Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 54

competencies, accomplishing these two missions requires harmonizing and enhancing our existing capabilities. Though others have written on the need to recognize current structural facts on the ground and change armor branch to cavalry branch, I propose one step further, dividing the new cavalry force into light and heavy cavalry fields, with distinctive characteristics noted as follows:9 Light cavalry— includes the current infantry brigade combat team, Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT), and legacy battlefield surveillance brigade cavalry squadrons performs reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting, and thereby provides security has enhanced capability for decentralized, platoon-and-lower attachment to other formations, primarily infantry is provided with off-road vehicles and complementary sensors and sighting technology, which allow them to effectively operate using decentralized squads and teams conducts training that includes the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course, Army Reconnaissance Course, Air Assault School, Pathfinder School, Joint Fires Observer Course, Sniper School, and Combat Tracker Course Heavy cavalry— includes current armored brigade combat team (ABCT) armored reconnaissance and tank crew members performs offensive and defensive tasks and provides forward reconnaissance and traditional security functions for the combined-arms maneuver force operates as offensive-oriented hunter-killer teams due to a combination of armored reconnaissance and tank formations conducts training that includes the Master Gunner Course and Army Reconnaissance Course This proposed division of cavalry into lights and heavies, which would include separate military occupational specialties for each cavalry type but only one cavalry officer control field, is built on two premises: (1) A well-defined, well-equipped, and well-trained cavalry force responds more effectively to adaptive, innovative enemies. (2) The mentality, training, and experience required for soldiers in light and heavy cavalry formations differ widely, a fact which will only increase with • • • • • • • • • 48 the advent of new technology and shifting mission requirements going forward. Separating soldier specializations into two elements will enable each formation’s retention of well-trained personnel and organizational knowledge, and it will prevent the steep learning curve and difficulty understanding proper employment that often accompany soldier moves from one type of specialization to the other. With the separation of specialized cavalry types established, we need more than structural change in the cavalry; we must also change how we fight. Adapting Employment Besides adapting the structure of cavalry units, the Army must adapt how it employs them. Several recommendations on the employment of light and heavy cavalry follow. Decentralized light cavalry. In their current configurations, our light cavalry squadrons have a litany of well-documented problems, summed up in a single question posited by Suthoff and Culler: “What makes a cavalry squadron different from its fellow infantry battalion within an IBCT [infantry brigade combat team] or SBCT besides an anemic modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE)?”10 As our force stands now, cavalry squadrons have a recent employment legacy as something other than reconnaissance assets. Instead, they have been viewed as similarly equipped, less capable, land-owning formations that appear redundant alongside infantry within the context of wide area security and asymmetric warfare. In light of this current setting, our force must adapt or perish. Instead of competing against the infantry for a purpose, cavalry should complement the infantry by adding unique value together with, and alongside, infantry formations—as the cavalry has done in the past. Unfortunately, there appears to be a lack of synchronization of effort and communication of task and purpose between cavalry squadrons and infantry-based maneuver units. Our squadrons are not built to decentralize; indeed, conventional wisdom has us typically moving in the opposite direction, consolidating more organic assets within the light cavalry squadron and rendering it an anemic maneuver force (compared to infantry). Instead of consolidating a plethora of assets within these light formations, we should focus on our core reconnaissance and surveillance competencies and tailor these squadrons toward shearing—that is, being able to November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW