Monday, December 31, 2018

Take Your Time, What's the Rush?

The Indian army (IA) published a new doctrine this month that calls for their army to create integrated battle groups for mobile warfare across multiple domains. Is India just adding the new "domain" buzzword to an older doctrine still being debated?

This seems so familiar:

[The] doctrine states that the IA will employ "composite" IBGs comprising a mix of five to six battalions to execute conventional combat operations for "greater flexibility in force application".

Each IBG, which would be larger than the existing 3,000 personnel-strong brigade but smaller than a 10,000-strong division, would be headed by a two-star officer and include infantry, armoured, artillery, air-defence, and support units, all of which would be backed by attack helicopters.

According to the doctrine, the IA's will also focus on developing cross-domain capabilities, facilitating enhanced jointness and integration among the three services, and optimising the available forces and resources "for effective and robust military responses in a future battlefield milieu".

And bonus points for the use of "milieu" in a doctrine publication.

But isn't this just basic combined arms and joint warfighting thinking updated for the "multi-domain" formulation that is all the rage lately?

And isn't this just an updated IBG organization idea from nine years ago that argued India could deny Pakistan the ability to identify and respond to a main Indian attack because India spreads out Indian armor across the front, denying India the ability to win a campaign even if the IBGs can win battles spread out over a large front?

Why would Pakistan be hard pressed to identify and fight any one of the integrated battle groups? Why would they need to? Pakistan could let their infantry formations on the border absorb the many weak blows (in the same manner that a bed of nails spreads out the force of all those pointy nails to the point that they don't penetrate skin) and attrite and halt the Indians, and then launch their own armored forces in a concentrated counter-attack that would drive into India to hit a pivot corps that has already been involved in trying to break through the frontier defenses for a battle group.

While I understand the need to win on the battlefield before international pressure can compel a halt to fighting, this strategy just aims to quickly fight on a broad front without the capability of winning anything of significance in that quick fight.

Seriously, if there is no main effort of course Pakistan can't deny the main effort.

An added angle is the talk about cross-border terrorism. Which indicates India's willingness to use ground forces in response to Pakistan's active support for terrorists attacking India, a desire that has been evident since the brazen 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

India has apparently been pondering reorganizing their armored formations for a long time to support their large number of infantry divisions.

But what the heck, organizational decisions don't need to happen fast given the dysfunctional procurement bureaucracy that India has which can't field weapons on anything but geological time frames, whether designed and built locally or purchased from abroad.