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  1. #631

    More Munitions, Prepositioned Stocks Big Priorities, Says G-4

    (Source: US Army; issued March 10, 2017)

    WASHINGTON --- Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, Army G-4, identified for lawmakers the top two items the Army considers priorities for funding.

    The first is prepositioned stocks, he told the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Wednesday. Those stocks would be used by the combatant commanders for early-entry forces. Of immediate concern is filling the Army Prepositioned Stock 2 in Europe.

    The second big priority is munitions, he said. The Army is short of "preferred munitions." He explained that preferred munitions include those used for the Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems, as well as Hellfire missiles and Excalibur rounds used for howitzers.

    Piggee was joined on Capitol Hill by Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Army G-3/5/7, and Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, assistant chief of staff for Installation Management. All three testified at the hearing on "The Current State of U.S. Army Readiness."


    Anderson said he welcomed the growth of the total Army to 1,018,000, as authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017. "If funded, we will use these increases to fill gaps in our current formations to prevent the development of a hollow force," he said.

    Asked if that was a sufficient number of Soldiers, Anderson replied that he believes that the Army chief of staff said that 1.2 million "is the one that reduces us to moderate risk."

    Funding levels commensurate with the end-strength increase will enable the Army to invest in modernizing its equipment, he continued. "We deferred many modernization investments which allowed our competitors to gain advantages in such areas as fires, area missile defense and armor."

    The Army also would like to increase the number of combat training center rotations "from 19 starting in this fiscal year, up to 20 in FY20," he added.


    Installations also need a funding infusion. Bingham said 22 percent of installation facilities, or 33,000 structures are rated as in "poor and failing conditions." It would take $10.8 billion to fix them up.

    She added that about 20 percent of all facilities are categorized as "excess infrastructure," meaning that they're not being used or are underutilized, and maintaining those facilities costs money.

    "We still are favorable to a BRAC," she said, meaning a new round of Base Realignment and Closure. However, in historical terms, a round of BRAC only results in the removal of 4 to 5 percent excess capacity, so the Army would still hold a tremendous amount of excess infrastructure, she explained


    Asked about the impact of the Army civilian hiring freeze, Anderson replied that it affects "all things readiness -- going to war capabilities, from force protection, to training, to running ranges." To compensate, the Army has been forced to enlist Soldiers to perform duties usually performed by civilians. These "borrowed" Soldiers are missing out on their own training, he added.

    Bingham said the hiring freeze has impacted child development centers, particularly part-time child development services. However, no child development centers have yet closed.

    She added that the acting secretary of the Army has validated and approved over 5,000 exemptions to the hiring freeze.


  2. #632

    Large-scale land warfare takes center stage in new Army field manual

    By: Jen Judson, March 21, 2017

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Army’s newest capstone doctrine on how it fights in the present will focus on large-scale land warfare, Combined Arms Center commander Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy told Defense News.

    Lundy's organization, headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is the proponent for modernizing the force and is tasked with reforming service doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities and policy.

    He teased out some of the major elements of the field manual's organization in an interview at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium last week as the center prepares to publish the field manual this fall.

    “What we’ve been doing for the past 14 to 15 years -- even though we’ve been executing Unified Land Warfare -- over that time we haven’t been doing large-scale land warfare, so that is a very different focus than what we have,” Lundy said.

    The Army’s last field manual was released in 2008. It was focused on “Full Spectrum Operations,” which describes the Army having to not only focus on defeating enemies but, at the same time, shape the situation through operations that stabilize the contested area.

    Potential adversaries are looking a lot more like peers with equal capabilities and the ability to deny and deter freedom of movement in various domains, which means the Army is going to have to change the way it has grown accustomed to fighting -- mainly counter-insurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “When you look at threats that are emerging around the world and the potential adversaries that are out there -- North Korea has a pretty aggressive posture, activities going on around Europe and the South China Sea -- peer and regional adversaries are certainly of concern,” Lundy said.*

    So the field manual is laid out differently than the Army would normally lay out its doctrinal manuals that are focused, typically, on one specific area, according to Lundy.

    The doctrine looks through the lens of the Army’s operating concept, released two years ago, and also through the developing concept of “multi-domain battle,” Lundy said. The multi-domain battle concept defines how the service will operate in and influence all domains in conjunction with the other services.

    Therefore the new field manual will describe four strategic activities the Army must carry out for operational success, looking across “the entire joint phasing construct,” he said.

    The manual will provide operational instruction on how to shape, prevent, win and consolidate gains to achieve sustainable outcomes, Lundy said. And these four phases of operation are not meant to be conducted in order, or even at different or separate times.

    “Shaping happens throughout” an operation, Lundy explained. The Army would help in “shaping those day-to-day activities that we need to be doing today in the region,” he added. And as the force is shaping an environment or a situation, the Army could be conducting operations to prevent something from happening. The winning phase is just a measure of success to be used along the way, whether the service is shaping, preventing or consolidating gains. Consolidating gains can also happen throughout a given operation, not only at the end, Lundy explained.

    The manual will acknowledge there is a physical aspect to operations, but also a cognitive one, Lundy said, such as “how do you deal with the local populations."

    The manual also approaches operations on a much broader, extended battlefield, Lundy said. While the Air-Land Battle concept from many years ago broaches operations on a wider battlefield, the new doctrine includes geographical elements, but also “the temporal aspects,” he said. “It’s not just the time and relation to the enemy, but also it’s the time and relation to being able to get an effect” or a certain outcome.

    This comes into play in terms of such activities as information operations. “You can’t really go, ‘Hey, on this day at noon, I want to have this effect.’ And it’s hard for people to perceive these longer horizons of how long it takes for an effect to be seen or to happen or to assess your effect,” Lundy said.

