The U.S. Army: America's Strategic Land Force For The 1990s And Beyond
AUTHOR Major Harold A. Graziano, USA
SUBJECT AREA Intelligence
TITLE: THE U.S. ARMY: AMERICA'S STRATEGIC LAND FORCE FOR
THE 1990s AND BEYOND
THESIS: While ongoing events in the world will require
changes in the United States' military structure, the U.S.
Army with its highly trained mixture of light, heavy, and
special operating forces is well poised to continue as
America's strategic land force in the 1990s and beyond.
ISSUE: Today, United States national security is a unique
crossroad. Although our interests and basic strategy are
not likely to change, we face decisions which will seriously
affect our security posture. In support of America's
national interests, the U.S. Army enters a new decade
examining the qualities it has and must develop for the
uncertain future. It is important to understand the Army's
strategic mandate, the resources it has to meet its
requirements, and the challenges it faces in the 1990s and
beyond. In conducting an objective view of the Army's
strategic responsibilities, it is important to consider, the
origins of the Army's strategic roles, the doctrine which
guides the strategic land force, major force decisions, and
the training and employment readiness of the U.S. Army.
Finally it is critical that these ingredients be looked at
in relation to the future. To be sure, many aspects of the
threat are changing. How the Army handles this change will
be as important as the "change' that provoked it.
CONCLUSION: The world is becoming more complex. The world
is not necessarily a safer place to live in. What ever the
future holds, the United States Army is tasked to build,
maintain, and support a force to protect America's interests
under any circumstances. The ability of the Army to fight
and win the wars of our Nation is key to the survival of our
democracy. As in the past, the Army with its unique mix of
highly trained heavy, light, and special forces, will
provide America with its strategic land force for the 1990s
THE U.S. ARMY: AMERICA'S STRATEGIC LAND FORCE FOR THE 1990'S
Thesis Statement. While ongoing events in the world will
require changes in the United States' military structure,
the U.S. Army with its highly trained mixture of light,
heavy, and special operating forces is well poised to
continue as America's strategic land force in the 1990s and
I. THE ORIGINS OF THE ARMY'S STRATEGIC ROLES.
A. PERCEIVED THREATS TO NATIONAL SECURITY
B. U.S. NATIONAL INTERESTS
C. U.S. NATIONAL STRATEGY
D. THE WORLD POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ECONOMIC
II. DOCTRINE: GUIDING THE STRATEGIC LAND FORCE.
A. AIR LAND BATTLE DOCTRINE
B. JOINT NATURE OF WARFARE
C. OPERATIONAL LEVEL OF WAR
III. ORGANIZING AND EQUIPPING THE STRATEGIC LAND FORCE:
FORCE DESIGN AND MAJOR FORCE DECISIONS.
A. HEAVY DIVISIONS
B. LIGHT DIVISIONS
C. SPECIAL OPERATING FORCES
D. EQUIPPING THE ARMY
IV. PREPARING THE STRATEGIC LAND FORCE: TRAINING,
READINESS, AND EMPLOYMENT.
A. TRAINING: THE ARMY'S FIRST PRIORITY
B. INDIVIDUAL/UNIT TRAINING
V. THE STRATEGIC LAND FORCE: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE.
A. FUTURE THREAT
B. THREAT DEFICIT
C. THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
D. FORCE DESIGN
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE ORIGINS OF THE ARMY'S STRATEGIC ROLES 5
DOCTRINCE: GUIDING THE STRATEGIC LAND FORCE 15
ORGANIZING AND EQUIPPING THE STRATEGIC LAND FORCE: 21
FORCE DESIGN AND MAJOR FORCE DECISIONS
PREPARING THE STRATEGIC LAND FOARCE: TRAINING, 25
` READING, AND EMPLOYMENT
THE STRATEGIC LAND FORCE: IMPLICATIONS FOR 29
` THE FUTURE
THE UNITED STATES ARMY:
AMERICA'S STRATEGIC LAND FORCE
FOR THE 1990s AND BEYOND
I selected "The U.S. Army: America's Strategic Land
Force For The 1990s And Beyond" as a research topic with
some trepidation. First, I did not want my effort construed
to be a part of the "mindless debate" concerning the "roles
and missions" of the different military services. To that
end I have attempted to be objective and avoid comparisons
with my sister services.
Secondly, I was concerned that the importance of the
topic compared to my limited knowledge would not allow for
adequate treatment of the subject. The reader will make that
Finally, being a guest at the U.S.M.C. Command and
Staff College, I did not want this effort viewed as an
"official" Army communication on the subject. I must stress
that although I do not profess to have any original "vision"
for my Army, the thoughts in this paper are my own, and have
not been approved by any Army official. Where appropriate
however, I have given credit for thoughts, ideas, and
concepts to responsible individuals.
So it is with these thoughts and my limitations that I
submit this paper.
Today, the world is changing faster than anyone could
have ever imagined. United States national interests are
being reviewed and redefined. In support of America's
national interests, the U.S. Army enters a new decade
examining and underscoring the qualities it has and must
develop to prepare for the uncertain future. This is a good
time to look at where the Army is today, and where it is
going in the future. It is equally important to understand
the Army's strategic mandate, the resources the Army has to
meet its requirements, and the challenges it faces in the
1990s and beyond.
While ongoing events in the world will require changes
in the United States' military structure, the U.S. Army with
its highly trained mixture of light, heavy, and special
operating forces is well poised to continue as America's
strategic land force in the 1990s and beyond.
In conducting an objective view of the Army's strategic
responsibilities, it is important to consider, the origins
of the Army's strategic roles, the doctrine which guides the
strategic land force, major force decisions, and the
training and employment readiness of the U.S. Army.
Finally, it is critical that these ingredients be looked at
in relation to the future.
THE ORIGINS OF THE ARMY'S
"My vision is an Army that is trained and
ready, today and tomorrow, to carry out
its roles as a strategic force anywhere
in the world, anytime." (26:60)
CARL E. VUONO
CHIEF OF STAFF
Today, United States national security is at a unique
crossroad. Although our interests and basic strategy are
not likely to change, we face decisions which will seriously
affect our security posture. (12:1) Our American military
experience provides valuable lessons in dealing with the
present and preparing for the future. The armed conflicts
of the Twentieth Century have bolstered the need for combat
ready ground forces. In support of national security, the
United States Army has distinctive strategic roles.
The specific size, composition, location, and strategic
roles of the United States Army are heavily influenced by
elements external to the Army. The origins of the Army's
strategic roles include: the perceived threat to national
security, United States national interests, national
strategy, and the world political and social economic
A discussion of the origins of the Army's strategic
roles must be reviewed within the context of the perceived
threats to the United States. As a strategic force, the
U.S. Army must prepare to meet many different threats across
the entire spectrum of conflict. Despite drastic reforms in
the Soviet Union, that country remains the principal threat
to our national security. The Soviet Union is the only
military power capable of destroying the U.S. Additionally,
developing military capabilities of traditional Third World
countries have resulted in a changing threat environment for
the U.S. Army.
The Soviet Union has begun broad reform initiatives.
The imperative of economic revitalization is driving the
Soviet's program of restructuring ("perestroika"). The
Soviet military leadership apparently recognizes that it
will need to accept lower levels of defense spending in
favor of other sectors of the economy in order to achieve
the military posture of "reasonable sufficiency." (13:1)
Clearly, the USSR seeks a reduced threat perception in the
West. The former American ideas of the "evil empire" and
direct conflict of wills between our countries seem to be
waning. For the United States this remains a two-edged
sword. While the reduced tensions are welcomed by the U.S.,
the Soviets understand that it is perception of the threat
which will dictate the extent of resources the United States
and other Western countries invest in defense spending. It
is also this perception that will define the national will
to utilize the armed forces. A military force in a
democracy without the will of its citizenry to apply force,
is a hollow proposition. It is this perception that will be
a key ingredient in shaping the strategic roles of the Army
and its sister services.
In spite of actual and announced reform initiatives,
the Soviet Union remains a strong land force adversary.
Even if the recently announced unilateral reductions are
implemented by the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact will
continue to hold a very significant advantage over NATO in
vital ground force systems. Reform in the Soviet Union is a
very tenuous endeavor which will continue to influence the
Army's strategic roles. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney
said it best:
"While we certainly can point to benign
intentions on the part of the stated
posture of Gorbachev, my problem is that
I have to deal with the capabilities that the
Soviet Union still possesses. (24:2)
Likewise, the Army's strategic roles must address the
capabilities the Soviet Union presently possesses.
The possibilities for conflict in the Third World seem
to be increasing. The Middle East is perhaps the region
most likely to experience conflict. It is in this part of
the world that low-intensity conflict (LIC) is most likely
to happen and put at risk American interests. As U.S. Army
Field Manual 100-5 puts it, "Army actions in LIC must be
fully coordinated with national strategy and fused at the
operational level into a coherent effort." (22:4) Potential
enemies will be able to field larger ground forces
than we will be able to deploy quickly. The trend toward
this type of conflict is a formidable challenge to the
Army's strategic roles.
