Simerly, chief of Combined Arms Support Command, Capability Development and Integration, spoke at a media roundtable Wednesday.
Discussions centered on the findings of the Demand Reduction Summit April 19 sponsored by the Army Capabilities Integration Center at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The summit was attended by the joint services and major Army commands and centers of excellence.
During the attack into Baghdad, the Army was forced “to take an operational pause to refuel and reset our formations,” he said.
In the future, the Army wants its brigade combat teams to operate independent of a logistics chain in austere environments at extended distances for extended times, he said, terming that effort “demand reduction,” or reducing the need to supply the BCT with fuel, ammunition, water, energy and other supplies.
“This is not a new challenge,” he added, but it has been given renewed emphasis with the multi-domain battle concept being the preferred strategy.
A multi-domain battle means a joint forces battle taking place not just in the domains of air and land but also in the domains of sea, space, and cyberspace. Such a force might employ infantrymen with cyberspace skills, innovative air defense systems to deter enemy aircraft, and even ground-to-ground missiles to target enemy ships.
In his remarks, Simerly touched upon a few of the near-term and long-term technological capabilities and innovations that could shape demand-reduction efforts.
NEAR-TERM DEMAND REDUCTION
The Army’s Fuels Automated Management System is an information technology application under development that will allow commanders to understand how much fuel they have, where it is and how far operations can extend based on the fuel at hand, he said.
Additive manufacturing will reduce demand at the point of need and allow Soldiers to produce combat spares or other critical items to lessen reliance on a supply chain that will be contested or extended, he said.
Improved tactical power generation or microgrid technologies will allow Soldiers to be more efficient at power production, distribution, storage and control of power, he pointed out. This effort will be aimed at BCTs on the move as well as on the halt.
LONG-TERM DEMAND REDUCTION
Capabilities that allow Soldiers to use alternative sources of energy like hydrogen vehicles or a greater use of hybrid-electric technology will reduce the supply chain and prevent that pause on the road to Baghdad that occurred in 2003, Simerly said. Platforms like the Abrams tank and the Paladin are some of the biggest fuel guzzlers. These may need to be completely replaced with something like hybrid-electric.
Autonomous aerial distribution that can deliver supplies 150 kilometers out with a payload of up to 2,000 pounds is a desired capability, he said. Lighter versions of these unmanned aerial vehicles might carry about 500 pounds that could supply an infantry squad every third or fourth day with fuel, ammunition and water and fly close to the surface of the earth. Micro-UAVs with payloads of 20 to 50 pounds would be helpful as well, perhaps carrying medical supplies.
Right now, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, leader-follower vehicles — a mix of manned and unmanned trucks — are being tested, he said. However, in the distant future, autonomous convoy operations or single autonomous vehicles that carry supplies and operate off-road are a much-desired capability.
Unfortunately, the commercial sector is focusing on roads, and not much is being done off-road.
“Our sensors right now can’t very well tell the difference between a toddler and a tumbleweed,” he said.
(Follow David Vergun on Twitter: @vergunARNEWS)
FORT HOOD, Texas (April 12, 2017) — A recent weeklong, combined training exercise involving elements of several Fort Hood separate units and the 1st Cavalry Division has implications for a future Army concept exercise at the National Training Center this summer.
Soldiers with the Fort Hood-based 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade conducted a battalion Certification Exercise, March 26-31, at Training Area 35 on Fort Hood’s eastern side, and also at West Fort Hood. Other units participating included the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation), 11th Signal Brigade, and at least three units from the 1st Cavalry Division. The CERTEX served to certify the battalion’s MI Soldiers on 19 collective tasks, before deploying to NTC with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
The Army selected the Fort Carson-based 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team as the experimental unit for the Reconnaissance and Security Brigade model, to help inform Army senior leaders on the Operational and Organizational Concept for the Army 2020. The R&S Brigade is similar to the former Armored Cavalry Regiments headquartered within Army corps.
The 504th MI Brigade is providing approximately 35 Soldiers from the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion to augment the 1st Brigade’s intelligence section with Signals Intelligence, Human Intelligence and Geospatial Intelligence assets.
For Lt. Col. Alex Leonovich, 303rd MI Battalion Commander, the training served a key role in the battalion’s preparation for operations at the National Training Center in California.
“The (Certification Exercise) provided an opportunity for dynamic and realistic training to prepare our Soldiers to support 1/4 (Infantry Division) when they train at Fort Irwin this summer,” Leonovich said.
Much of the certification exercise focused on affirming the battalion’s Soldiers are ready to fight from the moment they touch ground at NTC. Most of those involved have trained for this opportunity since last November. Throughout the exercise, the “Longhorn” battalion Soldiers certified on conducting expeditionary intelligence operations, integrating intelligence operations with maneuver elements, and conducting expeditionary sustainment operations. Many of the 19 tasks focus on certifying collection teams and completing MI “gunnery tables” found in Training Circular 2-19.400.
“We want to be ready to plug in and win on day one, versus taking a long time to get to that level,” said Maj. Matthew Shirley, 303rd MI Battalion Operations Officer. “This is really to give the commander an assessment of where we stand on those 19 tasks.”
Starting Sunday, March 26, Soldiers from B Company, 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion, and scout and sniper teams from 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, were flown tactically to TA-35 and inserted into the training area. Throughout the next two days, the intel teams conducted simulated Signals and Human Intelligence collection missions, while joined by Soldiers with 2-12 Cavalry who played the maneuver element on opposing forces played by other B Company Soldiers. Additionally, Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, flew a MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone overhead to provide Full-Motion Video to Geospatial Intelligence Soldiers analyzing the video feed at West Fort Hood.
For Shirley, partnering with, and integrating other III Corps and Fort Hood units, was the exercise’s “biggest win.” In doing so, he said, it fostered relationships between 303rd Soldiers and other enablers, which leads to authentic training.
“One of the biggest wins was the 2-12 Cavalry that brought two scout teams and a sniper team and really made the basis for our exercise. They’re that maneuver force that we would embed with. Why that’s so important is because as MI Soldiers we would never go to the fight by ourselves, we’re always partnered with someone else,” Shirley said.
He continued by saying, “…The (Geospatial Intelligence) systems received the feed from the Grey Eagle, so the second win would be the incorporation of F/2-27 from 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. Their ability to get those Grey Eagles up in the air and communicating with our Soldiers is a huge win and a training enabler, because they’ll be expected to do that at NTC.”
On Wednesday, March 29, the battalion conducted a mid-point After Action Review and prepared for mounted operations using the Prophet Enhanced MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle. The Prophet Enhanced vehicle is an all-weather, tactical Signals Intelligence capability with a robust array of sensors.
According to Capt. Frank Giunta, Commander of B Company, 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion, the exercise changed focus, March 30, to “more of an asymmetric warfare threat.” The company falls under 303rd MI Battalion for task organization, and Giunta served as the exercise’s director. In the later scenario, an organization’s aid worker was kidnapped, and Signals and Human Intelligence collection teams had to identify the location of the hostage and travel to a nearby training site to rescue him.
For Capt. Giunta’s junior leaders, he wanted them to be fully-trained in Troop Leading Procedures and be able to operate in small units with limited instructions or guidance from higher headquarters. One of the company’s junior officers, 2nd Lt. Kyle Greene, who leads a Geospatial Intelligence platoon, had a sizeable responsibility during the certification exercise.
“Our mission during this (Field Training Exercise) is to provide the commander with intelligence about the enemy disposition and identify answers to his (Priority Intelligence Requirements), regarding the location of enemy weapons caches, (High Value Targets), disruption activities, and most likely avenues of ingress and egress,” Greene said.
Throughout the weeklong exercise, the battalion relied on its Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment for sustainment support, including maintenance, field feeding operations and Intelligence and Electronic Warfare equipment maintenance support. In several instances, the battalion’s Maintenance Support Team conducted recovery training and even ordered replacement parts from the field. The battalion’s culinary specialists were on hand all week to ensure everyone was well-fed.
Other key players in the exercise were the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion and the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery, which assisted in providing Full Motion Video feeds to the 303rd MI Battalion’s Tactical Operations Center. The Division Artillery’s intelligence section was the first tactical unit on Fort Hood to train with B Company, 15th Military Intelligence Battalion. Two Soldiers used the One System Remote Video Terminal to view Full Motion Video from the 15th’s Grey Eagle drones.
Maj. James Thomas, who serves as the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery’s intelligence officer, said the opportunity training allowed the Soldiers to learn from MI units and engage enemy target locations in combat environments.
“Throughout the exercise, we learned a great deal about how we can acquire targets using Military Intelligence assets, which we could then engage using our (division) artillery systems or close air support,” Thomas said. “(Division Artillery) Soldiers were able to see imagery analysts, Signals Intelligence, and Human Intelligence Soldiers in action.”
