"At the end of the cold war, it was difficult to imagine a crisis large enough to require the Army to deploy a whole Division, or even a Regiment. Some analyst even suggested that the Army should down-size itself to a few Brigade-sized task forces......Desert Storm shattered this theory. The United States fielded and maneuvered three full corps of troops to action against Iraq. Continuing threats from Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, instability in the Balklans and the former Soviet Union, and the need for large scale humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, as in Somilia, suggest that the United States needs to be prepared to use the exceptional combat and staying power of ground forces to achieve national objectives."

--Tom Clancy in Armored Cav, Berkley Books, 1994, pg. 265

The author of "Breaking the Phalanx", U.S. Army Colonel Doug MacGregor when on assignment at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes that somehow "downsizing" brings about greater efficiency when all smaller is, is smaller. This is WAR, not the corporate boardroom. Military history and detailed studies show that casualties decrease and complexity to operate increases at the DIVISION level, not solo Brigades.

(Understanding War, Page 190, Figure 14-2 "Relationship Between Casualties, Size of Force, and Exposure to Fire" by Trevor Nevitt DuPuy)

"Combat historians such as COl T. Dupuy have documented that it's not numbers of casualties that break the will to fight, it's the rate at which they occur--this is part of the significance of the 'hyperwar' or continuous, high ops tempo concept."

--RAND RB-26 report, 1996

What this means is that we must quickly over-power enemies with QUALITY forces in LARGE SIZES within 72 hours, not attrit them in a WWII set-piece battle replay that requires a slow sea-based logistical proppelled "meat grinder" and loses American public support needed to win-Vietnam's mistakes all over again. Its Paratroopers from the Sky in hours not naval infantry weeks, months too late.

Don't get me wrong--Colonel MacGregor is a hero and a military genius, I just believe Congressional rewards for downsizing the U.S. Army will be LESS MONEY for the forces that remain, who will be even more over-stretched keeping the peace world-wide then they are now. If we want real economy of forces we need to get rid of phony sea-based posturing marines and put our money into warfighting U.S. Army BCTs/RCTs that are in a warfighting Division! Noone is afraid of a Brigade (much less a mere mc battalion), however well-constructed--the 82d Airborne DIVISION inbound on USAF aircraft to drop into Haiti--yes---the same DIVISION on the ground in Saudi Arabia---yes---that scares opponents to surrender or stay away because these forces can FIGHT and kick butt. Col MacGregor would have us throw away this powerful advantage by making the U.S. Army a bunch of piecemeal solo Brigades for more efficiency when we can achieve this ithin the existing Divisions and keep their combat histories/lineages. That General shinsecki's "transformation" is building BCTs is testament to MacGregor's genius even though it has cost him his career unjustly.

"In reviewing these actions it is apparent that some military capabilities have been quite useful while others have assumed a much more modest role. In Panama, Haiti and Somalia the principal instrument of American power was its light infantry divisions. Secretary of State Warren Christopher noted that, despite the threat of air and naval attack, it was only when the Army's 82nd Airborne Division was in the air that the Haitian government of General Cedras stepped aside and agreed to the restoration of power to President Aristide."

"....But when assessed with appropriate objectivity, the decisive capability was provided by the ground components. The bottom line remains that despite 37 days of furious air bombardment, it still took the land campaign to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait and secure the established political objectives. In Bosnia the peacekeeping operation itself ultimately has rested on the shoulders of the Army's 1st Armored Division."

--Colonel M. Thomas Davis, USA, who is currently serving as a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institute. A separate version of this paper appeared in the 20 October 1996 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

The central thesis is his belief that with technology we do not need as many men to do the job---a sort of catering to the current technologist arrogance that was clearly proven false in Vietnam and more recently in Somalia. The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) means nothing to the thug in a third world country with a Kalashnikov and RPG but no lap-top computer. He knows how to "network" without need of computers. "Information agility" means squat if you don't have muscle--mechanical advantage---in the physical plane we still live in.

The great Sun Tzu who said;

"One cannot always avoid a fight... and one cannot always choose his battlefield".

The peace in Bosnia is kept by men of the U.S. Army on the ground in DIVISION sizes not by solo Brigades backed by just computer illusions instead of 2 other Brigades in a parent Division which can rotate in and relieve those on duty. The author has clearly bought into too much of this "man is advancing" hubris of the Tofflers when the over-riding thought in the places where wars are fought is DESPAIR. The world is URBANIZING this is far more important than it computerizing.

The next deadly idea in his book is that we need to disband the U.S. Army's already grossly out-numbered 10 Divisions in order to pay for the equipment he wants (like light AFVs) to form "Super Brigades", again a lie---- because we already have the equipment we need. For example we have thousands of 11 ton M113A3 AFVs that can be exchanged with 22,000 pound trucks in Light/Airborne Divisions to give them armored shock action that is air deliverable, all we need is the flexibility of mind to do this. If the author's book raises ideas of what the task-organized Brigade can do with innovative force strucure, this is good, do it within the Divisions so we can have 3 of the "Super Brigades" instead of just one. Then in war, we terrify the enemy and do not suffer casualties from trying to ask a Brigade to do too much. Once a Brigade on its own, quickly takes casualties it becomes combat ineffecive, it needs two other brother Brigades under the Division to support it.

