Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 63

AIR DEFENSE than 90 percent success rate in reliability and training tests against advanced threat targets.”7 The Avenger weapon system, which can fire Stingers, enables air defenders to protect from a mounted, motorized configuration or download shoulder-fired Stingers for dismounted operations. transition their capabilities to support maneuver, serving as a “dual-hatted” combat multiplier. In 2005, Stanley Davis, then command sergeant major of the Army ADA branch, expertly summarized the transformation of nonstatic-engagement-AMD forces in Iraq and Afghanistan: Our Bradley Linebacker and Avenger soldiers Constraining the Force fought their way to Baghdad and Kabul Nonstatic-engagement-AMD units are disappearalongside our infantry and armored divisions. ing from the Active Army. Based on the ongoing unit Following the redeployment of the Patriot drawdown, implementation of the AMD strategy force from the combat zone, our Romeos is increasing the Avenger’s reduction from circula[Linebacker crewmembers] and Sierras tion, instead of increasing its employment to support [Avenger crewmembers] stayed on to batmaneuver.8 The strategy emphasizes HIMAD and tle insurgents and Taliban rebels, laying the static-engagement-AMD counterfire assets such as foundations for Iraqi and Afghan democracy. the counterrocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) They bore the brunt of battle and convincprogram.9 According to the strategy, “air and missile ingly demonstrated the fighting qualities of defense remains an Army core function, vital to the ADA soldiers to the combined arms team.12 Army’s core competencies of combined arms maneuver The Avenger is combat proven. Since the Army and wide area security.”10 Ironically, the Avenger is the first began using it in the 1990s, upgrades have added essence of the air defense’s ability to enable maneuver supplemental capabilities to diversify and enhance its commanders to seize, retain, effectiveness. In addition to and exploit the initiative the Stinger, the Avenger has with on-the-move protecan automated .50 caliber tion—no other Army air machine gun (M3P) and defense asset has this capaa forward-looking infrability. Without the A venger, red (FLIR) optics system. air defense cannot effectively According to Lt. Col. Rick facilitate maneuver. Starkey, former director of the Office of the Chief of the Transitional ADA School, air defenders Air Defense took advantage of these caCapabilities pabilities in Iraq to conduct (Photo courtesy of the Joint Readiness Training Center) The transitional virtucombat patrols, such as conAn Avenger gunner from Battery E, 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, provides aerial and ground osity of nonstatic-engagevoy security, raids, armored security from a deliberate fighting position in support of a ment-AMD interconnects reconnaissance, and cordon 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division training air defense to maneuver and search.13 exercise 20 April 2015 at Fort Polk, Louisiana. forces through the most The combination of the fundamental aspect of war—combat. While HIMAD M3P and FLIR allows air defenders to acquire and elements defend and deter, they are statically posengage aerial and ground targets. In many instances, tured and restricted to executing conventional air demaneuver commanders have requested air defense fense. They lack rapid deployability, and they operate support to enhance their operations due to these separately from the combined arms force. According capabilities. Capt. Scott Dellinger effectively describes to Carl Von Clausewitz, “A sudden powerful tranhis relevant combat experience in Iraq: sition to the offensive … is the greatest moment for Air defense artillery soldiers became so the defense.”11 In the absence of a traditional air proficient at identifying enemy positions and defense mission, nonstatic-engagement-AMD forces IEDs [improvised explosive devices] with the MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 57