Chapter 4—
The Army: Toward the Objective Force

Bruce R. Nardulli and Thomas L. McNaugher

The Army faces the clear challenge of becoming more rapidly deployable without sacrificing survivability and lethality. The transformed organization must retain the survivability, lethality, and tactical mobility of heavy forces and the agility and deployability of light forces.1

The Army has launched a major effort to transform itself and the way it conducts land operations. Officials regard the endeavor as the “most significant and comprehensive effort to change this Army in a century,” one that will “revolutionize land-power capabilities.”2 The goal is a ground force that is more rapidly deployable and tactically agile than, but as survivable and lethal as, today’s heavy forces. It will be a “full spectrum” force, dominant not only in war but also, with minimal modification, in peacekeeping, humanitarian intervention, and disaster assistance operations. The centerpiece of the fully transformed Army would be the Objective Force, a ground force that would bear little physical or operational resemblance to today’s Army. But long before the Objective Force takes shape, the Army will begin to incorporate interim brigade combat teams (IBCTs) equipped with light armored vehicles and adapted to new tactics. Army transformation thus aims to make change very rapidly, even while establishing the basis for more dramatic change over the longer term.

Post-Cold War strategic realities, notably the emergence of a broad array of missions in unpredictable locales, make transformation necessary. Change is made possible by new technologies, especially information technologies that promise to allow greater situation awareness, more precise fires, and more distributed, nonlinear operations. The new technologies were producing change even in the Cold War Army. The demands of the new strategic setting add new dimensions to the transformation in areas such as mobility and agility.

Like any other ambitious endeavor, transformation faces sizable risks. These perils usually are defined largely in technological terms, many of which are inherent in the Army vision of its future. Moreover, almost every risk has a technological dimension to it. But the risks here run well beyond those associated with technology. Can the Army find and train people—followers as well as leaders—able to fight the distributed, nonlinear, all-arms warfare it envisions? An even larger risk stems from the steady elimination of a margin for error, ambiguity, or uncertainty. Paring away armor to reduce weight shifts the burden of force protection increasingly to information. Given what is available today in the way of light antiarmor weaponry, the need for situation awareness is dauntingly high.

Another risk is that the strategic factors driving Army transformation will evolve unfavorably over the years in which the Army hopes to implement transformation. What if a Cold War-like set of strategic circumstances—a more geographically focused, heavily armored threat—were to reemerge over the next 20 years? Further compounding the complexity are the uncertainties surrounding the unfolding war on terrorism and the Army role in it, both in waging offensive operations against terrorists and their sponsors and in the evolving area of homeland defense.

These risks compel the Army to move cautiously, relying on extensive experimentation and employing significant hedges against full or partial failure. If transformation is carried forward properly, however, even a partial failure—measured against the Army’s very high standards of success—is likely to yield more effective ground forces. With this perspective in mind, this chapter will examine the proposed Army transformation and the opportunities and hurdles that lie ahead.

The chapter begins by outlining why transformation is necessary. It then touches upon key enabling technologies, most notably the array of information systems and networks underpinning the envisioned transformation. We next describe the Army’s three-pronged approach to transformation, which provides for an Interim Force on the way to the futuristic Objective Force, while maintaining and modernizing the present Legacy Force. Issues crucial to the Army transformation—its organization and doctrine as well as its technology—are explored, as are options for transformation if conditions differ from present-day projections. These options include both evolutionary and “leap-ahead” alternatives. Finally, we outline the implications of the war on terrorism for U.S. military missions and hence for demands on the Army.

Why Transform the U.S. Army?

Even before the Cold War ended, the Army was realizing that the information revolution promised potentially radical improvements in the effectiveness of ground forces, as well as significant changes in their organization. The Soviet Union first called attention to this issue in the 1970s with discussion in military journals of what it called the military technical revolution. By the 1980s, the label had been altered in the United States to the revolution in military affairs, but the core theme remained the same: given what the information revolution was doing to commercial firms, surely it could work radical change in military forces. The air services saw ways to exploit the new technology to produce greater precision in air-to-air and air-to-ground firepower while managing more complex air operations. Army officers also sought advances in precision. In addition, watching commercial firms eliminate layers of management, the Army also had cause to wonder whether information technologies might not portend significant alterations in the traditional combat hierarchy as well.3

In this sense, the strands of today’s Army transformation reach well back into the Cold War. The artillery branch, for example, exploits satellites and electronics to use the global positioning system to lay in its artillery pieces and to add speed and precision to aiming artillery tubes (this was the role of the Tactical Artillery Fire Control [TACFIRE] system). Information technologies have been used to improve the accuracy and rate of fire of the M-1 tank. In the early 1990s, the Army inaugurated Force XXI, an effort to use communication technologies to create a more distributed, networked ground force armed not only with more precise fires, but also with much better intelligence on the position of its own as well as enemy forces. The 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Hood, Texas, has served as an experimental testbed for these new technologies and concepts, which are also referred to as digitization. The 4th Division became the Army’s first fully digitized division in 2001.4

While one stimulus for transformation arose from technological trends rooted in the Cold War era, a second set of forces rose out of the Army’s post-Cold War experience. The stable paradigm of large-scale, high-intensity conflict with the Soviet Union gave way in the 1990s to a series of diverse operations in disparate locations. These ranged from heavy armor operations in the Persian Gulf War to rapid lighter interventions in Haiti and Panama, to humanitarian intervention and urban warfare in Somalia, ýnd then to peace enforcement in the Balkans. War remained a possibility; indeed, throughout the 1990s, the Nation asked all of the services to be ready to fight two major theater wars simultaneously. But most deployments the Army experienced in the 1990s were smaller-scale contingencies.5

This new and broader menu of missions called, first, for a full-spectrum force, one as capable of performing operations other than war (OOTW) as of fighting war itself. The difference in force requirements is not trivial. While there are technologies, operational concepts, and organizational functions that span both domains, there are also substantial differences, as the Army has discovered in trying to accommodate a steady diet of OOTW while retaining the strength and skill for major high-intensity combat. In particular, it has discovered that while it is already a full-spectrum force in terms of having the capabilities needed for a diverse array of OOTW located somewhere in the warfighting structure, these capabilities do not readily emerge from that structure, and their use in OOTW can impose a heavy burden on the warfighting force.6 Conversely, the Army has discovered that forces well designed and prepared for wartime operations can find themselves deficient in OOTW.7

The Army’s experience in the 1990s also revealed a need for much improved strategic responsiveness. In sharp contrast to the geographic focus of the Cold War experience, which allowed for massive prepositioning of units, equipment, and supplies in Europe and Northeast Asia, the post-Cold War Army must be able to deploy rapidly around the world. This requirement favors a lighter force, hence the goal of an Objective Force featuring a family of vehicles all considerably lighter than the M-1 tank (65-70 tons) or the M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (roughly 32 tons).8 Given that so much of what the Army takes on an operation consists of fuel, ammunition, and spare parts, however, strategic responsiveness also demands reduced logistics requirements for future Army forces. The stated goal of Army transformation, achievable or not, is the ability to deliver a brigade anywhere in the world 96 hours after “wheels up,” a division within 120 hours, and a full corps within 30 days.

