Monday, February 29, 2016


AFA cadets Taylor, Foss and Rehwaldt with Colonel (ret) Doug Macgregor during his participation in the AFA NCLS.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

GOP candidates’ charges that Obama weakened the military are simplistic, analysts say

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Will Germany Supply 450 Armored Troop Carriers to Australia?

A German defense contractor will offer the Puma armored infantry fighting vehicle to the Australian Army.

Image Credit: PSM 

The German defense contractor Rheinmetall will offer its Puma armored infantry fighting vehicle, co-developed with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, to the Australian Army under a A$10 (US$7.1) billion tender for 450 armored personnel carriers.

The Australian Army intends to replace its aging fleet of Australian Light Armored Vehicles (ASLAV) and the M113AS4 Armored Personnel Carrier with “a tracked and turreted IFV [infantry fighting vehicle] with protection levels similar to that of the Abrams tank while carrying an eight person section,” according to the Land 400 Phase 3 Mounted Close Combat Capability Request for Information (RFI), released by the Australian Department of Defense. (The RFI deadline is February 22.)

The Department of Defense called the Land 400 program one of its “most significant capability programs” designed to enhance “the mounted close combat capability of the Land Force.” According to the Australian Army’s website, “LAND 400 will deliver a Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV), an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), a Maneuver Support Vehicle (MSV) and an Integrated Training System (ITS).”

The highest priority for the Army is to replace the ASLAV with a new CRV given that the former will need to be retired by 2020, otherwise a capability gap would ensue. The M113s can remain in service until 2030, although it “is not expected to be deployable for anything other than low intensity/low risk missions beyond 2025.” The Australian Army plans to acquire 225 CRVs and about 450 IFVs and MSVs.

The Puma is one of the world’s most advanced and newest IFVs. Developed by Projekt Systems and Management (PSM) consortium, a joint venture of Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the IFV entered service with the German military in June, 2015.

Displacing a mere 31.5 tons, the Puma IFV is a medium-weight armored vehicle and can be quickly airlifted into a deployment  zone. With its two-level armor protection concept— composite armor with optionally add-on armor elements that can be taken off during air transport—it is specifically designed for expeditionary warfare.

According to the PSM website, the IFV “offers high level of off-road maneuverability” comparable with the Leopard 2 main battle tank and can reach a top speed of 70 kilometers (43 miles) on the road.

The IFV is armed with a fully stabilized, automatic 30 millimeter MK30-2 ABM (Air Burst Munitions) autocannon with an effective range of 3,000 meters fitted to the remote-controlled turret. It also sports a coaxially mounted 5.56 millimeter HK MG4 machine gun as secondary weapon.

In addition, the IFV is equipped with the turret-mounted Missile Weapon System SPIKE, a missile launcher with two missiles allowing “the Puma to fight enemy targets as well as helicopters and threats behind enemy lines even more effectively,” according to the PSM website. The SPIKE missile launcher has an effective range of 4,000 meters.

An additional interesting feature of the Puma is its full-length crew compartment for the entire crew, including driver, gunner and commander as well as an infantry squad consisting of six soldiers. “This concept minimizes the volume to be protected, thus the crew protection can be maximized within the existing weight constraint,”  PMS explains.

Competition for the Land 400 program of the Australian Army will be fierce. “General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin Corp. are expected to team up to offer a vehicle developed for the British Army, while BAE’s Australian arm will offer the CV90, used by a number of European countries,” the website Army Recognition reports.  In 2013, Rheinmetall won a $1.5 billion contract  to supply 2,500 trucks to the Australian Defense Force.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

War Makes Victorious Armies Stupid

Defense News
February 15, 2016

War Makes Victorious Armies Stupid

A Rebuilt Army After Vietnam Is Regressing

Twenty-five years ago, late in the afternoon of February 26, 1991, 260 American soldiers with 19 tanks and 26 Bradley fighting vehicles in the two lead cavalry troops of an 1,100 man armored cavalry battle group charged out of a sandstorm and caught the rear guard of Iraq’s Republican Guard Corps in the open desert along the North-South grid line referred to as “73 Easting.”