    There’s also a “virtual” aspect to the manual, “which really gets into the whole thought of cyber and there are multiple pieces of that,” he noted.

    The manual will be out “for world-wide staff” in April, according to Lundy. “We are pretty close to being complete with the foundational writing and we are doing a lot of editing and cleanup now, so it’s on track.”

  3. #633

    New Army Unit To Test Tactics: Meet The Multi-Domain Task Force

    By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

    on March 21, 2017 at 2:07 PM

    Gen. Mark Milley

    WASHINGTON: The Army is creating an experimental combat unit to develop*new tactics for lethally fast-paced future battlefields. The Multi-Domain Task Force will be “a relatively small organization…1,500 or so troops,” the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told the Future of Warfare conference here this morning. While small,*it will have capabilities not found in the building block of today’s Army, the 4,000-strong brigade. “That organization will be capable of space, cyber, maritime, air, and ground warfare,” he said, extending its reach into all domains of military operations to support the Air Force, Navy, and Marines.

    “It’s got a bunch of capabilities, and that’s what we’re going to play with to figure out what’s the right mix,” Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the deputy chief of staff for operations (G-3/5/7), told reporters at last week’s Association of the US Army conference. “It’s got some aviation. It’s got some maneuver. It’s got signal. It’s got cyber.” In English, that means it has helicopters, infantry and/or tanks, communications troops, and technical troops to protect (and perhaps attack) computer networks. By contrast, a typical Army brigade today, a much larger formation, has maneuver and signal, but no helicopters or hackers.

    The eventual goal of this experimentation may be permanent units that are so self-sufficient. The old Cold War-era Armored Cavalry Regiments had their own in-house helicopters, as well as tanks, signallers and supply to conduct reconnaissance at high speeds over large areas in the face of armed opposition. Army reformers from Doug MacGregor to H.R. McMaster, both veterans of ACRs, have seen these self-sufficient units as a potential model for future forces. The Army recently explored reviving them, but “we don’t have the stuff to build it,” in particular the helicopters, Anderson said.

    “There’s still not consensus about what this thing” — the revived ACR or Reconnaissance-Strike Group — “should look like, how big it should be,” said Anderson. “That doesn’t mean we’re not going to keep striving to build that kind of capability….I think in the meantime this Multi-Domain Task Force may provide pieces, parts, of what that RSG was going to be.”

    Why the drive for smaller units with a wider range of capabilities? The Army increasingly worries that big units will just be big targets. Russia and China, in particular, have developed their own smart missiles, plus the sensors to find targets and the networks to coordinate strikes. These Anti-Access/Area Denial*(A2/AD) systems have the range and accuracy to potentially make wide areas of Europe and Asia — including the territory of allies like the Baltics, Poland, and South Korea — a deadly no-go zone for conventional US forces.

    “There are several nations around the world who have developed very complex, very sophisticated Anti-Access/Area Denial sort of capabilities,” Milley said. “Obviously Russia and China, to a lesser extent Iran and North Korea…. That A2/AD structure is highly lethal and operating inside that structure, in large formations, will also get you killed.”

    “So smaller dispersed, very agile, very nimble organizations — that are networked into other lethal systems that delivered by either air or maritime forces — will be essential to rip apart the A2/AD networks,” Milley said. “These organizations would be highly lethal, very fast, very difficult to pin down on a battlefield.”

    The Army can’t maneuver this way today, emphasized Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, the logistician heading the Europe-based 21st Theater Sustainment Command. “We don’t have the mission command capabilities that can do that. We don’t have the sustainment capabilities,” he told me at AUSA. “But where we’re getting the reps in is widely dispersed operations at the company level, sometimes at the platoon level, training with our allies, and we’re learning the vulnerabilities of our heavy formations (i.e. tank units). Their internal logistics are designed to operate in battalion sectors… So all that is informing what we need to do in the future.”

    Not everyone is excited. At the AUSA conference in Huntsville, an analyst, historian and top aide to Milley’s predecessor, retired Col. David Johnson, warns we may have already overloaded Brigade Combat Team commanders with too many capabilities that once were managed by divisions or even corps. “The BCT has become the division… the focal point of just about everything. We ought to challenge that assertion,” Johnson said. “Should we keep pushing capabilities down to the BCT or relook the role of divisions and corps, and focus the brigade on the close fight?”

    AirLand Battle’s geographical division of responsibility.

    The head of Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC),*Gen. David Perkins*answers: “You’re (still) going to have to have echelons of command that synchronize and deconflict.*That won’t change — but how those responsibilities and authorities are divided may have to. A whole generation of Army leaders grew up with Airland Battle doctrine’s clear demarcations between the close fight, conducted by short-range weapons; the deep fight, conducted by Air Force strikes, attack helicopters, and ATACMS missiles; and the supposedly safe rear area.

    “A lot of it was determined by range of weapons. It was determined by physics, it was determined by geography, (e.g.) here’s a bridge crossing, who’s in charge of it?” Perkins told me at AUSA. “What we’re finding with multi-domain battle (is) that construct doesn’t work…. What’s the range of cyber?…You can’t define the battlefield framework by the range and/or limit of your weapons.”

    “What we tried to do with a two-dimensional construct, AirLand Battle, was impose some order on the chaos that is battle, I own this part of chaos, you own this part of chaos,” Perkins said. “Now… instead of trying to control chaos, we have to thrive in it.”

  4. #634

    Battle For Army’s Soul Resumes: Lessons From Army After Next

    By Bob Scales

    on March 28, 2017 at 3:36 PM

    History never repeats, but it often rhymes, and a wise man listens to the echoes. Today, the Army is exploring a new concept of future combat called Multi Domain Battle, which calls for small, agile units designed to*overwhelm the enemy with coordinated actions not only on the land, but in the air, on the sea, and in space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. For old defense hands (that’s us), many of these new ideas echo those explored two decades ago, during an innovative effort known as Army After Next (AAN). So we reached out to Bob*Scales, the former head of AAN, retired two-star general, commandant of the Army War College, and recipient of the Silver Star for valor in Vietnam. In this essay, Scales lays out what the Army needs to learn from history, and what it should beware. Read on. The Editors.