Responsiveness is, however, more than a matter of delivering forces to a theater rapidly. It includes the ability to move about the region once there. In regions with very poor infrastructure, M-1 tanks may become nothing more than expensive bunkers. Thus, even if the Army were able to preposition equipment and supplies for its heavy forces in key locations around the world, it would still need a lighter, more mobile force in many tactical situations.

A final component of strategic responsiveness has to do with the organization itself. Armies geared to fight big wars generally tend to be organized around relatively large components. Combined with the Nation’s seeming aversion to casualties and the Army’s own post-Vietnam desire to mass forces for decisive operations, this organizational feature has often seemed to prevent the Army from offering the President and the Secretary of Defense a wide range of ground options in contingencies. When advising senior military and civilian leadership on possible ground options during the 1999 Kosovo conflict, for example, Army leaders appeared to offer only very large ground force alternatives involving multiple divisions and requiring months of preparation. Whatever the military merit of these alternatives, they were not palatable politically. The Army risked being viewed, rightly or wrongly, as unwieldy and inflexible, and thus irrelevant.

The need for greater strategic responsiveness was recognized during the Clinton administration and has also been adopted by the Bush administration. The terms of reference of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) 2001 note the importance of broadening the range of military options available to the President.9 They call for enhancing the employability and deployability of U.S. forces, extending their reach, and minimizing their deployed footprint. They identify a need for forces that are “lighter, more lethal and maneuverable, survivable, and more readily deployed and employed in an integrated fashion.”10 Although these phrases apply to all U.S. military forces, they have obvious significance to the Nation’s ground forces.

The demands for change emanating from the Army’s 1990s experience mesh with the technological impetus for change. A heavy tank force is also able to exploit the information revolution to achieve greater effectiveness; such is the case with the 4th Infantry Division. But as the Army seeks lighter vehicles, the premium on good information rises sharply. Armor is, in effect, an insurance policy against ignorance of the enemy’s location and weaponry. Short of truly miraculous improvements in the stopping power of light armor, future Army vehicles will lack that insurance policy as they advance into enemy forces likely to be armed with a growing assortment of readily available antiarmor munitions. They will have to know where the enemy is to a degree that heavy forces would like but do not require. It will be even more crucial for them to be able to take the enemy on at a distance and with lethal precision.

Getting There from Here: Key Enabling Technologies

General Eric Shinseki’s “transformation speech” on October 12, 1999, focused attention mainly on medium-weight vehicles. Since then, a major competition among off-the-shelf candidates for the Army’s interim armored vehicle has reinforced this focus while drawing attention to the underlying wheeled-versus-tracked debate that is roughly as old as motorized vehicles. Yet clearly at the core of the Army’s transformation are information technologies, with which the Army had begun to experiment well before October 1999, notably in Force XXI and the digitization program. Presumably the fruits of that effort can be transferred, in whole or in part, to the Interim and Objective Forces of the future. Army transformation will stand or fall mainly on its success in exploiting information technologies.

The technological challenges in this area are daunting. The ground environment has always been less forgiving to complicated devices than the air or sea. Hence the Army has found it more difficult than its sister services to pack electronic components into its platforms. Nonetheless, the effort continues to equip future Army forces with new and better capabilities, including greatly improved situation awareness, enhanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR), and expanded use of robotics.

The objective of greatly improved situation awareness is to have ready access to a wide scope of information relevant to ongoing Army operations, from initial deployment to reception in the theater to engagement and sustainment of the deployed forces. In particular, the ability to have real-time information and shared displays on the disposition of friendly and enemy forces—the common operational picture—should allow the Army to engage enemy units more effectively. This in turn holds out the prospect that physically lighter Army forces can retain high lethality and survivability against heavier enemy forces, and thus it directly contributes to the Army’s strategic responsiveness.11 This information is also essential to driving down logistics requirements, which for many heavy units make up about 80 percent of the Army’s strategic lift requirement.12

C4ISR must be enhanced. ýundamental to future force survivability and lethality is the ability to see and hit enemy forces before they can engage lighter U.S. units. The Army concept for doing so calls for a highly networked system of sensors and communications permitting rapid direct and indirect fires. Improving the speed, quality, and reliability of sensor-to-shooter links is essential to minimizing the time between target identification and engagement by direct or indirect fires, using Army or other joint service assets. Likewise, networked fires allow strikes in quicker succession, over increasingly wide areas, and against more dispersed targets. All these capabilities should contribute to the combat effectiveness of a much lighter U.S. Army against a heavier and perhaps larger enemy ground force.

Army officials envision a significantly expanded role for robotics at various levels of sophistication to reduce both casualties and the need for extensive logistics support. On the high end in this realm are largely autonomous unmanned ground vehicles that can locate and engage targets.13 Less futuristic are robotic vehicles that can be directed by manned command vehicles to perform various tasks.

How far the Army can exploit information technologies—and in particular, whether it can achieve the extremely high levels of situation awareness some senior officers expect—remains an item for speculation. The key hedge against failure in the information realm is improved armor or better active protection systems, such as sensors that see an antiarmor munition in flight toward the vehicle and activate some mechanism to kill it before it hits (ideally, without also endangering friendly soldiers nearby). Improved armor includes an array of composite and self-repairing, self-strengthening “smart” armors now in laboratory development. Some combination of enhanced situation awareness and enhanced vehicular protection presumably can yield an acceptable overall level of protection.

Reducing the logistics footprint of deployed Army forces calls for advances in a range of technological areas. The Army speaks of “ultra-reliability” in its machinery, for example. Success in this area would involve not only the development of new technologies but also a willingness—rarely seen in Cold War-era weapon development projects—to sacrifice performance goals for greater reliability. Developing munitions of smaller caliber could cut the physical size of ammunition deliveries substantially, while greater accuracy could reduce the numbers required for success. New engine technologies could reduce fuel consumption or, in the more distant future, totally change the kind of fuel required. One promising technology is fuel cells producing water as a byproduct, allowing the Army to reduce water supplies to its deployed units.

Given that so much of the Army emphasis is on rapid deployment, the future of long-distance transportation technology is relevant as well. The service emphasis on exploiting technology to reduce the weight of any deploying force is partly driven by the limits of technology in making advances in long-distance transportation, especially in airlift. There is little indication of any pending revolution over the next few decades in the ability to move great weights long distances rapidly by air. While some promising uses of technology are in the works for improving airlift capacity, such as heavy-lift dirigibles, the mainstay of long-distance deployment by air will remain traditional fixed-wing transport aircraft. Substantial improvements undoubtedly will be made in avionics, durability, engine efficiencies, and overall supportability, but the strategic and tactical airlift fleet of 2025, in terms of raw lift per aircraft, will not be significantly different from today’s.14

Fast sealift technologies continue to demonstrate prospects for incremental increases in speed. Far less sensitive to weight and dimensional restrictions than aircraft (barring a truly revolutionary breakthrough in airlift), sealift will remain the principal mode of strategic deployment for most Army units, whether they be Legacy, Interim, or Objective Forces.

