Those Americans who are in favor of strengthening and protecting our ground forces should be glad to read this.
There are significant changes in the American military taking place, begun by former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. Current SecDef Mark Esper appears to be continuing the policies described below. Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr said, “Now that we have Mark Esper, a former rifle company commander, there is a chance that will continue to receive the same priority that Mattis was giving it.”
One of the major factors that have made America’s military the most powerful on the planet has been its usually excellent small arms. The design and quality of the individual soldiers’ weapons, up to the level of the general purpose machine gun, sniper rifle, and grenade launchers, makes a significant difference in outcomes. Granting, of course, that ammo supplies are sufficient. And for the most part, America’s small arms have been excellent.
America fielded the best service pistol in the world, the 1911 Colt .45 Automatic Pistol. Improved designs exist now, but the 1911 has always been the best or among the best military service pistols of all time. In World War Two, the “GI Joe” battle rifle, the M1 Garand, was described by General Patton as “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” In his book “Shots Fired In Anger”, Lt. Col. John George described his preference for the .30 caliber M1 Carbine, a smaller, lighter, less powerful weapon with a 15-shot detachable magazine that worked well in the close quarters of Pacific Island fighting and the forests of Burma, both theatres in which Lt. Col. George served.
Since Vietnam, the introduction of effective body armor, more effective bullet-resistant ballistic helmets, and optical sights on every infantryman’s weapon have been major factors in American successes on the battlefield. The introduction of telescopic sights resulted in the news media (of course) accusing US soldiers of assassinating enemy soldiers. The fact is that with a good scope on a rifle, it’s usually much easier to place a shot exactly where you want it to go. And the headshot is the best guarantee of an instant one-shot stop.
The trend toward maintaining a technological edge in small arms, plus more on-point and intensive training is continuing:
“DEADLIER US MILITARY: Mattis Wants Ground Combat Units to Be More Lethal in the Close Fight“
“Defense Secretary James Mattis sent out a Feb. 8 memorandum to the service secretaries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all combatant commands and other Defense Department agencies announcing the Secretary of Defense Close Combat Lethality Task Force.”
Mattis noted that the “ground close combat formations” (I guess it would have been too easy to say “infantry”) account for 90% of casualties. Mattis intended to apply the latest technologies to the Close Quarters Combat arena. In other words, the grunt. The infantryman, who is often neglected in favor of the “glitter” high-tech platforms like the latest developments in missiles, aircraft, naval warfare systems, and now the “Space Force”. He began it, and now Mark Esper is continuing the change.
It makes sense, if you want to preserve your fighting force. In 2018 Mattis announced his intention to assign some of Special Forces’ tasks to trained-up “Security Force Assistance Brigades” (SFAB) in an effort to ease the strain on our Special Forces.
“For years, special operators have complained that they are overstretched. Last May (2018) Gen. Raymond ‘Tony’ Thomas III, SoCom commander, bluntly told the Senate Armed Services Committee, ‘We are not a panacea’ for every military problem that pops up around the world.”
I don’t wonder that he said that. He also stated that at that time, 8,000 SpecOps personnel were deployed in 80 – that’s EIGHTY – countries.
Both Fort Irwin in California and Fort Benning in Georgia have been involved since 2018 in training these SFABs. Some of them are already deployed.
According to Breaking Defense, $1billion is committed for this effort:
“Several sources tell us large investments are on the way for everything from night vision to body armor, a new rifle to replace the M16/M4 family, and frontline cyber/electronic warfare, with over a billion dollars in the ‘initial’ phase alone.”
Such as thermal / IR weapons sights linked to a heads-up helmet display for infantry soldiers:
If that doesn’t scare enemies, they need better imaginations.
“The task force currently has reprogramming or new funding requests worth up to $2.5 billion for high-tech equipment and training efforts that L’Etoile would not describe in detail.” ( Joe L’Etoile, a retired Marine infantry officer, is the Task Force director.)
From two sources: “The U.S. Army is also leading a joint effort to develop new tactics and procedures for subterranean operations — fighting in cramped tunnel complexes.” Such as are found in North Korea. Allegedly half a billion dollars is being spent on that training.
So it appears that the necessary people are committed to keeping America’s military the number one force for good on the planet. Thank God!