Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 53

CAVALRY Forces Press Service story reports that Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in late 2013 that “the risk of state-on-state conflict is diminished, [italics added] ... but because of the global proliferation of technology, the ability of nonstate actors to wage conflict to injure or destroy has never been greater [italics added].”4 David Kilcullen’s Out of the Mountains: The Coming of Age of the Urban Guerrilla describes how a combination of globalization, urbanization, weapons proliferation, and failed states will contribute to conflicts being fought within cities against a well-resourced, tech-savvy enemy who can rapidly scale to address our tactics, techniques, and procedures with the aid of commercial off-the-shelf materials and technology.5 According to FM 2-91.4, Intelligence Support to Urban Operations, such enemies “may view [urban conflict] as their best chance to negate the technological and firepower advantages of modernized opponents.”6 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Langley Research Center corroborates this stance, according to a slide presentation by chief scientist Dennis Bushnell, which states that “warfare will become increasingly robotic and probably more affordable, [and] swarms of sensors/shooters are a given.”7 One need only look at Russia’s successes with hybrid warfare in Ukraine and Georgia—pairing deceptive information operations with special operations and paramilitary forces—or at the similar successes of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in employing swarming against traditional forces in Iraq and Syria, to see examples of threats to come. Changing Role of the Cavalry As the security environment has changed, so too has the primary demand for the cavalry squadron changed from destroying traditional enemy reconnaissance assets en masse to providing effective reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting. This provides the senior ground commander with a better opportunity to assess cultural environments, threats, and opportunities; to complement special operations forces; and to neutralize the enemy. Improving the capabilities of our squadrons to match this demand is not as simple as adding a new weapon, sighting system, or vehicle; instead, it necessitates fundamental changes to cavalry squadron structure and employment. Adapting Structure Numerous cavalry professionals have written on this subject, including Capts. Joshua Suthoff and Michael Culler. In their excellent article “Ideas on Cavalry,” they write, “If ca valry is to be maintained, ideas to keep the branch relevant cannot be scoffed off as dangerous or outside our capabilities.”8 I stand atop their shoulders when saying that first, we must adapt our structure, recognizing that the Army of 2025 and beyond will have multiple requirements for cavalry squadrons. The first requirement for decentralized light reconnaissance forces is best typified by the Army’s increasing use of special operators, combined with unmanned and strategic platforms, in wide area security, special reconnaissance roles. The second requirement, developed from past experience, calls for an expeditionary, combined-arms maneuver force likely to face enemy armor upon initial thrusts into foreign countries. Recognizing that each of the current cavalry squadron formations excels at certain distinctive Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, maneuver M1 Abrams tanks 15 February 2014 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, during decisive action rotation 14-04. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Randis Monroe, Operations Group, National Training Center PAO) MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 47