The risks here are obvious. Ground forces are not well adapted for rapid and dramatic technological advances; ground warfare is too complex and unfolds in too unforgiving an environment to permit leaps into the technological unknown. Yet the proposed Army transformation depends on significant advances in a staggeringly wide array of technological realms. To be sure, advances across the whole array are not essential for progress. But the reduction in armored protection and the need for strategic responsiveness nonetheless create huge demands for significant improvements in today’s accepted performance.

The Plan for Transformation

The Army’s specific roadmap for transformation is captured in the trident chart (figure 4-1) that has become familiar since Chief of Staff General Shinseki launched formal transformation in October 1999. The three prongs on this chart—Legacy Force, Interim Force, and Objective Force—seem redundant unless the risks inherent in achieving the Objective Force are appreciated. Backups and hedges are essential, and if they are pursued properly, a variety of transformation outcomes could yield improved ground forces.

The three prongs serve different purposes and offer different backups. The Interim Force is a near-term effort to produce lighter and more mobile brigades and divisions. It is meant above all to solve an operational shortfall that was exposed when the 82d Airborne Division deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990, days after Iraqi heavy forces invaded Kuwait. The inability of these airborne units to do much against the heavier Iraqi armored forces highlighted the Army’s lack of a force that was both rapidly deployable and sufficiently survivable and lethal to engage heavier opposing forces successfully. Creation of the Interim Force also gives the Army a vehicle for experimenting with lighter and more networked capabilities. These new units could, if successful operationally, also help create a constituency within the Army for medium-weight units.

The Objective Force is the force of the distant future, the end product of long-term research and development efforts meant to culminate in radically improved Army effectiveness and responsiveness. As such, it is the most dependent of the three forces upon advances in science and technology and the ability to incorporate these new technologies into the force. The Objective Force is to be based on a class of completely new platforms, collectively known as the Future Combat Systems, which are to weigh 20 tons or less. Initial elements of the Objective Force are currently scheduled to enter the force by 2010, with the entire Army converted by about 2032.

The Legacy Force consists primarily of the Army’s current heavy armored and mechanized divisions, modernized at some level to retain their effectiveness. This part of the transforming Army will remain essential for missions where heavy forces can dominate. It will also serve to ensure against an uncertain future in which threats may materialize that require the range and depth of capabilities contained in the heavy forces. Like the IBCTs, elements of the heavy force can be used to test various advanced technologies and concepts in support of the longer term transformation, most notably digitization. The Legacy Force also serves as a hedge against setbacks in aggressive Army transformation efforts; maintaining this force is a way to mitigate the many risks the push toward the Objective Force entails.

In sum, the Army transformation plan pursues all three prongs as the means to balance current and near-term risks against future risks. The risks to be balanced are multidimensional: risks due to uncertainty about the future strategic environment, technology risks associated with the transformation, and institutional risks of pushing the Army too fast or in too many directions during the transformation process. The Army transformation does not fall neatly into either of the two dominant schools described in chapter 3 about transformation strategies. The Objective Force and the envisioned end-state of the full transformation embody truly revolutionary military change, but the overall process is much more evolutionary in nature. By adopting the three-pronged approach to transformation, the Army has in fact embraced a mixed strategy.

What follows is a detailed examination of the three forces to reveal the relative scale of the technologies and risks involved, their implications for long-term risk management and force tradeoffs, and how the Army intends to straddle the evolutionary/revolutionary transformation divide.

The Interim Force

The Interim Force is intended to be a full-spectrum combat force consisting of medium-weight brigades, known as Interim Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs). Embedded within division structures, the teams are designed to complement the capabilities of existing light and mechanized forces. Although optimized for small-scale contingencies, these brigades are expected to be employed across a range of military operations, from conducting stability and support operations to participating in major theater war as a subordinate maneuver element of heavier forces. The force’s principal operational attribute is its high operational and tactical mobility.15

The IBCTs are designed to have several core qualities. In addition to being C-130-transportable and full-spectrum-capable, they must also be able to operate in environments with very limited infrastructure. The IBCTs should not require major air/sea ports of debarkation and are not intended to need much time and resources for reception, staging, onward movement, and integration.16They are designed to be ready for operations, including combat, almost immediately after arriving. These highly mobile forces must also be capable of moving long distances rapidly. The intent is to have them organized to deploy with a minimal logistics footprint, carrying enough supplies for 3 days of operations without outside support.17 To keep the IBCT footprint small, they are to rely on division and higher echelons for additional capabilities from outside the operational area, such as intelligence and indirect fire support. Robust, advanced C4ISR systems are therefore needed to ensure that they have the full range of necessary capabilities.

The interim armored vehicle (IAV) is a light wheeled vehicle that will come in two variants, a mobile gun system and an infantry carrier, and is intended to be the Interim Force’s primary combat platform. The IAV is based on existing light armored vehicles modified with advanced digital communications and information enhancements, many of which will be upgrades based on relatively mature technologies. The Army is currently planning to fund six to eight IBCTs; the first is being organized at Fort Lewis, Washington.18 The first IBCT is scheduled to be fully fielded in spring 2003 and to reach full operational capability in 2005.19 Between 2,131 and 2,791 IAVs will be needed to equip the IBCTs (depending upon the number of teams actually fielded).20

As currently organized, the IBCT is infantry-heavy and will have a combined arms capability at the battalion and company level. This structure is intended to give the teams a greater range of operational capabilities at the brigade level. The IBCTs also will reduce the need to pull together a task force from different units on short notice, which can slow deployment, add time to achieving full operational capability in the field, increase the size of the deploying force, and reduce force effectiveness by losing unit cohesion. Integrating a combined arms capability at these lower echelons is also meant to provide the IBCT with enhanced combat power. The team’s heavy infantry orientation is best suited for military activities, whether peacekeeping or combat operations, in terrain where dismounted infantry will be in especially high demand.

Three motorized combined arms infantry battalions are the major IBCT fighting components. Other elements include the reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) squadron, an anti-tank company, an artillery battalion, a brigade support battalion, engineering, military intelligence and signal companies, and the brigade headquarters and headquarters company.21

IBCTs will rely greatly on situational understanding, provided by the RSTA squadron, to compensate for their lack of heavy armor protection. For example, the organic artillery battalion of the IBCT would be expected to conduct counterbattery fire before the enemy shoots, based on RSTA squadron targeting information. Thus, its information flows will be essential to survivability of the medium-weight brigades.