Finally, the perceived threat from illegal drugs must
be addressed. As reported by retired Admiral Crowe:
"We are confronted with the illicit
trafficking and production of narcotics
in Latin America, posing a threat not
only to the sovereignty, integrity and
stability of governments to our south,
but also to the social fabric of the
United States itself." (24:16)
During his 5 September 1989 speech to the Nation outlining
his new anti-drug strategy, President Bush said:
"Our message to the drug cartels is this:
the rules have changed. We will help any
government that wants our help. When
requested, we will for the first time make
available the appropriate resources of
America's armed forces." (27:1)
This aspect of the threat will continue to shape the Army's
In summary, the threat to the United States is is
changing. It is more complex, and perhaps less overt.
Threat capabilities however, are growing, as are the sources
of the threat. Success in battle against these threats may
not automatically assure the achievement of national goals,
but defeat will guarantee failure. The United States Army
is challenged to develop and train a land force capable of
meeting these threats and fulfilling its strategic roles.
We cannot discuss the Army's strategic roles without
considering the greater goals and interests of the United
States. The Army's strategic roles must serve our national
interests. Included in our national interests is our
survival as a free nation with our values intact; a stable
and secure world free of major threats to our interests and
those of our allies, healthy and vigorous alliance
relationships, and finally, the growth of human freedom and
free market economies throughout the world. (16:3) These
national interests naturally translate into national
National strategy has two parts: national security
objectives, and national military strategy. It is at this
level that the Army's strategic roles begin to be focused.
The first national security objective involves the
safeguarding of the U.S. and allies through deterrence. If
deterrence fails the Army must be prepared to terminate the
resultant conflict successfully. Additionally, the Army
must be prepared to help ensure U.S. access to critical
resources. This may lend itself to conflicts in the
traditional Third World countries. The last national
security objective which has a direct relationship to the
Army's strategic roles is the reduced reliance on nuclear
weapons by strengthening conventional forces. As the land
component of the United States' conventional forces, the
Army is tasked to maintain a trained and ready force.
The second part of national strategy which influences
the Army's strategic roles is the national military strategy
of the U.S. This includes: deterrence through strength,
including forward deployed forces and alliance strategy.
Should deterrence fail, national military strategy calls for
coalition warfare. Coalition warfare demands that we
conduct a forward defense. Army FM 100-5 addresses this:
"The nature of modern battle and the broad
geographical range of U.S. interests make
it imperative that Army units fight as part
of a joint team with units of the U.S. Air Force,
the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and
representatives of appropriate civilian agencies.
It is also critical that commanders prepare
themselves to fight in coalition warfare
alongside the forces of our nations's allies."
The Army must be poised to contribute to the military
strategy of the U.S. through well developed strategic roles.
These roles must include forward deployed ground forces
prepared to conduct coalition warfare. In peacetime, the
Army is the front line of strategic deterrence. There can
be no stronger symbol of our Nation's commitment than
forward deployed American soldiers supported by trained and
ready contingency units in the U.S.
Finally, the world political and social economic
environment shapes the Army's strategic roles. The world
political and social economic environment is changing
rapidly. Many countries are evolving into global and/or
regional economic superpowers. Japan is already superior to
the Soviet Union in economic output. Some predict that
China will also surpass the Soviet Union early in the 21st
century. India continues to be the predominant force in
South Asia, while in South America, Brazil is working to
become the most powerful country.
The conditions in the Third World will continue to
shape the Army' strategic roles. Despite some growth, the
Third World continues to trail economically and politically.
The increased foreign debt of traditional Third World
countries suggest that many of these states could actually
fall farther behind the industrial West. To make matters
worse, social tensions which are often caused by economic
conditions, may combine with territorial disputes and fuel
continued instability among the Third World countries.
While some of the Third World instability will not have
serious implications for United States interests, others
will. These conditions will continue to shape the Army's
Any discussion of the world's political and social
economic environmental impact on the Army' strategic roles
would not be complete without a review of the Middle East.
The Middle East may continue to be the most unstable region
of the world. Many of the problems in this part of the
world are deep-rooted with no apparent solutions predicted.
Iran's continuing state sponsored terrorism will continue to
affect United States interest. Likewise, the Israeli-
Palistinian problem in the occupied territories will
continue to add to instability in the region and affect the
Army's strategic roles. The Middle East generally suffers
from weak and eroding economies. Many states have invested
disproportionate shares of their economies into military
arsenals. Many of these countries with economic problems
are experiencing social upheaval. Coupled with ethnic and
religious discord, this region will continue to influence
the Army's strategic roles.
As a result of the perceived threats to national
security, U.S. national interests, national strategy, and
the world political and social economic environment, the
following five strategic roles of the United States Army
have been formulated: (26:1)
-- Provide forward deployed ground forces
(heavy, light and special operations) for
deterrence, sustained land combat, and
conflict termination in areas of vital
interest to the U.S.