    This year is the twenty-fifth that I’ve been practicing the dark art of future-gazing. I came to the mission very reluctantly in 1991, when the then-Chief of Staff of the Army,*Gen. Gordon Sullivan, entrusted me with writing the Army’s official version of the Gulf War, Certain Victory. As expected, I touted the virtues of Norman Schwarzkopf’s “Great Wheel” maneuver across the sands of Iraq and Kuwait. But I left the project bothered by the fact that, perhaps, I might have inadvertently reinforced the past rather than fostering the future.

    The long shadow of my poorly stated thesis in Certain Victory, which professed the enduring primacy of armored warfare, is with us still. I see it in the writings of the powerful apostles of the Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), who continue to believe in the eternal goodness of great tank formations, even though history left the ACR-based Army in its own dusty tracks decades ago. (Editor’s note: Among the premier advocates of tank warfare are Doug MacGregor, an influential defense consultant and member of the Breaking D Board of Contributors, and Tom Donnelly at the American Enterprise Institute.)

    My epiphany came three years later, when in 1995 another Chief of Staff, Gen. Dennis Reimer, gave me the mission of looking into the deep future of warfare, beyond 2025. As head of the Army After Next (AAN) project, I had access to an enormously talented group of young officers, many of whom are still doing great work today. With the assistance of my deputy, Col. Bob Killebrew, we invented the Army’s first strategic game, which continues today in heavily modified form as Unified Quest.

    AAN was a magic time. To quote Bob Killebrew: “We never stopped slam-bang arguments over the direction of land warfare that rattled the windows at Fort Monroe. We were secure enough to tolerate and encourage a kind of no-holds-barred intellectual combat that raged inside TRADOC’s doctrine directorate from 1995-97, when rank bowed to ideas and bureaucracy to improvisation, risky experimentation and, very occasionally, success.”

    My team spent two unfettered years looking into the variables that cause armies to change. We wrote a “history of the future” that postulated a conflict environment outside the confines of Western Europe.*Out of AAN came a new thesis, one that concluded that the age of massed mechanized warfare was over. In its place came a different force, one based on speed of strategic movement over great distances, with tactical combat centered on forces of all arms fighting in discrete formations.

    While the “base element of maneuver” might have been a division in World War II and a brigade in Desert Storm, perhaps by 2025 it might be a company of all arms, possessing the power to employ every dimension of ground combat from maneuver to fires, reconnaissance, logistics, and the control of all external amplifiers.

    We envisioned an army elevated into the third dimension, with many, if not most, of its primary combat functions performed using manned and unmanned aerial vehicles. We foresaw the power of information science in war. (We even came up with the idea of a “digital warehouse,” symbolically encased in a “cloud,” in which reposed all data essential for battle; too bad we didn’t patent it….). We envisioned an “unblinking eye” that would hover over a fighting force, protecting it from tactical surprise and delivering deadly fires within seconds.

    We concluded that the precision revolution was still immature in 1997. The so-called Revolution in Military Affairs never happened. Shock and Awe did not work at the tactical level. Big bombs were inefficient at killing little targets that numbered in the thousands. So we envisioned a revolution in “miniature precision” that put tank-killing power in the hands of every infantry soldier.

    Our studies reinforced the truism that Americans were increasingly sensitive to the sight of dead US soldiers. So we postulated that a layered mass of sensors and killing systems might kill the enemy outside the “red zone,” beyond the range of the enemy’s tactical weapons.

    Our vision of the battlefield morphed from Desert Storm style “objective-based” maneuver to one centered on area control. When we graphed out the dynamics of an area control maneuver force, it took on an amoebic shape, sort of like brigade-sized autonomous blobs that moved principally by air, disconnected from its logistical umbilical cord.

    Our greatest conundrum was firepower. We accepted three immutable facts. First, friendly casualties could be mitigated with additional doses of precision firepower.* Second, the lighter the unit, the more firepower it needs to maneuver with fewest casualties. And third: artillery is very heavy. In Desert Storm, it comprised over 60 percent of a division’s weight.

    Our challenge was to increase the killing effects of firepower while decreasing its weight.* We solved the problem conceptually by envisioning a wide assortment of small precision missiles contained in boxes that could be fired remotely by the thousands. We reinforced these “rockets in a box” with a constellation of orbiting armed drones capable of killing a mass of targets within seconds.

    Technology alone would not be enough. During AAN we coined the phrase “The Human Dimension” to anticipate the power of human intangibles in war. I was personally captured by the prospect that enormous advances in the human, cultural, behavioral and cognitive sciences might allow us to make a fighting man enormously more capable in the close fight — and psychologically hardened to the horrors of combat.

    Bob Killebrew was an old hand at joint warfare and believed the tenets that drove “jointness” during the Cold War were obsolete. He came up with a new level of fighting intimacy he termed “interdependence.” Interdependent forces would decrease organizational friction, while increasing layers of complexity in a fighting force to include all arms, all services and non-military entities all fighting the same fight. Today the Army calls it Multi Domain Warfare. What’s in a phrase?

    AAN never disappeared, it just went dormant — for three reasons.*First, of course, was 911. It became very difficult for the Army to envision future conventional warfare as al Qaeda was killing 100 soldiers a week. Our vision of fast, information-laden fighting vehicles gave way to very heavy vehicles whose sole purpose was to protect soldiers from IEDs.