At the exercise’s end, the training served as a foundation for the 303rd MI Battalion Soldiers to fully integrate with their 1st SBCT partners during a much-anticipated Army exercise for a combat scenario against a near-peer adversary.
“What the Army will come back with, is the results of how this unit performs as the Army looks to its operational concept of 2020,” Maj. Shirley said. “Is this the right combination of forces? Is this what we need to fight and win in the future?”
MG Bo Dyess, Acting Director Army Capabilities Integration Center greets his German Army counterpart, MG Reinhard Wolski, Commander, German Army Concepts and Capabilities Development Centre (ACCDC) on 6 April 2017. ARCIC and ACCDC are currently working on new concepts and capabilities to counter comment threats. Both Armies are committed to closer cooperation and to improve interoperability. This visit provided an opportunity to discover and discuss areas of common interest and efforts, especially as it relates to the new U.S. Multi-Domain Battle Concept and Army Warfighting Challenge #14-Ensure Interoperability and Operate in a Joint, Interorganizational and Multinational Environment.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — Several Latin American nations are modernizing their armored vehicle fleets, including Peru, which may soon finalize a sales deal with the U.S. to purchase Stryker vehicles.
The threat from “illicit networks” in Latin America continues to grow. And armored vehicle modernization efforts by partner nations there will play a part in combating the threat — but the deals must be done right, said the deputy commander of U.S. Southern Command.
Latin American nations like Colombia, Brazil, and Peru, for instance, are demonstrating the right way to modernize existing fleets of armored vehicles, including training and doctrine packages, said Lt. Gen. Joseph DiSalvo, deputy commander, U.S. Southern Command, during a conference here on armored vehicles.
Columbia, DiSalvo said, is now in its fifth year of a 15-year plan to modernize its armored vehicle fleet, which includes the Light Armored Vehicle family of infantry fighting vehicles.
“They are striving to get a combined arms combat capability right now,” DiSalvo said.
He characterized Colombia’s efforts to modernize their fleet as a “well-thought-out total system development of a legacy platform,” that they expect will last them another 30 to 40 years. “They are getting the institutional side of the house in foundation right now, with their doctrine and training.”
Colombia’s neighbor, Peru, he said, is on a similar path with their own vehicle modernization effort. They are “on the verge of signing a letter of acceptance for foreign military sales for Stryker vehicles.” It’ll be the first FMS deal for the Stryker vehicle, he said.
“They are doing a very prudent approach in accounting for the total system,” he said. That includes consideration of training, doctrine and sustainment.
And Brazil, he said, is active in upgrading some legacy systems as well, such as their M113 armored personnel carriers, and M109 howitzers.
“They know they have got to adjust the doctrine side, the training side, and the personnel side of the house,” he said of Brazil. “We’re seeing good examples here of smart modernization that’s within budget and that will hopefully be successful for a legacy platform that will last them years out.”
According to DiSalvo, the threat of state-on-state military action in Latin America is negligible. The real threat, he said, comes from the “illicit networks” operating there and “the ability of these networks to move the drugs.” Included as part of that threat are gangs, special-interest alien movement, foreign terrorist fighter flow, illegally armed groups, and mass migration.
“There are a bunch of different activities that go to undermine the security and governance and stability within Latin America — all because of the existence of these illicit networks,” he said.
Illicit mining operations also threaten effective governance and the environment in Latin America, he said, including mining operations for gold and other minerals. “Right now that’s generating more illicit revenue than the drug trafficking,” he said. “It’s a huge concern, plus the environmental damage being done, all pose a serious threat to the region.”
Considering the threats they face and their needs in combatting them, governments in Latin America should look to wheeled armored combat vehicles, he said.
Already, nations in Latin America have such capability: the Swiss-designed Piranha, the Brazilian-made Cascavel, the Russia-made BTR, and the American-made Humvees, for instance. But the technology, he said, is old. “Right now, it probably isn’t sufficient enough to do what is necessary for the survivability, maneuverability, and lethality to go ahead and degrade the [illicit] networks for them.”
Such vehicles, he believes, will need to operate in a range of complex environments, like mountains, deserts and jungles.
When partner nations in Latin America are looking to modernize their capability, he said, consideration must be given not just to the hardware, but also the training, doctrinal changes and sustainment. “The whole bit,” he said. That requires a commitment to a long-term plan.
In the past, he said, the standard for buying gear or for modernization of existing gear, was to field a system and then let the training and military occupational specialization and maintenance training “catch up later.”