-- Maintain contingency forces with capabilities
for immediate combat worldwide, across the
spectrum of conflict.
-- Maintain reinforcing forces in CONUS to support
forward deployed and contingency forces.
-- Provide peacetime support to friends and allies
through peacekeeping, security assistance, and
-- Provide support to U.S. civilian authorities in
activities such as interdiction of illicit drug
traffic and disaster relief.
In conclusion, the strategic roles of the U.S. Army are
and will continue to be influenced by elements external to
the Army. The Army's strategic missions span the entire
operational continuum- from peactime to global war. The
Army will contine to refine its strategic roles as the
threats to national security, and the world political and
social economic environment change.
DOCTRINE: GUIDING THE
STRATEGIC LAND FORCE
"You know you never defeated us on the
battlefield," said the American colonel.
The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this
remark a moment. "That may be so," he
replied, "but it is also irrelevant."
Conversation in Hanoi, April 1976 (17:1)
The United States is a global power with global
responsibilities. As America's strategic land force, the
Army must be prepared to respond to challenges wherever they
occur. In order to guide actions on the battlefield, the
Army has developed and maintained dynamic realistic
doctrine. The U.S. Army's basic fighting doctrine is called
AirLand Battle (ALB). This doctrine describes the Army's
approach to combat power at the tactical and operational
level of war. The name reflects the nature of modern
warfare: all services and combined arms. (23:8) Viewing the
battlefield from the operational level of war is not new to
American field commanders. GEN. Patton once captured the
essence of it by saying, "Hold `em by the nose, and kick `em
in the tail."
The Army's warfighting doctrine has been continuously
evolving. In the late 1970's, the expanding Soviet force
modernization threat, combined with potential world-wide
rapid response contingencies, personnel ceilings, and fiscal
constraints, combined to influence a reevaluation of the
Army's fundamental warfighting doctrine. The result of the
Army's several year effort was termed "AirLand Battle" in
rocognition of the inherently joint nature of modern
warfare. (23:8) The Army's warfighting doctrinal evolution
is summarized at figure 1. AirLand Battle's major
contribution to American military thought are the
reintroduction of the "operational art" as the key link
between tactics and strategy, and the view of the unity of
the battlefield which transcends services, echelons, and
national military components. (23:9)
The Army's AirLand Battle doctrine utilizes four basic
tenets: agility, initiative, depth, and synchronization.
These fundamental tenets describe the characteristics of
successful operations. They are also the basis for the
development of all current U.S. Army doctrine, tactics, and
techniques. (22:2) While initiative, agility, depth, and
synchronization characterize successful AirLand Battle
operations, the Army's doctrine also enlists ten combat
-- Ensure unity of effort.
-- Anticipate events on the battlefield.
-- Concentrate combat power against enemy
-- Designate, sustain, and shift the main
-- Press the fight.
-- Move fast, strike hard, and finish rapidly.
-- Use terrain, weather, deception, and OPSEC.
-- Conserve strength for decisive action.
-- Combine arms and sister services to complement
-- Understand the effects of battle on soldiers,
units, and leaders.
The Army is small compared to the size of its strategic
roles and missions. AirLand Battle doctrine recognizes that
conflicts will be waged by American armed forces, acting
together in Joint Operations. Joint operations however,
does not refer to equal amounts of forces from each service.
Instead, Joint operations demand that we build "force
packages" containing each service's unique capabilities
carefully crafted to meet the threat. The recent example of
Operation "JUST CAUSE" in Panama is an excellent example of
highly successful joint combat operations. Until the first
paratrooper landed in Panama, the action was almost entirely
an Air Force operation. Then the Army conducted three
separate parachute assaults while the Marines seized key
points along the approaches to Panama City. There were also
several targets for Special Operating Forces, including Navy
SEALS. Future conflicts will utilize similar "force
Operation "JUST CAUSE" also validated the tenets of
AirLand Battle- agility, initiative, depth, and
synchronization. What is particularly noteworthy is that
Army doctrine was proved in a non-NATO operation. The
success in Panama shatters the myth that the Army's AirLand
Battle doctrine is applicable only to NATO scenarios. Army
doctrine was successful in Panama, we can expect that it
will be tested in other parts of the world when we least
The lack of preparation in any area of doctrine defines
accepted risk. The Army must be prepared for all types of
conflicts- as soon as we are convinced that global war is
not possible, it will most certainly occur. Army ALB
doctrine guides the strategic land force through all
potential scenarios. ALB doctrine balances short term U.S.
orientation and long term interests. By its nature ALB
doctrine is flexible. It does not deny the tactics of the
moment. ALB doctrine accepts unpredictability, but
encourages leaders at all levels to be proactive in order to
influence and shape the next battlefield.