    The cancelled FCS artillery vehicle

    Second, the Army was too quick to operationalize our ideas. Simply put, technologies such as electronic miniaturization, the global network, robotics, drones, sensors, micro-precision, active protection, and virtual simulation were just too immature in the late nineties to allow the tenets of AAN to be properly materialized. Depending as it did on unrealized technological breakthroughs, the Future Combat System was a premature birth.

    Third, ACR gurus hated AAN. The successful march to Baghdad in 2003 gave them an infusion of doctrinal adrenalin that led them to oppose the creation of a lighter Army. Of course, by 2006 al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS had put paid to the ACR resurgence, but by then AAN, and its materiel spawn, the Future Combat System, was dead.

    But there’s good news today. During the past few years the tenets of AAN seem to be resurrecting themselves. Themes like Multi Domain Warfare (interdependence in other words…), the Human Domain of warfare, robotic warfare, among others, are warming the hearts of retired AAN warriors. Fear of radical change within the Army — prompted by the collapse of FCS — seems to be dissipating, as younger and intellectually gifted officers think deeply about war beyond the fading images of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Three fighting forces in particular are experimenting with some form of AAN today.

    First, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) clearly leads the world in implementing many of the tenets of AAN. Their special brand of airborne maneuver was dramatically demonstrated during the early days in Afghanistan, where a small elite Special Operations force hopscotched across hundreds of miles of alien terrain to collapse the Taliban. The sight of B-52 bombers cutting figure eights in the sky as they dropped tons of precision weapons in direct support of elite JSOC teams mirrored exactly how we thought fire support would evolve in the future. In subsequent years, JSOC’s remarkable use of surveillance and intelligence collection technology serves as an analog for how a conventional AAN force might operate some day.

    A second, unlikely, player is Russia. Putin’s Little Green Men mirror our ideas with remarkable fidelity. In the Crimea, Ukraine and Syria Russia put in the field interdependent, information-enabled, dismounted small units built around a fighting elite composed of GRU Spetsnaz, Naval Infantry, and other Special Forces. The Russians employ electronic warfare, information operations, drones and disinformation in a remarkably creative, capable and cost-effective manner. An AAN-like approach to tactical warfare allows Putin to match limited tactical actions to a similarly limited strategic end, with very little loss of Russian life.

    The third player is the Marine Corps. In 2003, I wrote Yellow Smoke. At the time it was a compendium of all my thoughts about AAN. It had an immediate impact within the Corps. A succession of senior Marine leaders, from Mike Hagee to James Mattis and now Robert Neller, have studied and successfully applied many of the lessons of the book in combat and in subsequent field experiments. The Marines continue their interest in an AAN-like force as evidenced by their recent adoption of several new ideas contained in my follow-on book, Scales on War. Their success applying tenets of AAN are too numerous to recount here. Suffice it to say that the soul of AAN may have started out in the Post-Cold War Army, but it resides today in the Marine Corps.

    What about the Army? I’m optimistic. To be sure, future-gazers inside the Army’s training establishment are still wedded to wars on the plains of Europe, and Russian actions in Ukraine give them full reason to re-refocus there. But according to the Army’s latest concept, Multi Domain Battle, future war on land has come to embrace much more than Patton’s armored phalanxes. The Army is increasingly aware that wars will continue to consist of interdependent layers of complexity that demand new approaches.

    Many in the Army agree that land war will continue to move into the third dimension and that it will embrace many more interdependent components from a multitude of services and functions. The Army has accepted the fact that America’s demand for nearly bloodless wars will require land forces to win cheaply by finding and killing our enemies at a distance.*The sad images of soldiers suffering from wartime trauma reinforce our notions that soldiers can be made better and more resilient through practical application of the human sciences.

    I believe the validity of an idea strengthens as it conveys over time. We must gain some confidence in the fact that many of today’s emerging ideas have clearly defined antecedents. Please look a bit closer at these ideas. Perhaps you will see that the art of war changes slowly. But as it changes, it leaves behind distinct markers that have already been discovered — discovered by a remarkable group of visionaries who, at a magical time in our history two decades ago, anticipated much of what we see today and surely much of what is to come.
    Last edited by buglerbilly; 29-03-17 at 06:38 AM.

  5. #635

    Next-gen combat vehicle prototype efforts emerge

    By: Jen Judson, March 29, 2017 (Photo Credit: Spc. Charles Probst / Fort Irwin Operations Group)

    DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — The Army’s efforts to prototype capabilities for a possible next-generation combat vehicle are taking shape as a collaborative endeavor between industry and the service, according to the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center’s project manager for next-generation combat vehicle prototyping.

    Todd Thomas told Defense News in an interview Monday that the Army would meet with industry Wednesday to convey the way ahead for a prototyping effort that will kick off this calendar year with the goal of building a prototype by fiscal year 2022, followed by operational evaluation by soldiers in 2023.

    The Army is asking industry to form teams and deliver proposals outlining what each team believes offers the best set of capabilities for an NGCV, Thomas said.

    TARDEC will then award a contract to the best team around September, he said.

    Then the industry team and TARDEC will together design, develop and test a prototype over a seven-year period. The contract will cover an overarching scope of work, and the service will issue work directives based on needs that need to be fulfilled throughout the life of the contract.

    The Army and the industry team will develop two identical prototypes that will be focused “right now” toward an infantry fighting vehicle.

    Col. William Nuckols, the director of the mounted requirements division at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, said late last year the service will assess what the next-generation combat vehicle might look like. Considerations include whether it should be developed as an infantry fighting vehicle or a single combat vehicle that replaces the Abrams, the Bradley and potentially the Mobile Protected Firepower platform or the Stryker.