Taken by surprise, the numerically superior, full-strength, 2,500-man Iraqi brigade with T-72 tanks in defensive positions supported by mines, artillery and infantry with anti-tank weapons was swept away in a battle of annihilation. Attacking American soldiers lost one dead, six wounded and one destroyed Bradley.

Americans in Washington were surprised. A chorus of television pundits, academics and retired Army generals had warned that American soldiers would suffer heavy casualties. Retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Edward Meyer actually declared that war with Iraq would produce 10,000 to 30,000 US casualties.

The generals commanding Army forces in the Middle East worried that Meyer was right. They had not seen action since Vietnam and they irrationally inflated the Iraqi Army’s fighting power. They should have known better.

Rebuilding the Army
The courageous and intelligent performance of American soldiers in battle of 73 Easting was testimony to the superior combination of training, technology and human capital that the US Army’s post-Vietnam leadership, Gens. William DePuy, Paul Gorman and Donn Starry, began building in the mid-1970s.

DePuy, the commander of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), was the principal force driving change. DePuy saw warfare through a different lens. He had led an infantry platoon from Utah Beach through the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

DePuy acknowledged the US Army’s defeat in Vietnam, but he knew the US Army had to change its focus to fight a capable opponent like the Soviet armed forces.

Israel’s sobering experience in the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria reinforced DePuy’s conviction that the Army needed a new war-fighting doctrine to guide investments in human capital, organization, and technology. The battle of 73 Easting was DePuy’s crowning achievement.

Acquisition Misfires
Sadly, war often makes victorious armies stupid and Desert Storm was no exception. Twenty-five years later, DePuy’s Army is in ruins.

Thanks to a series of multi-billion-dollar acquisition failures like the sprawling $20 billion Future Combat System, the Ground Combat Vehicle and Armed Aerial Scout, the US Army is caught in a modernization death spiral.
The outcome is an unfocused, single- service acquisition plan designed to upgrade 1980s vintage platforms and weapon systems or selectively replace systems inside the old structure on a one-for-one basis with comparable, more expensive versions of existing aircraft, tanks, trucks and guns.

Any closed system evolves toward a state of entropy and the US Army is very, very closed. Closed systems also breed fear of the kind of change in organization and technology that Gen. DePuy and his successors embraced.

The idea of moving the US Army out of the industrial-age structure based on single-service self-sufficiency into an organizational design based on integrated, joint operations or service interdependency remains anathema to the US Army.

The critical need for an Army composed of self-contained independent battle groups that operate on land the way the Navy’s ships operate at sea within the framework of joint, integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; strike; maneuver and sustainment is stubbornly and myopically resisted. As a result, the opportunity to pursue full-spectrum rapid prototyping of powerful new operational capabilities — organizing construct, human capital strategy and equipment, not just the technology — is lost. Instead, the Army clings to brigade combat teams, in uneven states of readiness, dependent on division and corps headquarters and support structures.

In 1991, the US Army stripped out several divisions to field full-strength brigades and divisions in Saudi Arabia before engaging the enemy. In today’s come-as-you-are war-fighting environment, this is a non-starter.

How Many 4-Stars?
Like the other services, the US Army’s organization for combat should not be viewed in isolation from its “corporate overhead.” The fact that four Army four stars — George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower and Henry “Hap” Arnold— could command and effectively employ 6 million American soldiers in World War II while today’s shrinking Army of 490,000 needs six four stars to manage the force should alert the politicians in both parties to the Army’s problems.

Breaking open closed systems is never pleasant, but it must be done. The Army’s passion for rewarding officers who reinforce their bosses’ prejudices and beliefs makes the task even more challenging.

If nothing is done, Americans will end up much like Mark Baum, the hedge fund manager in the “The Big Short.” Baum was horrified to discover that widespread fraud in the mortgage market would precipitate an economic collapse on a national, even global scale.

If nothing is done, Americans will be equally horrified when they are surprised not by victory, but defeat.

By Douglas Macgregor, executive vice president of BMG LLC, a decorated combat veteran and author. His newest book, “Margin of Victory,” will be available in June