Army doctrine recognizes that wars are not fought only
at the tactical level; to defeat our potential enemies we
must deal effectively with his operational echelons. (23:11)
This defines the operational level of war. It is this
operational level that is the vital element of ALB doctrine.
It is vital because it links the tactical battles to the
strategic objectives. The operational level is required if
tactical success is to be relevant. Clearly, ALB doctrine
tells us that we must win the close battle at the tactical
level when batt1e is joined, but we must do more. Potential
enemies know they will need to mass forces in order to win
in conventional battle, U.S. forces cannot allow this to
occur. ALB doctrine stresses defeating the enemy at the
operational level while dominating the tactical battle.
Army doctrine demands that commanders at all levels deal
simultaneously with the close-in and deep fight. In a sense
the commander must see both levels as one fight.
Army doctrine stresses fighting as a combined arms team.
This combined arms approach to battle requires integration
of all weapons-infantry, armor, artillery, and aviation. It
requires that in any scenario, when battle begins, the enemy
is offered several different ways to die. More importantly,
ALB doctrine dictates that we do it all at once. In battle,
Army doctrine stresses simultaneous attack by many means-
close and deep. Enemy forces which cannot get to the front,
are not relevant. This doctrine is not NATO specific, to
think so is a monumental mistake. ALB doctrine can be
tailored to all potential scenarios.
ALB doctrine melds technology, leadership, and soldiers.
Together with those of our sister services and allies, the
U.S. can carry the day across the entire spectrum of
conflict. Future conflicts will not be won by hardware
issues alone, the U.S. Army intends to win by combining
lethal weapons, leadership, soldiers, and realistic,
evolving doctrine. AirLand Battle doctrine continues to
guide America's strategic land force.
ORGANIZING AND EOUIPPING THE
STRATEGIC LAND FORCE: FORCE
DESIGN AND MAJOR FORCE
"The modernization of heavy forces,
creation of light divisions, and
increases in the size and effectiveness
of special operating forces has
balanced the Army for any strategic
Like the Army's strategic roles and doctrine, the
Army's force design has evolved through the 1980's. The
chronology of major force structure decisions in the 80's
demonstrates the changing nature of the threat to national
interests (figure 2). The changing force design of the
Army is a direct reflection of the emerging threats from
terrorism and Low Intensity Conflicts (LIC). (23:12) The
force decisions also demonstrate the emphasis on the "Total
Army"- the active, reserve, and civilian components of the
The Army in the early 1980's was at a unique
crossroad- the Mid to High Intensity (MIC/HIC) threat
seemed to be growing. Concurrently, the possibility of Low
Intensity Conflicts in Central America, and terrorism
introduced as an element of national power dictated that
the Army take action to design forces capable of meeting
all contingencies. The Army required Special Operating
Forces (SOF), Rangers, and light deployable conventional
forces. The Army was faced with raising these new forces
while keeping the active personnel strength constant. The
decision was made to share responsibilities to an even
greater degree with the Reserve Component.
In the early 1980's the Army's 24 divisions- 16
Active, 8 Reserve were essentially "heavy" forces. The
Army discovered that the doctrinally required support
structure for these forces was unaffordable. Throughout
the Army, the number of authorized positions was
significantly below their required levels. In the words of
former Army Chief of Staff, General Meyer, "The Army was
hollow". (23:13) Work began to "fix" the Army. The
challenges were formidable, but the results pointed to a
more credible deterrent force.
Today the Army's heavy divisions are more modern,
mobile, and agile. Their organic supporting structure has
been streamlined with more support provided by the next
level of command- the Corps. The average size of the
division has been limited to about 15,000 soldiers. Light
contingency divisions including the 6th, 7th, 10th, 25th,
and 29th have been introduced or redesigned. Today, these
forces combined with the Army's existing 82nd and 101st
divisions are prepared to conduct Low Intensity Combat.
More likely however, these forces will be portions of
"force packages" similar to the one utilized during
operation "JUST CAUSE". These "force packages" will be a
mixture of heavy, light, and special operating forces.
Significant progress has also been made in the area of
equipping the strategic land force during the 1980's. The
Army has upgraded its tank fleet with the deployment of the
M1 Abrams tank. During this same period, the Army has also
fielded the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Apache Attack
Helicopter, Multiple-Launch Rocket System, Blackhawk
Helicopter, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks
(HEMTTs), and High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled
Vehicles(HMMMVs). The Army has also made great strides in
fielding night fighting capable equipment to the force.