    Thomas said the infantry fighting vehicle design will be based on a “squad-centric, mounted maneuver concept” that provides for a two-man crew and six dismounted soldiers, splitting the squad among two vehicles, “so they are going to be operating mounted as they would operate dismounted in fires teams.”

    Experimenting with splitting the squad will be useful as the Army struggled in a previous attempt to field a new combat ride -- the Ground Combat Vehicle -- to fit the entire squad in one platform without growing the vehicle to an unmanageable size.

    TARDEC is also applying lessons learned from the failed Future Combat Systems program by prototyping in a more phased approach.

    “We are starting with the basics, where we know we really need to address certain capability needs, and we are starting in providing leap-ahead capabilities” in power, mobility, survivability and lethality, according to Thomas.

    The Army has mission-enablers it would like to examine such as improved closed-hatch driving and identification, improved distributed operations at the squad and platoon level, improved 360-degree situational awareness and hostile fire detection, Thomas said.

    In a March 22 Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee hearing, Lt. Gen. John Murray, deputy chief of staff of the Army's financial management branch (G-8), warned, “We need to be careful about what technologies we count on and when we go down this [NGCV] path so we don’t end up with another program we cannot deliver.”

    TARDEC’s plan is to design a “1.0” prototype and three to four years later bring in other technologies that are ready and aligned with the NGCV into a “2.0” prototype and so on, according to Thomas.

    “I think this is a strategy the Army has been missing since before FCS when we quit prototyping, which has been one of our biggest reasons for probably the recent failures that we’ve seen starting with FCS and then followed by GCV,” he said.

    The goal, according to the Army, would be to field an NCGV by 2035, if it chooses to go that route. Fiscal 2022 will be a critical decision point for the Army on whether to move forward into a program of record for an NGCV or if it wants to continue to focus on upgrades to the current fleet of vehicles.

  6. #636

    Army speeds up future Modular Active Protection System for combat vehicles

    By: Jen Judson, April 6, 2017 (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Antonio Vincent / 3rd Infantry Division)

    Detroit Arsenal, Mich. -- The Army is speeding up development work on its future Modular Active Protection System for combat vehicles.

    As the service works on expediting interim solutions for combat vehicle Active Protection Systems, officials are simultaneously ramping up some of the first MAPS tests using soft-kill countermeasures. There is also a plan to begin using the first prototypes of a common controller toward the end of the year. Once the common controller is available, the Army will begin “layered testing,” mixing both soft-kill and hard-kill countermeasures, Col. Glenn Dean told Defense News in a March 27 interview at the Detroit Arsenal in Michigan.

    Dean, who is the project manager for the Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team, has also been tasked with helping to execute force protection efforts.

    The first phase of MAPS development will be completed in 2019, Erik Kallio, assistant associate director for Ground Systems Survivability, said in the same interview.

    The Army is in the process of bridging near-term, off-the-shelf APS characterization work into the MAPS effort and then into a long-term program of record -- the Vehicle Protection System (VPS) -- in 2018. A future product manager has already been identified, Dean said.

    A year and a half ago, Lt. Gen. Michael Williamson, the Army’s military deputy to the acquisition chief at the time, challenged the Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Detroit, to move faster on the MAPS program.

    Originally MAPS would be developed over an eight-year period before any capability would be fielded, Dean said.

    The Army had previously looked at a number of off-the-shelf systems, but each time the service examined a possible capability, it was determined the system was not ready for combat, and “we kind of defaulted back to the technology development path that we were on,” Dean said.

    But to meet Williamson’s challenge, TARDEC decided to do more work on MAPS in parallel with the interim APS solution efforts.

    The idea is not to scrap the interim solutions when MAPS comes online. Since MAPS is being developed as an open architecture system with a common controller, the best technology from off-the-shelf APS systems the Army is examining now could feed directly into its own program, according to Dean.

    “We said if the off-the-shelf systems perform adequately and the impacts to the platform are acceptable, you potentially have a path to field something very, very soon and eventually you can fold in the technology that you are developing, so it gives us a path,” Dean said. “And if you are not happy with the off-the-shelf performance, you haven’t lost anything and the MAPS program and VPS have gained a tremendous amount of insight into what are the challenges going to be ahead applying that technology.”

    The bulk of the expedited APS activity takes place this year with decisions on the way forward expected in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018.

    The Army is currently characterizing three APS systems on Abrams tanks, Strykers and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles. The three systems are Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Trophy, Israeli Military Industry’s Iron Fist and U.S.-based Artis Corporation’s Iron Curtain.

    The service would like to look at other APS systems such as Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System should funding become available, Dean said.

    In order to move quickly the Army isn’t integrating the APS systems onto the vehicles, which would include software integration work that is too complex and time-consuming, treating the technology more as an applique, which still provides effective capability, Dean said.

    Characterization on the vehicles is just as important as learning APS capabilities because it informs what impacts to the platform’s performance might exist, he added.

    For instance, Bradley is “the most challenged vehicle in our combat fleet in terms of size, weight and power; it’s a small platform, has a lot of payload and is very tightly packed,” Dean said.

    In its current configuration, the Bradley could not host an off-the-shelf APS capability, so the Army is working with what it’s calling a “Franken-Bradley,” with improved power generation in order for it to handle the APS, according to Dean. The improved power comes in the next engineering change proposal -- the A4 program.

    Because of the Bradley’s current configuration, Dean noted, an APS system for that vehicle might not be able to be fielded until it can be worked into Bradley A4s.

    “Understanding what your margins are in terms of power, in terms of weight, what is the system going to do to your ability to engage and track targets,” whether the APS radar interferes with jammers or radio systems -- those are all factors for consideration in the decision process later this year, Dean said.

    “When we reach that decision point,” he said, “a decision could be, ‘Hey, this system doesn’t work on this vehicle, but system B, maybe we want to move it over and evaluate that or bring on system D or E that we haven’t started work on yet.”

