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Return of fires: How the Army is getting back to its big guns as it prepares for the near-peer fight

Monday, August 27, 2018   (0 Comments)

By: Todd South  |  August 27, 2018  |  ArmyTimes

After nearly two decades of counterinsurgency warfare, the Army’s artillery and missiles — once the core of the modern Army’s way of land warfare — withered in quantity, quality and manpower.

During that decline, voices within the Army called for a shift in priorities, training and technology.

And while those calls were in some ways heeded, they also were, in other ways, ignored.

Until now.

Last year, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley established Cross Functional Teams centered around key Army priorities as the service prepares for near-peer threats such as China and Russia.

While they all play an important role in modernizing the Army, one that has emerged as a top priority, given current competitors and real-world readiness, is near and dear to the hearts of old soldiers: fires.

When the United States faced an immediate near-peer threat in the then-Soviet Union, the ability to mount massive conventional fires as armor and mechanized units maneuvered around the battlefield was paramount. And the firepower showed it.

At the peak of the Cold War, Army formations could trade artillery and rocket barrages with their foes, confident that they could match or outrange them as the battle progressed.

But the need for such volume of fire receded in the post-9/11 world as, following the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. military faced an enemy that preferred to plant IEDs and hide among the civilian population.

And with nobody to challenge the U.S. airpower that soldiers could bring to bear, aircraft increasingly became the go-to solution when something, or someone, needed blowing up.

As the world shifts and U.S. leaders look to their near-peer competitors, they see increasing efforts to attack the U.S. military’s weak or neglected spots, including finding ways to deny or degrade airpower through advanced missile systems, electronic warfare, cyber attacks and building up standoff fires of their own.

That brings the fires community, from artillery to missiles to air defense, back to the forefront of what makes a unit effective and lethal.  READ MORE...

With over 13,000 members internationally, the Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.