The RSTA squadron is responsible for the traditional roles of reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition, with a much greater emphasis on precision and speed in conducting these roles. It is also intended to provide a much broader situational understanding of the overall operational environment, including not just military but also political, cultural, economic, and other information relevant to the operation. With information and mobility, augmented by RSTA and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, the IBCT will be able to conduct dispersed, nonlinear operations with its units, even though individual tactical engagements may be widely separated geographically (a typical IBCT area of operations will be 50 square kilometers).22

Operating in the smaller-scale contingencies for which they are optimized, the IBCTs are expected to require little or no augmentation from higher echelons. Augmentations will likely be required for other roles, especially for major theater war-like high-intensity combat, in which the IBCT may require additional nonorganic assets such as lift and attack helicopter assets, more artillery, and air defense. Any significant augmentation would increase the amount of time a team would need to deploy. Although IBCTs are designed principally to fill the near-term light-heavy gap, they will also help explore innovative doctrine and organization employing medium-weight forces. As such, the IBCTs are envisioned as “the vanguard of the future Objective Force.”23

The Objective Force

The Objective Force is built around the Future Combat Systems (FCS), a family of vehicles that will weigh 16 to 20 tons and will be sized to be transportable within the C-130 or similar aircraft. If fully realized, the Objective Force is meant to provide the Army with the ability to deploy a combat-capable brigade anywhere in the world in 96 hours, a division in 120 hours, and 5 divisions in 30 days. As they are characterized by senior Army leadership, “Forces equipped with FCS will network fires and maneuver in direct combat, deliver direct and indirect fires, perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance functions, and transport soldiers and material.”24

ühe FCS is envisioned as a system of systems in which manned command and control vehicles are networked with many unmanned reconnaissance assets and platforms delivering weapons. This networked group of systems is intended to perform as a combined arms team. Manned vehicles would perform many combat operations from concealed positions, reducing their exposure to enemy fires and direct engagements and helping these light FCS platforms survive on the modern battlefield. Superior sensors and networks would provide the means to locate and track targets from these more concealed positions. Robotic vehicles operating as necessary in more exposed areas could fill requirements for line-of-sight capability.25 Advanced composite armor and active protection systems, including a variety of sensors to detect and rapidly engage incoming weapons, enhance vehicle and crew survivability, as do a variety of low-observable (stealth) characteristics built into the platforms.26 The Army’s investment in science and technology for the Objective Force aims to resolve several challenges posed by the FCS concept:

  • balancing sustained lethality, survivability, and deployability
  • reducing strategic lift requirements to move and sustain the force
  • providing battlefield awareness at all levels of command through secure, digitized communications.

Overcoming these challenges depends heavily on solving the networking of all the system elements and ensuring that the network has the capacity, security, and versatility to provide necessary linkages throughout the area of operations. FCS network capabilities go beyond those envisaged for the current Army Battle Command System. The network must be capable of integrating numerous remote ground and aerial sensors, maneuvering robotic systems, and controlling and directing both direct fire and beyond-line-of-sight weapon systems, and it must be able to do so on a highly mobile battlefield. The architecture and protocols for such a system are presently underdeveloped. In addition, there are challenging issues involving the availability and management of the necessary bandwidth for the network. This networking has been identified as one of the major technical hurdles in implementing the FCS concept.27

The FCS concept also envisions direct and indirect fires coming from the same platform, using modular ammunition. One design concept is for missiles to be vertically launched from boxes carried onboard robotic indirect-fire platforms and capable of using different types of munitions. Current operational concepts rely heavily on networked fires to destroy targets from beyond line of sight as a means to combine high lethality with the concealment that improves survivability. But line-of-sight fires will still be needed for close engagements. Advanced cannon designs are being explored for the FCS that would have the lethality of the Abrams 120-millimeter gun but use a smaller gun to fit on the 20-ton platform. By incorporating both indirect and direct fires into the FCS, the platforms should be capable of delivering ordnance up to 50 kilometers.28

According to Army plans, the initial FCS will incorporate the most advanced capabilities feasible, and later upgrades will incorporate additional assets as technologies mature.29

The Legacy Force

The Legacy Force plays a central role in Army transformation, that of insurance while the major changes of the Interim and Objective Force take hold and mature. Regardless of its experimentation with new technologies, doctrine, and force mixes, the Army is required to maintain its warfighting readiness throughout the 30-year transformation period. Currently, that means being able to conduct major high-intensity warfare in the foreseeable future, a role that will fall primarily to the Legacy Force, supplemented by Interim and Objective Force capabilities as they become available and demonstrate their effectiveness.

The Legacy Force is a hedge against risk at three levels. First, it is a hedge against an uncertain strategic future in which threats and contingencies might materialize in unanticipated ways. Conditions may emerge in which significant numbers of U.S. land forces must intervene against unexpectedly lethal adversaries, under very adverse circumstances, and on high-intensity battlefields. U.S. forces may be tasked to occupy a hostile country and bring down the existing regime. A force in being is needed to achieve such missions under these demanding conditions at acceptable loss rates. Second, the Legacy Force offers insurance against clever adversaries seeking to find a “silver bullet” solution to thwart technically advanced (and therefore technically dependent) U.S. ground forces, especially while those forces are still transforming. Such an adversary will still have to confront a traditional force that, whatever its other limitations, would not present the same types of vulnerabilities. In this sense, the Legacy Force precludes an adversary from finding an easy solution and thereby enhances deterrence in the process.30 Third, the Legacy Force is a hedge against the technical risks confronting the Interim and Objective Forces. In many instances, the Army is pushing the limits of technology, either in specific technological areas or in integrating technologies in complex ways, particularly for the Objective Force. Failures and setbacks are inevitable, even though the concept itself may prove out in the end.

As part of the Legacy Force transformation, the future of the Army light forces is another important area of change. Some light brigades will become IBCTs, but to date plans for the 82d Airborne and 101st Air Assault Divisions remain uncertain. These units may remain fixtures of the Army Legacy and future forces. Even with advanced technology, the light forces will not become a substitute for heavy- and medium-weight forces, in terms of combat power. But considerable opportunity exists for improving the capabilities of the light forces even against heavier enemy forces. Such enhanced light forces could complement other transforming forces and add important dimensions to improvements to the range and mix of force options the Army can provide national decisionmakers.

Many of the same information technologies being used to enhance heavier Legacy and Interim forces would be applicable to light forces as well. Improved situational awareness could increase the ability of light forces to avoid engagements in which they are seriously outmatched, while illuminating opportunities where their lighter assets could inflict significant damage on opposing heavier forces. Advanced RSTA, combined with modified operational concepts, could give light forces a much greater indirect fire capability, permitting lethal attacks from safer distances. A more dramatic change could give light forces enhanced mobility and maneuver capability by equipping them with light vehicles. In this case, the price paid in speed of deployment would have to be weighed against potentially significant improvements in the range of threats and operating environments in which light forces could make major contributions.31

Simply maintaining today’s Legacy Force involves a major resource investment for the Army. Furthermore, a central tenet of transformation is the need both to modernize elements of the Legacy Force—develop and procure new systems—and to recapitalize it—rebuild and selectively upgrade currently fielded systems. As Secretary of the Army Thomas White and General Shinseki have repeatedly noted in testimony before Congress, this entails substantial costs. With 75 percent of major combat systems currently exceeding their engineered design half-life and expected to exceed their full design life by 2010, the cost of operating and supporting these aging systems is on the rise.32 Consequently, the Army maintains that recapitalization is needed both to enhance force capabilities and to reduce costs, themselves important goals in the overall transformation. These investments create the tension identified in chapter 3 between allocating resources to near- and mid-term improvements versus long-term, more radical changes in the force. New engines for Abrams tanks, Army aviation upgrades, and the introduction of new systems such as the Comanche helicopter into the Legacy Force, for example, compete with resources that the Army needs to realize the Interim and Objective Forces.

