking office run from directly under the Joint Chiefs. Personnel and equipment still comes out of each branch.
  3. Synch the Marine Corps with the Navy: 3 extra-strength MEFs (4 MEU each), and necessary additional personnel (training, embassy guards etc.) Reserves have another extra-strength MEF.
  4. Army focuses on 1) maintaining a large, well-equipped, well-trained NG, 2) performing on call joint operations with Marines, 3) and on call joint ops with Allies...in that order.
  5. Army undergoes massive consolidation with all surviving brigades adding personnel and necessary equipment until roughly between 4500-5000 soldiers strong. All companies are between 150-200 strong. Officer and NCO corps purged, increased use of Warrant Officers (Generals retired first, redundant field grades pushed into the IRR or National Guard). Reclass/Rebranch as necessary. Integrate National Guard Installations with AC Div. HQ's for joint training.
    • AC: 40 Division HQ's, 8 Training & Support Brigades, 4 Sustainment BDEs, 3 Combat Aviation BDEs, 4 Maneuver Enhancement BDEs, 3 Special Forces BDEs, 3 IBCTs (Airborne), 3 IBCTs, 3 SBCTs, 3 ABCTs, 3 Fires BDEs, 3 Battlefield Surveillance BDEs. 40 Brigades and 40 Div HQ's on 40 Bases= ~200,000 (including Pentagon and civilian staff).
    • Reserves: Only maintains IRR, 1 Div HQ, 2 Training & Support Brigade, 1 Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1 Sustainment Brigade...all other TPU units transferred to National Guard based on geography. 4 Brigades= ~20,000
    • National Guard: 30 Sustainment BDEs, 22 Combat Aviation BDEs, 30 Maneuver Enhancement BDEs, 22 IBCTs, 22 ABCTs, 15 Fires BDEs, 15 Battlefield Surveillance BDEs. 156 Brigades= ~780,000...No overseas deployments without State approval. Check on Executive Power. Capabilities distributed evenly by region.
  6. All companies are deployable as modular units under different battalions on an ad hoc basis. (MAGTF concept)
  7. Set Army recruit intake goals at twice the replacement level for enlisted and officers. Ensure that each rank requires half as many soldiers to staff as the next lower rank. Emplace an aggressive up or out policy for Active component with skills testing before every promotion (you must be proficient in the skills of the rank you will be promoted into...team leaders can run squads, lieutenants can run companies.) Soldiers who don't get promoted quickly enough are forced into the Reserves or National Guard (contingent on MOS shortages.) The end result is a Reserve force with a large supply of junior enlisted ready to become an NCO, and many excellent platoon leaders, ready to become Captain.

It saves money (assuming NG costs 1/4th active), reduces the President's capacity for unlimited warfare, and makes the AC more proficient. It is also career suicide, but I wouldn't care.
That's a lot of information and you obviously put some thought into this topic. What I question is the need for the military to be the size it is now. Don't get me wrong I believe the military is one of the last honorable institutions and professions in this country but we seem to be looking for monsters abroad to jusify size and big ticket items. I'm getting off on another subject anyways, but I do believe downsizing and moving capabilities to the reserves should be done s....l...o...w...l...y. First and foremost it involves peoples lives and livelihood. Heck the way this country is going we will not have enough qualified people who can meet military standards. Not when guys have bodies by Xbox .

Question: Could we maintain a 12 battalion airborne force that could use Stryker vehicles when necessary and serve as the infantry for armored brigades?
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Old 07-05-2013   #48
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Default A More Flexibile Army and A More Stable World

I typed a big long post about a recent article in Military Rview with the same above title, but it went poof in the cyber universe. What the author proposes is interesting and I recommend reading it: http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/Military...831_art012.pdf

I have a question for the more knowledgeable posters at SWJ - could the HBCT (now ABCT) and IBCT brigades serve in both heavy and light assignments? I believe some HBCTs did shed the heavy equipment and serve as light forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq, but is it possible to train all armor, mechanized infantry and light infantry as just armor and infantry?

The HBCT combined arms battalion has 2xM1 and 2xM2. The IBCT maneuver battalion consists of 3xinfantry and 1xweapons. I propose changing the IBCT maneuver battalion design to 2 by 2. Armor companies when not assigned the heavy mission would serve as motorized weapons companies and the Bradley infantry would be light infantry. Should the Bradley crews be separate from the rifle platoon or utilize the weapons squad as crew members?

For example in the recent announcement from the Army the force structure will be cut by nine brigades - 4xHBCT, 1xSBCT and 4xIBCT. The 25ID will keep all four brigades. 4ID will have 2xHBCT and 1xIBCT. With my proposal, which I'm sure has been brought up before, all three brigades of the 4D would be capable of either the heavy or light mission. The Army would have combat arms troops trained primarily as M1 crew members, Bradleys and infantry. The 4D brigade assigned the light mission would still be able to train on heavy equipment at station to maintain a level of profficiency.