    Even if the Army decides to buy an APS system now, he added, “the core of what we are doing in MAPS is really to give the Army flexibility in how it procures APS in the future.”

  7. #637

    Short-Range Air Defense Tops Review of Army Programs, G-8 Says

    (Source: US Army; issued April 05, 2017)

    A Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Missile gun, a type of short-range air defense system, fires during a weapons test at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. SHORAD capability has become a top priority for the Army. (US Army photo)

    WASHINGTON --- Last year the Army kicked off an effort called the Strategic Portfolio Analysis and Review, or SPAR, to review 780 programs and evaluate their impact on warfighting.

    Now, said Lt. Gen. John M. Murray, deputy chief of staff, Army G-8, that effort has been completed. Topping the list of most important programs to emphasize for the Army is "maneuverable, protected, short-range air defense" capability.

    Primarily, Murray said, SHORAD's ranking at the top has been in response to what's being seen in the Ukraine, and also comes as a result of the Army's de-emphasis on that capability.

    "We have not worried about air defense in years because we had the best air defense system in the world: the U.S. Air Force."

    Murray told a room full of defense industry representatives in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, March 28, that the Air Force may not be as effective in the anti-access area-denial environment as once assumed. That, coupled with a proliferation of unmanned aerial systems and the fact the Army has not invested anything in SHORAD in years, Murray said, makes SHORAD a top priority for the Army.

    As part of the SPAR, a total of 780 existing programs were evaluated by the Army and were categorized according to their contribution to the Army's warfighting capability. Those categories included:
    -- Accelerate or find a way to bring into the portfolio.
    -- Sustain at current level of resources.
    -- Reallocate resources to invest elsewhere.
    -- Divest most or all resources.

    Ultimately, the future of Army programs will not be decided by the SPAR, but will be decided by the decisions of senior Army leadership, who are informed by findings of the SPAR, Murray said. It's expected the SPAR will be a yearly process.

    Other programs that top the list of importance to the Army, Murray said, include long-range precision fires; buying out munition requirements, meaning ensuring there are enough mentions to fire for the weapons systems the Army has; lethality, mobility and protection of combat systems, such as for the Bradley and Abrams, as well as acceleration of the armored multi-purpose vehicle; active-protection systems for air and ground systems; ensured position navigation and timing; electronic warfare; both offensive and defensive cyber capabilities; assured communications; and vertical lift.

    Murray said the Army is now considering several active-protection systems, known as APS, including the "Trophy" system from Israel, which he said "has a great reputation in terms of being effective."

    He said the Army bought a number of Trophy systems, and a number of another kind of system as well, to evaluate them, including one called "Iron Fist," also from Israel, and another from a U.S.-based manufacturer called "Iron Curtain."

    He said the Army aims to put Iron Curtain on a Stryker, Iron Fist on a Bradley, and Trophy on an Abrams tank, to evaluate their effectiveness.

    "The one that is farthest along in terms of installing it is ... Trophy on Abrams," he said. "We're getting some pretty ... good results. It adds to the protection level of the tank. Trophy has an interesting capability, slew to cue. We're finding that we can incorporate that into the installation on the Abrams."

    Iron Fist on the Bradley is also "moving along," he said. Though he cited a problem with installing the system on the Bradley, due to the size, weight, and power requirements of the system, plus the amount of space available on top of the turret of the Bradley

    APS systems, he said come with additional considerations. In particular, he said, are considerations for the safety of Soldiers alongside the vehicles who are dismounted.

    "As we do this, the interesting thing is going to be safety concerns," he said. "Anything that shoots off an armored vehicle, 'x' amount of meters, and makes something blow up, is not good for the integrated dismounted/mounted operations. So we have some concerns about tactics, techniques, and procedures and how we adjust those."

    Murray also cited resistance to the primary purpose of having an APS, which is to reduce passive armor. He said there's a trust issue there with such systems.

    "There has to be a level of trust in whatever it is that you're trying [to use] to displace that passive armor," Murray said, adding that he's not sure Soldiers right now trust the protection offered by an APS enough to lose the passive armor that is currently on systems.

    "I struggle with when we start significant money in the next-generation tank, based upon a breakthrough in armor technology," he said. "I want a material that is three-quarters the weight or half the weight but offers the same level of protection. If we start building a new tank tomorrow, seven years from now, we'd have a new tank and it'd weigh 75 tons. We'd put the same level of protection on it. Even with enhanced situational awareness, even with the APS."


  8. #638

    Iraq: Proving Ground For Multi-Domain Battle

    By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

    on April 27, 2017 at 6:25 PM

    Iraqi Army soldiers training in January 2017.

    ARMY WAR COLLEGE: The brutal ground war in Iraq holds vital lessons for sophisticated future operations in the Pacific, Australian Maj. Gen. Roger Noble said today. Military pundits often draw a sharp distinction between what they consider low-tech warfare against irregular forces, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, and high-tech war against states like China and Russia.

    But when Noble went from a tour in Iraq last year to the Hawaii headquarters of US Army Pacific, he said, the cutting-edge concepts of Multi-Domain Battle that USARPAC is experimenting with forcefully reminded him of coalition operations against Daesh, the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

    Maj. Gen. Roger Noble, Australian Army

    “Last year, we saw the future,” Noble told the Army War College here. “We came back and read Multi-Domain Battle (and thought) ‘we saw version 1.0 in Iraq.'”

    Multi-Domain Battle calls on the services to break out of their traditional comfort zones and extend their reach into each other’s domains so they can support each other and attack the enemy from multiple angles at once. That requires the military to develop not only new weapons — from cyber tools like Stuxnet to shore-based anti-ship missiles — but new systems of command, control, and communication to bring the disparate efforts together.

