NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY: It just might be iPhone time for the world’s most powerful army,. As defense budgets shrink and commercial networks grow, top brass from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on down are questioning the service’s current plan to keep developing custom-built, military-specific, and extremely expensive communications networks. If groups like al-Qaeda,… Keep reading →
PORTSMOUTH, VA: This is a Navy town, just minutes from the massive Atlantic Fleet base at Norfolk. But when Navy and Marine Corps leaders convened here yesterday for their annual conference on expeditionary warfare, traditionally a Navy-Marine affair, they reached out to the other services in unprecedented ways. Message No. 1: After 12 years of… Keep reading →
[UPDATED with comments from Army generals] WASHINGTON: In the latest battle over Army radios, defense industry giant General Dynamics is beating the war drums once again. If the Pentagon doesn’t issue a new contract for backpack-sized “Manpack” radios soon, GD warns, they and co-supplier Rockwell Collins will complete the current lot by the year’s end — a… Keep reading →
So how hard is the federal shutdown hitting the US military? “Walking around the building, I would say we’re probably at about a third of our staff right now,” said one military officer. (About half the Defense Department’s civil servants have been furloughed, but military personnel are still on duty). Of 26 people in her… Keep reading →
ARMY WAR COLLEGE: A massive wargame held here this week to explore the “Deep Future” of warfare in the 2030s demonstrated a stark truth — one that Clausewitz enumerated in his famous work, On War — there’s no substitute for sheer numbers, no matter how much high technology the Army buys. That’s an unsettling answer at a… Keep reading →
[UPDATED] ARMY WAR COLLEGE: When the Army invited NATO officers here to discuss the “deep future” of warfare in the 2030s, the organizers ran up against a present-day problem. Current regulations forbade them from showing certain information to their allies. It was just the latest case of a chronic problem which has hindered coalition operations… Keep reading →
FORT BELVOIR: The intellectual ice is beginning to break. You could see it at the Fort Belvoir Officers’ Club on Tuesday afternoon, where the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) hosted a three-day, tri-service conference on “Strategic Landpower.” The US Army is wrestling with how to stay relevant once large-scale counterinsurgency in Afghanistan comes to… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: While the Army can keep troops headed for Afghanistan trained up and ready to go, the ongoing budget gridlock threatens its ability to prepare for crises around the world – from North Korea to Syria – conflicts that would require a very different kind of training than the counterinsurgency tactics the force has focused on… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: On the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, one of the Army’s leading thinkers warned Washington not to learn the wrong lessons.
America’s Army has developed a bit of a split personality of late. On the one hand, the top brass has very publicly embraced the administration’s January 2012 strategic guidance that emphasizes “innovative, low-cost, and small-footprint approaches” and “building partner capacity” in lieu of large ground force deployments. Leaders from Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on down talk up the Army’s capabilities in cyberspace, missile defense, seaborne operations, and small advisor teams.
At the same time, the service’s biggest new weapons program remains the controversial Ground Combat Vehicle, an estimated $34 billion program to build what could be 70-ton-plus behemoths optimized for all-out land war. “Low-cost” and “small-footprint” it ain’t. (“Innovative” it may be; read on). And GCV is just the tip of the armored iceberg. Keep reading →