Transformation Issues

Observers sometimes tend to reduce much of the Army’s transformation to its technological dimension. Will information technologies yield the kind of situation awareness and networking required to support the operation of medium-weight distributed forces? Will new engines and guns reduce logistics requirements? Will new armors offer markedly higher protection per ton than the armor available today? Given the pace at which the Army hopes to transform itself, each of these technological questions comes with the appended question: How quickly can we convert what we barely see today on the horizon into serious capability?

Yet ground forces consist of complex combined arms teams in which the role of technology per se is complemented by the role of organization and doctrine. Thus the major obstacles to any ground force transformation have less to do with achieving miraculous advances in technology than with finding the best doctrine to exploit the technologies available at any given time. One can, of course, identify transformational ground force technologies: the stirrup, the breechloading rifle, the tank. Yet in each of these cases, combat success went not to the side with the best technology but to the side having the best combination of technology and doctrine. As is frequently pointed out, France had the superior tank in 1939, but Germany had great doctrine as well as good tanks.

An army develops new organizational concepts and doctrine exploiting the technologies available to it through field experimentation. The U.S. Army experimentation within its Force XXI program highlights how expensive, complicated, and often highly politicized the experimentation process can become. The pressures of cost and politics can result in stylized experiments that validate preconceived tactical notions rather than fostering innovation. Thus, the first issue confronting Army transformation has to do with whether it can develop a level of field experimentation that actually produces optimal new combinations of tactics and technology.

The search for optimal organizations and doctrine applies to the Army’s logistics as well as to its combat forces. The tendency again is to seek technological solutions to bigger organizational problems by, for example, designing ultrareliable components, fuel cells that produce water as a byproduct, highly accurate and lethal small-caliber munitions, and so forth. All these technological improvements are desirable, and some may even be achievable, if in markedly different timeframes. Chances are very small, however, that there is a magic technical solution that would significantly reduce the Army’s logistics footprint in the combat zone. Achieving that goal will instead require the development of new logistics concepts, comparable to but much grander in scope than the “velocity management” paradigm that has significantly reduced order and ship times in today’s Army.33 This, too, will require a willingness to experiment with innovative ways of doing business.

Experimentation must be linked to the outside world as well as to the Army’s own view of its future. Just as the current transformation was prompted by the post-Cold War shift in the strategic situation and the missions the service was asked to perform, so will the course of its transformation, extending over two or three decades, be shaped by further change in the world and in its likely missions. Thus a major issue for Army transformation is whether the strategic environment does actually change enough in the years ahead to require substantially altered capabilities. At one extreme, the reemergence of a heavily armored Russian threat to Eastern Europe could suddenly give the Army’s Legacy Force a new lease on life. At the other extreme, light forces may begin to look more attractive in a world of lightly armed guerrillas who present very few targets to airborne sensors yet nonetheless pack lethal punch against both light armor and low-flying aircraft. In all cases, some portion of Army transformation will no doubt pay dividends. But the specific current direction of transformation may take a sharp turn.

Another issue for Army transformation has to do with the availability of financing for it over the long haul. Given the Army’s size and the number of platforms it supports, it faces particularly challenging fiscal constraints when it comes to funding the transformation. The continuing peacekeeping demands levied on ground forces in overseas operations exacerbate the resource constraints.

The House Appropriations Committee recently estimated that over the next 12 to 15 years, the Army’s transformation costs alone could exceed $70 billion.34 The unpredictability of successes and failures in key enabling technologies will certainly affect these numbers. If historical experience is any guide, the cost of realizing the necessary technologies is likely to be on the high end of current estimates. The Army faces a daunting long-term challenge in allocating resources in the coming decades among each of the three forces so as to maintain transformation’s momentum without jeopardizing essential forces and capabilities in being.35 The Army has already taken several actions to adjust its transformation to budget realities. The scheduled introduction of the IBCTs has been lengthened from two per year to one per year; several major legacy programs have been cancelled. Although the September 11 attacks will lead to additional resources for DOD, both scale and allocation priorities are yet to be determined. Regardless of funding increases, more hard choices likely await.

Transformation Options

Technical risks in Army transformation combined with the broader issues discussed above suggest the need for flexibility as the service moves ahead. The Army must continue to transform itself, but it may have to change emphasis and direction as future funding, missions, and technological and doctrinal options become clearer. The three-pronged approach to transformation that the organization is now taking hedges significantly against risks at many levels and thus yields the kind of flexibility the Army is likely to need.

One option that would be forced on the Army if development of needed technologies is slower than expected would be to focus on near- to mid-term evolutionary advances, deferring more revolutionary change until the technologies to support it have matured. This would mean emphasizing selective modernization of the Legacy Force and elements of the Interim Force using the more advanced technologies that emerge from development. Although less mature technologies would be left in development or perhaps dropped, this approach could still produce substantial improvements in strategic responsiveness and other capabilities.

Over the last several years, the Army has undertaken a major effort to preposition equipment sets overseas, both afloat and ashore, to reduce the amount of time necessary to get a force to the area of operations and have it ready for battle. As a result, significant improvements have been realized in the ability of Army forces to arrive in many theaters. While the timelines are not as fast as those proposed for the Objective Force, major force elements can be moved fairly quickly. Efforts may be made to reduce the size and weight of the force packages further by exploiting certain technologies. Much greater precision and availability of indirect fires, along with greater reliance on resources that do not physically go with the units (for example, relying on intelligence capabilities located in the United States) could reduce the size of the forces deployed, including the logistics support required. Using the IBCTs as a base for experimentation, the Army could further explore various brigade structures to enhance responsiveness.

The brigade combat teams could serve as experimental as well as operational elements for a considerably longer period than currently envisioned. The road to the Objective Force would be a gradual, iterative path in which exotic technologies are introduced sequentially and only after much testing and experimentation with the medium-weight Interim Force.

Progress would also draw heavily on experience with the digitized forces at Fort Hood. At every step, new doctrine would be developed and tested. The first FCS might be little more than an IAV with the digitization appliqués from Fort Hood overlaid on it. The first Objective Force thus might be little more than an IBCT with significantly enhanced C4ISR. All the while, the heavy forces at Fort Hood would continue to focus on evolutionary advances.

Throughout this process, the IBCTs could also serve as the Army’s rapid early-deployment medium-weight force, considerably expanding the range of options the Army can provide. A brigade with substantial combat power could be delivered very quickly using a combination of airlift and fast sealift, with additional follow-on forces (IBCTs or heavier elements of the First Digitized Corps) closing rapidly by exploiting prepositioning ashore and afloat, perhaps with a network of intermediate support bases. An entire medium-weight brigade could be transported by two large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ships, each ship having a capacity of 18,000 tons and about 250,000 square feet of usable space.36 Depending on the location of the IBCT and plausible constraints on airlift availability, it could move more quickly by sea than by air.37 The Army could allocate some portion of its prepositioned stocks afloat to this role instead of moving heavier maneuver force elements, as is currently the plan. This would allow the Army to become more responsive—lighter and more mobile—fairly soon.

