“For years the Marines have argued they need a new amphibious combat vehicle that can cut through water at high speeds so Marines can get to the beach safely and then fight their way inland. But Marine Commandant James Amos signaled yesterday there just isn’t enough money to buy a “planing” vehicle capable of skimming over the water like a speedboat. Instead, for now, the Marines will buy something much more modest.”
“Battlefield communications gear is unsustainably cumbersome compared to commercial cellphone technology, according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno. ‘I can sit here in my chair and pull out my smartphone and talk to every continent in the world with one little smartphone,” Odierno said at a breakfast meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army last Thursday. When it comes to battlefield communications, he said, ‘I have to bring 50 trucks and 300 soldiers. Why is that? We cannot do that anymore. Our command and control systems are too heavy today.’”
“The U.S. Army's Ground Combat Vehicle isn't officially dead, but maneuver officials are already searching for a new, air-droppable combat vehicle to support light infantry units. The Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga., recently released a Sources Sought document to see if industry is capable of building the Ultra Light Combat Vehicle – an armored chariot that could be carried by UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, or airdropped by C-130 aircraft.”
“This month, FOX debuted Enlisted, a new sitcom about a ragtag Army platoon in the post-war era led by an Afghanistan war veteran. The show is fiction, of course, but it reflects a throwback in public perception – and a new reality – of what life is like in the Army once again, back on base. There are currently about 37,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, most of them soldiers. Whether there is a post-2014 presence or not, the majority of them will come home by the end of the year. Many will think twice about re-enlisting as the Army shrinks and readjusts to the evolving threats around the world. Most likely will never see combat again. Instead of surges and counterinsurgency tactics, the post-war Army is focused on budget cuts and force structure changes. A renewed focus on tattoos and uniform regulations has replaced some of the relaxed standards set during the height of the wars, when the military needed all the help it could get. Soldiers are increasingly worried about cuts to military benefits and involuntary separation orders as the active-duty Army shrinks, possibly as low as 420,000, from a war-time high of 570,000.”
“Taken separately, several speeches, briefings and interviews conducted by US Army leadership over the past two weeks don’t necessarily look like anything special. When viewed as a whole, however, one can see a developing strategic narrative at work as the service — which is suffering more under sequestration and Pentagon cutbacks than the other services — tries to adjust to a time of relative scarcity after a decade of big budgets padded liberally with wartime supplemental funds. When the narrative is pieced together, it holds that in the future the Army will need to get to the battlefield more quickly, with fewer troops — some replaced by unmanned systems — and with lighter, more mobile equipment than available.”
“The Marine Corps’ post-Afghanistan deployment plans are taking shape, and personnel can expect today’s vigorous operational tempo will continue as leaders reorient the service and rebrand it as a nimble crisis-response force. As infantry companies are called on to back up embassy security guards in Africa and the Middle East, and more adviser teams push into Central America, Africa and the Middle East, the Corps’ new approach calls for East Coast and West Coast units to adopt deployment patterns like those inherent to Marine expeditionary units. As such, West Coast Marines will likely find themselves handling missions in the Middle East while those based on the East Coast are sent to Europe or Africa. Of course, plans are contingent on world events and the needs of the Corps.”
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan is planning to go to the White House on Monday to argue for keeping about 10,000 troops in the country after this year, a subject that has exposed a fissure between some of President Obama's top advisors and the Pentagon. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who commands all international forces in Afghanistan, is recommending that U.S. troops stay to help train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations against Taliban insurgents and Al Qaeda-linked militants. All other U.S. troops will be withdrawn this year.
The Army’s combat aviation brigades are in for an overhaul if the service moves forward with a sweeping — and already controversial — proposal to restructure Army aviation. The proposal, which officials say is driven by shrinking budgets, calls for the Army to divest its fleet of the OH-58 Kiowa helicopter and use the AH-64 Apache to fill the Kiowa’s reconnaissance and scout role. It would pull Apaches from the National Guard inventory to fill the gap, and the Army would, in turn, provide the Guard with UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, a medium-lift utility helicopter that officials believe will give the Guard more capability as it conducts its homeland defense and disaster response missions at home.
“The 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team will become a Stryker brigade, the Army announced Wednesday. The 1st BCT, based at Fort Carson, Colo., will begin its conversion from an armored brigade to a Stryker brigade in March. The conversion is expected to take 10 months, and the change is being made to meet a needed operational mix of BCTs within the Army, officials said. Once the work is complete, the active Army will have eight Stryker BCTs.”
“The U.S. Army has been frequently criticized for being slow and heavy, and therefore less likely to be called upon to respond to a crisis halfway around the world, whereas the Marine Corps or special operations forces can get there fast. As per orders of its chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army must become “expeditionary,” which implies that it must be lighter and faster. Odierno has pushed back on suggestions that the Army is trying to displace the Marine Corps, and insists that he is simply preparing for a post-Afghanistan world in which U.S. forces will not be occupying countries but will be expected to intervene in unforeseen crises. A team of Army strategists, think tank analysts and academics recently gathered at the College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Va., to debate how the Army might change in order to be more relevant in a changing world.”
With the establishment of Rossiya Segodnya, a new state-owned media conglomerate, Russia has added a new national champion to its ledgers and further consolidated control over the media. Critically, however, the creation of Rossiya Segodnya has also clarified the contours of the Kremlin's future media strategy, the foundations of which can be found in the success of RT. Rossiya Segodnya, and thus the Russian state, plans to focus on targeting and influencing international audiences within a perceived environment of global "information warfare"
In this November 25, 2013 interview, Lieutenant General Bruno Kasdorf describes the shrinking, aging population in Germany, which necessitates a greater professionalization of the force. To date, recruiting remains strong, and interest in making the Army a career remains.
In this November 25, 2013 interview, Lieutenant General Bruno Kasdorf acknowledges that the U.S. will make defense cuts consistent with its domestic and national interests, but notes that maintaining some level of presence in Europe is important. He notes that Europeans might have to take on more responsibility, but that this is appropriate. He is closely watching the debate and how specific cuts might be implemented, and is communicating closely with the U.S. Army as the debate evolves.
In this November 25, 2013 interview, Lieutenant General Bruno Kasdorf discusses the "European Project" and its military component. He describes the partnership between Germany and the Netherlands, to include in areas such as tanks, artillery, and rotary craft. Germany is also pursuing deeper military ties with France, Scandanavia, and Poland.
In this November 25, 2013 interview, Lieutenant General Bruno Kasdorf describes his views on the U.S. strategy and what it means for Europe. He is concerned about fewer numbers of U.S. forces in Europe and decreased opportunities for mutual exposure and the building of relationships and trust.