Next is this avante garde' nonsense of others (not Col MacGregor) that the usmc is a good model to follow merely because they are on the "other side of the fence"; anyone who has actually been to that junkyard knows the mc cannot even get a BRIGADE afloat! Mixing bits and pieces around a mere light battalion capable at best of permissive evacuations if and only if------it happens to be in the area when needed-----and not sunk by mines, anti-ship missiles, suicide boats/planes filled with explosives driven by a terrorist (Remember Beirut in 1983?) and diesel-electric submarines-----is nothing to emulate.

The heritage MacGregor could have cited more is the U.S. Army's Regimental Combat Teams--that were a mixture of infantry, Armor, Close Air Support aircraft and mobile artillery, combat engineers that defeated the Germans and Japanese in WWII and the Koreans/Chinese later. The RCT heritage already exists in a way in the 2d Infantry Division guarding Korea as we speak---this is a model we can follow without having to "break the phalanx". This is how we won in Panama via RCT-sized Task Forces. The "Airborne Battle Group" used to great effect to respond effectively in the 1958 Lebanon crisis is yet another precedent. I wish I could have had some input into Colonel MacGregor before his first book was written!

Many officers believe most of the U.S. Army should go to a Regimental Combat Team (RCT) or BCT type-organization much like the past RCT's. The 10th, 25th, 82d and 101st Division RCTs would be comprised of:

RCT "Intel Synergism" COMMAND GROUP

Battle staff (CO, XO, S-1,2,3,4,5,6,7 etc) fully mobile in M577 CP AFVs and a C & C Blackhawk helicopter.

Pathfinder Platoon sent to USAF CCT School to better control Drop and Assault Zones as part of the JAAP, and maximixe the 1/3ds Air Assault capability in the RCT and recieve the rest of the RCT as it Airlands. 1/3d of the RCT moves by foot/HPV. The last 1/3d by light armored vehicles.

One Military Intelligence Company

With LRS Teams attached from the Division's LRSD for HUMINT. One Platoon with sensors like Ground Surveillance Radars (GSRs).

Can you name all the UAVs here?

A platoon of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to provide real-time targeting and intel data for HIMARS, tube Artillery, EFOGMS, and the OH-58D attack helicopters. COLT Lasing team to help designate targets for attack helos and USAF CAS aircraft. A FA unit with a Counter-Battery Direction Finder Radar that is airdroppable.

-One Engineer Company

With an Airborne platoon to prepare the STOL Assault Zone using airdropped bulldozer equipment and Small Emplacement Excavators (SEEs). Topo map platoon to exploit intel gained from MIC and disseminate to RCT Command Group.

One Signal company abn SIGINT attatched to abn inf bn -3 Light infantry battalions:


-One Airborne infantry battalion 2/3ds on foot with ATACs, Paragator ATVs to mount Heavy weapons like MK-19 40mm autogrenade launchers etc. one company on A/ETBs

-One Air Assault infantry battalion in UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters then on foot with HPVs: ATACs and A/ETBs

-One Light AIRMECHanized infantry battalion in 11-ton M113A3 Gavin AFVs or in the case of the 101st AA 3-ton Wiesel AFVs moved by CH-47D Chinook helicopters. The M113A3 can be externally slung under the Chinook and a pair of Wiesels can fit inside for aggressive, full speed flight mission profiles.

The 82d Airborne Division RCTs would have all its elements Airborne in order to parachute in as the STRATEGIC FORCED ENTRY FORCE OF THE U.S. and then utilize helicopters/AFVs/HPVs etc. like the other Divisions.

10th MD, 25th LID RCTs as Airlanding Divisions would have an Airborne Battalion organic to "spearhead" a small airhead seizure for the rest of the RCT(s) to airland into the 3,000 foot STOL assault zone. The 101st Air Assault an Airmechanized Division like the 82d Airborne, deploying short/medium distances by helicopters, longer distances by USAF aircraft STOL airlanding and cargo ships.

-One light armor Company with M8 Ridgway Armored Gun Systems or M113A3 Gavins with 106mm RRs and/or 120mm mortar turrets for direct fire shock action. Some fitted with Armored Vertical Assault Systems (AVAS):

Not on unarmored trucks

Armored VertAssault

A Company with LOSATs with hyper-velocity missiles and EFOGM XM44 HMMWVs for long-range and indirect-fire elimination of the enemy armor threat, fortified hard points, attack helicopters and special missions. The EFOGMs are the RCT's "mini-cruise missiles" to take out key enemy targets at 15 KM out The official EFOG web site here

-One Artillery Battalion

With one battery of ULW 155 towed howitzers, two of M119 105mm towed howitzers, one of which is Airborne in the Airlanding Divisions, and a HIMARS 270mm rocket battery. The two 105mm/155mm towed howitzers can be moved by Blackhawk helicopters once on the battlefield.

