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Army Rolls Out New Field Manual Focused On US Adversaries’ Evolving Capabilities
The Army has reshaped its primary operating concept to focus on large-scale combat against enemies with technology and capabilities similar to American forces after 16 years of fighting insurgent groups in the Middle East and southwest Asia.
The Army on Tuesday rolled out its updated field manual during the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting in Washington. Titled FM 3-0 Operations, the field manual emphasizes the service’s need to adapt to potential battlefields where enemies have modern tanks, artillery, air forces, drones and cyber capabilities.
A soldier from 277th Aviation Support Battalion engages a target during a convoy live-fire exercise at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, on July 7, 2017.U.S. Army photo
Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, said Tuesday that adversaries including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have spent nearly two decades studying the U.S. military’s strengths and vulnerabilities as it has fought terrorist groups. Those nations have invested in modernizing their forces and preparing them to exploit vulnerabilities developed while the United States focused on fighting insurgents.
“Our advantage has steadily eroded,” he said.
It marks the first major overhaul since 2011 of the field manual, which defines the Army’s fighting priorities for soldiers, said Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, the commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
The shift in focus was necessitated primarily by adversaries such as Russia, which has used advanced military techniques against Ukrainian forces since intervening in the civil war there in 2014.
“The environment has changed, and it has changed dramatically,” Lundy said. “Threats today are much more sophisticated and capable.”
The need for the United States to fight such a near-peer adversary is now more likely than at any time since the Cold War, he said.
And such a war would be “significantly more dangerous” than the combat American soldiers have faced in Afghanistan and Iraq through the last 16 years, said Lundy, who helped write the new manual during the last seven months.
A burst of fire erupts from the muzzle of a 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division M1 Abrams tank during gunnery training at Fort Hood, Texas.U.S. Army photo
The new fighting manual places increased emphasis on large-scale combat that would include multiple Army divisions of some 20,000 soldiers, which means refocusing the Army to deploy full divisions and even corps as opposed to the brigade combat teams that it has deployed independently during recent wars, Lundy said.
It also means ensuring the divisions have built-in cyber warfare and aerial defense capabilities, which have not been required on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Lundy highlighted Russia’s use of drones to scout the locations of Ukrainian forces before releasing massive long-range artillery barrages, such as an attack in July 2014 near the beginning of the conflict when an entire Ukrainian army battalion was virtually destroyed.
Many near-peer adversaries, including Russia, use long-range artillery as their primary offensive weapon, Lundy said. To counter such a threat, the United States must be able to shoot down or jam the drone systems from the battlefield. It also must be able to protect its force from incoming artillery or fire from aircraft, he said.
“We haven’t been shot at by anything in the air until about six months ago when [the Islamic State] started doing it with unmanned systems,” the general said. “The threat had gone away, so we weren’t investing in that. We’ve got to change that now.”
To change the Army’s emphasis to focusing on large-scale operations it means units will adjust their training at home and at regional combat training centers. While the Army has spent the last three years adjusting its training center rotations to prepare units to fight insurgents and near-peer enemies, Lundy said future rotations will place increased emphasis on fighting modern armies capable of launching debilitating cyber and air attacks on the unit.
Preparing the Army to fight a near-peer adversary is ultimately a deterrent to other countries who do not want to engage an Army that they cannot destroy, Lundy said.
“This is about thinking differently about warfighting than we have for the last 16 years and filling in our capability gaps,” he said.” “It’s about preparing to fight a near-peer fight today and deterring our adversaries from wanting that fight.”
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Senior defense officials offered a wide range of excuses to reporters on Wednesday about why they may not comply with a subpoena from House Democrats for documents related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
On Oct. 7, lawmakers subpoenaed information about military aid to Ukraine. Eight days later, a Pentagon official told them to pound sand in part because many of the documents requested are communications with the White House that are protected by executive privilege.
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.