    That’s already happening in Iraq, Noble argued. As Iraqi ground forces grind down the Islamic State, they receive not only explosively visible assistance from US airstrikes and artillery, but also invisible support from many nations. While the Australian general was naturally cagey about details, between his remarks and our informed speculation, we can say that support probably included satellite and signals intelligence, electronic jamming, computer hacking*and targeted propaganda.

    “Capabilities are now globally sourced, so global capabilities were employed tactically inside Iraq… from all of the domains,” Noble said. “A battalion of the Iraqi army may be supported by coalition national strategic assets — and that battalion may be completely oblivious to that.”

    “I can’t go into any detail, but in one battalion attack, you had EW (electronic warfare), IO (information operations), cyber, leaflets!” Noble told me after his public remarks. “Plus all the normal stuff, kinetic fires (e.g. airstrikes). We were able to put it together in a package that had such an influence on them that they responded by leaving…. The enemy withdrew.”

    “I’ve never seen” so many complex, high-echelon assets — “pretty much every capability that there is” — helping out at such a low tactical level, Noble said. “Some of those were coalition capabilities, and some of them were not military capabilities, so the challenge becomes, how do you synchronize all that together? And there’s no doctrine for that.” (The smart people building Multi-Domain Battle are working on this, but it’s still a nascent concept — not yet fully elaborated Army doctrine).

    Army tactical cyber team at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. The US military is just beginning to figure out how to apply these high-tech tools at the lowest tactical levels.

    Too Secret To Use?

    “One of the issues is operational security and intelligence,” Noble said. “There are a lot of capabilities that you just can’t talk about. One of the questions we’ve got to ask ourselves is how do we talk about them a bit more (to coalition partners), at the same time protecting them.” Even in his current job, as an Australian soldier — a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance with the US — serving as a deputy commander in US Army Pacific, he occasionally wrangles with whatever poor lieutenant has been tapped as Foreign Disclosure Officer over what documents he’s allowed to read, Noble said to rueful laughter from the War College audience.

    Such bureaucratic obstacles seem comic only until they’re tragic. One member of the coalition may have a powerful capability that could save lives, but secrecy could prevent it ever being used: “You can’t use something if you don’t know it’s there,” he said.

    Much of the discussion about future information-sharing revolves around computer networks that can tag each item of data and each user to know who from what country has access to what secrets. In Iraq today, Noble said, the solution is people. You try to put together the right staff officers and keep them in the loop so that, even if you don’t know a capability exists, someone who does know will hear about your problem.

    Sometimes they’ll speak up and offer their help. But secrecy can be so strong, Noble said, “sometimes they don’t even tell you, but they do it, and then they tell you afterwards — or they don’t tell you ever.”

    So the Iraqi battalion on the ground isn’t the only one that can be “oblivious” to all the capabilities being employed behind the scenes on its behalf. Coalition commanders might not know, either. Getting some kind of concerted effort out of all the independent and often rival parties around Mosul, in particular, was an exercise in “herding cats,” Noble told the War College audience. And it wasn’t just the Kurds vs. Arabs and Shia vs. Sunni that risked running afoul of one another, he said: “How do you get the cyber organizations of 19 countries not to commit fratricide?”

    In many cases, “we had no authority or even situational awareness” about what various actors were up to, Noble said. “(You) need a unifying and systematic approach… to allow those cats to support you and to self-synchronize with the plan if you have no authorities over them.”

    That’s a problem no amount of computer programming or clever networking will solve: It takes a human touch. If Multi-Domain Battle is to be more than a US-only show, it has to build on the hard-won coalition-building skills US officers learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  9. #639

    Army Chief’s Thinktank Studies Major War

    By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

    on May 01, 2017 at 2:16 PM

    US and Hungarian forces exercise in Lithuania.

    ARMY WAR COLLEGE: If you want to know what the Army Chief of Staff is thinking, don’t just ask around the Pentagon. Drive a couple hours north through rural Pennsylvania — passing the Gettysburg battlefield on the way — to the Army War College here in quiet Carlisle.

    An institution whose influence has waxed and waned over the years, today’s War College has become Gen. Mark Milley’s personal thinktank, getting bigger*budgets — a rarity in today’s Army — to study urgent issues of great power war. Recent wargames include one on fighting an unspecified “near-peer” power and another on how to mobilize the entire Army Reserve and National Guard for all-out conflict. The War College will run another near-peer wargame in June when Chief of Staff Milley convenes much of the general officer corps, including all 3- and 4-stars, for his Senior Leader Readiness forum.

    “I think the Chief is really pushing…a near-peer wargame because there are some capability gaps that we have to address, and some of those capability gaps exist between the ears of our senior leaders,”*Maj. Gen. William Rapp, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who’s served as War College commandant *since 2014, said. “Counterinsurgency… that’s all my students really know. They are not products of the ’90s where we just did rotation after rotation against a near peer threat in the NTC (National Training Center).”

    “General Milley… he is leaning on the War College to help him think through some of his really tough issues,” Rapp told me in an interview. “Currently, the Army outsources the vast majority of its thinking to thinktanks. We are giving the chief — us and other organizations — the ability to insource thinking.”

    Milley has assigned the War College eight major projects: great power war; the Third Offset Strategy for high-tech conflict; strategic risk assessment; Defense Department reform; strategy & planning; global presence and crisis response; the Asia-Pacific rebalance; and building up partner nations in Africa. The Third Offset study alone involves 14 students, all experienced officers, writing papers, briefings, and a full-length book on the operational, institutional, leadership, and ethical implications for the force of 2035-2050. But, because the War College faculty and students doing the projects are already funded by the Army payroll, *Rapp said, “We’re doing them at less than a tenth the cost (of) RAND Arroyo,” for example.