Today the night belongs to the U.S. Army. The Army has
also fielded the new family of Stinger Anti-Aircraft
missile systems. Coupled with significant improvements in
tactical communications, these modernization efforts point
to an Army improved in speed, accuracy, lethality,
survivability, flexibility, and maintainability. All of
these features will help the strategic land force fight
Recognizing the significance of sustained
modernization, the Army has developed a series of
functional modernization plans. These plans have a long
range (30 year) orientation, and will support the
continuous development, fielding, and displacement of
systems. Currently, the Army has prepared an Aviation,
Fire Support, Air Defense Artillery, and Heavy Force
Modernization plan. The Light Force Modernization Plan is
now being prepared.
The organization and equipping of the strategic land
force will continue to be a challenging endeavor. The
tightly constrained budget process will dictate that all
Army programs make a major contribution to mission
accomplishment. (15:23) Today however, with the
modernization of heavy forces, creation of light divisions
and increased capability of special operating forces, the
Army is poised for any strategic contingency.
PREPARING THE STRATEGIC LAND
FORCE: TRAINING, READINESS,
"The best form of `welfare' for the
troops is first class training, for
this saves unnecessary casualties."
Field Marshall Erwin Rommel
Nothing says more about the U.S. States Army than the
state of its training. Today, America's strategic land
force is better trained than at any other time in modern
history. Operations in Panama underscore this point.
Consider that over 9,000 Army soldiers were alerted from
numerous CONUS installations, and within hours were
conducting airborne and ground assaults in a strange land.
Leader, soldier, and unit training allowed this to happen.
Training is the cornerstone of Army readiness. Army
training is focused on wartime missions. It is tough,
realistic, and continuous.
The Army has emphasized a multi-dimensional approach to
training the force- from individual, through unit, to major
force training in maneuver exercises. Initial entry
training for soldiers is tougher, more challenging than any
other time in Army history. Officer's Basic and Advanced
courses have been improved. Likewise, NCO Primary
Leadership, Basic, and Advanced Courses have been updated
and made more demanding.
Additionally, the Army has embarked on programs to
enhance realistic training. Simulator training devices have
been developed and fielded. Multiple Integrated Laser
Engagement Systems (MILES) are available for most types of
equipment. Unit Conduct of Fire Trainers (UCOFT) are now
available to replicate the firing of most weapon systems.
Unit training has also drastically improved. In
support of unit training, the Army has resourced new
training facilities. The Army's Combat Training Centers
(CTCs) provide Active and Reserve unit commanders and their
soldiers tough, realistic, combined arms and joint service
training in accordance with AirLand Battle doctrine and
currently approved joint doctrine. (26:20) The Army's CTCs
include three instrumented tactical field locations and a
wargaming program designed to train participants for combat
across the entire spectrum of conflict. The CTCs are the
Army's warfighting academies.
The National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Erwin,
California, is the Army's premier CONUS facility for
training armored and mechanized infantry units in mid to
high intensity combat operations. The Joint Readiness
Training Center, located at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, provides
training for nonmechanized battalion task forces in low to
mid intensity combat environments. The Combat Maneuver
Training Center located in Hohenfels, West Germany, provides
NTC-like training for forward deployed battalion task
forces. At each of these facilities, the Army utilizes a
well trained and equipped opposing force to challenge units
The Army's unit training aims at developing
effectiveness with combined arms in specific mission
essential tasks. Unit commanders ensure that standardized
procedures and battle drills are used to gain the best
possible results. When basic standards have been achieved,
commanders attempt to perform the same tasks under more
difficult conditions. (22:6) Training support units is
also critical. The Army recognizes that unit readiness
cannot be achieved without logistical readiness. Support
units are trained under rigorous, realistic conditions.
In order to maximize the potential of its equipment and
doctrine, the Army is conducting some of the toughest, most
realistic training ever. The Army has continued to increase
emphasis on individual training at every level. Leaders at
every level are being challenged with training that is
directly related to their wartime missions. The
complexities of combat make it critical to concentrate on
programs which improve the skills of leaders. Those who
direct the employment of weapons and units are competent in
their use. (22:7) Recently, the Army's training program was
been tested in combat. The results underscore the fact that
America's strategic land force is well trained and ready to
defend our Nation's interests.
THE STRATEGIC LAND FORCE:
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
"Only the dead have seen the end
The world is changing faster than anyone could have
predicted. Perhaps "change" has become the ultimate
element of power. Where does the U.S. military fit into
the new world order? Without external threats to our
Nation's security, a military seems wasteful. (15:23)
Strategic roles, doctrine, force design, and training
readiness, are meaningless without an external threat.
