Our Army has been embroiled in a counter-insurgency war for the past decade. Not since the Iraq invasion in 2003 has the Army fielded large formations of combined arms. Yet, as a retired officer, I thought that the Army still practiced the concepts of combined arms training. Imagine my surprise when I read Austin Bay's article in Strategy Page this morning.
The budget shortfalls over the last six to eight years have eroded the Army's ability to win a land war with a near-peer adversary. Thompson pointed out that for the last decade the Army has focused on counter-insurgency operations (think Afghanistan).What? We can't win against a near-peer adversary? It's one thing to fight goat-herders in Afghanistan, it's another thing entirely to fight against another modern army. What happens if, for example, someone starts probing the defenses of NATO?
A near-peer adversary -- possessing these new weapons -- has been probing the air defenses of NATO's Nordic members and threatening the borders of NATO's Baltic states: Russia.Yep, the Russian Bear is back. Fortunately, Sec Mattis has a plan to counter that adventureism.
The Army can tap reserve stocks of tanks and armored personnel carriers, which reduces costs. However, they require refurbishment. The Army needs equipment to defeat new weapons in adversary arsenals, to include armed drones and long range "smart missiles" with anti-armor munitions.Good. At least he's thinking ahead. The Army needs divisions, and the only way to get divisions is to fund them. As an old combined=arms soldier, I'm surprised that the warriors forgot that simple lesson. I'm sure that most of the career combat arms officers were busy fighting the COIN battle. But, Mattis is a thinker and a leader, and he sees threats clearly.