Significant increases in the combat power and mobility of the Army’s light forces could be another contributing element.

When all are combined with evolutionary technical advances that significantly improve the weight/survivability/lethality tradeoffs (and logistics load), the result could be a much more strategically responsive force of the type envisioned by General Shinseki, even well short of the Objective Force ideal. Such an approach would represent an essentially evolutionary path but could result in dramatic increases in the Army’s ability to bring combat power quickly to bear in many contingencies. It would not foreclose pursuing more revolutionary force concepts but would instead permit much more time to develop them.

Another option would be to embrace a “leap-ahead” approach. While the Legacy Force still would function as insurance, investments in its modernization would be substantially reduced, along with reductions in the size of the Legacy Forces themselves, to shift more resources into science and technology accounts. The primary focus would be on pushing digitized, networked elements of the Legacy Force to the fullest extent possible to serve as a testbed to derive the most experience possible for leap-ahead applications for the Objective Force. Investment in the Interim Force likewise would contract, with fewer IBCTs fielded, and again with greater emphasis on their role in experimentation in support of the futuristic leap-ahead force. This tradeoff would assume much more near- to mid-term risk by reducing the capabilities of the Legacy and Interim Forces. Advocates of this approach might argue that the existence of a “strategic pause” makes such risks acceptable and that risks are outweighed by the benefits of more quickly developing a far more advanced and capable force.

A more technically and fiscally constrained Army transformation would also heighten the need for examining more joint force options that could alleviate some of the Army burden and provide synergies that might make better use of Army resources. Major advances in integrating joint forces and realizing the full potential of joint force synergies could potentially constitute if not a military revolution, then a vast increase in the effectiveness of U.S. forces and of individual service elements. In this sense, technological advances that can magnify the power of joint force integration could yield large dividends in terms of combat power. As a service highly attuned to the importance of and need for joint forces, the Army would have to determine what investments it should make in the joint domain as a means to enhance its own land-force capabilities. For example, as the number, sophistication, and responsiveness of indirect fires from naval and air platforms increase, the Army might invest more heavily in C4ISR architectures that will allow ground commanders to reliably call in these fires and less heavily in retaining a full complement of organic land-based indirect fires. Among the benefits would be reductions in the size and weight of rapidly deploying early-entry land forces. Weightier questions would concern future trades between close and deep battle and between maneuver and deep fires and would examine how much the Army should rely on other joint forces to perform the deeper, indirect fire missions. In making such calculations, the Army must evaluate how far joint integration can be relied upon to progress, both technically and operationally, as a complement to its own service improvements, and thereby offer potential savings and tradeoffs. The joint aspect is clearly an element of the Army’s transformation equation that has important investment implications.

Finally, even if much of the enabling technology is realized, the question remains whether the entire Army force should be transformed into a homogenous FCS-centric force, or whether a more mixed future force is preferable, with some significant portion containing FCS-like platforms and capabilities, complemented by other force capabilities and attributes. Other blends of Legacy, Interim, and Objective force elements might be devised and must be assessed. For example, if major limits remain to how quickly even advanced medium-weight forces can be strategically deployed by air, and if many heavier digitized forces, using fast sealift along with prepositioned assets, can arrive in theaters on comparable timelines, a blended light/medium/heavy force might represent a more strategically responsive and capable force than a medium-weight force alone. Many important comparisons and force combinations remain to be explored before a definitive decision is made on the makeup of Objective Force units.

Possible Implications of the War on Terrorism

Army transformation clearly needs to be reexamined in light of the events of September 11 and the announced war on terrorism, which raise two major issues for the Army. First, what will it be called upon to do as part of the campaign against terrorism outside the continental United States, and are its current and future planned forces well designed for these missions? Second, what will the Army’s revised role in homeland defense be, and how might that role affect the organization of the total Army, specifically the Army National Guard and Reserve? In addressing these two major issues, the Army will face a period of considerable uncertainty as real-world events and U.S. policy evolve to define the parameters of the war and the scale and type of military missions it requires. As part of any overall reassessment of the trajectory of the transformation, the Army will also have to receive guidance on how the new war on terrorism will affect existing commitments and responsibilities around the globe.

Still, as of late 2001, certain realities were emerging. Both President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld have stated that the United States will wage an aggressive and sustained offensive campaign against global terrorism abroad. While much of this may take nonmilitary forms, several elements will require military—and specifically Army—forces. Raids of various types undoubtedly will be required to take down camps, seize or kill terrorist elements, neutralize dangerous facilities and weapons, and rescue kidnapped Americans. For many of these contingencies, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) will be the instrument of choice. But as in Afghanistan, U.S. forces are likely to confront not only terrorist forces but also elements of the militaries of states that harbor them. The capabilities of the opposing forces and the scale and duration of the counterterrorism missions may mean that ARSOF will have to be supplemented by regular Army or other joint forces. Furthermore, given the global nature of the terrorist network and the likely prospect that U.S. military forces will be required to respond simultaneously to terrorist events abroad as well as at home, ARSOF assets could find themselves spread thin.

One obvious option is for the Army to expand its ARSOF capabilities. Given the specialization and training requirements of such forces, any significant expansion will take considerable time. In the interim, the Army may want to consider ways in which the institution can better support and perhaps supplement ARSOF by taking on certain missions. The transformation must certainly reexamine the entire relationship between ARSOF and regular Army forces and how these two elements can best complement each other in the future. The traditional separation of the two may have to change to account for the expanded counterterrorism dimension of Army operations and the need for much closer coordination of activities.

A more substantial shift would entail elements of the regular Army becoming more like Special Operations Forces in their ability to deploy rapidly and conduct complex counterterrorism operations. In the near term, the role of the IBCTs in this context might have to be reevaluated. What do they bring to this type of contingency? How might they best be configured for these types of operations, including the need for close cooperation with ARSOF and other (joint) special operations forces? Furthermore, the war on terrorism might further stress the deployability of the Army medium-weight force. While the IBCTs and the Objective Force are clearly designed with rapid deployability in mind, the constraints of deploying these forces exclusively by air have already been noted. So too have the clear advantages of moving the force by fast sealift, especially if one assumes that many operations will be conducted relatively close to the littoral. Yet the need to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries suggests that U.S. Army forces might have to be prepared to operate in more remote, austere, and landlocked areas falling outside of traditional U.S. national interests. These conditions would compound the challenges of both rapid deployment (which might require air) and sustainment. New types of units combining light- and medium-weight forces should be considered. A strike force hybrid that is considerably more lethal than light forces alone, but more rapidly deployable by air than the full IBCT, is one possibility.