    Working real-world Army priorities is also a good education for the up-and-coming colonels who make up the War College student body, most of them expert tacticians and technicians who are relatively new to strategy, Rapp and his faculty told me. “It helps our students get involved in the really tough issues that are important to the chief.”

    The Sleeper Awakens

    The Army War College wasn’t always so plugged in. At times, it’s had a reputation as a sleepy place, outside the rushing mainstream of military life, where colonels bound for the general-officer ranks could “take a knee” and rest between high-powered assignments. After years of reporting only to the Chief of Staff, it was folded under the powerful Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC) by 2003 — a move reversed 10 years later to bring it directly under Milley’s predecessor, Gen. Ray Odierno.

    Today, the War College is independent of TRADOC but works closely with it. Rapp is dual-hatted as a vice-chancellor of TRADOC’s Army University, for example. The War College frequently acts as a “subcontractor” for TRADOC projects, such as the annual Unified Quest wargames exploring future conflict: Once run by contractors, they’re now led by War College students who spend a semester preparing to role play commanders, chiefs of staff, and other senior officers in simulated HQs. This year’s UQ scenario, incidentally, will be another major war against a nameless near-peer adversary that sounds an awful lot like Russia.

    The War College also ran the first of several “mobilization games” exploring how to call up every soldier in the Army Reserve and National Guard at once for a massive, prolonged conflict. “The country hasn’t done a full mobilization since the Second World War,” Rapp said. “Could we replicate the miracle of ’42? I’d say, not right now, no.” The game identified multiple shortfalls from mobilization sites to procedures to railway capacity, all of which would require more thinking and more funding to fix. And that’s just “full mobilization,” Rapp told me: “Total mobilization” — a draft — is ” even a more difficult problem.”

    The War College doesn’t only deal with hypothetical problems. It also sends advisors out to the military’s combatant commanders around the world, for example helping Pacific Command to draft campaign plans and the Nigerian army to stand up its own war college “It keeps our faculty at the forefront of what’s cutting edge out in the combatant commands,” Rapp said, “and it gives the combatant commands basically free labor that is pretty thoughtful.”

    In addition to the promising colonels that form its regular student body, as of last year the War College runs continuing education for all general officers — consolidating and streamlining what had become a sprawling array of time-consuming courses. “They were all good ideas and they all had value but they all took time,” Rapp said, something generals generally lack.

    “We got rid of redundancies,” Roper said, “(and), especially important for this chief, we brought rigor back into general officer education, so it’s no longer gentlemen’s courses. It’s no longer sitting in a room being talked at for eight hours a day for five days.” General officers must wrestle with case studies, write papers, and — in a least one course I’m personally familiar with — defend their arguments before a panel of journalists. (We were not gentle).

    “You’ve got to break out of your narrow frame of reference,” Rapp said, a particular problem for an army consumed by counterinsurgency for 15 years. Generals and colonels must learn to think “more critically and creatively about their profession,” he said. “If you have lost intellectual curiosity or believe that your assumptions are infallible, then you’re rapidly going to be dismayed out in the real world.”

  10. #640

    Posted here for convenience...............

    Not Enough C-17s, Tankers Or Ships For Hot War: TRANSCOM

    By Colin Clark

    on May 02, 2017 at 5:18 PM

    M-1 tanks in C-5

    WASHINGTON: Believe it or not, the global command responsible for getting weapons, fuel, and food to troops had, until recently, never used a war game for planning. Nor did Transportation Command factor into its plans the possibility*that transport ships would be sunk and transport planes would be shot down . On top of that, TRANSCOM doesn’t have enough ships, airborne tankers or cargo aircraft to get a large number of troops to a battlefield and sustain them.

    That was the bracing testimony this morning by Air Force Gen. Darren McDew, head of Transportation Command.

    Sen. John McCain, a former naval aviator with a penchant for things nautical, noted during today’s hearing before his committee that the U.S. is “already 10 ships short of the current requirement — enough to move two full armored combat brigade combat teams.”

    And the Air Force component of TRANSCOM can only move one brigade combat team to a theater of operation like Korea in C-17s and C-5s. *“We can do 200 C-17s,” Gen. McDew.

    “I doubt there’s a conflict in Korea for which one brigade combat team would be sufficient,” McCain noted wryly.

    McDew didn’t take McCain on. “We do not have the capability I wish we had,” the general answered, “but the initial force can be delivered organically. Then, we’ll have to see where we go from there.”

    Much of “where we go from there” is rely on the shrinking US maritime cargo capability, the leasing of foreign ships and, presumably, the use of America’s cargo and passenger airlines.

    But McCain put that into perspective: “Military Sealift Command’s organic surge sealift fleet is essential for rapid response in the event of a crisis or wartime scenario. But the average age of ships in our surge fleet is now 39 years. Over a recent 5-month period, less than 60% of sealift ships were able to activate during planned exercises due to various maintenance problems. The requirement for so-called ‘Roll-on/Roll-off’ ships has been relatively stable since the 1990s. But since Desert Storm, the surge sealift fleet has been cut nearly in half to just 27 ships. We’re already 10 ships short of the current requirement—enough to move two full armored brigade combat teams. And over the next six years, another 9 will likely age out.”

    The other vulnerable part of TRANSCOM’s mission is its deeply intertwined cyber relationship with commercial companies. Some 90 percent of the data upon which TRANSCOM relies resides in commercial companies, who, McDew made clear, often don’t have a clue they’ve been the subject of a cyber attack, let alone know how to respond to one.

    “Most of the time the attack or intrusion takes place, no one knows an attack has occurred,” he said, referring to the CEOs with whom he works. Sen. Angus King of Alaska, who sits on both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged McDew to write cyber*standards into the contracts companies sign with TRANSCOM, citing the strong profit incentive they have.

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