While few have really taken notice, the U.S. Army conducted a large, coordinated rollout of a bold, new procurement and force structure strategy last week. It wasn’t loud, it wasn’t splashy, but the path is unmistakable: the service is pushing the idea of the small unit as the decisive land force of the future.
In fact, at the service’s annual AUSA winter meeting last week, presentation after presentation touted the idea of the “decisive soldier” and the need to train small units to fight everything from big wars to hybrid or irregular conflicts, while at the same time the Secretary of Defense hammered home the reality that the money just won’t be there in future budgets for large “exquisite” weapons programs.
I’d love to see more emphasis on what can be done to better equip the soldier on the ground, but I am terribly skeptical that an effort like this will result in anything more than a heavier load for grunts.
I’m also pretty damn skeptical about SecDef Gates outlook on the future employment of ground forces. The fact is, you don’t always get to pick and choose which fights you’ll face.