The many surveillance and targeting technologies embedded in the IBCTs and anticipated for the Objective Force have applicability for the counterterrorism war, but they too are likely to require modifications. How, for example, might future unmanned aerial vehicles be better designed and employed to monitor, track, and rapidly attack a range of targets associated with terrorist training camps and facilities? What types of ground sensors hold promise for related missions? How might these capabilities best be integrated and tied to rapid strike assets, be they Army or joint? The most demanding technology issues are, however, still likely to rest on the Army’s ability to deploy rapidly and to sustain and command the right types of forces in the area of operations.

The war on terrorism could easily come to challenge Army command and control. Ground operations could be relatively brief yet extremely complex and geographically dispersed. Such operations might have to be undertaken quickly to take advantage of fleeting targets or to minimize warning to sponsoring states. If the operations are of a scale and type beyond the capabilities of traditional Special Operations Forces, the Army must be prepared for rapid deployment of headquarters that can provide the necessary joint (and perhaps combined) command and control for such operations. The emphasis could well be on standing headquarters at lower echelons, particularly the brigade level. The alternative of drawing on division and corps headquarters assets would likely prove too cumbersome and time-consuming for such rapidly unfolding scenarios. The enhanced command and control embedded in the IBCTs is a step in the right direction.

The aftermath of September 11 added to the command burden of working operationally with allies and coalition partners. A sustained effort against global terrorist networks will increasingly require Army involvement with a wide range of partners, including some nontraditional ones. Transformation’s counterterrorism component must allow for ease of operation with very disparate militaries, local police, and other security services.

While counterterrorism operations will generally involve lighter Army forces, President Bush has also made it clear that countries and regimes that harbor terrorists will be held accountable. This includes the possibility of occupying particular countries or otherwise bringing down their regimes by direct U.S. use of force. Even against lesser opponents, this would require a serious land combat capability. There is also the prospect that offensive counterproliferation aimed at nuclear, chemical, and biological threats will become a key element of the larger war on terrorism. This opens up a number of complex and demanding missions for the Army, whether countering state or subnational opponents. In assessing future requirements to fight the war on terrorism, the Army must also include the forces necessary to conduct these types of demanding operations.

The Army also will have additional responsibilities in homeland security, at least in the near term. Its traditional support functions to state and local authorities, primarily through National Guard units, are likely to be expanded to deal with terrorist threats to the homeland. The Army may have both growing near-term responsibilities (pending the buildup of civilian alternatives in particular areas) and additional longer term and enduring roles and missions for which the Army is best suited. These could include greater emphasis on consequence management, especially in terms of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-explosive attacks and protection of key infrastructure, both military and civilian.

Most Army assets for homeland defense reside in the Army National Guard and Reserve units. The Nation must decide whether these components will require significant reorganization in light of the new mission. Arguably, for example, many homeland defense missions could be handled by civilians, as has been the case in federalizing airport security guards since September 11, 2001. Critical infrastructure security might be handled in substantial part by detection technology, minimizing personnel requirements of any kind. Army personnel, whether from the active or Reserve components, might still serve as early responders, surging to fill near-term needs. But civilians might fill in quickly thereafter in most cases.

To the extent that the Reserve components are asked to handle homeland defense, they will require modification in training and equipment.38 But the effects on the total Army are likely to run well beyond the immediate need to train and equip specialized units for these tasks. Because so much of the total Army’s combat support and service support capabilities lies in the Reserve components, Reserve soldiers and units have come to play a significant role in peacekeeping and stability operations, which call for these capabilities. In this capacity they also have helped reduce operational tempo problems in the active force associated with repetitive deployments to Bosnia and Kosovo. If substantial numbers of reservists are now pulled over to homeland defense, the active force may have to consider a new mix of skills as well as new policies to calm its tempo problems.

It is fitting to end a chapter on Army transformation with an assessment of the Nation’s war on terrorism, since that war highlights the need for, but also the risks facing, the Army’s transformation. What better way to highlight the expeditionary, unpredictable nature of the Nation’s global military engagement, after all, than through military action in the rugged, landlocked terrain of distant Afghanistan? What better illustration of the potential of information technologies than the “air-land battle” fought by small special forces teams linked to high-flying bombers with their precision-guided munitions? And what better example of the phrase “full-spectrum” than a war that would seem to portend a little—perhaps a lot—of almost every mission, from combat raids to peacekeeping and humanitarian relief? Against the backdrop of a decade in which the Army engaged in heavy armored warfare on the Arabian Peninsula, a humanitarian relief mission in Somalia, the stabilization of politics in Haiti, and peace enforcement in Bosnia and Kosovo, the war on terrorism embodies the unpredictable missions and theaters for which the Army must now prepare. The contrast with the Cold War’s predictable stability, its mature theaters, stable allies, and established enemies could not be sharper. Nor could the need for transformation be much clearer.

Yet the risks, too, are evident and lie well beyond the realm of pure technology. Post-Cold War missions have tested the Army’s diversity. They have called for armor, but also for special forces; for infantry, but also for military police and civil affairs experts. They have called for large deployments with massive backup, but also for very small deployments that benefit from leaner logistics and support. The Army has met these challenges because, somewhere in its structure, it has these capabilities. In theory, it makes sense to “collapse the difference between heavy and light forces” to produce a coherent, generally uniform Army called the Objective Force. But it remains to be seen whether this can be done. The Army needs to move down this path carefully, testing at every step.

Above all, the Army needs to remain wary of the information revolution even as it exploits it aggressively. There is no more demanding environment for information technologies than that encountered on the ground in land warfare. Whether those technologies can operate at the exquisitely high performance levels that transformation seems to require, much less do so reliably, remains to be seen. Even if those performance requirements can be met, however, it should never be forgotten that potential enemies have choices in the years ahead as well. As the Army (like the other services) transforms, adversaries surely will adapt as well; only time will tell whether they can find weaknesses in the realm of information more easily than they could poke holes in or avoid the Army’s traditional heavy formations.

The Army does not represent its transformation as a three-pronged undertaking without reason. Those prongs are, among other things, hedges against the risks that attend the effort. The Interim Force prong, with its IBCTs already being formed, allows for considerable experimentation and operational experience in advance of the more ambitious FCS project. And the Legacy prong provides the Army with armored backup until it is sure that the far more information-intensive Objective Force will work as intended. Future experience and experimentation will determine when and how those prongs come together.