-One Air Defense Artillery Company, with Avenger HMMWVs that can be fitted with 2.75" Hydra-70 rockets for ground attack and an Airborne Stinger MANPADS platoon

-Aviation Battalion:

Two Cav Troops of OH-58D Kiowa Warriors forCAS/scouting, 2 Companies of UH-60L Blackhawks, 1 Company of CH-47D Chinooks


One Forward Sustainment Battalion

- each company has one Abn platoon for direct support of abn inf Bn--Riggers to prepare vehicles for LVAD, LAPES, CDS Air-Delivery and forward push supplies to RCT units. FMTV trucks assigned in desert conditions to augment the foot-mobile portion of the RCTs. Note the word "Sustainment" is used not the derogatory "support" these troops are essential to VICTORY.

One MP company in ASV-150 wheeled AFVs

-one platoon on jump status with ASV-90 Crowd Control/Fire Support Vehicles

The RCT would be commanded by a one-star General. Most of the Army's problems are with "a generation of myopic cookie cutting officers" who are flag rank and make all the policys/decisions by Lowest-Common-Denominator consensus. To eliminate this the RCT has no G1, no chief of staff, no deputy G3, work through. The RCT would be the most versatile and powerful combat formations in the U.S. Army, in fact the world. All officers from the "get go" should be groomed for either support roles, or combat command roles, and stay in their respective fields. The command element/field hospital/TOC of the RCT should all be Airborne to insert with the Airborne battalion spearhead element. Officers that would take the combat command route would have to go through a newly created assesment/development course that is both physical and mentally taxing as Ranger School but instructional for the purpose of integrating modern warfare concepts and developing a broad understanding of combined arms warfare. Command pipeline officers would be sent to specialty schools like Pathfinder, ALCE Load Planner's couse etc. to further their expertise and non-linear thinking. One officer writes:

"The Army demands we constantly train in combined arms conditions, so why don't we organize that way?"

LTC Ralph Peters (r) writes in Ruinous Generals, Heroes Gone Astray:

"Our Generals love what they so lovingly built. The Divisions and Corps they commanded hold an emotional power over them that blinds them to the need to restructure. Look at how we deploy for the real missions we face and will continue to face: We hastily re-arrange units, leaving these battalions behind, pulling those units and individual replacements from another division, and leaving behind the major systems on which our soldiers trained.

We still do a good job. But the price of sending part of one of today's Divisions anywhere is to paralyze several Divisions. Any general who testifies before Congress that our '10-Division' force really means 10 Divisions of deployable combat power is a liar. The structures are outdated, the personnel fill inadequate, and the missions asymmetrical. We need more, but smaller, modular units that can be rapidly combined and deployed without freezing a disproportionate share of the Army's combat power.

We tolerate a system that is unacceptably wasteful. We have too many headquarters, from the battalion level up, and too little killing power and sub-war depth for extended operations. We need to abolish unneeded commands, and to eliminate or merge entire branches. This does not mean we can cut personnel - we are already too small an Army in raw numbers. It means we should put our personnel where there is work to do. At present, we are a paradox: an Army of many idle hands and chronic personnel shortages.

So LTC Peters and others are suggesting a restructuring---you get the feeling reading "Breaking the Phalanx" that the author is trying to make a "name" for himself as this person who wants to "tear down an icon", a popular form of posturing in this day and age. If we do what he says we will not be "breaking" the phalanx, we will be destroying it. For a "phalanx" to work, the shields have to be linked together, that implies more than just one Brigade sized piece. Chop headquarters and staffs, but call the 3 RCTs based together a DIVISION.

My advice to the reader is wait for the price of this book to go down and read it from a library. If the author truly gave a darn about making the U.S. Army better he wouldn't have charged such a greedy price for his book. My advice to the leaders of the U.S. Army is to take some of the author's ideas for Brigades and execute now in the DIVISIONS under the RCT heritage we have. In war, BIGGER is better. Even better than this is really good small parts making up a BIG DIVISION. Quality and Quantity NOW.

Improve the Phalanx, don't break it--with RCTs--especially in the Light/Airborne Divisions by incorporating Light AFVs like the M113A3 Gavin and buying the M8 Ridgway Armored Gun System (air-droppable light tanks with 105mm guns) instead of $73 MILLION$$ F/A-18F "Super Hornet" jets that can't fly right---mc jets that are worthless in a city fight and crash anyway--a mere 4 (!) of these pay for the one-time purchase of 50 M8s at $5 million each for the 2d ACR at Fort Polk, LA assigned to the XVIII Airborne Contingency Corps: America's first-to-fight. A couple more keeps 2 Iowa Class battlehips on duty to give unsurpassed fire support.



E-mail 1st TSG (A)

A military researcher writes:

"I am frankly undecided about the future of divisions, but lean towards the argument for keeping them with brigades that are better able to operate independently.

My concern right now is with the joint visions. I see no organization that can deliver the promises of the global information grid and the enhanced situational awareness that underlie the visions."


Try this:


Smug officers:

Want Pvt Murphy in your pocket?

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