Americans will not continue to pay for a military that is
preparing for wars which will never happen. Will the
"threat deficit" continue to erode public opinion against
continued military modernization in lieu of correcting
social ills? Does the apparent maturation of the Soviet
Union mean that concensus and compromise will be the order
of the day? Is the world more stable than it was twenty
years ago? One thing seems certain, the U.S. military will
shrink considerably in the near future. How we handle this
change will be as important as the "change" that provoked
Recent history demonstrates that Americans will
support specific uses of military force to combat perceived
threats to U.S. interests. While the fundamental U.S.
international objectives remain constant, the threats, to
those objectives have become more complex, sophisticated,
and diverse. At a time when U.S. interests are not
changing, it seems the U.S. Army will be getting much
smaller. (5:16) In the face of these challenging
circumstances however, the strategic imperative for the
Army remains unchanged- the Army must be trained and ready,
today and tomorrow, to protect the national security of the
United States, anytime, anywhere. (25:13) It is unlikely
that a significant decrease in the active Army will
translate into reduced roles and missions. It is this
apparent resource/roles mismatch that will pose the
greatest challenge for the Army of the future.
To be sure, many aspects of the threat are changing.
Americans applaud Soviet President Gorbachev's reform
initiatives, especially significant Soviet force reductions
in Eastern Europe. These Soviet reductions will allow for
asymmetrical U.S. force reductions in Europe through the
Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty talks. (1:1)
While the Soviet Union will cut the size of its armed
forces, we can expect that they will continue to modernize
their forces. In the long run, the smaller, more
sophisticated Soviet army may be more capable. Today,
however, not even the Soviets seem to know what Eastern
Europe will look like in ten years. One result of
President Gorbachev's reforms could be crisis. Americans
must accept unpredictability, to do otherwise is dangerous.
Change by itself will not bring about security. World
history is replete with examples of instability and
conflicts when great empires have collapsed. on the
political level, we should not rush into unilateral force
reductions that could fuel world instability. NATO has
kept the peace in Europe longer than any other period in
history. (3:1) The U.S. military presence in Europe will
decline significantly, how we manage this change is
Although the evening news seems to focus on events in
Europe, we must look past that continent because America is
a global power with global interests. Outside of Europe,
the world seems more complex. As demonstrated in the Iran-
Iraq War, the "Third World" has large military arsenals of
tanks, artillery, ballistic missiles, and chemical weapons.
The sophistication of the weapons fielded in the developing
world were once reserved only for the "superpowers".
The political situation in the Third World is
explosive. Many of the deep rooted problems do not seem to
have apparent solutions. Throughout the developing world,
the United States has significant interests. The United
States cannot ignore the military power of the Third World.
We must maintain a significant capability to defeat
mechanized and armor forces. Most of our potential
adversaries are land powers with forces available to
control assets of vital importance to the United States.
The requirements to meet this growing mechanized land
threat must be met by the U.S. Army.
"Heavy" forces are not enough. The Army must continue
to develop and modernize its light and special forces. The
Army must be ready to "force package" forces at any time to
meet any contingency. The "force package" for Operation
"Just Cause" comprised virtually every type of Army unit.
This mixture of forces will continue to be paramount in all
future conflicts. Together with its sister services, the
Army must be able to project its geographic reach
throughout the world.
Where possible, the Army must retain its forward
deployment concept. Combined with contingency forces,
forward deployment is key to the Army's deployability. In
today's world however, the Army cannot count on being
forward deployed in all potential crisis areas. For this
reason, America must invest more in strategic sea and
airlift capabilities. As good as America's strategic land
force is, it cannot perform, if it cannot get to the fight.
Strategic lift discussions usually end up being debates on
"lightening" up Army forces. We will not solve America's
security requirements by building down the Army's combat
power. What is reguired, is the building up of America's
strategic lift capabilities.
The question, "How much military is enough?" is in
vogue around our Country today. (5:l6) It seems that the
answer may come in the form of another question. Does the
United States wish to continue to be a superpower?
Clearly, military power is only one aspect of our
superpower status, but as other aspects of our power are
threatened, the military will be asked to take action.
There are many proposals to reduce the United States
military forces. One such proposal recommends the U.S.
Army be reduced to seven active divisions. (5:19) A seven
division Army is not the Army of a superpower; it is the
Army of a country in retreat.
The Army's long-term budget plan calls for the Army to
reduce personnel strength by about 35,000 soldiers per
year. The total five year reduction would be approximately
140,000 soldiers by 1995. Budget negotiations now being
debated in Congress, could increase the 1991 force cut to
80,000 soldiers. This would be almost three times the Army
projection. Such deep cuts would cause significant
training and readiness problems. Under staffed units
cannot train as Army doctrine requires. (7:15)
The Army must maintain an acceptable mix of heavy,
light, and special operating forces. In America, however,
as costs increase, "will" decreases. Our goals cannot
outrun resources. The Army's strategic roles are not about
to change. The resultant conflict between resources, will,
and perceived threats confronts the Army with serious
The Army faces a challenge of maintaining the
modernization of its forces in an increasingly austere
budget environment. (6:27) All to often, the budget
process has seemed short-sighted. How much future
warfighting capability will be sacrificed due to the
present budget process? For its part, the Army must expend
its resources on materiel and programs which enhance
The Army must also attempt to retain quality people.
