Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 100

initiative, enabled by timely and accurate reporting from the reconnaissance squadron. There is no doubt that technology will continue to be a force multiplier during conflicts of the future. That said, central to any military action is the service member on the ground. In an era of U.S. electronic warfare and all-source intelligence dominance, it is easy to overlook the value of the human element within the reconnaissance squadron when considering SOPs or operation plans. However, what satellite imagery, full-motion aerial video, or ground sensors can never replicate is the ability of the soldiers on the ground to process what they see and hear, while applying intuition, experience, and initiative. To use this human element, how we plan, train, and execute forcible entry does not require a radical overhaul of our airborne capability, but rather a radical new approach to a complex challenge. Capt. Mike Mobbs, U.S. Army, is pursuing an MA in history at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy. He previously commanded a company in the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and in the 3rd Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, both of the 82nd Airborne Division. Notes 1. Joint Publication ( JP) 3-18, Joint Forcible Entry Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office [GPO], 27 November 2012), viii. 2. Ibid. 3. Marc R. Devore, When Failure Thrives: Institutions and the Evolution of Postwar Airborne Forces (Fort Leavenworth, KS: The Army Press, June 2015). 4. Ibid., 1. 5. Field Manual (FM) 3-96 Brigade Combat Team (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, October 2015), 1-3 and fig. 11. During a joint forcible entry by airborne assault, an airborne infantry brigade combat team can employ three infantry battalions, a reconnaissance squadron, a field artillery battalion, and a support battalion. 6. Operation Plan (OPLAN) Giant in its various versions (used in 2015, all now obsolete) outlined the tactical plan for an airborne brigade combat team conducting forcible entry onto a denied airfield. This OPLAN was the template for how each airborne brigade in the 82nd planned and trained for forcible entry as part of the “global response force” requirement. It divided tasks into secure, clear, isolate, fires, and support. In every iteration, the plan relegated the reconnaissance squadron to providing part of the isolation force during the initial assault, even though the squadron is neither manned nor equipped to repel a deliberate attack. Additionally, under OPLAN Giant, the priority during the initial hours of the assault was to deliver paratroopers to the battlefield. Consequently, the scout vehicles that provided the squadron firepower and maneuverability were manifested on aircraft designated to land hours after the initial assault. 7. 82nd Airborne Division, “82nd Airborne Division Airfield Seizure Standard Operating Procedure,” 2015 version, draws from OPLAN Giant III, among other sources. The SOP provides a specific task and purpose for every maneuver and support asset within a brigade, except for the reconnaissance squadron. The only reconnaissance assets the SOP refers to are the long-range surveillance units organic to the corps. 98 8. FM 3-20.96, Reconnaissance and Cavalry Squadron (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, 12 March 2010), 1-3, login required, “The placement of dedicated reconnaissance units in the modular force takes into account their inherent direct combat vulnerabilities or capabilities and demands employment in accordance with those defined capabilities. This understanding also requires abstaining from employing them in missions and roles for which they were not created or resourced.” 9. Ibid. 10. Michelle Tan, “The Huge BCT Overhaul,” Army Times, 2 July 2013, accessed 22 October 2015, http://www.armytimes. com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130702/NEWS/307020002/ The-huge-BCT-overhaul. 11. JP 3-18, xi. 12. Ibid., I-5. 13. Marc R. Devore, When Failure Thrives: Institutions and the Evolution of Postwar Airborne Forces (Fort Leavenworth, KS: The Army Press, June 2015), 61. The ZSU-23-2 is a Russian twin-barreled autocannon designed in the 1950s for defense against air assault. Devore cites Mark Adkin, Urgent Fury: The Battle For Grenada (Lexington: Lexington, 1989), 131–39, regarding enemy guns used in 1983 in Grenada. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, retired, in an interview with author, Arlington, Virginia, 27 December 2015, stated that enemy forces used the ZSU in 1989 in Panama. 14. JP 3-18, I-9. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid., I-8. 17. Ibid., IV-17. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid., IV-15. 20. FM 3-20.96 Reconnaissance and Cavalry Squadron, 1-3. 21. Ibid. 22. Ibid., 15. March-April 2016  MILITARY REVIEW