I would also propose keeping all the teeth in the AC and increasing the numbers of CS and sustainment in the RC. The RC combat brigades would consist of cadre forces that could be brought to full strength in a time of major war. Would this work or would it be detrimental to the RC?

Last edited by gute; 07-05-2013 at 04:03 AM. Reason: left out a word
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Old 07-05-2013   #49
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For example in the recent announcement from the Army the force structure will be cut by nine brigades - 4xHBCT, 1xSBCT and 4xIBCT.
They'd be better off taking the manoeuvre battalions from defunct or deactivated BCTs and attaching them to existing brigades to beef up their manoevre capability. Getting rid of those redundant staffs is a good idea. Getting rid of their manoeuvre formatins is not. It's silly.
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Old 07-08-2013   #50
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Which is basically what is being done. The inactivation of BCTs is really a shell game. Each remaining BCT will get: a third maneuver Bn, a third Arty firing Btry, a second Eng Co and plus ups to CSS to acount for these additions. I/ABCTs get a forward support company for their re-org'ed Special Troops/Engineer Bns and SBCTs will get a Bn Hqs for that purpose.

From what I've seen, the biggest lose from the BCTs is/was the deletion of their MP platoons.
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Old 07-08-2013   #51
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Gute:

Bad idea trying to train tank and Bradley crewmen to rotate between ABCTs and IBCTs. Tasks are too differnent between an M1/M2 and a armored HMMWV.

IMHO, 2X2 Infantry Bn also not a good idea, not enough infantry.

Regarding RC cadre units for CS and CSS. A hat trick. When you need these units, you need them and don't want to wait while they get filled and trained up.

With another 100K of personnel cuts possible out of the Army, we have only seen the tip of this iceberg.
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Old 07-08-2013   #52
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Which is basically what is being done. The inactivation of BCTs is really a shell game. Each remaining BCT will get: a third maneuver Bn, a third Arty firing Btry, a second Eng Co and plus ups to CSS to acount for these additions. I/ABCTs get a forward support company for their re-org'ed Special Troops/Engineer Bns and SBCTs will get a Bn Hqs for that purpose.

From what I've seen, the biggest lose from the BCTs is/was the deletion of their MP platoons.
What is the reasoning for eleminating the MP platoon? Will MPs be attached as needed in the future?
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Old 07-08-2013   #53
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Gute:

Bad idea trying to train tank and Bradley crewmen to rotate between ABCTs and IBCTs. Tasks are too differnent between an M1/M2 and a armored HMMWV.

IMHO, 2X2 Infantry Bn also not a good idea, not enough infantry.

Regarding RC cadre units for CS and CSS. A hat trick. When you need these units, you need them and don't want to wait while they get filled and trained up.

With another 100K of personnel cuts possible out of the Army, we have only seen the tip of this iceberg.
I will have to take your word for it since I don't have experience in that area, but I do wonder why a four man tank crew would have difficulty operating as a four man crew in a HMMWV. The driver drives, the TC becomes the VC, the gunner mans the .50 or MK19, or TOW and the loader assists the gunner, etc. But, again, that is why I asked to hear from those of you with the experience. Yes, definetely light on dismounts, especially for protracted combat. I don't think turning tank crew men into infantry is a smart idea.

So in your opinion should the Bradley platoon crews remain separate from the rifle platoon or could the weapons squad in the rifle platoon serve as the M2crew members?

The cadre units would be for the NG BCTs maneuver battalions and not the CS and sustainment units.
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Old 07-08-2013   #54
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What I've heard was that MPs are getting "pooled" at higher levels. BCTs will either get a Co (or in some extreme cases a Bn) or none.
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Old 07-08-2013   #55
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Easy for a tank crew to take over as a HMMWV crew. Much harder for them to go back to being a tank crew. Lots of "muscle memory" involved in getting a tank crew up to speed. Pretty sure its the same for a Bradley crew.

The idea of transfering between IBCT & SBCT is a better fit regarding vehicle crewman. Manning a Bradley on this assignment foloowed by being an MG or Javelin gunner on the next, not so much.

An issue with cadre units is that they end up being mostly chiefs and very few (if any indians). As nearly all of the combat arms units in the US Army are in the National Guard, you end up with where do the chiefs come from if there weren't any indians in the first place.
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Old 07-08-2013   #56
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Easy for a tank crew to take over as a HMMWV crew. Much harder for them to go back to being a tank crew. Lots of "muscle memory" involved in getting a tank crew up to speed. Pretty sure its the same for a Bradley crew.

The idea of transfering between IBCT & SBCT is a better fit regarding vehicle crewman. Manning a Bradley on this assignment foloowed by being an MG or Javelin gunner on the next, not so much.

An issue with cadre units is that they end up being mostly chiefs and very few (if any indians). As nearly all of the combat arms units in the US Army are in the National Guard, you end up with where do the chiefs come from if there weren't any indians in the first place.
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