But now, he said, partner nations know they have to “build that doctrinal base and training foundation first. There is progress being made for that now, and the professional education on that.”
DiSalvo warned against modernization “on the cheap.”
Dealing with the United States for foreign military sales isn’t inexpensive, he said. But partner nations in Latin America should resist the temptation to do modernization “the easy way,” which might involve buying equipment from other nations that don’t provide the training, support, and partnership that comes with buying from the United States.
If they go that route, he said, the “good news” is that they’ll get gear quickly. But the bad news is that “it won’t be a total-systems-type program.”
Such systems might initially be operational and meet partner nation needs, but “when you don’t have the sustainment, the training, or the legacy infrastructure to support [those] systems … you probably just bought a 30-ton paperweight 10 years down the road. You’ve added another variant to an already too-many-fleeted program, which will make it impossible to sustain, and you’ve done nothing to get that legacy system you can afford for 30 to 40 to 50 years.”
Buying on the cheap, he said, “in zero to five years it seems advantageous, but in the long run it winds up being counterproductive.”
Modernization for ground combat vehicles in Latin America, DiSalvo said, must be “a very deliberate process.” What the Army tells partners is that “you have to commit to an investment” when it comes to modernization, and U.S. platforms, he said, will provide a “total system.”
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The world may seem to be getting smaller, but the distances the U.S. Army has to travel to conduct its missions have not, said Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
“Our biggest challenge as we move forward is time-distance. For example, Germersheim [Germany] to Estonia is the same distance as St. Louis to Key West,” Gamble said as panel chair of “Sustaining a Multi Domain Battle,” during the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium, March 14.
The 21st TSC, U.S. Army Europe’s lead organization for logistics support, transportation and combat sustainment, has the ability due to its location and specialized brigades throughout southern Germany to deploy its assets in an expeditious manner to Eastern Europe and across the globe.
While posturing from Europe may be new to Soldiers who enlisted or commissioned after the Cold War, it has some sense of déjà vu for Maj. Gen. Les Carroll, commanding general of the 377th TSC, an Army Reserve command headquartered in New Orleans that has components across the United States.
“We’re kind of the last generation that trained this way for a fight in Eastern Europe. Our commanders don’t understand the fast fight at the Fulda Gap, like we did growing up. That’s a challenge we’re going after, but it’s going to be a struggle for years to come, I’m afraid,” Carroll said.
The shift to Western Europe is something German air force Brig. Gen. Michael Vetter, commanding general of the Bundeswehr (German military) Logistics Center in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, said their armed forces has prepared for since the Berlin Wall was taken down in 1989.
“Germany will be the main transit nation in Europe, and the special emphasis needs to be on establishing personal relations with each other. We have to act like a coalition to be successful and conduct a hybrid environment to combat our adversaries. The real challenge is that we’re working under peacetime operations,” Vetter said.
After more than 15 years of war, the Army is refocusing its efforts back to the warfighter and their key Soldiering tasks, and relying less on contractors. Conducting operations under peacetime, and therefore less funding and contracting support, means Soldiers will need to return to their Soldiering skills.
“We have to teach our Soldiers how to be on the battlefield, not on the [Forward Operating Base], and how to survive on the battlefield. That’s the new environment we’re trying to teach, but there’s a gap in knowledge,” Carroll said.
This lack of knowledge comes as a byproduct of more than a decade of Soldiers not handling every aspect of day-to-day operations in a deployed environment, said Maj. Gen. Flem “Donnie” Walker, deputy chief of staff, G-4, U.S. Army Forces Command.
“We’ve not really done that since maybe the very early parts of [Operation Iraqi Freedom] when we were conducting refueling on the move and redistribution. Mastering those fundamentals is going to be more important than ever in an expeditionary environment,” Walker said.
Working in an expeditionary environment is what Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command excels at, said its Commanding General Maj. Gen. Kurt Ryan.
“We are on the march again, and we are relearning this deployment and distribution process in a big way. It’s important we maintain the freedom of movement between, and through, our various Combatant Commands. Projecting and sustaining the joint force is a challenge, and certain abilities have atrophied, but we are getting after the problem set and identifying the threat to the capability enterprise,” Ryan said.
Being honest with assessments, and working to close those gaps, is where Ryan says the focus should be.
“We’ve got to get our total force into the total fight,” he said.
Retired Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dowd, director of logistics, SOS International LLC, was also a panelist.