Friday, October 23, 2015

Reconstitution of the US Army

Reconstitution of the US Army

Once upon a time when the Third Reich was young, an enterprising journalist published the complete Order of Battle and mobilization plans for the Wehrmacht.  Himmler had him kidnapped and interrogated as to leads and sources.  His answer was open source, from local papers citing who was being assigned where.  He was warned and let loose

The same use of open sources (OSINT) is available on LinkedIn.  The individual profiles of the members who have a direct or indirect connection with the Services, particularly the US Army show that the Army is in the process of reconstituting its forces to face a new revised and more dangerous array of threats.  Far from the rotational mini-brigade expeditionary model, the new models is restoring the Theater, Corps and full divisions to full capacity.

Projected penetration of Soviet Forces as a model of high speed mechanized warfare

In addition, references in discussions show that the field artillery and air support are being reunited, and the logistics reconstituted under the command of the commander’s intent rather than an acquisition manager’s contract.  The sources are links to a new family of DOD doctrinal publications.

Assignment Algorithms

Some of that which points to this reconstitution is indicated by the assignment of officers to “targeting” and logistics assignments at corps and higher.  This restores what was once called the Air Ground Operations Center at the old Corps and suggests that a restoration of COSCOM and DISCOM may be under way.  There are many references of officers and enlisted to I, III, and XVIII Corps when up until now did not exist, even called defunct, on Wikipedia.  The repeated reference to Theater suggests that the _COM (CENTCOM, etc.) may be replaced by the new Theaters (XXXXX). 

The type of war fighting done right

That a major reconstitution program, normal at any military level after a battle, is not being accompanied by marching bands, cheer leaders, and sonorous intonations from the pompous and egregious is significant.  The most likely outcome is that these new Theaters will be aligned to a specific piece of the world.  That raises the questions of how will the order of battle for these new corps and theaters be constituted.

The Capstone Mission

That which tied unit cohesion to combat mission prior to Transformation was the link between units of all components of the Services and Components into what were called “Capstone Missions” and “Capstone alignments” that brought myself as a battalion commander in contact with the Canadians on my left flank in NORTHAG near where two Roman legions were slaughtered….the Teutoberger Wald. The Capstone program was the result of a Congressional mandate that insisted that each and every unit must have real world mission in order to be funded.  I was at the Congressional House Senate Conference Committee when it was agreed upon.

The Capstone program tying battalions like mine to places in Germany was sabotaged, and a new order of nonsense was sent in harm’s way.  This is what is being fixed.

Un-dropped Shoes (organization and training)

As such several un-dropped shoes remain.  The reality of major commands expected to move or stay in one piece calls for a deletion or elimination of rotational assignments and training. The cost in the degradation of mid and senior level tactical competence in the most recent unpleasantness due to the repression of the chain of command from three stars to three stripes under Transformation and ARFORGEN must be addressed.

The biggest shift in staffing a large force from existing subordinate elements excludes rotations of units, and reinstitutes more individual replacements along with a system to do so.  The individual rotation programs of all wars up to and including Vietnam was costly in terms of the FNG getting killed too quickly which increased the need for more FNG’s (Funny New Guy).  The existing members of the FNG’s unit do not like to befriend one who is about to die, until he has not. Thus the skills of the Good Old Boys are not passed on to the FNG which increased the mortality rate.

As close as one can get without being thre

The one stellar thing attributable to the rotational modular brigade was and is extraordinary unit morale, which after a decade of rotations, is still high.  A balance between the casualty rates, low in this war, must be developed to retain unit identity to enhance cohesion.  The draftee conscript army only works on home turf or next door, otherwise cohesion suffers.  The US Army at the end of the Vietnam War was one step away from mutiny.  The classic work on the Disintegration and Cohesion of the Wehrmacht showed that as long as the primary group is intact, and a sense of identity with the homeland was maintained, no amount of inducement by propaganda worked.

The Eastern Front

The German Army in WW 2 used replacements from the same part of Germany to units also raised from there.  Thus the FNG factor was reduced.  Similar efforts have been done in the British Army through their regimental system which the regiment is the base from where units and personnel were deployed and to where they returned.

One way to restore cohesion is to base replacements through training establishments aligned with specific units and specific areas, like regional or states. The application of All Source Training which includes a training establishment that uses the Chain of Command in each and all training exercises.  Those units and activities can be geographically close to the unit base, or be able to move to the unit.

The one on the left, then, was when I took the picture in Vietnam
That which is not physically present in the task organization up two and down two and sideways, must be represented or replicated.   That includes units on the flanks, sides and in support.  

The hardest part of training army tactical units is the absence of things that go boom anytime of the day or night, as in field artillery and air support, and in the open.  And done off post as well as on.  Perhaps some form of noisy drone system could provide the audio visual once “shot out” is shouted out.  

An All Source Training establishment would rely on visual reality in a major way. It could establish local training centers where a wandering reserve or Guard officer, could plug into an ongoing “war” as a “replacement”. 

An All Source training establishment would focus on the echelon of command (Corps, Division, Brigade, etc) not the branch or specialty (as is planned today).  Individual and collective training must be done in context of all the other players or participants being there.

The 75th Training Command Model

The model for echelon of command level focused training is based on the model used for decades at the 75th Maneuver Area Command (now the 75th Training Command) based on my experience there in the golden days of yesteryear (1979-1983) when command post exercises were the domain of “battle boards” of acetate, green tape and grease pencil. Communications was by wire.  This process was automated about the time I moved on with Battle and from their website:

“The 75th Training Command prepares large military units for deployments and other missions, by conducting live and virtual scenario-based training, while mentoring senior leaders on effective organizational decision-making….the Training Command now offers virtual and gaming formats. Whether stateside or deployed to a combat zone, military commanders do not lead their units in a vacuum.
 Each commander carefully selects, mentors and oversees a team of supporting staff that manages critical areas including personnel, logistics and operations.
 A commander's ability to keep the troops safe and accomplish the mission is directly related to the professionalism, competence, and teamwork of those staff leaders.
 And while the 75th has predominantly supported Army units in the past, the command now provides similar high quality training to other military branches, non-military agencies, and partner nation military forces.”

Those in the 75th have historically been savvier about higher echelon operations than the Combined Arms Center at Ft Leavenworth and logistics than Ft Lee. This is due simply to the extended and repeated use of “All Source” inputs and outputs in the form, format, and content of information from outside the unit.  Those giving the exercises gain more than the exercised.  This also was an excellent resource for the development of real world mission awareness.

The fly in the soup is the old concept of micromanagement from on high of the details of individual and small unit training including what is called Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) which is used to build empires on high ground and sap the purity and essence of unit combat readiness.  If MOS training is that important to Personnel on High, it should be separately funded from unit readiness. 

Taken in 1924
The Tactical Shape Shifters

These are transitional times in which the old and the new intermix. There is nothing new under the sun, but a lot of weird stuff keeps cropping up. The factors of METT-TC with a minor adjustment (adding technology to one of the “t” and replacing the C with Culture), remain constant over time, except technology and its effects on the rest.  The largest change in the tactical milieu in the last 4,000 years is the effect of the bullet and fragment storm that broke first in the Crimean War and came to fruition in Flanders in WW 1.

The same alternatives exist historically when technology affects the means of mayhem, hence the Tactical Imperative and the Tactical Milieu that are the shape shifters.

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