The Secret U.S. Army Study That Targets Moscow

As stated before, it was only a matter of time before Russia (and China) could be on par, and exceed in some areas, with the U.S. military. Now they’re here and America is realizing it, likely too late in the game. America was diverted into the Russian Middle East trap and focused on individual terrorists that can be infinitely replenished instead of the enemy behind the enemy. A Tale of Two Militaries that most people don’t understand is going to put America on the losing side if it doesn’t change extremely quick.

If you doubt America is losing its edge, or has lost, read a few of many sample articles:

‘Stolen’ J-31 can beat American jets in dogfight, says US pilot

China’s military closing technology gap with the US, says American air force chief

China, Russia, Iran Closing Gap with Smaller, Older U.S. Military

Russia claims to have super weapon that disables western satellites and long range arms

Stealth Ability Neutralized! Russia’s T-50 Jetfighter to Rule the Skies

Like U.S., Latest Russian Bombers Testing Hypersonic Weapons

Experts: China Boosts Space Warfare Capabilities

 

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A Russian helicopter flies close to the missile destroyer USS Donald Cook on April 12 in the Baltic Sea. | Getty

 

A quarter century after the Cold War, the Pentagon is worried about Russia’s military prowess again.

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster has a shaved head and gung-ho manner that only add to his reputation as the U.S. Army’s leading warrior-intellectual, one who often quotes famed Prussian general and military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz. A decade ago, McMaster fought a pitched battle inside the Pentagon for a new concept of warfare to address the threat from Islamist terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan, Iraq and other trouble spots. Now, his new mission is more focused. Target: Moscow.

POLITICO has learned that, following the stunning success of Russia’s quasi-secret incursion into Ukraine, McMaster is quietly overseeing a high-level government panel intended to figure out how the Army should adapt to this Russian wake-up call. Partly, it is a tacit admission of failure on the part of the Army — and the U.S. government more broadly.

“It is clear that while our Army was engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq, Russia studied U.S. capabilities and vulnerabilities and embarked on an ambitious and largely successful modernization effort,” McMaster told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. “In Ukraine, for example, the combination of unmanned aerial systems and offensive cyber and advanced electronic warfare capabilities depict a high degree of technological sophistication.”

In Ukraine, a rapidly mobilized Russian-supplied rebel army with surprisingly lethal tanks, artillery and anti-tank weapons has unleashed swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles and cyberattacks that shut down battlefield communications and even GPS.

U.S. military and intelligence officials worry that Moscow now has the advantage in key areas. Lighter armored vehicles like those the Army relied on heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan are highly vulnerable to its new weapons. And main battle tanks like Russia’s T-90—thought to be an anachronism in recent conflicts—are still decisive.

McMaster added that “Russia possesses a variety of rocket, missile and cannon artillery systems that outrange and are more lethal than U.S. Army artillery systems and munitions.” Its tanks, meanwhile, are so improved that they are “largely invulnerable to anti-tank missiles,” says retired General Wesley Clark, who served as NATO commander from 1997 to 2000 and has been sounding the alarm about what the Ukraine conflict means for the U.S. military.

Among those who have studied the Russian operation in Ukraine closely is Phillip Karber, president of the Potomac Foundation and former Marine who has made 22 trips to Ukraine since 2014. “Few in the West have paid much attention to Russia’s doctrinal pivot to ‘New Generation War’ until its manifestation in Ukraine,” says Karber. Another surprise, he adds, “is the relative lack of Western attention, particularly given the unexpected scale and duration of the conflict, as well as the unanticipated Russian aggressiveness in sponsoring it.

Karber says the lethality of new Russian munitions has been striking, including the use of scatterable mines, which the U.S. States no longer possesses. And he counts at least 14 different types of drones used in the conflict and reports that one Ukrainian unit he was embedded with witnessed up to eight drone flights in a single day. “How do you attack an adversary’s UAV?” asks Clark. “Can we blind, disrupt or shoot down these systems? The U.S. military hasn’t suffered any significant air attacks since 1943.”

The new Army undertaking is headed by Brigadier General Peter L. Jones, commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. But it is the brainchild of McMaster, who as head of the Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia, is responsible for figuring out what the Army should look like in 2025 and beyond.

Clark describes McMaster’s effort as the most dramatic rethinking since the collapse of the Soviet Union. “These are the kind of issues the U.S. Army hasn’t worked since the end of the Cold War 25 years ago.”

The question is why the U.S. government—and the Army in particular—has once again allowed its attention to be diverted for so long that it has been caught by surprise by a major development like Russia’s enhanced capabilities. While Russian President Vladimir Putin undertook an aggressive military buildup, the U.S. Army actually drew up plans to shrink the active-duty force by some 40,000, from about 490,000 to 450,000 over the next several years. That plan is now in question. A bill recently proposed in the House of Representatives would halt the reduction. And last month, the Alaska delegation successfully got the Pentagon to back down on its plans to deactivate an airborne brigade. One of the justifications that were cited: a newly belligerent Russia.

That is not to say that the Russian Army and its proxies are 10 feet tall. The Ukrainian Army is credited with deterring an all-out Russian invasion. And the briefing that has been shared at the highest levels of the Army and with a number of foreign allies points out that the Russian military shrank dramatically in size between 1985 and 2015. And its biggest weakness is widely considered its conscript army, which has limited training and suffers from poor morale.

General Starry, who led the Yom Kippur War after-action review, concluded that the quality of the soldiers ultimately can carry the day—not numbers. “It is strikingly evident,” he wrote later, “that battles are yet won by the courage of Soldiers, the character of leaders, and the combat experience of well-trained units.”

But combined with Moscow’s efforts to upgrade its nuclear forces, what has been on display in eastern Ukraine and more recently in its military foray into Syria is expected, at least by the generals, to change the U.S. Army for a long time to come.

Full article: The Secret U.S. Army Study That Targets Moscow (Politico)

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