The U.S. Army is renewing its focus on the basics of war fighting.
After more than 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Army honed and sharpened its counterinsurgency skills, soldiers can soon expect to spend more time on more comprehensive training to meet a hybrid threat that could span guerrilla, insurgent, criminal and conventional forces all in one environment.
“We’re going to go back and make sure we’re well grounded in the basics and fundamentals of war fighting,” said Brig. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn, commanding general of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, La. “We’ve been focused and training on fighting out of [combat outposts] and [forward operating bases] because that’s really what we needed to do. We needed to replicate as closely as we can the operational environment that we’re asking these brigade combat teams to go in and operate.”
The Army has, reasonably, been focused on Counter Insurgency for much of the last decade. But with the war in Iraq over, and operations in Afghanistan scheduled to end in 2014, the Army’s focus is rapidly turning to the training environment for the next war.
Rather than going back to the pre-9/11 high intensity warfare focus that evolved from AirLand Battle Doctrine, the Army’s latest doctrine posits that future wars will likely be a hybrid of high-intensity warfare against conventional forces, as well as simultaneous stability operations building the forces of a host nation, all while having to conduct security operations (COIN) against irregular, insurgent forces. Training a BCT to conduct this entire range of operations, simultaneously and across a wide geographical area, requires a mental flexibility and agility that previous forces just didn’t have to grasp. We’re asking more and more of our troops, and building tough, realistic training scenarios to test themselves in will be a key component of maintaining combat readiness.