Having spent a lot of time on tanks, I would argue that pursuing technical solutions that don't account for the human dimension of sustained ground combat is a mistake. The four-soldier crew gives flexibility that three cannot.
Pulling local security is a real requirement inside a tactical assembly area. Doing so while maintaining weapons, conducting maintenance, eating, and getting some sleep is already tough. When in radio listening silence you need a runner, and during tactical road marches you need an air guard.
Tankers actually dismount more often than one might think. They often must ground guide their vehicles through constricted terrain. Someone must often get on the ground to talk infantry or others, not on one's radio net.
Maintenance is a physically demanding team sport, and everyone in the crew plays a role in it. More hands make heavy work less so. Having three on your crew is really not that rare given the vagaries of the personnel system, so most crews have dealt with that problem during training. Their opinion about four being better than three is well informed by personal experience.
Stuff stops working on big complicated vehicles all the time and you generally train to work around fire control system failures and the loss of a crewman. How you could work around a broken autoloader is difficult to imagine. You can fight a manually loaded main gun even without turret or engine power. One assumes an automatic loader requires power.
When replacing track on an Abrams a four-person crew can get by, but smart platoons generally pitch in as a team effort. It is a miserable experience, regardless, especially under field conditions in bad weather. Recovery of damaged or broken vehicles is also a lot easier when you have more hands. And local security remains a requirement during recovery operations, so every soldier matters.
Col. Rich Creed is director of the Army’s Combined Arms Directorate at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A career armor officer, he has deployed to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. This article represents his own views, which are not necessarily those of the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense.
Officers from the California Highway Patrol arrested a homeless man Thursday morning after he allegedly threw a stolen Caltrans tripod onto Interstate 5 in downtown Sacramento, endangering the occupants of a van as it crashed through its windshield.
The incident happened just after 10:30 a.m., when the Caltrans survey tripod was stolen from the corner of Neasham Circle and Front Street, CHP South Sacramento said in a news release.
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's parliament descended into chaos on Sunday when lawmakers brawled over the appointment of a new speaker, an inauspicious start to the assembly which was sitting for the first time since chaotic elections last year.
Results of last October's parliamentary election were only finalized earlier this month after repeated technical and organizational problems and widespread accusations of fraud.
If the Pentagon had to take Consumer Math class in high school, they'd flunk.
The U.S. military—correction, the U.S. taxpayer—is spending more money to buy fewer weapons. The reason? Poor acquisition practices, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
"DOD's 2018 portfolio of major weapon programs has grown in cost by $8 billion, but contains four fewer systems than last year," GAO found.