Friday, October 14, 2016

When Standing Your Ground Will Kill You

The Army Chief of Staff warned potential enemies that the United States Army will crush them if we must fight. But it will be a new environment. Which has interesting ramifications:

[General Mark Milley] warned that future warfare with a near-peer adversary will "be highly lethal, unlike anything our Army has experienced at least since World War II."

"Our formations will likely have to be small; we will have to move constantly," he said. "On the future battlefield, if you stay in one place for longer than two or three hours, you will be dead."

Despite the challenges, Milley said the Army will adapt to survive such a dangerous battlefield. [emphasis added]

How do you defend if you don't stay in one place for longer than a few hours and have to move constantly? This is way beyond just a mobile defense concept that concedes losing ground by thinly holding the front line and focuses on counter-attacking to restore the front.

The implication is that a future conventional battlefield is one of constant motion where forces are seeking out enemy forces to inflict deadly blows against them and moving on to seek out other enemy forces.

The implication is that rather than defending a front line, you let the enemy move forward, falling back before them to avoid them destroying us, while seeking to counter-attack their spearheads and then rip apart their support formations.

Which means that it would be foolish to deploy significant forces into the Baltic NATO states where they can be smashed by the Russian initial offensive. As I've argued, even without this vision of a future battlefield, our best defense there is to fall back, gather forces, and counter-attack.

The implication is that all Army forces must be equipped with nothing that requires you to drive a stake into the ground to anchor it because it is suicidal to stay in one place and become a target.

You will need to move around under a friendly surveillance grid that identifies where the enemy is while shutting down the enemy surveillance grid to allow your forces to be the shooters.

As a former signal soldier, I'll say that means you must have vehicles with radio masts that telescope from a vehicle rather than being placed in the ground, and you'd best not need to lay any cables--because you will die on the spot before you even set up your network.

Others can identify how their MOS will have to change.

No tents. Just vehicles. Constantly relocating. Protected by friendly combat forces constantly moving and searching for enemy forces to destroy them first.

Is that the future conventional battlefield? So when do the troops sleep? When the war is over?

Or do we rotate forces through the battle zone while allowing units to retire to far rear areas where getting some sleep isn't a death sentence?

Talk about a logistics nightmare.

Or maybe only robots or remotely controlled assets sit in one spot to defend. Perhaps that's how even the offensive units will have to operate.

The implications for the apparently simple statement that our units "will have to move constantly" are pretty radical.