 1. Department of the Army, United States Army Field Manual (FM) 1, The Army (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, June 14, 2001). [BACK]

 2. Army Chief of Staff General Eric K. Shinseki, in testimony before the U.S. Senate, Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, Department of Defense Appropriations for Fiscal 2001, April 25, 2000, 397; and Joint Statement before the House Armed Services Committee by the Honorable Thomas E. White, Secretary of the Army, and General Eric K. Shinseki, Chief of Staff, United States Army, On the Fiscal Year 2002 Army Budget Request, July 18, 2001 (hereafter Joint White/Shinseki Statement of July 18, 2001). [BACK]

 3. See, for example, Douglas A. Macgregor, Breaking the Phalanx: A New Design for Landpower in the 21st Century (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1997). [BACK]

4. For background see Dennis Steele, “The Hooah Guide to Army Digitization,” Army Magazine, September 2001, 19-40; and “Battlefield Digitization: A Special Report,” Army Magazine, August 2000, 16-35. [BACK]

5. While smaller-scale contingencies represent one broad category of operations, in the case of ground operations, this category alone encompasses a great diversity of Army missions and activities. [BACK]

6. For an assessment of how even relatively small noncombat operations can have substantial impacts on Army forces well beyond the deploying units, see J. Michael Polich, Bruce R. Orvis, and Michael Hix, Small Deployments, Big Problems, Issue Paper IP-197 (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2000). [BACK]

7. For example, command and control problems arose in Somalia when the 10th Mountain Division, normally expected to cover a 30-kilometer front in wartime, had elements deployed out to over 100 kilometers. Line-of-sight FM communications well suited for traditional combat frontages proved inadequate over these much greater distances. [BACK]

8. An earlier Army effort to close the gap between deployment speed and combat capability was the High-Technology Light Division of the 1980s. For a description of its history and fate, see Richard J. Dunn III, “Transformation: Let’s Get it Right this Time,” Parameters, Spring 2001, 22-28. The 1990 Gulf experience highlighted the deficiency more dramatically and heightened the sense of urgency. [BACK]

9. Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, Guidance and Terms of Reference for the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, June 22, 2001. [BACK]

10. Ibid. [BACK]

11. It can also reduce the quantities of forces required and their density. As Army FM 1 notes, “The common operational picture provided through integration of real-time intelligence and accurate targeting reduces the need to fill space with forces and direct fire weapons.” [BACK]

12. Joint Statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee by the Honorable Thomas E. White, Secretary of the Army; and General Eric K. Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, On the Fiscal Year 2002 Defense Budget, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, July 10, 2001, 18 (hereafter Joint White/Shinseki Statement of July 10, 2001). [BACK]

13. In its June 2000 overall “Technology Assessment” of technologies required for the Army transformation, the Army Science Board concluded that autonomous robotics were unlikely to be available until after 2015. [BACK]

14. Indeed, much of that force is already programmed with the future C-17 purchases. [BACK]

15. The IBCTs can be moved within the theater quickly by C-130s to enhance flexibility and commanders’ options for using the force. Still, a single 20-ton light armored vehicle would consume the entire lift capacity of a C-130. [BACK]

16. Reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) is the last step of the strategic deployment process that reunites personnel and equipment in the theater as coherent units, moves the units to the operational area, and prepares them for employment. The Army’s emphasis on strategic responsiveness, along with mounting concerns over enemy efforts to deny or disrupt deploying forces, places a premium of minimizing RSOI requirements and timelines. [BACK]

17. Steele, “The Hooah Guide to Army Transformation,” 26. [BACK]

18. On July 12, 2001, the Army announced that the next four brigades to be transformed to IBCTs would be the 172d Infantry Brigade, Forts Richardson and Wainwright, Alaska; the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light), Fort Polk, Louisiana; the 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and the 56th Brigade of the 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized) of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. See Joint White/Shinseki Statement of July 18, 2001. [BACK]

19. Frank Wolfe, “Shinseki: Earliest Full Fielding of First IBCT Projected In Spring 2003,” Defense Daily, June 14, 20001, 9; and Joint White/Shinseki Statement of July 18, 2001. [BACK]

20. U.S. General Accounting Office, Defense Acquisition: Army Transformation Faces Weapon Systems Challenges, GAO-01-311, May 2001, 8. [BACK]

21. U.S. Army, “The Interim Brigade Combat Team, Organizational and Operational Concept,” draft, June 30, 2000. [BACK]

22. Ibid. [BACK]

23. Prepared Statement of General Eric K. Shinseki, Department of Defense Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2001, Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, April 25, 2000, 402. [BACK]

24. Joint White/Shinseki Statement of July 18, 2001. [BACK]

25. U.S. General Accounting Office, Defense Acquisition: Army Transformation Faces Weapon Systems ChallengesÅ GAO-01-311, May 2001, 6. The U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency entered into a 6-year collaborative program to develop and demonstrate the Future Combat Systems concept. [BACK]

26. In terms of technical maturity, passive protection of lightweight ground vehicles with ceramic and composite-based lightweight armors capable of surviving a first-round hit from a medium-caliber weapon have been developed. Outstanding research issues in active protection systems and stealth technology indicate that these capabilities will not be available before the end of the decade. [BACK]

27. Glenn W. Goodman, Jr., “Futuristic Army Vision,” Armed Forces Journal International, May 2001, 26-34. [BACK]

28. Army Transformation Briefings, Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Transformation Panel, Institute for Land Warfare, October 2000, accessed at <>; and Glenn W. Goodman, Jr., “Futuristic Army Vision,” Armed Forces Journal International, May 2001, 26-34. [BACK]

29. See Army Transformation Briefings. For details of the Army’s science and technology strategy and key objectives in support of the transformation, see 2001 Army Science and Technology Master Plan, U.S. Army, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Technology. [BACK]

30. An adversary could, of course, prove wrong in believing it had found a chink in the Objective Force armor; when engaged by that force, it could instead suffer a devastating defeat. But even so, one would want to compel an adversary to confront the Legacy Force challenge as well. The more roadblocks there are to a perceived “win on the cheap,” the stronger deterrence will be. [BACK]

31. These and other future options for U.S. Army light forces are covered in detail in John Matsumura, et al., Sightning Over Water: Sharpening America’s Light Forces for Rapid Reaction Missions, MR-1196-A/OSD (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Arroyo Center/National Defense Research Institute, 2000). [BACK]

32. Joint White/Shinseki Statement of July 10, 2001. [BACK]

33. In 1995, the Army implemented a logistics Velocity Management initiative focused on improving the speed and accuracy of material and information flows from providers to users. Emphasis was on replacing the traditional reliance on mass with velocity. For a discussion of the initiative and its various elements, see John Dumond, et al., Velocity Management, The Business Paradigm That Has Transformed U.S. Army Logistics, MR-1108-A (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2001). [BACK]

34. U.S. General Accounting Office, Defense Acquisition: Army Transformation Faces Weapon Systems Challenges, GAO-01-311, May 2001, 1. [BACK]

35. In the fiscal year 2002 Army budget, for example, Secretary White testified that science and technology for the transformation was fully funded, but with a shortfall in the modernization and recapitalization of the Legacy Force. Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hearing on Defense Authorization Request for FY 2002, July 10, 2001. [BACK]

36. An IBCT would weigh somewhere between 16,000 and 20,000 tons, depending upon the level of augmentation, while a “pure” IBCT would likely require more than 250,000 square feet of deck space. [BACK]

37. Positioning more Army assets forward, DOD recently decided to have an IBCT stationed in Europe by 2007 and directed that the Army explore additional options for enhancing ground capabilities in the Gulf region. See Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, September 30, 2001), 27. [BACK]

38. On suggested adjustments to the Army National Guard for homeland security see, for example, Reserve Component Employment Study 2005 (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, June 1999). [BACK]

Table of Contents  |  Chapter Five