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 →
FORT LAUDERDALE: A scratchy, glitchy recording of the national anthem that repeatedly paused and skipped opened the Association of the US Army’s much-downsized annual winter symposium, the latest conference to feel the budget axe. It’s the 14th and last AUSA Winter to be held here in Florida before the association moves to locations more conveniently – and cheaply – reached from major army bases, starting next year.
It’s all about the money – or the lack thereof. “We reduced the cost of this event by over 95 percent from previous years,” said Gen. Robert Cone, chief of the powerful Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and the conference’s principal Army backer. A source familiar with the event’s logistics confirmed that the Army reduced its participation from about $3 million and 500 attendees last year to about $150,000 and 57 this year. The Secretary of the Army officially endorsed attendance only weeks ago and authorized 76 attendees, but apparently the service didn’t use all its slots. Many speakers and panelists will participate by video teleconference to save travel costs. Keep reading →
ARMY WAR COLLEGE: For the last decade, the Army has emphasized “boots on the ground.” Large numbers of foot troops slogged through valley and village, field and town, to safeguard civilians and hunt insurgents. Now, as the largest service looks beyond Afghanistan, a classified wargame about a hypothetical Korean conflict shined a spotlight on high-speed, long-range assets such as air defense missiles, guided artillery, and the Army’s own fleet of boats.
“When you think about landing craft, like Saving Private Ryan, most of those reside in the Army, actually,” Maj. Gen. Bill Hix, director of concept development at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, said in a conversation with reporters here. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Today, somewhere inside the Pentagon, senior Army officers will likely recommend development of new radio-jamming equipment for the post-Afghan War world. After a decade desperately playing defense against radio-detonated IEDs — and, before that, a decade of neglect in the 1990s — Army electronic warfare is taking the offensive again.
With their eyes on future adversaries more technologically sophisticated than the Taliban, commanders want new capabilities to shut down enemy electronic networks and protect their own. It’s a challenge intimately interwoven with but distinct from the higher-profile field of cyber warfare. Hackers infiltrate enemy networks to steal data and infiltrate viruses, while jammers simply shut them down — though that distinction gets blurred by new techniques such as “protocol attacks” that scramble digital radios. Keep reading →
Besieged by journalists and industry executives at the Association of the US Army’s annual aviation conference (click here for complete coverage), Army officials responded to inquiries about AAS with the frazzled frustration of a father asked for the tenth time “are we there yet?” — or, worse, with the forced smile of a father presented with an expensive Christmas wish-list just after his boss has told him there may be no money for bonuses this year. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Army aviation leaders thought they had a plan to start developing a new Armed Aerial Scout all teed up for the vice chief of staff’s approval last month. But Gen. Lloyd Austin III said, “no.”
It was the latest twist in a 21-year (and counting) saga to replace the Army’s aging OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, a Vietnam-vintage design. The interminable effort to build a new reconnaissance helicopter has started to resemble the legendary quest for the Holy Grail. Keep reading →
Thursday’s article suggested the new Capstone Concept’s pledge to create unspecified “new formations… as early entry forces” might trespass on territory long claimed by the Marines. But the two services complement and consult with each other, rather than compete, said Hix, director of Concept Development and Learning at the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC). Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: “We in the United States are a bit arrogant in thinking [that] we own the technology high ground,” the civilian told the assembled generals. “Technology doesn’t necessarily belong to us and where it goes is not necessarily in our hands.”
For six decades, the United States could count on being the planet’s preeminent economic and technological power. Now, the US Army is looking into the “deep future” past 2030, when China’s Gross Domestic Product is expected to have exceeded that of the US. At a recent Army seminar on “strategic trends” — which Breaking Defense was allowed to attend on the condition we not identify participants by name — scores of military officers and civilian experts wrestled with a world in which the United States may have lost not only its economic primacy but much of its technological superiority as well. Keep reading →