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: Forget sequestration. Never mind fiscal 2013. The Army knows it’s in for a tough decade, not just a tough year — but it’s already thinking way ahead, past 2020.

With the Iraq war over, Afghanistan (slowly) winding down, and a new strategy that emphasizes Navy and Marine Corps operations in the Pacific, the Army is painfully aware it’s going to shrink. The service increasingly focuses on how to make it through the coming long, lean years to the decades beyond. Keep reading →

CORRECTED: Fixes Number of Minesweepers in US Ports 9:35 am 10/1/2012
Officially, despite rising tensions with Tehran, the enemy in in the international naval wargames that kicked off in the Gulf this week is not, repeat not, Iran: It’s radical environmentalists. Very, very well-armed environmentalists.

Against this fictional Greenpeace gone rogue are set the ships, aircraft, and divers from more than 20 nations, including an unprecedented concentration of Navy minesweepers, eight of which are now in the Gulf — a surge the Navy told Breaking Defense it cannot sustain long into 2013. Keep reading →

In the end, it was a near-run thing. The US-led coalition broke through to the refugee camps and began delivering aid. But their supply lines were stretched thin across land and sea, with an entire Army brigade embarked on rented cruise ships at one point. Ashore, the troops took heavy losses from local Islamic militants whom they never entirely defeated. In the end, indeed, it didn’t really end: US troops were left in the middle of a conflict that threatened to escalate to a wider regional war. It’s just that the wargamers ran out of time. Keep reading →

US ARMY WAR COLLEGE: It’s a week into the war, and things are getting ugly. Fifty American and allied troops are dead, four hundred are wounded — some in city fighting against Islamic militants, some when the surprisingly sophisticated foe shot down their aircraft with shoulder-fired missiles and anti-helicopter mines. Keep reading →

All this week, at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the Army is conducting the latest iteration of its annual wargame. In the fictional future of the game, set in 2020, 120 players will wage a two-front war in the two regions that have come to dominate US strategy, with one scenario set in the Middle East — which I’ll get to sit in on — and another in the Pacific — which is classified. In the real world of here and now, however, what’s at stake is how the largest but least glamorous of the four military services plays catch-up to the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marines in reinventing itself for the post-Afghanistan era. Keep reading →