Quality soldiers are not a luxury, they are essential. As
the Army becomes smaller, the need for quality soldiers
will increase. So as the Army juggles its modernization
requirements, it must also weigh its "people programs".
Army leaders must continue to refine their vision of
the future Army. If the Army does not make the necessary
force reductions, Congress will most certainly "help".
Better that the military leaders make these judgements
early, then have Congressional leaders make them in
seemingly isolated vacuums. Congress is hunting for a
"peace dividend" to off-set social ills. The military has
never been a better target.
At the same time however, military leaders must stand
up and state the unpopular. Heavy forces are required.
The military establishment understands and seems to agree
with a gradual military force reduction; however, a large
standing Army is necessary for a superpower to protect its
interests. Nobody else will fight America's wars.
America's military leaders must be proactive to the point
of educating the American public concerning the
consequences of quick, steep, force reductions. To often,
military leaders have seemed reluctant to carry their
message to the American people. Now is not the time for
our military leaders to be timid.
The world is becoming more complex. The world is not
necessarily a safer place to live in. America and the U.S.
Army will continue to face serious challenges. What ever
the future holds, the United States Army is tasked to
build, maintain, and support a force to protect America's
interests under any circumstances. The ability of the Army
to fight and win the wars of our Nation is key to the
survival of our democracy. As in the past, the Army with
its unique mix of highly trained heavy, light, and special
forces, will provide America with its strategic land force
for the 1990s and beyond.
Click here to view image
1. Adams, Peter. "U.S. Sets Agenda for CFE II Talks."
Defense News, (December 4, 1989), p.1.
2. Baker, Caleb. "Army Aims for Highly Mobile Forces."
Army Times, (January 15, 1990), p.25.
3. Baker, Caleb. "Army Plans Tank, Troop Pullout in
Germany." Defense News, (December 4, 1989), p.1.
4. Carlucci, Frank. "Annual Report to the Congress."
5. Church, George. "How Much is Enough?". Time Magazine,
(February 12, 1990), p.16-20.
6. Donnelly, Tom. "The Big Chop: 130,000 from Active
Duty." Army Times, (December 11, 1989), p.27.
7. Donnelly, Tom. "How Bad Could Larger Cuts Be?" Army
Times, (March 19, 1990), p.15.
8. Donovan, Elizabeth. "Marines Launch Preemptive Strike
to Defend Mission." Army Times, (January 15,
9. Evans, Roland and Novak, Robert. "No Linkage at Malta."
Washington Post, December 4, 1989, Section A,
10. Guertner, Gary. "Conventional Deterrence After Arms
Control." Parameters, (December 1989), p. 67-79.
11. Hitchens, Theresa. "CFE Treaty Could Force Realignment
of NATO Members Roles." Defense News, (October
12. HQ Department of the Army. "Future of the Force:
Considerations and Constraints." Discussion Paper,
(April 28, l989).
13. HQ Department of the Army. "The Changing Nature of the
Threat in 1989." Memorandum, (February 15, 1989).
14. Markowitz, David. "Strategic Weapons in the Third
World." Harvard International Review, (Fall
15. Middleton, Drew. "Defense Cuts: Past Lessons, Future
Tests." Army Times, (December 11, 1989), p.23.
16. Reagan, Ronald. "National Security Strategy." (January
17. Summers, Harry. "On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of
the Vietnam War", 1984.
18. Tyler, Patrick. "Bush Alerted in May to Soviet Military
Cuts." Washington Post, December 11, 1989,
Section A, Page 1.
19. U.S. Army. "Strategic Imperatives." Army Focus, (June
20. U.S. Army. "The Army As a Strategic Force." Soldiers
Magazine, (January 1990).
21. U.S. Army. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
Training The Force, FM25-100. 1988.
22. U.S. Army. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
Operations, FM100-5. 1986.
23. U.S. Congress. "Statement of the Army's Assistant
Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans,
Force Development." 100th Congress, 2d Session,
March 29, 1988.
24. U.S. Government. "Defense 89." (July/August 1989).
25. Vuono, Carl E., GEN, USA. "Today's U.S. Army: Trained
and Ready In an Era of Change." Army Green Book,
(October 1989), p.12-32.
26. Vuono, Carl E., GEN, USA. "Vision For the Army." Army
Focus, (June 1989).
27. Washington Post. "President Bush's Address to the
Nation." (September 6, 1989), p.1.
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list