Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 52

T he Army’s white paper expressing the Army’s latest vision for Force 2025 delineates three primary lines of effort: First, force employment is defined as “Army forces in 2025 conducting decentralized, distributed, and integrated operations to prevent, shape, and win using agile, responsive, and innovative combined arms capabilities and special operations forces.”1 Second, science and technology and human performance optimization focuses on enabling effective combat units through effective and efficient application of science and technology.2 Third, force design is developing and validating new operational and organizational concepts so the Army can accomplish its missions.3 Are these lines of effort sufficient to prepare the Army for dealing with threats in 2025 and beyond? From the perspective of maneuver warfare, this article suggests these lines of effort should be further evaluated to determine sufficiency in the context of emerging threats that cavalry squadrons will be called upon to address. Consider this alternate perspective on Army operations conducted during the last two decades: our success in Desert Storm, remarkable as it was, in fact became the death knell for large-scale, set-piece battles. The result of the one hundred hours of ground combat not only proved to the world our ability to 46 absolutely overmatch our enemy in a conventional fight, but it also highlighted to our enemies the necessity to adapt their forces in order to avoid such a fight in the future—which they have done. Our Desert Storm experience lulled us into complacency and a disregard for the adaptive nature of our enemies. This became apparent as our initial success in the 2003 invasion of Iraq (with planning largely based on assumptions drawn from Desert Storm) proved, in reality, not to be a victory but rather a significant failure to anticipate the primary threat—the insurgency that immediately followed. The consequence of the changed security environment after Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom is that the core competencies of the U.S. Army are now, and must continue to be, grounded in asymmetric warfare in order to deal with the most likely future threats. Conventional conflict has been redefined because of the recognition by our prospective enemies that they cannot stand and fight a set-piece war with U.S. forces. Just as important, our enemies have concluded that there is no need to attempt to match our outsized expenditure on defense programs when they may fight effectively on another level that exploits our weaknesses. An American November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW