Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Two armies are better than one.

So we've got the Army developing RMA. That will give us the ability to bombard anything we see back into the Stone Age. That's fine and dandy, as long as our opponents stay out in the open. However, as Iraq and Afghanistan are proving, our enemies are rarely this courteous. They hide among innocent civilians, which means we can't really blow them to kingdom come without making the situation even worse. The solution proposed by the readings obviously encourages more infantry-based doctrine. Dismounted infantry are better at peacekeeping, counterinsurgency, and urban warfare. That would enable us to better fight the battles we seem to be facing now.

However, if we moved to a primarily infantry-based army, we would likely lose our advantage in high-intensity warfare. If we did that, China, North Korea, Iran, and others might take the opportunity to challenge American dominance in their region.

So what's a superpower to do? My solution is to split the Army in half. Light units could remain light units, specializing in counterinsurgency, urban warfare, and peacekeeping. Heavy units could continue to develop RMA. After all, heavy units are the most effective at delivering overwhelming firepower anyway; why not allow them to improve at this? I can't speak for medium units. I simply don't know enough about their primary functions to speculate on where they fit in.

The military will, of course, resist having half of its units reconfigured for low-intensity warfare. The Army doesn't like those kinds of fights. That's why it may be necessary to split the Army in half. By forming a new branch of the army, it might be possible to form a service that prefers those types of conflicts.

As a superpower, the US has to develop an array of capabilities. If it focuses narrowly on one area (high intensity warfare), its opponents will focus on other areas. Therefore, the US has to be at least competent in all areas. To do otherwise leaves the US open to attacks on its weakest areas.

No comments: