Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Army of the West

America needs to leverage allied forces to build more ground combat capabilities.

I like this Army force structure initiative:

The end strength under NDAA FY17 helps the Army address force structure gaps by growing critical capabilities such as field artillery, short range air defense, critical logistical enablers, and security force assistance (SFA) capable units.

To address any future rapid expansion, the Army will build SFA units in order to focus on the advise and assist mission and preserve brigade combat team readiness. These units also serve as the backbone of new brigades if the Army is ever called to rapidly expand. [emphasis added]

The other capabilities are certainly much needed in a post-COIN world.

I like the SFA brigades especially both to avoid making regular brigade combat teams combat ineffective by using them as security force assistance units and as potential expansion units to enlarge the Army when needed.

I would expand the portfolio of missions for the SFA units by recruiting NATO (and other) countries with smaller units that could be plugged into these SFA brigades to become alliance brigade combat teams:

Couldn't we build a number of Cadre Brigade Combat Teams? These would be built around one of our recon squadrons, an artillery battalion, and a larger-than-usual headquarters component, plus logistic elements (perhaps mostly from the Reserves or National Guard). The idea would be that we could sweep up allied combat battalions (infantry or heavy) and plug two or three of them in to the CBCT. American troops from the larger headquarters element would then embed with the foreign battalion to allow them to plug into the American network. We'd need some way to equip at least a portion of the allied unit's vehicles and troops with blue force tracker. Perhaps our allies adopt it for some of their more capable units even as most of their militaries continue to be civil servants in uniform and more useful for soaking up unemployment than fighting.

NATO, which requires common standards for military operations, is the most natural source for such partner units.

We already pair state National Guards with foreign armies. All over the world.

Could SFA units broadened to Cadre Brigade Combat Teams include Army National Guard battalions and units of overseas partner nations under the active Army cadre brigade?

The Germans are integrating European units into a Germany+ army. Couldn't our Army do the same thing? And do it better?